Jozef De Kesel, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and primate of Belgium, has spoken in favor of allowing the ordination of married men. In a wide-ranging interview with De Zondag, a Flemish publication, the 68-year old Archbishop was asked whether the Latin Rite should maintain priestly celibacy. He said in reply:
“I am not in favor of the abolition of celibacy. A single life is not meaningless. I have consciously chosen it: it was also the way of life of Jesus. However, I do not think we can require that of all priests, especially at a time when sexuality plays a big role. I am a supporter of the model of the Eastern Catholic Church. There, married men can enter the priesthood.”
His remarks were also reported in Le Soir, a francophone Belgian publication.
An article in katholische.de noted that Archbishop De Kezel had made a similar proposal in 2010. He was supported by the bishop of Antwerp, Johan Bonny, and the bishop of Hasselt, Patrick Hoogmartens. The article went on to observe that Mainz Cardinal Karl Lehmann also recently noted signs from Pope Francis of an openness to discussing the question of married priests and perhaps to a limited experiment with “different models of priesthood.”