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World Europe 27 Oct 2018 Vatican stalls on ma ...

Vatican stalls on married priests

Published Oct 27, 2018, 1:12 am IST
Updated Oct 27, 2018, 1:12 am IST
The number of priests and nuns dropped sharply in 2016 in Europe — and the Americas to a lesser extent.
Pope Francis
 Pope Francis

Vatican City: A bid by Belgium bishops to allow young married men to take the cloth has fallen flat at a Vatican meet — though Pope Francis is considering testing out the idea in the Amazon.

The suggestion of easing the rules on celibacy was raised by the Auxil-iary Bishop of Brussels, Jean Kockerols, during a month-long meeting of the world’s bishops.


It appeared to fall on deaf ears — at least officially.“There were no reactions” to that, or any of the “daring proposals” that made newspaper hea-dlines during the synod, French bishop Emmanuel Gobillard said.

The 330 or so clerics and lay people taking part in the talks, which end on Sunday, were tackling the thorny issue of how to make the Roman Catholic Church appeal to youngsters.

“I am disappointed by the lack of reaction. One bishop compared it to stalactites that take a long time to grow,” Kockerols said. “Numerous bishops sought me out during coffee breaks, saying ‘you are right, we should be heading in that direction,’ but I notice the subject was never looked into in the working groups,” he said.


The number of priests and nuns dropped sharply in 2016 in Europe — and the Americas to a lesser extent. The picture is rosier in Africa and Asia, according to the Fides Catholic agency.

As the Argentine pontiff has repeatedly said, there is no doctrinal prohibition on married men becoming priests, and therefore the discipline can be changed.

Saint Peter, the church’s first Pope, had a mother-in-law, according to the Bible. Celibacy was imposed in the 11th century, possibly partly to prevent descendants of priests from inheriting church property.


But some within the church believe it is time to join many eastern rite Catholic Churches in permitting married men to take the cloth.