Writer Lynda Telford has explained in her new book ‘Women Of The Vatican: Female Power In A Male World’ that Jesus “would have been expected to marry”. She argued that Jesus was “never an advocate of priestly celibacy,” an aspect of priesthood that is seen as the devotion of a life to God. However, this goes against the Pope’s move last month to not allow married men to become Catholic priests, Ms Telford claims.
Initially, bishops had backed measures last year to allow married men in the Amazon to become priests.
It had been hoped that the new direction would help halt a worrying decline of Catholic priests in the region.
But the Pope opted to bypass the wishes of the bishops and made his ruling.
A statement from the Vatican in February after the Pope’s decision said: “The Amazon challenges us, the Pope writes, to overcome limited perspectives and not to content ourselves with solutions that address only part of the situation.”
The row over whether this should be allowed exploded last month with reformers hoping change would bring new voices and faces to the church.
But the conservative wing of the church were ardently opposed to the idea, claiming it could lead to the abolition of celibacy across the globe.
In her book, Ms Telford claims: “It seems that Christ was never an advocate of priestly celibacy that later church writers argued he was.
“Physical ‘purity’ was not required of any priest before 1139 and marriage was then the norm.
Many theorise that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, who according to the four canonical gospels travelled with him and saw his crucifixion.
This idea, however, is ruled out in many quarters with experts arguing that there was no evidence Jesus had an intimate relationship with Mary.
The original request for the rule change in the Amazon came in October last year.
Around 180 bishops backed the plan, with some saying the new priests should be older, married men.
In the Amazon, it is predicted that more than 85 percent of villages cannot celebrate mass every week due to the shortage of priests.
Some have even claimed that they only see a priest once a year.
Speaking to BBC’s Newshour earlier this year, Bishop Robert Flock of San Ignacio, in the Amazon, raged that the Pope had “kicked the can down the road” with his decision.
He said: “He doesn’t even mention the recommendation of the possibility of married deacons being ordained as priests which was what the synod conclusions had suggested.
“The Catholic Church moves slowly in certain areas and this is one of those that could have caused terrible divisions in the church.”
Previously, the Pope has admitted that he would consider whether to change the rules on viri probati and carrying out duties within the church.
Viri probati is a term used to describe men who have proved their faith to God.
He said: “We have to give a thought to whether viri probati are a possibility.”
Published at Tue, 10 Mar 2020 10:16:00 +0000