Liberation theologian Leonardo Boff has claimed that Pope Francis may grant a special request by the Brazilian bishops to allow married priests to resume their priestly ministry.
In an interview with German daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, the Brazilian theologian who left the priesthood in 1992 and subsequently got married said: “The Brazilian bishops, especially the Pope’s close friend Cardinal Claudio Hummes, have expressly requested Pope Francis to enable married priests in Brazil to return to their pastoral ministry.”
According to the National Catholic Reporter, Boff continued: “I have recently heard that the Pope wants to fulfil this request — as an experimental, preliminary phase for the moment confined to Brazil.”
He added that the fact that Brazil has 140 million Catholics, but only 18,000 priests was a “catastrophe”.
“No wonder the faithful are going over to the evangelical churches or to the Pentecostals in droves, as they are filling the personnel vacuum,” Boff said.
“If the many thousands of priests who have married are once again allowed to practice their ministry, that would be a first step to improving the situation but at the same time also an impulse for the Church to free itself of the fetters of celibacy.”