Catholic view of 1 Timothy 3?


#1

I am just curious the Catholic take on these verses. I understand why the priests practice celibacy, but I can’t get past these verses that seem to say a man needs to be able to rule his house well in order to take care of a Church.

2It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the **husband of one wife**, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher, 3Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but
 **4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.**

** 5But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?**

 6Not a neophyte: lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil.
 7Moreover he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Sorry if this topic is worn out, my friend just mentioned these verses to me yesterday and I wasn’t sure what to make of them in regards to the Catholic faith.

Thanks,

RyanL’s Wife


#2

The Catholic view of 1 Timothy 3 is that it is inspired Scripture and sound teaching from St. Paul to St. Timothy.

Specifically regarding the question of whether or not priest/bishops should be married or not. . .The celibate priesthood (and subsequently the celibate bishopric, as one is a priest ordinarily before one can be a bishop) is a matter of Church discipline. The observance of this discipline is not in opposition to the instructions of St. Paul regarding married bishops. In fact, if a bishop were to be married he would indeed need to be in accordance with the teaching set forth by St. Paul’s letter.

However, nowhere in his letter does St. Paul say that a bishop must not be single. The instruction is that he must be “married only once.” That would not exclude those who, by reason of choice, have not been married at all. The specific instruction is to rule out polygamous marriages, not celibate men.

The instruction regarding how a bishop is to manage his house is made to exhibit the importance of his character and conduct when he is placed in charge of a church of God. (1 Tim. 3:5) It is not meant to indicate that a man without natural children is unsuitable for the office of bishop. In fact, when a man becomes a bishop, his office is one of authority and fatherhood regardless of whether or not he has his own biological children.

The celibate priesthood, again, is a long held discipline by the western Church which follows the model set forth by Jesus Christ and St. Paul. Celibacy, in part, is meant to accomplish all those things set forth in St. Paul’s teaching in 1 Tim. 3.

By promising a celibate life for the kingdom of God, priests and bishops are truly able to focus on living prudently with diginity and with total devotion to his one Bride (the Church, in imitation of Christ) and his children (his flock).


#3

I am definitely not the going to be the best response I’m sure you’ll have, but I’ll requote a little bit of the passage here first (from the NAB- verses 2-5: “Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity: for if a man does not manage his own household, how can he take care of the church of God?”

Before addressing the very first part about being married let me say this about the rest first.

  • If he IS married I would expect nothing less than what is stated here. I think that would be very reasonable.

-Now for the first part- Being married once probably was stated because polygamy was a common practice before and during Jesus time. This just points out that you should only marry once, but not in the sense that you simply MUST be married. Look at it this way- what about all the people out there that would love to be a religious, but are single? Should we tell tell them they MUST go and marry someone for the sake of being a religious? I think not.

As for priests being celibate now, other Rites of the Catholic Church do allow priests to be married. The Roman Rite does not. It is considered a discipline (like St. Paul chose celibacy). This does not happen often, but there have been cases of married clergy from other denominations that have converted to the Catholic Church and are still married, but I must stress that this is probably not an everyday occurence. I guess I just figure that men are very aware of this discipline before becoming a priest and they don’t seem to have a problem with it, so why should I? Also, given how much time they put in from a practical standpoint it makes sense to me. By his not being able to get married or my husband not being able to be a priest does not diminsh the importance of our unique roles in the Church.

I hope this helps a little.
Tamara


#4

First Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Corinthians
7:6 But I speak this by indulgence, not by commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that. 8 But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I. 9 But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt.

I’m not sure what your asking here, is it about married Priest’s ?

Well looks like Paul wasn’t married, from the underlined above.


#5

We consider the words of Our Lord in Matthew 19:12 on being “eunuchs for the kingdom.” Christ counsels celibacy. Paul counsels celibacy. In the early Church, presbyters were expected to live in continence.

In the West, the value of this charism is still valued both for the individual to whom it is given, and for the Church.

