Can a Pope be married?


Can an anglican (for example) be married, become a catholic priest and eventually be elected pope while still having a wife (and possibly kids)?

As in the case of St. Peter the apostle.


I don’t know if it’s a hard-and-fast rule, but these sort of convert married priests (or Eastern Catholic priests who are permitted to be married) are rarely or never chosen as Bishops, so they don’t get that chance to progress up the hierarchy.


Theoretically any Catholic male can be elected Pope. They’d have to be Ordained a Bishop afterwards according to the Canons, but it could theoretically be worked around to allow a married man be elected Pope, Ordained a Bishop, and then taking the See of Peter.

Of course such a longshot is extremely unlikely. Only the first Pope had a wife, so far as I know. :slight_smile:

Peace and God bless!


Naah, there were a few married Popes after St Peter - five or six (a few afterwards who had been married before taking Holy Orders)

The last one who was married whilst Pope was Adrian II


Always glad to be proven wrong :thumbsup:

Peace and God bless!


Especially when I say, “Darn, I lost the Lottery”!!!


A married man can be Ordained and could be elevated to Cardinal and then elected Pope. Remote chance of that happening.

The Scriptures tell us that Peter had a mother-in-law which could mean that he was married at one time, but was a widower at the time.


Though it does not affect the odds much if at all, elevation to Cardinal is not required to be papabile.



Who is the person in your signature, just curious?


I do declare it’s St Therese of Lisieux - obviously when she was plain old Therese Martin before entering the convent. A very pretty picture of her!


a cardinal is really just a bishop, right?
bishop with an administrative position maybe?



It is certainly possible in that there is nothing in Catholic doctrine that could prevent a married man from being pope. However, I would not say it is probable that such a possibility would actually occur.


Canonically, a man must be at least a priest in order to be created Cardinal, and ordinarily is consecrated a bishop if he is not already, but that requirement is dispensible (cf. Avery Cardinal Dulles). (Perhaps the requirement to be a priest might also be dispensed, but that has not been tested in recent times)

The primary duty of a cardinal is to elect new popes (when appropriate and as long as they are canonically qualified). In between conclaves, yes, they are generally given other administrative work to do. :stuck_out_tongue:



Who was the last non Cardinal to be elected pope?

Was there ever a non bishop elected pope?


Since the pope has the power to change the disciplines of the Catholic Church, he can all of a sudden decide he wants to get married and then give himself a dispensation in order to do so and get rid of the celibacy requirement. Not that any pope will ever do this but it is possible.


I believe it is now under the new rules issued by JPII.


I was about to say the same thing but you beat me to it :slight_smile:

There is no evidence that Peter was married but a widower. If he was married, then it would have been very likely that his wife would have been taking care of her sick mother and it would have been the wife who served them. Since no wife was mentioned, it is mostlikely that there was no longer a wife.


My priest is an ex-Anglican priest, who is married. He told me that he cannot hold the positions of Pastor or Bishop in the Church. Although he is the Pastor of our parish, he’s called “Priest in Residence”.


I think tradition says that his wife went to Rome with him. I thought I recalled that she was marytryed as well. I have no clue where I heard this from.


In any case, whether or not Peter’s wife was still living has no bearing whatsoever on his being Pope.

I am still bewildered why many still feel the need to speculate that St. Peter was widowed, most likely to “defend” the practice of celibacy in the Latin Rite. Celibacy is not dogma, and does not need to be defended in this manner (although it can be, from St. Paul).

The thing is, the discipline was not in force then, and there have been married popes early on. Whether or not St. Peter’s wife was still living ought to be beside the point.

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