Married Clergy Open for Debate Says Catholic Archbishop Parolin

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new Secretary of State of the Vatican, recently made the comment that priestly celibacy in the Church is open for discussion.  His comments may be read here.

It should be noted that there are already married priests in the Catholic Church, a few in the Latin Rite, and many in the Eastern Catholic Churches.  The discipline of a celibate clergy is a discipline in the West, and not in the East.  Some believe if the discipline is relaxed then the discipline of celibate clerly will be lost.  This is clearly not the case because many will still choose to live a celibate life when they enter the priesthood, as can be seen in the Eastern Churches who have a mixed discipline.  To open the door for married clergy does not mean the Church has to abandon celibacy, the tradition of a celibate clergy will be preserved in those who choose to live a celibate life before receiving Holy Orders.

The main reason why the Church in the West may want to seriously consider relaxing the discipline is the extreme need for priests in the Church.  There has been a significant decline in priests since Vatican II and if the decline continues many Churches will have to close their doors.  It would be a great tragedy if a number of Churches have to shut down for lack of priests when there are many married Catholics who are capable of becoming faithful Catholic Priests, as can be seen with Eastern Catholic priests who are married.

Let us pray that the Lord relax this discipline through the Church if it is His will and if it is not may He raise up more Celibate Clergy to serve the faithful.

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