In Stunning Reversal, Roman Catholics to Ordain Married Men as Priests, Women as Clergy
[Rome] As Pulpit & Pen first reported in November of 2017, the Romanist church was considering the ordination of married men as priests. Chiefly, the Vatican was considering the changes because of a shortage of celibate men to choose from the Amazon region. Now, the Vatican has officially embraced married men as clergy.
The Romanists will soon begin to ordain “viri probati,” or “men of proven character,” who are married. This is the first break from the celibacy-only position of the church headquartered in Rome in many centuries.
The reason for the rule change is due to “the possibility of conferring priestly ordination on elderly men, preferably indigenous, respected and accepted members of their community…even if they already have an established and stable family.”
Francis is the first pope in hundreds of years to entertain the idea of non-celibate clergy, which has church traditionalists very concerned that the current Pontiff has wide disregard for Romanist orthodoxy. It should be noted that Pope Benedict allowed converted Anglican priests to keep their wives upon transferring their membership back to Rome, but that situation is slightly different than this one. It should also be noted that some churches affiliated with Rome, or “in communion” with them, allow married men to become priests (such as the Melkites and Maronites in the Eastern Catholic Church). This is the first time for churches under the direct leadership of Rome in modern times.
The official announcement came yesterday after consultations between the Vatican and Catholics in the Amazon region. Most commentators believe that the decision was made because Rome sees South America as the future of the Roman Catholic church. As “Christianity” fades in Europe, its center of growth is increasingly in the Western Hemisphere and, in particular, South America.
Women will also be added to clergy in the Amazon, according to Bishop Erwin Krautler, who is the Secretary for the Commission on the Pan-Amazon Region. He claimed, “We don’t only speak about viri probati, because it’s exclusionary. We also want to include women.”
It is unclear what role ordained women may serve in the Romanist church within South America, but it’s doubtful they’ll serve in the full function of priests, according to former words of Pope Francis, who has typically referred to the judgment of Pope John Paul II on the matter of female priests.
Most believe that the new decisions will allow women to serve certain sacraments of the church, but will be excluded from full priesthood.