The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
              FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2009 file photo Monsignor Pietro Parolin, Vatican Undersecretary of State for Relations with States speaks during a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Vatican announced Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 that the Italian archbishop, Pietro Parolin, 58, will take up the post held since 2006 by Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, starting Oct. 15. Pope Francis has tapped a veteran Vatican diplomat to replace the Holy See’s secretary of state who in recent years increasingly became a divisive figure in the Catholic church’s hierarchy. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki, file)

Vatican’s number 2: Priest celibacy up for discussion

The Vatican’s new secretary of state, Archbishop Pietro Parolin said this week that the issue of priest celibacy is not dogma and is therefore up for discussion.

“It’s not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition,” Parolin told the Venezuelan El Universal, according to a translation by the National Catholic Reporter.

“The work the church did to institute ecclesiastical celibacy must be considered,” said Parolin, who will officially assume the role of secretary of state in October. “We cannot simply say that it is part of the past. It is a great challenge for the pope, because he is the one with the ministry of unity and all of those decisions must be made thinking of the unity of the church and not to divide it.

Therefore we can talk, reflect, and deepen on these subjects that are not definite, and we can think of some modifications, but always with consideration of unity, and all according to the will of God. It is not about what I would like but what God wants for His church,” Parolin added.

While not dogma, the tradition has been in place for centuries.  Huffington Post reports that the first chastity rules appeared in 304 C.E.

“It is a tradition, and the concept lives on within the church because during the course of all these years things have happened that have contributed to develop God’s revelation,” Parolin said.

The move has some speculating that archbishop’s comments could lead to the potential for married priests.

Milwaukee’s local WTMJ notes that according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, the Catholic Church has seen a decline in its its numbers of priests over the last half century, from 60,000 to 39,000.

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