Cardinal Lehmann sees married Priests coming

Karl Cardinal Lehmann said in an interview with the quarterly journal “MAINZ” that he believes married deacons would be able to become priests in a few years time.

He added that he sees priestly unmarried life as especially difficult nowadays, since people don’t understand it nor appreciate it any more.

Regardless of the fact that celibacy is a discipline and can be changed, I think saying “People don’t appreciate or understand it any more” is not the right way of going about it. The Church should not change something internal to her because the world doesn’t understand or like it.

He can “see” whatever he wants, doesn’t mean it will come to pass. :stuck_out_tongue:

If it happened all it would mean was that the discipline had changed, as it can and has before, and Catholics would go back to the earlier tradition that is still maintained by the Orthodox.


It seems to me that priests already have their hands full ministering to the flock without having to handle the responsibilities of a wife and kids. If priests marry, one may as well be Protestant.

If married priests are again permitted, I do hope the Church seriously takes into account addressing the financial aspects of married clergy. Parish budgets would have to be seriously adjusted in order to pay a salary that would properly support a man and his family in a decent home. Rectory’s on campus (or near by) are specified in canon law, this won’t work very well anymore.

The Catholic people who are clamoring for this change will really need to step up to the plate and put their money where their mouth is. I could imagine a specific tax to the catholic people to support married priests’ family as one solution. Although not used often, I believe canon law still allows for a bishop to levy a tax on the faithful.

Well, that would narrow the possibilities of various priests from becoming bishops. That may also mean that the quality may not get to be as good as it could be. Not trying to say it’d degrade the Church or anything, just throwing this thought out there… :shrug:

I don’t know, I just see pastoral work too much of a heavy weight for one to be able to become a priest. I mean, the guy’s gonna have kids on his guard to educate, and a wife to love when he could spend time on the parish’s needs. I just see this not happening…

And to anyone criticizing the celibate priesthood, I summon this Catholic Answers article! :thumbsup:

I’m not advocating for it.

Since the OP’s links are in German, I’m unable to read them. But the one comment that was cited concerned MARRIED DEACONS (by definition already in Orders) becoming priests. That’s a very different model than the old chestnuts about raising kids, divided loyalties, costs of maintaining a family, etc. There are 17,000 deacons in the U.S. I’m guessing that a significant number of these are retired or nearly so, are empty-nesters with grown children, are already used to giving a significant part of their week to the Church, receive no pay for doing so, and have already built up significant skills in ministry. Accepting ordination to the priesthood could mean that maybe such a man, once ordained to the priesthood, would be the one getting the 2 AM call from a hospital for an anointing; could travel to a distant community to provide the Eucharist where no Mass is currently available; and in many other ways provide relief to the pastor who is the only priest in a parish now. And I don’t think any of those guys would be interested in becoming a bishop!

In all honesty, they should just do it like the Eastern Churches if it happens. But I don’t think it will, at least not in my lifetime, and to be honest, I don’t really like it since it would be tough to raise a family as a priest. If people are worried about priests being sexual deviants, they should look at the stats and find that its like 1-2% of priests at most. Seminaries now a days a pretty strict at screening applicants nowadays.

It’s a bad idea.


There are married priests in both the Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches. They just hove to be married before they are ordained a deacon. The Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, only allow Monks to become Bishops. :slight_smile: :gopray:

This is a bad idea.


Why doesn’t someone tell the Cardinal that? :slight_smile:

Since you are in Germany, perhaps you can contact the Cardinal or leave a message, or e-mail.


I put myself in a bit of a tricky position there… :smiley:

I hope this does not happen.

I agree with your last comment there. It seems to me that if people don’t understand or appreciate it anymore, that makes it more necessary and not less. There is something there to appreciate, and the fact that we don’t see that as clearly means that we need more reminders not fewer.

This issue is not a matter of doctrine but discipline, so technically it is debatable. Still, Pope Paul VI wrote an encyclical that addresses this issue and affirms the benefit of priestly celibacy. It is not a tradition to be dismissed as a relic that should have died with the middle ages but never did. It is a beautiful tradition that should be respected and preserved. Everyone, especially those who disagree with or do not understand the Latin Church’s position on the matter, would do well to read the encyclical. It is an outstanding work that clearly addresses the tradition of priestly celibacy and the challenges to it posed by modern society.

As has been pointed out by a number of people celibacy of the priesthood is a discipline and can be changed. What I believe would happen if the discipline changed:

Down the track a priest would divorce or be divorced - the media would love that. A child of his would take drugs or commit a crime - the media would love that as would the scandal mongers. "How can he give us advice when he can’t keep his kids in line? "

People would wonder if he tells his wife the sins confessed in confession.

More money would have to be raised from traditionally stingy Catholics to support the priest and presumably 6 or more children. Maybe the priest could have advertisements on his chasuble or on the walls of the church.

If a priest didn’t have at least 6 children people would wonder if he was contracepting and whispers would start.

It would be very difficult to move a priest to a different/difficult or remote parish because of the cost to the family in terms of friendships and schooling.

Daily Mass could become a thing of the past. The Eastern Orthodox clergy don’t celebrate daily Mass because the priest may not have conjugal relations with his wife the night before the Divine Liturgy and I am presuming that the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church would follow that custom.

These are just some things which occurred to me.

I agree. Good points.

I also think that if it does happen, not only will it have to be very gradual, it will also have to be qualified and limited. That is, parishes already in the black (not many of those) + more than one priest attending (no shared or cluster parishes, etc.).

I think it will probably happen first with older men. By “older” I mean not in their 20’s or 30’s. Of course, deacons are first being suggested, and it is true that there are a number of older deacons as it is right now. In any case, there is a greater possibility of financial stability for an older already-married priest, whose wife may be in a position to be already working, as well (no young children).

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