Pope Francis open to having married men become priests; Cupich reacts

FOX 32 NEWS - Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich says that Pope Francis is not about to "change... his general view of the Catholic priesthood." 

Still, the Pope did tell a German newspaper that a shortage of priests is weakening the Church and the pontiff said ordaining married men as priests is something that should be discussed. 

The Pope's comments about married men as potential priests did not surprise DePaul University's Reverend Stan Ilo. He’s going to Rome to meet with Francis the First next Wednesday, and he's seen first-hand how a shortage of clergy has affected the church in Italy and Austria.

“In Austria, it has even become so bad that now they no longer keep the Sabbath holy. Not Sunday mass, they go to at least one mass during the week. Because then the priest has to go to different churches to serve,” said Reverend Ilo.

The Pope reportedly told German Weekly, "we must think about whether (ordaining some married men is) a possibility."

In 2014, the pontiff told bishops from Brazil that discussing the pluses and minuses of ordaining married men would be appropriate. 

The idea got a mixed reaction from churchgoers in Chicago.

Chicago’s Cardinal Cupich sent fox a written statement: "Ordaining ..(MARRIED) men of proven virtue and strong faith -  as a partial solution to the priest shortage ... was mentioned by the Holy Father during a long interview. It should not be interpreted as ... a change in his general view of the Catholic priesthood."

Pope Francis also told the German newspaper he did not favor making celibacy optional. How that would work for married priests -- well, it's clear there's still a lot to discuss.

The statement by Cardinal Cupich also said, "celibacy is a gift...people appreciate that our priests have devoted their whole selves to service of the church and the faithful."