Pope Francis has requested that Roman Catholic priests be given the right to get married.
The request applies to priests in Brazil, and is on the agenda for an upcoming synod (church council) in the Amazon region.
A small number of married Roman Catholic
priests already exist, including previously married Anglican vicars who
have joined the church.
A request to lift the ban on marriage
was made by Brazilian bishop Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who reportedly
asked the Pope to consider ‘viri probati’, meaning married of great
faith, as priests.
Derry priest Father Paddy O’Kane
suggested that Pope Francis may move to end celibacy earlier this month,
saying there was support amongst the church for the idea.
Fr O’Kane cited Brazilian liberation
theologian Leonardo Boff, who said: “The Brazilian bishops, especially
the pope’s own personal friend Cardinal Claudio Hummes, have expressly
requested Pope Francis to enable married priest in Brazil to return to
“I have recently heard that the pope
wants to fulfil this request – as an experimental, preliminary phase for
the moment confined to Brazil.” Earlier this year the Pope told Die Zeit
newspaper: ‘We must consider if ‘viri probati’ is a possibility. Then
we must determine what tasks they can perform, for example, in remote
Francis and his predecessor Benedict XVI
have both stated that celibacy is not a matter of inflexible church
dogma unlike, and could be debated.