We’ve long held the view that celibacy for priests might be a contributing factor in some cases of sexual misconduct. And, we emphasize in some cases so as not to question the commitment of those who willingly choose to be celibate as opposed to those who might feel somewhat coerced into it as a requirement of the priesthood. And, what of those who change their mind about celibacy later and decide to take other holy vows—the holy vows of matrimony?
Some are going to have serious objections to this new pope questioning what amounts to “tradition” in more way than one. We do not presume to be theologians, but it seems to us that Christ himself upset “tradition” with his teachings during his earthly ministry. And, the Bible points out that his battles were with the religious establishment of the day—not the people in the streets and the community. So, in our view, this pope is following the example of the Master with regard to freeing people from the bondage of tradition and giving them the freedom of the Spirit.
We are more than curious to see how this and other proposals to change the Catholic Church play out under the leadership of Pope Francis. Perhaps such changes might inspire transformation for all of Christendom for the better.
Pope Francis Says ‘Door Is Always Open’ to Rethink Priestly Celibacy
Pope Francis says priestly celibacy is up for discussion.
For the first time since his election, the pope said that it is “not a dogma” that members of the clergy must abstain from sex. He made the remark in a chat with reporters on his way back to the Vatican from a historic trip to the Middle East.
“It is a rule of life that I appreciate very much, and I think it is a gift for the church, but since it is not a dogma, the door is always open,” Francis said on Monday.
The Catholic Church has been under pressure to abandon the celibate tradition. Some critics have argued, in the face of widespread sexual abuse of children by priests, that sexual frustration may be partly to blame.