Pope requests debate over allowing married men to become priests

The Pope has raised the prospect of married men becoming priests.

The pontiff has requested a debate over allowing married men in the Amazon region of Brazil to be ordained if they are men of great faith.

The pope made the decision following a request made by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the president of the Episcopal Commission for the Amazon, Il Messaggero newspaper reported a Vatican source as revealing.

However, Brenden Thompson from Catholic Voices UK told Premier the story is being "sensationalised".

Speaking during News Hour, he added: "The pope is a pope. He's Catholic - you don't need to worry about that.

"The Pope has already himself said that he is in favour of celibacy and that celibacy has really, really, beautiful reasons practically and spiritually - why it's a gift to the Church, but he is responding to the needs that have been said in Brazil."

Cardinal Hummes reportedly asked Pope Francis to consider ordaining married men to tackle the issue of many remote communities in the Amazon where there is a shortage of priests.

Thompson said he wasn't surprised by the Pope wanting the topic to be debated.

L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP

He told Premier: "We've become used to Pope Fracncis changing the way that we associate the Vatican and how it interacts with the churches around the world.

"So rather than starting the debate himself, actually it's grassroots…because of the very specific situation in Brazil, have requested the Pope, and the Pope is a pope of dialogue and is saying, 'yeah, let's talk about this'.

"Particularly, for this issue of married priests, it is a practice of the Church and it has been for hundreds of years but it's not doctrine - it is open for debate."

Listen to Brenden Thompson speaking with Premier's Eno Adeogun:

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