Pope Open to Considering Married Men as Priests in Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is considering whether some married men could become priests.

In an interview with a German newspaper, Pope Francis said he is open to studying whether married men of proven faith can be ordained.

This comes amid concerns there are not enough priests to serve remote areas with large Catholic populations, like the Amazon.

"He is especially concerned about areas — for instance, like the Amazon, where priests are very far spread out and there are approximately 10,000 Catholics for every priest," the Rev. Patrick Ryan of Fordham University said.

The pope stresses that getting rid of the celibacy rule entirely is not the answer for the priest shortage.

There are some exceptions already. Priests in the Eastern Rite Catholic Church can marry, as can Anglican priests who convert to Catholicism.

Religious leaders say a change would take years to approve and would involve meetings with bishops around the world, but would be very unlikely to be required in the city. 

"I doubt we'd see it in New York City; I can't speak for the whole of New York State," Ryan said. "But certainly I can see it in places like Texas, for instance…places where Catholics are few in number and well spread out, like Utah."

According to the pope, single men who are already priests would not be allowed to marry.

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