The Holy See has something new to consider.
The Vatican Insider recently got its hands on a copy of a letter 26 Italian women sent to Pope Francis, urging him to review and (ideally) demolish the celibacy law for priests, claiming that each of them is in love with a priest, and want to be free to pursue open relationships. Part of the letter reads, "We love these men, they love us, and in most cases, despite all efforts to renounce it, one cannot manage to give up such a solid and beautiful bond. Unfortunately, this brings with it all the pain of not being able "to live it fully". This continuous giving and then letting go is soul destroying. When this enormous pain leads to a definitive separation, the consequences are no less devastating and both parties are often scarred for life. The only other alternatives are either for the priest to abandon the priesthood or for the relationship to carry on in secret."
Pope Francis has yet to address the letter, but he does have a record of supporting the celibacy law. In the 2013 book On Heaven and Earth, he is recorded as saying, "It is a subject that is discussed in Western Catholicism, when some organizations request it. For now the discipline of celibacy remains as it is. There are those who say with some pragmatism that we are losing manpower. If, for the sake of argument, western Catholicism reviewed the celibacy question I think it would do so for cultural reasons (as in the East), not so much as a universal option…For now, I am in favour of maintaining celibacy, with all the pros and cons that some with it, because in ten centuries there have been more positive experiences than errors … it is a question of discipline, not faith. It can be changed. Personally I never considered marrying."
This is far from the first time the celibacy law has been called into question. And it makes us wonder; would stopping the enforcement of celibacy among priests help or hurt the Catholic Church? There are two camps. Team Celibacy believes that it is vital to the discipline needed to be a member of the clergy. Team Let-Us-Date-Priests argues that it would increase recruitment and make for more stable men of the cloth. Where do you stand?