Pope Francis I has been viewed as a sort of game-changer since he was announced after last week’s conclave and papal transition, and speculation the new Pope is softer on the celibacy rules for priests is rife.
Previous popes have been more strict about changing celibacy rules, but some evidence suggests Pope Francis I may be open to it.
Discussion on the Pope’s celibacy rule position stems from his comments in a Spanish-language book, On The Heavens And The Earth, in which the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires mulls romance, attraction, and love.
The site Aleteia translates the Pope’s celibacy rule thoughts, in which he said he was “dazzled by a girl I met at an uncle’s wedding,” adding that he “was surprised by her beauty, her intellectual brilliance … and … bowled over for quite a while.”
The then-Archbishop adds he “kept thinking and thinking about her,” and that when he “returned to the seminary after the wedding,” he “could not pray for over a week,” adding, “when I tried to do so, the girl appeared in my head. I had to rethink what I was doing.”
Noting the choice between the woman and the seminary, the Pope’s celibacy rule feelings appear to have been influenced by the experience. The translation continues:
“When something like this happens to a seminarian, I help him go in peace to be a good Christian and not a bad pries … In the Western Church to which I belong, priests cannot be married as in the Byzantine, Ukrainian, Russian or Greek Catholic Churches. In those Churches, the priests can be married, but the bishops have to be celibate. They are very good priests.”