Pope Francis is open to the idea of having some married men ordained as Catholic priests, in an effort to combat clergy shortages in “remote” communities.
Francis said in an interview published Thursday in Germany’s Die Zeit that the Catholic Church must study whether so-called “viri probati” — Latin for “tested men” or married men of outstanding faith — could be ordained.
“We must consider if viri probati is a possibility. Then we must determine what tasks they can perform, for example, in remote communities,” Francis said.
Francis said eliminating the church’s celibacy rule is not the answer to the priest shortage, but that the idea of using married men could be helpful.
Married men are allowed to be ordained to the priesthood in the Eastern rite of the Catholic Church.