Celibacy as a requirement


why are these standards imposed upon the clergy? Is it wrong for a man to be married? Someone please explain this to me in real words, not runaround goosechases.


[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

This particular discipline is related to the following two quotes from Sacred Scripture, though there are other important considerations:

But [Jesus] said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.” (Matthew 19****:11-12 [RSV])

I wish that all were as I myself [Paul] am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion … But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that … I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry – it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better. (1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 28, 32-38 [RSV])

May Our Lord bless you and keep you.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.



yes, i believe it is better to be single and more wholly devoted, but examine the scripture. “If they cannot exercise selfcontrol, then marry.” Countless bishops and priests have been caught with mistresses, and some have even been found in the abomination of homosexual intercouse! how dare they say it makes them more holy, it would be better for them to be married and not commit this horrible sin than to attempt to be more focused on god, which they obviously fail.

I am not attacking all priests and bishops, just the ones that have been found to commit fornication and homosexuality. Those who can control themselves can truely focus and should keep it that way.By the way, he also says “I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord”. He did not want to restrain people by creating laws, and this is clearly a restraint.

Please offer me a more fitting example, or a contradiction of these truths.


Your logic is faulty if you think married men don’t also abuse children - probably in similar numbers to the unwed - or sleep with other men, or pursue illicit heterosexual affairs - at least 2/3 of all married men do. Marriage is unlikely to significantly change these problems.


The most important reason is that it underscores, italicizes, and boldens the image that the Church is the bride of Christ. Just as He has one bride, so does His surrogate. The sacredly intimate act of the concentration is most fully expressed in such.

The second? Talk to a Protestant pastors wife.


You have got to be kidding. I need to see that research.


oh i in no way believe that married men are better, many do the same thing, just as you say. But these men claim to be HOLY, servants of the MOST HIGH! im not saying they must be perfect, none of us are, but putting an impossible burden( it does say some cannot recieve and follow it) on them is pointless and possibly harmful. If they could have wifes they might be a little less promiscuous(spellcheck). It obviously is not increasing their devotion to god, as those who cannot deal with it have to hurt others.

I believe many people do these things, but they are not for the church. Purify yourselves, that we may present ourselves without fault before our Christ. I say away with this curse, it is pointless if they behave the same as married men. Let them marry if they must, and if they still want to do these sinful things than we dont justify them by saying others do, they must cleanse themselves and search their heart, that they might remove the cause of this evil desire.


It’s common sense. Wives aren’t children. Why would having an adult female spouse change a man’s attraction to children if he’s attracted to them??

And for infidelity:

“About 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in their marriage”
“Monogamy Myth”, Therapist Peggy Vaugn"

So not too far off.


and to trelow, Peter himself had a wife. Christs bride is the church, and the church is only devoted to him. Individual people are not under some law of this, seeing as who you say to be your first pope was not a celibate.


I know, we still have married priests today. You’re missing the point.

Here’s some good info for you.


Just because people fail doesn’t mean we lower the standard. We must always give God our best.

There are some who are not fit for celibacy and some who fail to live up to the call. We have no way of knowing beforehand of all who will fail, yet again just because some fail doesn’t make Jesus wrong in recommending it.
Since Jesus recommended it we follow it.
Using Peter as an example would be like stating that denying Christ is an example we should emulate also.
We should seek the utmost, the teaching of Christ first then follow the best examples in the Gospels as models. When Peter led we follow that example.

For those who feel they cannot handle it, they can choose marriage. Priesthood isn’t something you just choose and go for but something you are called to do and not everyone will live up to the high standards.

Just because few will go through the narrow gate to get to Heaven doesn’t make Jesus let everyone in.

Catholics though they fail often are called to seek the most they can do for God not the bare minimum.

In Christ


No argument there. I understand that point, it’s the 2/3 of men who abuse children or commit adultery that I question.

And for infidelity:

“About 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in their marriage”
“Monogamy Myth”, Therapist Peggy Vaugn"

So not too far off.

Did she happen to reference the studies she quoted? I find that pill a little hard to swallow.


Don’t have the writing itself handy, so I’m afraid I can’t cite the references for ya :o


In the Eastern Rites, married men are allowed to be priests except I hear that Vatican has been frowning upon this practice lately. Too many married men going Eastern?

