Austrian public radio is reporting on an interview with Bishop Miklos Beer, 74, of the diocesan of Vac in Hungary which is drawing much attention. In it he says “I think it is time” to lift optional celibacy and allow suitable married men to become priests.
Bishpo Beer indicates in the interview that he plans to take his concern to the Pope.
There are ten pastor positions in his diocese which Bishop Beer is unable to fill because of the shortage of priests. “It is no longer possible to continue as now, that we await foreign priests from Poland or India,” he said. When he thinks of people to whom he could entrust leadership of Catholic congregations, he includes men “who lead a credibile, beautiful family life.”
Bishop Beer does not favor placing permanent deacons in parishes as a sort of replacement for the priest. The permanent diaconate is “another mission” and should not be a transition to the priesthood, he said. “Let us not confuse this with the priest’s role!”