In the Eastern rites of the Church it is common for married men to be ordained to the priesthood. Further, in the Latin rite there are a few married men, converted ministers from other faiths, who are ordained to the Catholic priesthood. This, however, is not common. Finally, in neither the Latin rite nor the Eastern rites do priests (or deacons) marry after they have been ordained, except in extraordinary circumstances.
He recommends celibacy to all (1 Cor 7:7) but especially to ministers, who as soldiers of Christ he urges to abstain from civilian affairs (2 Tm 2:34).
Why Catholic priests Cannot marry?
The Catholic Church argues that celibacy enables priests to devote their entire lives to their flock, to be able to move to another parish or town at a moment’s notice, to stand with the poor and marginalized, and to live a daily sacrifice.
Can Catholic priests be married?
This distinction is possible because there is nothing in the Deposit of the Faith that prohibits priests from being married. There is a long-standing practice, though, to require celibacy of Latin (or Roman) rite priests. … For any Catholic priest, if already ordained a priest, they cannot subsequently marry.
So far, Pope Francis has given little indication that priestly celibacy is on the chopping block. However, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s new secretary of state and Pope Francis’ No. 2 man, has said the issue is open for discussion, though still a firmly rooted Catholic tradition. [Papal Primer: History’s 10 Most Intriguing Popes]
Priestly celibacy is rooted in tradition, not Catholic dogma, so the pope could change it overnight. The first head of the Catholic Church (effectively the first pope), Peter, was married, as were many of the other apostles during Jesus’ time.
But by the Middle Ages, many priests treated their calling as a “family business,” giving preference to their sons for plum positions and trying to edge out the competition to protect their legacy. In a 2012 study in the Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, researchers found that a sizeable minority of priests had sexual relationships, some with men and some with women, during their tenure, and 30 percent admitted to masturbation. “The Catholic priesthood, in a sense, fosters a psychosexual immaturity by imposing celibacy,” Sipe told LiveScience.
Unlike the rule barring women from priesthood , priestly celibacy is considered a tradition, not official Church dogma. If priests are married, “you’re going to have kids, health care expenses, and you have to pay for school [kindergarten] through college,” Shea told LiveScience.
Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my names sake, will receive a hundredfold, and receive eternal life. Matthew 19:29
But while all these are secondary benefits to a celibate priesthood, none of them are the Churchs true reason for upholding her tradition. Rather, in what appears to be a contradiction of terms, the Catholic priest is celibate in order to be freed for fatherhood.
Priests, who still fall short of Gods example, more closely mirror this complete role of father. Celibacy, lived well, can offer a great deal of support to a priest who wishes to exercise generous, self-giving love. While the Churchs understanding of the celibate priesthood has developed overtime, from the beginning, ministerial celibacy was seen as a chosen good.
Again, the fear that we are facing a shortage of vocations and that the priesthood is in crisis leads some to question whether it is time to change the tradition. Taken seriously, celibate priestly fatherhood is a path to genuine clerical renewal and reform today, ensuring that the priesthood ever more clearly radiates the humble, joyful vocation of service exemplified in the life of Jesus the High Priest. Fr.
Recently, Pope Francis reaffirmed priestly celibacy by rejecting proposals to allow the ordination of married men in the Amazon. Nevertheless, the debate continues about the centuries-old discipline that requires Roman Catholic priests to remain unmarried.
Reading those three passages, you can understand the Bibles clear preference for celibacy if it is geared toward serving God. Paul admits that not everyone is cut out to give up marriage, but those who can are in a unique position to serve God without any distractions.
Besides Jesus and Pauls clear preference for celibacy in the Bible, the following list summarizes the main reasons why priests cant get married: As discussed earlier, celibacy is praised both by Jesus and Paul in the Bible and early Christians promoted it whenever possible. Ultimately, the goal of the celibate priest is to imitate Christ and show us the path to the Kingdom of God.
In essence, priests are bypassing earthly concerns and pleasures to fully conform themselves to Gods plan for us all.
Refuting Objections to Priestly Celibacy
To understand the Church’s reasons for why priests can’t get married, it’s important to start with Jesus, who remained unmarried. At one point, Jesus’ disciples question whether it makes sense to marry, to which He responds:The term eunuch in this context refers to someone who gives up marriage. Thus, Jesus clearly shows great favor for men who sacrifice marriage “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”Later, Paul the Apostle, who was celibate, writes the following regarding his celibacy:He explains further in a later verse:Reading those three passages, you can understand the Bible’s clear preference for celibacy if it is geared toward serving God. Paul admits that not everyone is cut out to give up marriage, but those who can are in a unique position to serve God without any distractions.