Can a Priest get married after he leaves his position?


Hello, If a priest in a certain point of his life he gives up of being a priest and decides to get married, he could do that?


Not in the Church he can’t.


Yes he can, but he needs permission from Rome to do so. He must petition the Pope for what is called ‘laicization’. If that has been done, he can be lawfully married in the Church.

But that process, by definition, means that he can no longer portray himself as a priest, nor can he offer the priestly sacraments, except in dire emergency.


Once ordained a priest, always and for all eternity a priest. No one can take the sacramental sign from your soul. The Church can’t and God won’t, for his promises are forever, and once he does something it is done. He does not make mistakes. On the other hand, men do. And the Church won’t keep you with force, nor can she. If one decides to renounce his office as a priest in the Church, he may do so. The clerical state is what actually keeps one from marrying, not the actual priesthood. That is why celibacy is a Law of the Church. For it we’re to be intrinsically joined to the sacrament it would’ve been divine law.
In order for him to get married, he needs to loose the clerical state, thus becoming a layman in the Church, and being able to marry.


We have some very good friends who were a nun and a priest when they met. After being laicized from their vows they married in the Catholic Church and had children. Their oldest son is now a priest. Whenever I hear talk of married priest they are the first people I think of as they are a wonderful couple who would be a great asset to the Church.


This is just silly… If you wasnt aloud to marry then why did God make eve? Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD Its a free choice, I dont see why you get held back…
God gave us love, God gave us people, Is it wrong to love someone?
Marriage is aloud priest of not. Why do you catholics not allow it? Is it a sin? NO



Having gone through it myself there are two parts to the whole process:

  1. You petition the Pope to return you to the lay state ( commonly nown as laicization)…
    The ontological reality, “priest forever” remains the same.

  2. You also petition the Pope to release you from the promise of celibacy.

Both must be granted in the affirmative for an ordained person to be married sacramentally in the church…of course following all Church strictures regarding marriage. There have been occasions where the first is granted but not the second.


Is it nor a sin, nor a loss,
Love is the center of a priests life. Without love, his ministry would be void of all effectiveness.
A priest is called to love more then a husband. To be father to more children then he ever dreamed of. It is more. Is giving one’s own life for the flock. In it’s entirety, your not allowed to hold anything back, for then it dent’s the effectiveness of serving God, as Christ did.
Priests do something that a husband will never be able to do: bringing everlasting life. The arguments are many, and time is short. Tell me of another person who can bring you the life of God in you, except the priest (or bishop)? The gravity of the situation requires one total self-giving to the will of God and the service of the faithful.


You are a priest?


Small correction, these must be granted for an ordained person to be married validly. A valid marriage may be natural or sacramental, depending on the baptismal status of both parties.

Also, secular priests make promises while religious priests make vows, and there may be additional permissions required to release the man from his religious order.


Well that is true, I didn’t make the distinction between religious and secular…usually catholics are more familiar with diocesan priests rather than religious, so I went in that direction. I was diocesan myself and thus reflected my experience.


Yes, diocesan priest laicized by Pope Benedict XVI.
Didn’t leave to marry, (a conclusion that most would jump to) but because of
deep depression that was difficult to treat while in ministry!


How does one petition the Pope? (What is the process and how long does it take?)


There is a set process in place:

  1. You meet with the Bishop or his representative and ask to begin the process.
    The Bishop has to approve this, or you are dead in the water. I have never heard of a Bishop refusing to do so

  2. You must fill out a form or survey of your life that focuses on your faith, your growing in to it, your time in the seminary, and your years as a priest. It covers the gamut of your faith life.

  3. You have to choose between 6-8 witnesses who know you well. They have a survey to do about you and must answer specific questions.

  4. You formally petition the Pope to remove you from the celibate state.

  5. Your baptismal record and ordination papers are collected as well.

  6. Once all of these items are completed, the entire package is forwarded by the Bishops office to Rome.

  7. You wait for the final decision.

While I left the priesthood in 1990, I did not begin the process until 2005. My papers were submitted in April 2005 (and then Pope John Paul II died). The decision, in the affirmative,
came in February of 2006. I was one of a large grouping of men laicized in the first few months of Pope Benedict XVI’s reign.


My husband and I know a priest who was got dispensation to leave the priesthood to marry. His wife passed away a few years ago and he returned to the priesthood, now with children and grandchildren.

He is an amazing priest and I adore him.


Thank you.


How long did it take for your laicization to be approved?
Does anyone know how long it takes to be approved under Pope Francis?


This question more appropriately belongs under the ‘popular media’ section. :takethat:


While I left the priesthood in 1990, I did not begin the process until 2005. My papers were submitted in April 2005 (and then Pope John Paul II died). The decision, in the affirmative,
came in February of 2006. I was one of a large grouping of men laicized in the first few months of Pope Benedict XVI’s reign.

closed #20

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