Pope Francis just requested that Roman Catholic Priests be allowed to get married. In some Anglican churches this has been the case for many years but in the Roman Catholic Church marriage has always been strictly forbidden among priests.
It is hoped that by lifting the marriage ban more men will consider entering the Church which has suffered a massive shortage during the last few decades.
For now the request will only apply to priests in Brazil but it is hoped that this is the first step to a change in worldwide policy for the church. It is believed the request stems from the Pope’s personal friend, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who asked Pope Francis to consider lifting the ban.
Other high-ranking members of the church have previously suggested that the Church may consider lifting the ban earlier this year, but this is the first time such rumours have manifested in concrete reality.
However, while it’s believed that this change comes on the back of a wave of support for changing the rules on celibacy, it is also important to remember that the move risks upsetting more conservative members of the church. This is likely to be the reason for why the change only applies to Brazil, at least for now, as putting it into effect worldwide could result in a pretty hefty backlash.
Historically, the ban on marriage has been built on the belief that priests must be 100% dedicated to their role as spiritual leaders of their community. It was believed that a domestic and sexual life outside of their priestly life risked their commitment to that duty. But others have often criticised the rule, arguing that it makes priests much less able to relate to their congregation. After all, how can someone be expected to guide their followers on matters of a sexual, or family, nature if they themselves have never even had sex or know what it's like to be married with kids?
For a long time, such criticisms were largely ignored. But in the modern era the Catholic Church has faced enormous challenges as its numbers dwindle. Young men and women have especially lost interest in joining the church, and it's looking like nuns and priests may go the way of the Dodo.
It seems the rule change is driven by the need to encourage young people into roles like those of a nun, monk and priest.
Do you think this is the right way to increase attention and interest? Would you consider being a priest if you were allowed to get laid? Or is this all too little too late? Let us know what you think in the comments below!