Forbidding priests to marry

Why does the roman catholic religion forbid its priests and nuns from being married? Do other non-Catholic religions observe this?
Thank you!

I’m sure others can explain this far better than I but here is my understanding. We are all called to a vocation by God. For some it’s married life, for others it’s single life, some are called to become priests and other are called to religious life (nuns, sisters, monks, brothers). If we accept God’s call to our vocation, we then must live within it’s confines. For example, if one were called to married life, they would then live that call in the way God intended. Married for life and faithful to their marriage vows.

The same for those called to religious life or the priesthood. If they accept God’s call they then live that life within it’s confines, such as remaining celibate. They actually take a vow of celibacy along with other vows.

Another reason I’ve heard, and am in no way saying this is absolute nor doctrine, is a priest or religious can focus all their attention and energy on fulfilling their call if they are not having to balance a family and their work as religious.

The celebate priesthood is a discipline, but not a doctrine or dogma. They are men who make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of god.

Matthew 19
10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. 12 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.”

Let those who can make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven do so. Celibacy isn’t just a Christian/Catholic practice, either. At the time of Jesus, we know that communities of essenes practiced such a life in prepartation to the Messianic age. And while I don’t wish to carry this next comparison too far, the Levitical priests at least abstained from relations prior to doing certain priestly work.

1 Corinthians 7 also celebrates remaining celibate for the kingdom. Paul even suggests that, for those who can live this way without immorality, it is better to do so and that those who do are less concerned with worldly demands and focused more on God.

People giving up marital relations is therefore biblical. The priesthood, monastic life, life as a nun, consecrated virginity are all chosen vocations. It’s not something a person is born into. And it’s certainly a way of life held in high regard in the bibke. Certainly one doesn’t have to join such orders to live celibately, but I don’t think it’s wrong to wish to consecrate yourself to such vocations, either, if that is your wish.

When I lived in the old country, Buddhist monks remained celibate. Same with Buddhist nuns. Like Catholicism, these monks and nuns view celibacy as a discipline.

If a man wants to get married he has the choice to not choose being a priest. It’s not like it’s a big surprise sprung upon the unsuspecting seminarian.

I got a question back at you. Why do some Protestant denominations require marriage for all their pastors?

Can we stop beating the dead horse, if we beat him any more then he will come back to life and pimp slap us all, but ill leave the pimping in the Lord hands.

Because if they are to strive for bishop then they must have there own family(physical) in order because if they cant then they cant take care of Gods church.

I understand what you are saying, but don’t we have to be patient and address sincere questions?

After all, the horse is only dead and beaten to some people. Those who have been beating on it.

To others, it is a legitimate inquiry.

I think if it I’m not up for a topic anymore…I’ll avoid that discussion.

But I don’t think we should just ignore someone’s honest question.Everyone of us is in a different place with different questions on our minds.

While you can phrase it as forbidding to marry I think it is better looked at as a disciple one must accept if called to that vocation. If a man is called to marriage then he is not called to the priesthood. If a woman is called to marriage than she is not called to religious life. We make choices and in making a decision necessarily exclude the other options.

As for other religions the Orthodox also practice celibacy. Their bishops are all unmarried men. Their priests can be married prior to ordination but they can not get married after they become a priest.

As to why, in 1 Corinthians 7 St. Paul writes

32 And I would have you free from concern. He who is unmarried is concerned with God’s claim, asking how he is to please God; 33 whereas the married man is concerned with the world’s claim, asking how he is to please his wife; and thus he is at issue with himself. 34 So a woman who is free of wedlock, or a virgin, is concerned with the Lord’s claim, intent on holiness, bodily and spiritual; whereas the married woman is concerned with the world’s claim, asking how she is to please her husband.

So the Bible is clear that single people can have a special focus on God.

What is interesting to me is how this has been for the most part lost in the Protestant churches. You have very clearly Paul writing about this virtue but it is not much considered in Protestantism. And we know that because of the not uncommon complaint against celibacy in the Catholic priesthood and religious life.

Who is striving for Bishop? I didn’t think Protestants believe in a heirarchy. Can you please explain?

Hey Sarcelle,

I’ve never heard that before…is that really true?

Which denominations do that?

No-one is forbidden to be married, inasmuch as no-one is required to enter the clergy.


Some do not all, but St Paul wouldnt have put the words down if it wasnt meant to be there for some reason.

Can you answer two questions for me please?

  1. Did you know that there are, right now, married priests in the Catholic Church, even in the Roman rite?

  2. In light of question number 1 above, where did you get the idea that the Catholic Church “forbids” priests to be married? Catechism of the Catholic Church? Papal document? Where?

The Church “forbidding priests to marry” is a common teaching among fundamentalist Baptists.

St Paul says:
The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33 but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, 34 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. (1 Cor 7: 32b-34)

Given what St Paul says above about the undivided interests of unmarried people and the divided interests of married people, doesn’t it make sense that if you are looking to fill a full-time, life-long ministerial position in the Church, such as priest or nun, to prefer unmarried people over married? And, as long as there are suitable unmarried candidates of undivided interests for such positions, why would you even consider choosing married candidates of divided interests?

Before becoming priests and nuns, the unmarried men and women deliberately and willingly vow to God that they will remain unmarried for the rest of their life. Should they not keep their vow to God?

R. C. priests were allowed to be married a long time ago. Evidently there arose problems with inheritance, property, and various other issues. As a way of resolving these problems, the Vatican forbade its priests from getting married. There are a number of other Catholic rites that are both in communion with Rome and also allow married priests.

The Vatican makes exceptions for married Episcopal priests who convert to Roman Catholicism and become ordained Roman Catholic priests.

Hardly any.

I disagree.

Exactly, thats why i said in the other thread that the property of the church belongs to the church and cannot be given to spouses of priests that pass away, and thats why i also said let the chuch buy him a house for his retirement since he put in those many years so then that house can be given to the family when he has to…

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