Could married men become priests?
Catholics are weighing in on Pope Francis’ interview this week with a German magazine where the Pope suggests the possibility of married men as priests. Today, News 25’s Taylor Rubach sat down with a local priest to get his opinion.
With the severe shortage of Catholic priests in some parts of the world, Pope Francis is reaching out for possible solutions. This week he told a German magazine he is open to ordaining married men of proven faith, also known as Viri Probati, in isolated areas such as the Amazon where there is only one priest for every 10,000 Catholics.
While the shortage isn’t nearly as bad in South Mississippi, like all priests, Father Gilbert Enderle took the vow of celibacy years ago. He says the church has a good reason for that. “It’s still a celibate priesthood. That’s the calling and it’s meant to be taken seriously, but not in a cold and distance sense. It’s that you love your people and you love them deeply,” said Father Enderle.
While no firm decision has been made yet, Father Enderle praises Pope Francis for at least opening the door to find some solution of the current shortage of priests which is a worldwide issue. “Pope Francis has a good way of looking at things and saying ‘let’s discuss this’. I would not be surprised if maybe a year or year and a half down the line, it would be a matter of discussion in a very official way, gathering a number of official opinions from advisers, bishops, cardinals around the world and that it would be looked into more thoroughly,” said Father Enderle.
The church currently allows married priests to convert to Catholicism to continue serving as priests, but does not allow married Catholic men to take Holy Orders. The Pope has not indicated any openness to the idea of allowing men who are already priests, like Father Enderle, to marry. While the idea of Viri Probati is an old one, it is fresh on the minds of at least some of the faith as the church tries to address this worldwide shortage.