I Timothy 3 indicates that if a bishop is (or has been) married, he must have (or have had) only one wife. Deacons in the Catholic Church today maintain this custom. If our deacon’s wife should die, the option of a second marriage is closed. I know a priest who is a widower and father of 8 children. Before being admitted to Holy Orders, he had to undergo a serious scrutiny of his motives and of his ability to maintain the celibate state.


#6

Thanks for the replies.

Most of the things you all have stated where touched upon in our discussion. However, because of 1 Timothy 3, my friend had issues with the requirement of priests in the RCC to remain unmarried. She agreed that celibacy was the best choice, but found issues regarding the requirement of it. (Why would Paul make the statement he did if it wasn’t acceptable for a priest to be married) I wasn’t sure how to answer her in why it was a requirement and not a choice.

Thanks again,

RyanL’s Wife


#7

[quote=RyanL’s Wife]Thanks for the replies.

Most of the things you all have stated where touched upon in our discussion. However, because of 1 Timothy 3, my friend had issues with the requirement of priests in the RCC to remain unmarried. She agreed that celibacy was the best choice, but found issues regarding the requirement of it. (Why would Paul make the statement he did if it wasn’t acceptable for a priest to be married) I wasn’t sure how to answer her in why it was a requirement and not a choice.

Thanks again,

RyanL’s Wife
[/quote]

It IS acceptable for a priest to be married. Our Eastern Rite priests may be married (but may not become bishops). There are many converts from the Anglican and Lutheran churches who have been ordained as Catholic priests and have been allowed to “keep” (!) their wives.

If your friend looks at clerical celibacy as a positive gift from God, given for the good of the Church, then it is easier to see that the Latin Church has chosen to retain it as the norm in response to the generosity of God.

And celibacy is not a requirement. A man who chooses not to be celibate is not required to become a priest.


#8

[quote=mercygate]It IS acceptable for a priest to be married. Our Eastern Rite priests may be married (but may not become bishops). There are many converts from the Anglican and Lutheran churches who have been ordained as Catholic priests and have been allowed to “keep” (!) their wives.

If your friend looks at clerical celibacy as a positive gift from God, given for the good of the Church, then it is easier to see that the Latin Church has chosen to retain it as the norm in response to the generosity of God.

And celibacy is not a requirement. A man who chooses not to be celibate is not required to become a priest.
[/quote]

As aways, thanks a bunch. I will relay this to her. (The “may not become bishops” might clear things up as well as the last sentence, “And celibacy is not a requirement. A man who chooses not to be celibate is not required to become a priest”

Nevertheless, whether she accepts this argument or not, it was helpful to me. (seeing as I was at a loss for the reasoning as well)

Thanks again to everyone,

RyanL’s Wife


#9

[quote=mercygate]It IS acceptable for a priest to be married. Our Eastern Rite priests may be married (but may not become bishops). There are many converts from the Anglican and Lutheran churches who have been ordained as Catholic priests and have been allowed to “keep” (!) their wives.

If your friend looks at clerical celibacy as a positive gift from God, given for the good of the Church, then it is easier to see that the Latin Church has chosen to retain it as the norm in response to the generosity of God.

And celibacy is not a requirement. A man who chooses not to be celibate is not required to become a priest.
[/quote]

As aways, thanks a bunch. I will relay this to her. (The “may not become bishops” might clear things up as well as the last sentence, “And celibacy is not a requirement. A man who chooses not to be celibate is not required to become a priest”

Nevertheless, whether she accepts this argument or not, it was helpful to me. (seeing as I was at a loss for the reasoning as well)

Thanks again to everyone,

RyanL’s Wife


#10

Obviously, St. Paul did not intend to command marriage as a requirement for priests or bishops, since he himself was an unmarried, celibate, bishop.


#11

[quote=JimG]Obviously, St. Paul did not intend to command marriage as a requirement for priests or bishops, since he himself was an unmarried, celibate, bishop.
[/quote]

The problem wasn’t that we thought the verse required/commanded bishops to be married. It was that by saying this, Paul obviously wasn’t against Bishops being married. (otherwise it would have said no wives, instead of one wife) So the question was, why does the RCC church require that they remain unmarried?

However, I think from the other posts, I have a pretty good answer to this question.


closed #12

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