Pope Francis has promised “solutions” to the issue of priestly celibacy in an interview raising the possibility the Catholic Church could eventually lift the interdiction on married priests.
Speaking to Italy’s La Repubblica daily, Francis also condemned child sex abuse as a “leprosy” in the Church and cited his aides as saying “the level of paedophilia in the Church is at two per cent”.
“That two per cent includes priests and even bishops and cardinals,” he said.
Asked whether priests might one day be allowed to marry, Francis pointed out 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.