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Pope signals openness to ordaining married men as priests, calls for Church to face priest shortage ‘fearlessly’


© Antoine Mekary - ALETEIA

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 03/08/17

Crux has the scoop: 

Pope Francis has expressed openness to a renewed consideration of married priests in the Catholic Church, especially the possibility of ordaining the so-called viri probati, meaning tested married men, who could be called into clerical service. “Then we have to consider what tasks they could perform, for instance in isolated communities,” the pontiff said. While the question put to Francis specifically referred to ordaining viri probati as deacons, many theologians and some bishops have also suggested they could be considered for priestly service. The pope’s comments came in a new interview with the German newspaperDie Zeit, excerpts from which were published on Wednesday, with the full version set to appear on Thursday. At the same time, Francis appeared to rule out simply making priestly celibacy optional, saying that approach “is not a solution.” Calling diminishing vocations to the priesthood an “enormous problem,” Francis said the first response must be prayer, coupled with a more intense focus on “working with young people who are seeking orientation.” A lack of priests, Francis said, weakens the Church “because a Church without the Eucharist doesn’t have strength – the Church makes the Eucharist, but the Eucharist also makes the Church.” Francis called for the question to be faced in the Church “fearlessly.”

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