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Pope Francis sees celibacy for priests as reviewable

origin 1Pope Francis meets participants during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican. Evandro Inetti/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Pope Francis can in principle imagine abolishing celibacy for priests, the Vatican chief said in an interview published on Friday.

Speaking to the Argentine news site Infobae, Francis recalled that in the Eastern Catholic Church, married men can be priests.

“There is no contradiction in the fact that a priest can get married,” said the pope, who for years has been repeatedly asked by various quarters to revoke or loosen the obligation of celibacy for priests.

Only on Friday did the delegates of the German Synodal Assembly for the reform of the Catholic Church adopt a text calling for an openness to celibacy. The pope must be asked to examine the future of compulsory celibacy.

When asked by Infobae if celibacy could be reviewed, Francis said yes. Celibacy in the Western Church is “a temporary prescription … It’s not eternal like priestly ordination,” he added.

And since celibacy is a discipline, it could therefore be reviewed, Francis said. However, he doubted that more men would opt for the priesthood if they were allowed to marry at the same time.

According to media reports, it was only in mid-February that the Pope declared his intention to maintain celibacy. With the help of “true friendships among priests” it is possible to live celibacy, he said.