NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Catholic bishops have approved a proposal that would allow *some* married men to be ordained as priests.
The proposal, which must be approved by Pope Francis, would be a historic change to the church’s centuries-old tradition of unmarried priests.READ MORE: Police: Man Stabbed In Head With Machete After Argument At Walmart In Kearny, N.J.
It applies only to some churches in the Amazon where there’s a shortage of priests.
The proposal refers to older catholic men who are already ordained as deacons in the church.
Pope Francis is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.
Back in the Tri-State Area, the proposal is being met with mixed reactions, reports CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon.READ MORE: Some Real Estate Agents Report Surge Of New Yorkers Moving From Manhattan To The Bronx
“The question the bishops have to answer is which is more important to the Catholic Church: Having the Eucharist and the sacraments in these places or having a celibate clergy?” said Father Thomas Reese, a senior analyst with Religion News Service.
A recent CBS News poll says nearly 70% of Catholic Americans say they favor letting Catholic priests marry, with 25% opposed.
The Archdiocese of New York says Catholic priests could be married up until a thousand years ago. In some Catholic branches, there are married members of the clergy.
Still, it says celibacy is key for many Catholics.MORE NEWS: Reopenings Continue On Broadway As 'Moulin Rouge! The Musical' Resumes Performances
“It allows a man to fully devote himself to his calling as a priest,” said Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York. “It allows him to give up something we see as good, having a married family to give yourself to God and church.”