At one time, Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) was quite smitten by a young women when he served as a young seminarian. During an documented conversation that was published in the book, Sobre el Cielo y la Tierra (On the Heavens and the Earth), he spoke of this instance in detail:
When I was a seminarian, I was dazzled by a girl I met at an uncle’s wedding. I was surprised by her beauty, her intellectual brilliance… and, well, I was bowled over for quite a while. I kept thinking and thinking about her. When I returned to the seminary after the wedding, I could not pray for over a week because when I tried to do so, the girl appeared in my head. I had to rethink what I was doing. I was still free because I was a seminarian, so I could have gone back home and that was it. I had to think about my choice again. I chose again – or let myself be chosen by – the religious path. It would be abnormal for this kind of thing not to happen.
During this same conversation, Pope Francis gave his thoughts on the Catholic Church’s celibacy rule. He noted that this role can eventually change, as evidenced by the behavior of Church priests in the West:
In the Western Church to which I belong, priests cannot be married as in the Byzantine, Ukrainian, Russian or Greek Catholic Churches. In those Churches, the priests can be married, but the bishops have to be celibate. They are very good priests. In Western Catholicism, some organizations are pushing for more discussion about the issue. For now, the discipline of celibacy stands firm. Some say, with a certain pragmatism, that we are losing manpower. If, hypothetically, Western Catholicism were to review the issue of celibacy, I think it would do so for cultural reasons (as in the East), not so much as a universal option.
Although it sounds like Pope Francis is open to some discussion about making a change to the Catholic Church’s celibacy rule, he made sure to state that he is still in favor of celibacy:
For the moment, I am in favor of maintaining celibacy, with all its pros and cons, because we have ten centuries of good experiences rather than failures.
Contrary to popular belief, not all priests take a vow of celibacy. FutureChurch.org states that “most priests do not take a vow. It is a promise made before the bishop.”
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