I read a really promising article in the Washington Post here.

In it, Clelia Luro, a friend of the pope when he was Bergoglio, speaks to her hopes that there will be a debate about making celibacy optional for Catholic priests.

Now, a lot of people are hopeful about that subject, and with good reason. This pope has already shown himself to be more open to discussion across the board than his two predecessors. John Paul II and Benedict both forbade anyone to even discuss this issue.

But Mrs. Luro is singularly important in this regard. In the 60s, she married an Argentinian bishop in what was a major scandal. In 2000, when here husband was dying (and they were estranged from the church) Bergoglio personally ministered to them, and spoke to Mrs. Luro every Sunday since. She might have the best perspective for being hopeful about this.

But here is a quote from Bergoglio:

In his book “On Heaven and Earth,” published last year, Bergoglio said: “For the moment I’m in favor of maintaining celibacy, with its pros and cons, because there have been 10 centuries of good experiences rather than failures.” But he also noted that “it’s a question of discipline, not of faith. It could change,” and said the Eastern Rite Catholic church, which makes celibacy optional, has good priests as well.

You’ll note I said that it was a quote from Bergoglio, not Francis. We shall see if he weighs in. I, for one, am sanguine that he will at least allow discussion, unlike the last two popes.

Of course, I’d rather start talking about women serving as priests, but I’ll be happy with advances wherever they come.