YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – First News reported last month on how the Catholic faith is experiencing a shortage in men wanting to become priests. To fill that shortage, Pope Francis says he is open to the idea of married men becoming priests.
The Catholic Church already allows some married men to be ordained priests. Protestant married priests who convert to Catholicism can continue to be married and be a Roman Catholic priest, providing they have their wives’ permission. And Eastern Catholic churches that are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church can also maintain their tradition of married priests.
This new idea from Pope Francis would allow men who are Catholic and already married could become priests. Men who are already priests and not married would not be permitted to marry.
Joseph Pilz has been a Catholic in the Youngstown-area all his life. He says there are a lot of responsibilities to being a priest and single men are better cut out for the job.
“If there are single and not married I think they have more devotion to the Catholic faith than married men would be,” Pilz said.
Geri Jacquet is also a practicing Catholic. She believes it takes a person of great prayer to become a priest.
“I don’t think anything can lessen one’s devotion to the faith or Jesus Christ once you have found Jesus Christ, nothing,” Jacquet said. “You could be married, you could have children, you could be single, you could be a stock broker. If your devotion to Jesus Christ and your devotion to the Church have been really tapped and God has called you, you have a great prayer life within whatever vocation you are in.”
Monsignor Peter Polando has been a priest for 37 years. He says he’s seen many changes throughout the Catholic Church, and he supports PopeFrancis’ idea.
“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.