There is really nothing doctrinal about single clergymen. However, Christ did ask His Apostles to leave their families and come follow Him.


No problem, I’ll put it on my list. :wink:


Virginity is saving oneself for God. Virgins deny themselves sexual pleasure and having children in this life, so as to save themselves for a greater reward in Heaven (sorry, I’m no Christopher West…he can explain it much better :o). The path of virginity is a higher calling, according to the Baltimore Catechism. That does not mean that the married life should be avoided or put down. It just means that the religious life is the dedication of one’s life to God, and to God alone. It is a much more difficult path, but one that gains higher merit for us in the next life.


Actually, as a nearly if not totally absolute rule, married Latins who change canonical enrolment are not admitted to the priesthood, probably precisely in order to prevent working the system to sneak into the presbyterate.


The moral law is not an impossible burden, for God never imposes impossible burdens, yet your reasoning would lead one to conclude that expecting people not to kill, lie, cheat, steal, etc. imposes an impossible burden on people, just because we have examples of those who fail to meet the expectation.

Celibacy is not imposed on anyone, it is a choice they enter into. Making the choice to the Latin priesthood involves making a choice for celibacy, as well. Any vocation involves both an internal call (from God) and an external call (from the Church). Your problem is not with celibacy, it’s with your (true) judgment that the Church has not been diligent enough in discerning whether those she calls to the priesthood are truly called by God to the priesthood, which in this case involves celibate life. If married priests were molesting children (as married clergy of all other denominations do) you would have found another explanation to undergird your complaint that those who are supposed to be HOLY are not living as such.

BTW - even if the Church flawlessly admitted only those men whom God had given the requisite graces for celibacy, we could almost guarantee that at least a tiny number of these men, even though properly equipped, would still fail to obey God in that respect


Why not have celibacy as a requirement? Jesus was celibate. Although we know Peter had a wife at one time, the gospel is silent on whether he was, at the time of being a disciple, married or a widower (it is significant that Peter’s mother-in-law was mentioned but not his wife in the same context and passage–why was she not serving with the mother-in-law afterward?). Further, there is no specific evidence that any other apostles were married or that they took their wives with them on their journey, and in later post-apostolic times any married priests/bishops were known to have to keep ‘continence’ for prolonged periods (I believe this is still a practice among the Orthodox, or indeed was for a very long time).

As with any new group or teaching, there is a transition period between the full practice of the old and the full practice of the new. The full practice of the old Jewish faith permitted married priests–but it also permitted men to divorce their wives. The full practice of the new Christian faith did not permit divorce, and thus at the beginning there were difficulties enough with people who had followed the old ways–enough so that in Timothy it has to be noted that a bishop should be the husband of ‘one’ wife–you see here the transition between the old Jewish practice and the new Christian practice.

And with the flowering of Christianity from a persecuted religion to an established one, the full practices could come to fruition. It is not that marriage is seen as being ‘wrong’ for any man – or woman-- it is that celibacy is seen as being a ‘greater’ gift, a sacrifice–and this is quite Scriptural and seen in many passages such as the above.

In this modern time, when we have come to ‘expect’ that people should ‘not have to be forced into doing anything’, it is not surprising that people balk at ‘oh, heavens, a celibacy requirement!! How wrong, how mediaeval, how discriminatory’ etc. It is precisely because we have elevated our human nature to think that UNLESS we ‘freely’ choose anything, it is somehow ‘wrong’ that we have such difficulty. We have little sense of sin, and little sense of being in any way in need of penance, sacrifice, etc. So we ‘want’ our candidates to have ‘what they want’–therefore we argue priests should be married, women should be priests, etc.

It’s the great god "i choose this freely therefore it is good; anything imposed upon me is evil’. How many worship at this throne today!!!


I notice that almost all objection to celibate clergy is about sex, not about marriage. It’s all about “men gotta have sex,” not “men gotta join in a lifelong bond with a woman and raise a family.” The arguments for married clergy usually boil down to “men have to have plenty of sex, and marriage is the best way to get it.”

Not a very high view of marriage, IMHO.

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