Are married Priests/Deacons expected to be celibate?

Are they expected to be celibate within their marriage once they become a Deacon/Priest?

I really wanted to ask this question at RCIA after someone mentioned how many children the Priest had, but I was too embarrassed. One of the other candidates gave me a lift in her car back home and asked me but we both decided neither of us was brave enough to ask him! :blush:

Celibacy is the state of not marrying. So any married priest/deacon can not be, by definition, celibate as they are married.

They are called to be chaste. They must use the sexual act in accordance to their station in life, in this case it is within the marital relationship.

A non-married priest/deacon or one who becomes widowed, will make a promise of celibacy to his bishop, that is he will promise not to marry which means being chaste in the single life which means no sex.

Reilgious make the Vow of Chastity which is sort of the same thing as they also give up the right to marry.

There is nothing in the theology of the Holy Orders that says that celibacy is necessary.

So basically they are allowed to have sex and procreate just like any other married Catholic (so long as it is within the rules of chastity), yet they are also have the responsibilities of a Priest?

Thank you for explaining it to me, I can now enlighten my friend as well. :slight_smile:

Yeah, that’s how it works.

In the Eastern Churches there is a tradition of abstaining from the marital bond the night before the priest is to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. This is why daily Divine Liturgy was more of a monastic thing as to have daily Divine Liturgy in the parish would mean that the priest would never exercise the martial bond with his wife.

This, as I said, is just a tradition and has fallen mostly out of use.

The deacon though, was never so hindered, as he is not the celebrante at the Liturgy, he assists.

Interesting, thank you. :thumbsup:

Just to be clear, a permanent deacon makes no vows so he would not vow a life of celibacy. He makes promises, so he would promise celibacy as well as obedience. Just as a secular priest.

I do believe you are mistaken here. I can’t find at this moment the actual rite, but one of my classmates was a widower and he most definitely took a vow of celibacy. The remaining 8, including me, promised conditional celibacy. Which means in the case of our wives pre-deceasing us, we could not remarry. That promise was also refered to as a vow.

It was distinctly different during the ordination celebration from my classmate Deacon B, and the rest of us. It was also presented since his wife died many times as a vow. But hey, we may be arguing semantics.

In the true sense of the word, you are probably correct, as a vow is something a person would take in private with a superior, before God; like a vow to be a consecrated virgin is between the person and a bishop. But even that is sometimes done in a public ritual.:shrug:

I am sorry that you disagree but the fact is that secular clergy do not make vows.

They make promises.

Can someone explain the difference between a vow and a promise? They seem to be very similar, although perhaps a vow is more of a commitment?

celibate means unmarried so obviously not
married priests (a rarity, but becoming more common as non-Catholic clergy convert and go on to be ordained) and deacons are expected like all Catholics to be chaste for their state in life, which in marriage means fidelity. They are not expected to be abstinent. Secular priests and deacons are by definition not entering convents or monastery, so the question in a PP is irrelevant. If a married couple agreed to separate and had permission to enter religious orders, that would be an entirely different questions. Monastics, those in vowed, enclosed religious life, are celibate in the East and the West .That however was not OP’s question.

Sorry Brother, and thanks. You caused me to do some looking into the difference.

I found this on a random google search. Kind of puts it into simple terms.

"As history unfolded, these [secular, or “diocesan”] priests lived out in the world with the people they were serving. The Latin word for “world” is “saeculum”, and there’s the derivation of the expression “secular priests”, those out in the world, ministering to God’s people. As the years passed, there were men and women who voluntarily decided to go apart from the world, taking the three vows of religion, namely, poverty, chastity and obedience.

Any man or woman who makes the three vows is called a religious—a religious priest, sister or brother. This essentially is what makes a “religious” different from a “secular”. The secular priests never take the three vows of religion. They do make a promise to their bishop at ordination to obey him as their spiritual leader for a particular diocese, and they also make a promise to remain celibate—not to marry. It bears repeating, to say that diocesan priests do not take the three vows of religion—poverty, chastity and obedience. The promise of celibacy is not the same as the vow of chastity."

I hate to get back into it with Deacon Gary, but here goes:

First, it was written by Dr. Edward Peters, a very respected Canon Lawyer who is a consultant to the Vatican. And the arguments he raised were never responded to substantially; rather, it was just a series of red herrings. You can see this if you go to the two articles on Deacon Bill Ditewig’s blog in which Dr. Peters and I debated it. It got to the point where people just stopped responding - including Deacon Ditewig, after failing to respond to the substance of the points we were making. Mostly, they were red herrings, and when they ran out of them, they stopped arguing.

Second, tell us, Deacon, how can it be contrary to the teaching of the Church when for centuries, the only married men who were allowed to be ordained in the Church were required to abstain perpetually from sex with their wives? Remember, no red herrings, please.

ByzCath speaks, as he always does, from an Eastern perspective on this, with which I would in part disagree - as would others (Alfons Cardinal Stickler, Fr. Christian Cochini, SJ, etc.)

Please just don’t, you are way tooooo smart for me. You are so smart that you know more about a vocation than I do, and i have spent five years in that formation process to be in this vocation. The Church does not teach that permanent deacon are to live outside of their marital vocation in order to be allowed into the diaconate…simple as that.

Now please go back to refraining to comment on my posts. I am afraid you will send another letter to my bishop…lol

PS. Normally when the Church does not respond to something like this writting, it’s because She sees no reason to respond. In other words its working just like the magistriem intended this to work, married deacons are just that, married deacons who are free to live their married state of life as intended.

I also speak from the Western perspective as the Church has not required this of its married priests or deacons.

The issue is, if the East allows it then it is not an inherent part of the theology of the Holy Orders. It is a matter of discipline.

You may disagree, that is your opinion. But opinion means nothing when the Church Teaches otherwise.

Also you have no authority. Nor does any Canon Lawyer. They may have opinions but opinions of Canon Lawyers are not binding.

And before you say that I can only speak from the Eastern perspective because I am a Byzantine Catholic I will direct you to my signature. I am a Carmelite friar which just happens to be a Western religious order.

Maybe they just tired to having to repost the same comments. You can only beat a dead horse so long before you have to give up on it.

I think you mean “continent” (practicing continence), not celibate. Celibate means “not married.”

The answer to your question is “Yes.” Married priests and deacons are expected to abstain from marital relations with their wife and, at least in the West, live apart from her.
** 1983 CIC[/FONT]. § 1.** Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy [for married priests: no remarriage] which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity. § 2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful.See the canon lawyer Ed Peters’s analysis on how even married deacons must remain 100% continent.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.