Robert Hockett, Cornell Law professor and contributor to Mirror of Justice and Religious Left Law blogs says the Pope’s willingness to dialogue on priestly celibacy is good news. Hockett says:

“It's very good news that the new Pope is open to the prospect of a meaningful dialogue on priestly celibacy. As he has noted, celibacy is more custom than dogma, and by this point it is a custom that leaves the Church chronically short of healthy pastors.

“Many of us – including some at the Mirror of Justice and Religious Left Law blogs to which I contribute – seriously contemplated the priesthood but ultimately couldn't in good conscience relinquish the prospect of one day marrying.

“Insofar as celibacy is viewed by the Church as a gift, moreover, it needn't be relinquished. The Church could recognize both celibate and non-celibate Orders, much as it recognizes Benedictine, Franciscan, Jesuit and other such Orders already, each with its own special characteristics. There seems no reason, then, not to have it both – indeed, more than 'both' – ways, while there is every reason to improve the state of things now.”

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