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Top Vatican official believes priests should be allowed to get married

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Jan 08, 2024 11:10 pm

It's high time that priests should be allowed to get married, a senior Vatican official said.

Following the Vatican-approved blessings for same-sex couples, as long as they are not in contexts related to civil unions or weddings, a centuries-old priestly celibacy rule in the Catholic Church has been again challenged, believing that priests should be allowed to get married. 

In a report by Times of Malta, Pope Francis' advisor, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, said that the Roman Catholic church should look into revising its rules to allow Catholic priests the option to get married as it is the "right time" to "discuss the issue seriously" and "take decisions on it."

"This is probably the first time I'm saying it publicly, and it will sound heretical to some people," he said, adding that he has previously discussed it at the Vatican but it is not his choice to make.

"Why should we lose a young man who would have made a fine priest just because he wanted to get married? And we did lose good priests just because they chose marriage," Scicluna added.

While acknowledging the continued importance of celibacy in the Church, Scicluna also argued that similar to Catholic churches of the Oriental rite, priests should be allowed to marry.

"It was optional for the first millennium of the Church's existence, and it should become optional again."

"If it were up to me, I would revise the requirement that priests have to be celibate," he said. "Experience has shown me that this is something we need to seriously think about."

Scicluna, who is also known as the Vatican's most respected sex crimes expert, continued, "A man may mature, engage in relationships, love a woman. As it stands, he must choose between her and priesthood, and some priests cope with that by secretly engaging in sentimental relationships."

'A global reality'

The 64-year-old archbishop and lawyer also highlighted the existence of Catholic priests who "secretly live in a romantic relationship" while outwardly carrying out their clerical responsibilities. He said that some of them had been in committed relationships for years and others even have children.

"This is a global reality; it doesn't just happen in Malta. We know there are priests around the world who also have children and I think there are ones in Malta who may have too," he said.

As per Reuters, the Vatican did not respond to a request for comment.