Pope's No. 2: Priest Celibacy Not Set in Stone
Says it's up for discussion, though it is an important tradition
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2013 11:20 AM CDT
Italian archbishop Pietro Parolin speaks to the media in Hanoi, Vietnam.   (AP Photo/ Chau Doan, File)

(Newser) – While Pope Francis is off puttering around in a second-hand car, his soon-to-be secretary of state has been doing something even more controversial: talking about priestly celibacy. When he was asked about it by a Venezuelan newspaper, Archbishop Pietro Parolin said the matter was open to discussion. "Celibacy is not an institution, but look, it is also true that you can discuss (it) because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church," Parolin said, per NBC News.

He did, however, stress that it is a long-held Catholic tradition. "The efforts that the church made to keep ecclesiastical celibacy, to impose ecclesiastical celibacy, have to be taken into consideration," he said. "One cannot say simply that this belongs in the past." National Catholic Reporter has a translated transcript of Parolin's full comments, and posits that what he said isn't considered too controversial by moderate Catholics. "What the interview confirms is not so much a spirit of revolution on Francis's watch," argues writer John L. Allen Jr., "but rather the generally pragmatic and moderate stamp of his papacy."

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Sep 12, 2013 4:46 AM CDT
He then asked the reporter if she is busy Saturday night
Sep 12, 2013 2:17 AM CDT
Obama for pope!
Sep 11, 2013 8:42 PM CDT
The Catholic church has supposedly been around for 2,000 years, and introduced celibacy only 1,000 years ago, so about half way through its existence so far. As he said, it is a tradition not a dogma, and abolition would not be as traumatic as its introduction (history records that married priests were not supposed to sleep with their wives). Actually what they did was first prohibit sex the 24 hours before mass, and then increase the frequency of mass from weekly to daily. That's the truth, and I'm not making that up. It's past time they changed or they will run out of priests anyway. Used to be they had Irish priests all over the world, but now they have Polish priests in Ireland.