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International News: “The Pope did NOT say he was going to lift celibacy requirements for priests,” Catholic News Agency says

Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2023. 1:02 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Following some remarks made by Pope Francis at the 10th anniversary of his election to the See of Peter, many have speculated that the Pope hinted at the possibility of removing the requirement that Catholic priests be celibate, a claim that Catholic News Agency (CNA) vehemently says is inaccurate.

In a recent article published by CNA titled “No, Pope Francis didn’t really hint that the requirement for priestly celibacy will be lifted,” Father Thomas Petri, O.P., spoke on the interview the Pope gave to Infobae, where he described the celibacy priests commit themselves to is a “temporary prescription.”

“Secular media outlets and even some Catholic news organizations immediately jumped to the conclusion that the pope is open to revising the discipline of celibacy and that he even might lift it,” CNA said. “Of course, he said no such thing. When the requirement for celibacy was openly discussed at the 2020 Amazon Synod, Pope Francis chose not to even mention celibacy in his post synodal exhortation.”

The article went on to explain that priestly celibacy is “temporary” as opposed to priestly ordinance which is viewed as “eternal.” Thomas explained that once ordained as a priest, one remains so, even if that person is not a practicing priest.

Thomas stressed that priestly celibacy is rooted in the biblical teachings of St. Paul found in 1 Corinthians 7:32, which explains that an unmarried man can fully devote himself in service to God.

He also made the point that in the circumstances where there were married priests, these priests still practiced sexual abstinence from their wives to ensure the singular focus of service to God.


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