Vatican Official Says Priest Celibacy Is Open for Debate

Another surprisingly liberal statement from the Vatican

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HOANG DINH NAM / AFP / Getty Images

The Vatican's Undersecretary of State Pietro Parolin arrives at Hanoi's museum of ethnology on February 19, 2009.

The Vatican’s new secretary of state said earlier this week that the issue of priest celibacy is an open discussion. Archbishop Pietro Parolin surprised many Catholics with his comments, reports NPR.

“It’s not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition,” Parolin told¬†El Universal, a Venezuelan newspaper.

Celibacy has been a main tenet of the priesthood for centuries. The first written mandate for chastity dates back to 304 C.E.

Parolin’s statement comes shortly after Pope Francis said publicly that Catholics should not judge homosexuals.

MORE: Why Celibacy Policy For Catholic Priests Is Not Changing Soon