The Vatican's secretary of state suggested that the Catholic Church could be open to allowing priests to get married, NBC News reported Wednesday.
In a response to a question during an interview with a Venezuelan newspaper, Archbishop Pietro Parolin asserted that clerical celibacy is not Church dogma, signaling that the tradition should be debated.
"Celibacy is not an institution but look, it is also true that you can discuss (it) because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church," he said, as quoted by NBC.
But Parolin, viewed as the second most powerful figure at the Vatican behind Pope Francis, acknowledged that clerical celibacy has a longstanding tradition in the Church.
"The efforts that the church made to keep ecclesiastical celibacy, to impose ecclesiastical celibacy, have to be taken into consideration," Parolin said. "One cannot say simply that this belongs in the past."
Not even in a year into his papacy, Pope Francis has already distinguished himself from his predecessors. In July, he made headlines for saying that he will not judge gay priests.