Connecticut Catholics respond to Pope's openness to married priests

He indicated he was open to the idea of letting married men of Catholic faith become priests.

The Pope reportedly told German Weekly, "we must think about whether (ordaining some married men is) a possibility".

USA church experts said the lack of priests affects not just remote areas but suburban and urban regions packed with Catholics.

The pope, who celebrates his fourth anniversary as head of the Catholic Church on Monday, spoke with youngsters on the town's sports field.

Pope Francis's comments definitely bring increased attention to the issue, but the debate over celibacy is nothing new.

"Married men go against a lot of what the priesthood stands for", said one viewer.

It is important to note that this option would apparently only be open to men who are already married, and that single men who are already priests would still not be allowed to marry.

He added: "I wanted to be in truth with the Church by stating my joy in being a priest and my wish to get married".

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But the worldwide shortage of priests has the Pope reconsidering what's been the norm for at least 1,000 years.

"For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful", he said. "Fears close doors, freedom opens them".

The Economist reported in January that the number of Catholics connected to a parish has risen from 46 million to 67 million over the past half-century, while the number of priests has fallen from 59,000 to 38,000.

Meanwhile, Francis continues to receive pressure from Catholics who believe he has been too loose with church doctrine and practice.

"Whether married or unmarried, I feel that both sides of the fence can fulfill the obligation or becoming a priest of Jesus Chris", Monsignor Polando said. However, the Pope confirmed on Friday to the Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, that he agreed with the earlier decision to reject Mr Duane's appeal against dismissal.

The Vatican and Al-Azhar recently restored relations that the Cairo institute severed in 2011 to protest comments by then-Pope Benedict XVI.

"It will also take away this notion that priests are somehow special or more holy".

  • Sonia Alvarado