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Pope Francis hints at end of 1,000-year-old celibacy rule after calling ban 'temporary'

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Pope Francis hints at end of 1,000-year-old celibacy rule after calling ban 'temporary'

Pope Francis has suggested that the Catholic Church could greenlight a review of its 1,000-year-old celibacy tradition. In a wide-ranging interview the Pope said the union of a priest and a woman is not in conflict with religion. He described the 11-century-old ban as a "temporary description" and said there was no "contradiction" for a priest to marry.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis© GETTY

He told Infobae: "There is no contradiction for a priest to marry. Celibacy in the western Church is a temporary prescription.

"It is not eternal like priestly ordination, which is forever, whether you like it or not. On the other hand, celibacy is a discipline."

The Roman Catholic Church only made celibacy a necessity in the 11th century because clerics without children were more likely to favour riches over the Church.

Pope Francis said that the Vatican will reconsider the practice when requested, citing the Eastern Church as an example.

He said: "In fact, everyone in the Eastern Church is married. Or those who want to. There they make a choice. Before ordination, there is the choice to marry or to be celibate."

His comments mark a shift from his stance in 2019 when he said he disagreed with "allowing optional celibacy" and claimed celibacy was a "gift" to the Church.

He also discussed the rising divorce rate and made the argument that young people sometimes rush into marriage.

Pope Francis said: "Sometimes one goes to a wedding and it seems more like it's a social reception and not a sacrament. When young people say forever, who knows what they mean by forever."

In another progressive move, the head of the Catholic Church also declared he is "no one to judge" anyone when it comes to gay people and that everyone - whether they're "good", "old", "young", "guys" - is welcome inside the church.

His latest statements come as Germany's Catholic Church has agreed on a slew of reforms, including blessing same-sex marriages and allowing female deacons - at the risk of heightening tensions with the Vatican.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis© GETTY

A majority of 176 participations out of the 200 delegates voted in favour of same-sex blessings starting from March 2026. German church leaders have vowed the process won't lead to a schism in an effort to allay Rome's anxieties.

The progressive movement is also moving ahead with the end of celibacy for priests in a bid to counter an exodus of Christians in Germany.nal decision on whether to allow female deacons remains with Pope Francis.

Reference: Daily Express: Story by Thibault Spirlet 

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