Pope Francis says he does not intend to consider changing the Church's practice on the issue.
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In a very long interview broadcast on March 12, 2023, by the Argentine news outlet Perfil on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his election, Pope Francis spoke about, among other things, the celibacy of priests in the Latin Church, a discipline that he does not intend to re-examine.
“I don’t feel ready to reconsider it yet, but obviously it’s a matter of discipline, which has nothing to do with dogma. Today it’s the case and tomorrow it may no longer be,” Pope Francis said. “We’ll see that the time will come when a pope, perhaps, will revisit it,” he says.
In an interview published Friday by the Argentine website Infobae, the Pope said he did not believe that the possibility of getting married would encourage vocations to the priesthood. There too, he recalled that celibacy is only “a discipline.”
The rule of priestly celibacy applies in the Latin Church. It is not the case in the Eastern Catholic Churches, where men have the possibility of marrying before being ordained priests.
“Celibacy is a gift that the Latin Church preserves,” Francis said last year.
In February 2022, at a symposium on the priesthood held at the Vatican, the Argentine Pope considered: “Celibacy is a gift that the Latin Church preserves, but it is a gift that, in order to be lived as sanctification, requires healthy relationships, relationships of true esteem that have their roots in Christ. Without friends and without prayer, celibacy can become an unbearable burden and a counter-witness to the very beauty of the priesthood.”
To understand the Church’s practice on this issue, as well as its history, see below: