TODAY   |  September 11, 2013

Vatican on priestly celibacy: It’s tradition, not dogma

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state of the Vatican, opens up about potential modifications to the strict traditions of priestly celibacy. Pope Francis addressed the matter last year, prior to becoming pope, saying he was in favor of maintaining the tradition “for the moment.” NBC’s Michelle Kosinski reports from London.

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>>> surprising remarks from a top vatican official over the issue of celibacy and the priesthood. michelle kosinski is in london with more. good morning.

>> hey, natalie. this is a high ranking catholic church official talking openly about what can be a touchy subject. the new secretary of state for the vatican told a newspaper that it's a tradition started in the early days. so he says it is open for discussion. you can, quote, think about some modifications, end quote. as long as it serves the good of the church. he also says he sees this as one of the biggest challenges for the new pope, pope francis in terms of church unity and how it effects the shortage of priests. pope francis himself did speak remarkably on this subject last year before he was pope saying that he supports celibacy for priests for the moment he said adding that eastern right churches that do have married priests are still very good priests. natalie.

>> all right. michelle kosinski in london, thanks so much. now