In response to a shortage of Roman Catholic priests, Pope Francis has said that it could be acceptable for married men to be fill those roles.
Speaking to the German newspaper Die Zeit, he talked about the current shortage of acceptable priests being an “enormous problem,” so much so that he would consider changing the rules of priesthood, which normally call for celibacy based on parts of the Bible and the mission to be just like Christ, who was celibate.
“We need to consider if viri probati could be a possibility,” he said. “If so, we would need to determine what duties they could undertake, for example, in remote communities.”
Viri probati is the term for “tested men,” meaning married men who have remarkable faith and virtue.
Traditionally, married men who convert to Roman Catholicism can become a priest with their wife’s permission, but this would allow for long-time Roman Catholics to be eligible.
No definite decision has been made yet, but the fact that it’s being considered is notable.