he might consider ordaining married men who could work in rural areas where there are few priests...he said married men who are already involved in the church — called “viri probati” — could be useful....The idea of viri probati is an old one, but recent strains on the Catholic Church have brought renewed attention to it, the AFP reported. Countries such as Brazil have large Catholic populations but few priests, so some people have been looking for ways to expand the clergy’s ranks.Married Episcopal clergy have become Catholic priests under Pope John Paul II's "Pastoral Provision". Sometimes whole Episcopal congregations convert along with their ministers:
On January 1, 2012 the Vatican expanded the Pastoral Provision by creating a special nationwide diocese, similar to the Archdiocese for the Military, called an “ordinariate” through which Episcopal priests and their entire congregations can enter the Roman Catholic Church.If enough exceptions are granted, then the fundamental principle will be questioned. The centuries-long mandate for priestly celibacy may vanish more quickly than most of us thought.
So far [note: the article was written in 2012], the special diocese has seven parishes. One of the most active is in Scranton, Pennsylvania, led by a young Catholic priest who is married with seven children.