Will Pope Francis Change Celibacy Rule for Priests? I Hope So.
I was an altar boy at a Roman Catholic Church for several years. In that amount of time I met and served with many priests that came through our town. Some would come and talk about mission work they were doing. Others would fill in for a time when our church was in between a Priest. As an altar boy, we were constantly urged to consider becoming a priest ourselves from these traveling clergymen. But, one Priest stands out with what he told me about how much regret he had, and it still bothers me today.
He was a recently “retired” priest. He must have been in his late 60’s and would occasionally fill in when a need came up. He asked me, “Have you ever thought about becoming a priest?” I replied, “Well I guess the other priests and Father ____ have reminded me about it.” He turned and looked at me and said, “Make sure you’re willing to give up the chance to have kids, grandchildren, and a family of your own. I gave that up, and if only I could go back.”
Wow. I was probably about 12 years old and the furthest thing from my mind was having a family of my own, but seeing the look on Father’s face really bothered me. Here was a man in his golden years that had enough regret to pull aside me and warn me to be cautious about my future.
Now with Pope Francis, he has in the past said he was open to discussion about the celibacy rules for Priests. The Catholic Church already allows married Anglican priests to join and remain married, but still won’t allow young priests that come up in the church to marry. That seems wrong to me.
Will this change anytime soon? Probably not. But in my opinion, it should.