A recent interview with Pope Francis has put the issue of married priests out there, with some responding with jubilation and others with consternation as can be observed on social media and in comments sections.
Francis said: “We have to reflect about whether the viri probati are a possibility. Then we also have to determine which tasks they could have, for example in far distant parishes… In the Church, it is always important to recognise the right moment, to recognise when the Holy Spirit demands something. That is why I say that we will continue to reflect about the viri probati.”
A few months ago, the Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff said he had heard that the Pope might introduce a trial period for viri probati in Brazil.
The Pope also discussed the possibility of female deacons, saying that theologians should study the example of Scripture. “What did this mean at that time [of the Bible]? What does it mean today?” He added: “Don’t be afraid! That makes us free.”
Interestingly, we in the Ordinariates who have a long experience of married priests are not necessarily on a progressive bandwagon that includes married priests with a push for ordained women deacons and ultimately women priests.
I am for a chaste priesthood—whether celibate or married. I am for celibate priests who could have been wonderful fathers and husbands and who have sacrificed the goods of marriage and family for a greater call, not for a celibate priesthood that attracts men who are not simply not attracted to women or interested in marriage and family.
We have a lot to learn about the celibate priesthood in the Ordinariates as the norm in the future will be celibacy and even now our married priests are on a case-by-case basis, requiring special papal approval.
I also think we have to look more to supernatural means of solving such things as vocations’ crises, whether to marriage, the priesthood or to consecrated life. When we forget about the power of God, and then try to patch the problems ourselves, we compound the problem. Your thoughts?