The former Benedictine monk was for more than 50 years a leader, organizer and member of U.S. Catholic reform groups that emerged after Vatican II.
Just Catholic: Married priesthood supporters argue for the whole church's tradition of married clergy, while those opposed point to studies and potential expenses.
5 minutes with Francis: 'The church cannot continue with a diminishing number of priests.'
"Married priests and women deacons should be reintroduced as soon as possible. That would bring new dynamism to the church," Dietmar Winkler, the future dean of Salzburg University's Catholic theological faculty, told the Austrian daily Salzburger Nachrichten in an interview during the Salzburg Festival.
He said he could not see why men who feel called to the priesthood should be forced to remain celibate. Asceticism, which religious feel called to, is a charism that could not be forced on people, Winkler said.
Simply Spirit: Two issues important for the church are vying for my attention right now: the tragedy of parish closings and a chorus of voices calling for married priests.
An international church reform group has backed a U.S.-based effort seeking bishops begin a discussion about the possibility of ordaining married men into the priesthood.
Catholic Church Reform International, a network of nearly 100 organizations from more than 15 countries, offered their support Thursday to the request for dialogue on the issue of married clergy made Tuesday by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests.
Updated: The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests said they made the request primarily with concern for "the pastoral care of souls."
The largest Roman Catholic geographical district in Brazil, located deep in the Amazon along the Xingu River, has more than 800 Catholic congregations but only 27 priests.
Top Catholic and Orthodox church officials in North America are calling on the Vatican to let married men become priests in Eastern rite Catholic churches, another sign that optional celibacy could become a front-burner issue under Pope Francis.
Eastern rite Catholic churches have a look and feel similar to Eastern Orthodox churches but are loyal to Rome and fall under the pope's jurisdiction.
David Gibson frames the issue of a married clergy well in his article for Religion News Service.
Pope Francis apparently had another one of his private conversations with a Brazilian bishop whose diocese is in the rainforest. The diocese has a total of 27 priests for 700,000 Catholics. Most Catholics are only able to attend Mass a couple of times a year.