The world changes and much of it has to do, as ever, with supply and demand. Pope Francis looked at that venerable economic truism, supply and demand, measured the dwindling supply of clergy for the Roman Catholic church and, like a tech CEO, decided he needs to scale up. The obvious way to open the field is to include married men as eligible for the priesthood. (Well, employing women would be another way, but that’s not on the table so far.)
Using the term Viri probati — Latin for tested men — the Pope told Die Zeit that the clergy expansion the church needs will likely include such men. The term is broadly interpreted to mean married men with priest-level faith and conduct. Current priests who want to marry are still out of luck. That rule isn’t changing. But while Pope Francis wrote in his book On Heaven and Earth that he was still in favor of celibacy for priests, he is also in favor of having more priests — enough to meet demand. Business decisions are sometimes famously disruptive to the status quo, no matter how established.