The world keeps on changing. Soon we will see marijuana legalized and what may be next are married Catholic priests. The Pope has requested a debate over allowing married men to become priests in the Amazon region of Brazil. Earlier this year the Pope had said that the Church should consider allowing married men to become priests in specific circumstances, referring to remote communities.
However, this still reverses the centuries-old tradition and practice that Roman Catholic priests must be celibate. I didn’t realize there were already a limited number of married priests in the Catholic Church. These include Anglican priests who switched to Roman Catholic. Apparently there are Catholic priests in Africa who have mistresses and children already so the Brazilian pilot project could be extended to Africa to normalize the situation there. Going way back, the first written mention of celibacy being required for Catholic priests was in 304 AD when a Canon decreed that all clergy must abstain from their wives and were not to have children. It wasn’t until the 11th century when Pope Gregory VII decreed all priests must be celibate and it was enforced by Bishops. Pope Francis has already endorsed allowing divorced people who remarry to receive communion if their priests or local Bishop approve and he has accepted homosexuality and transsexuality. It wouldn’t surprise me in the future if all priests will be allowed to marry and have families. It will take some time so as not to drive away conservative traditionalists.