Bishop tells of papal veiled hint at more married priests

A German bishop has recounted an incident in which Pope Francis showed no opposition to the concept of more married priests.

The auxiliary Bishop of Hamburg, Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke, spoke of this on a German television talk show “Nachtcafe”.

Bishop Jaschke mentioned the meeting between the German bishops and the Pope on November 20 last year.

The hypothesis of ordaining married men as priests in order to celebrate Mass in far-flung regions with a scarcity of clergy, especially in Latin America, came up.

Francis “made no sign of refusal”, Bishop Jaschke said.

The bishop added that the Pope “is not a dictator” and will act so as to make such measures “universally acceptable” to the Church as a whole.

But the fact that Francis wants to proceed in this direction would seem to be a certainty, wrote Vatican commentator Sandro Magister.

Magister has previously written that married priests is a likely topic for the next synod of bishops.

Meanwhile, last week, a conference on priestly celibacy took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

The first speaker was Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the congregation for bishops, who spoke about “Celibacy and Christ’s nuptial bond with the Church”.

The secretary of the Congregation for Clergy, Archbishop Joël Mercier, spoke of Blessed Pope Paul VI’s 1967 encyclical “Sacerdotalis Caelibatus” as “entirely valid in our own time as well”.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin also spoke at the conference, addressing the topic “the priest ordained ‘in persona Christi’”.


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