Pope Francis to Urge Priests to 'Find Wives' to Fight Pedophile Epidemic
Raises prospect of allowing married men into the priesthood
Pope Francis has raised the prospect of allowing married men to become priests in a bid to tackle the pedophile epidemic amongst clerics.
The suggestion has been pushed forward following a debate over married men in the Amazon region of Brazil to become priests.
Vatican sources say that the move may outrage conservative Catholics, but the Pope hopes that urging pedophile priests to marry may reduce the risk of the sexually abusing children.
Independent reports: The pontiff took the decision to put a partial lifting of priestly celibacy up for discussion and a possible vote by Brazilian bishops following a request made by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the president of the Episcopal Commission for the Amazon, Il Messaggero newspaper quoted the sources saying.
Cardinal Hummes reportedly asked Francis to consider ordaining so-called viri probati, married men of great faith, capable of ministering spiritually to the many remote communities in the Amazon where there is a shortage of priests, and evangelical Christians and pagan sects are displacing Catholicism.
The cardinal's request has been echoed by Monsignor Erwin Krautler, the secretary of the Episcopal Commission.
He has also suggested that the bishops attending the synod in 2019 on the Amazon, now being prepared in Rome, should consider ordaining women deacons as priests.
If the new rules are applied to marriage within the Catholic Church, it's not clear whether it will be limited to just priests, or whether it will also include the higher ranks, such as bishops and archbishops.
There was also no mention of whether the suggestion would also be extended to homosexual relationships.