Although much of the award-winning movie The Two Popes is fictional, the debate themes between them are non-fictitious and genuine.

Take the issue of priestly celibacy, being unmarried and sexually abstinent for religious reasons. Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have ideological and pragmatic differences on this question. Pope Francis is looking at ordaining priests who are married, but with the world's oldest institutions, change is never something to be taken lightly.

In his future book, Pope Benedict defends the necessity of celibacy in the priesthood. He says the priesthood causes one to enter a life that consists of becoming one with Jesus Christ and renouncing material goods and all that belongs only to us, and since a married man is devoted to his family, it doesn't seem possible to carry on the two vocations simultaneously.

Pope Francis knows first hand that in countries like Brazil, an enormous shortage of priests prevents many faithful from attending Mass for months at a time. A few months ago, a month-long meeting of senior clergy in South America, the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, ended with a positive vote to recommend that Pope Francis allow married men to be ordained to help fill the shortfall. Francis is said to be preparing a response to the synod's proposal.

As the son of an Eastern Orthodox priest, I would applaud and support Pope Francis if he listened to the recommendation of the Synod of Bishops.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Enter your number to get our free mobile app

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420