Europe

Thursday 31 July 2014

Pope Francis promises ‘solutions’ to priestly celibacy

Published 13/07/2014|11:33

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Pope Francis waves during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square
Pope Francis waves during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square

Pope Francis has promised “solutions” to the issue of priestly celibacy in an interview today that raised the possibility the Catholic Church could eventually lift the ban on priests marrying.

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In an interview with Italy’s La Repubblica daily, Francis also condemned child sex abuse as a “leprosy” in the Church and cited his aides as saying that “the level of pedophilia in the Church is at two percent.”

“That two percent includes priests and even bishops and cardinals,” he said.

Asked whether priests might one day be allowed to marry, Francis pointed out that celibacy was instituted “900 years after Our Lord’s death” and that clerics can marry in some Eastern Churches under Vatican tutelage.

“There definitely is a problem but it is not a major one. This needs time but there are solutions and I will find them,” Francis said, without giving further details.

The interview was the third in a series with the 90-year-old founder of the La Repubblica daily, Eugenio Scalfari, a famous journalist and known atheist.

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