Catholic Bishops Endorse Plan to Allow Married Men to Serve as Priests in Remote Areas of S. America
Yesterday, a summit of Catholic bishops meeting in Rome endorsed a potentially historic plan to allow the ordination of married men in the Amazon region of South America to address the scarcity of priests. The change in policy would end a restriction which has lasted for close to 1000 years.
The bishops only voted to allow the change in the Amazon basin, but it could well set a precedent for other areas where the Catholic Church is finding it difficult to attract the next generation of priests. Pope Francis would have to agree with the bishops before the new policy could be implemented.
Clerical celibacy is widely viewed as one of the factors limiting the Church's ability to attract young men to join the priesthood, and many Catholic priests had both wives and children prior to the 11th century.
Clerical Celibacy, Wikipedia: [In the 11th and 12th centuries], "despite six hundred years of decrees, canons, and increasingly harsh penalties, the Latin clergy still did, more or less illegally, what their Greek counterparts were encouraged to do by law—they lived with their wives and raised families. In practice, ordination was not an impediment to marriage; therefore some priests did marry even after ordination." "The tenth century is claimed to be the high point of clerical marriage in the Latin communion. Most rural priests were married and many urban clergy and bishops had wives and children."
Pope Francis has hinted before that he would allow the ordination of married men to address the shortage of Catholic priests in some parts of the world. His decision is expected fairly soon.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content