How do married priests sustain their families?


Is being a priest their full-time job? Or do they generally have other jobs? Do they earn enough money to maintain a “big catholic family” (6+ kids)

I really don’t think it’s an important question, but I’ve always wondered.

Pax tecum!


I would imagine they are supported/paid by the parish. This is the common practice with protestant churches. Interesting, my priest made the personal observation that this may have at one time factored into the celibacy of priests - the parish would have the burden of supporting the family when the priest died.


The only married priest I know is in a neighbouring parish .

His three children are grown up and his wife teaches .

In the earlier years of his priesthood he was helped by the St Barnabas Society .


I think it varies not only from parish to parish, but from diocese to diocese, and from church sui iuris to church sui iuris.

I’m not sure about married Eastern Catholic priests, but I’ve heard that for married Eastern Orthodox priests those serving large well-to-do parishes are typically supported by the parish, whereas those serving smaller not-so-wealthy parishes often have to have an outside job to support their family. The most common outside job seems to be teaching in seminaries and universities, although I’ve heard of priests working construction-type jobs as well.


Priests of smaller parishes often have other outside jobs. They’re wives can also work (most that I’ve read of or have known work part time hours). They also don’t’ all have tons of kids…I know 3 married priests (2 Orthodox and 1 Catholic) and they all have 2-3 kids.


I know a few married priests do to their wives dying and they became Priests but still have children who are grown up and often married themselves. Also know one who was married and a Protestant (I believe Anglican) minister and converted to the Roman Catholic Priesthood


Here’s a radical proposal:
Our school (and by that I mean our local Catholic school, although I’m sure there are many like it) is doing an abysmal job at turning out disciples.
Yet a majority chunk of the parish’s tithe goes to tuition subsidy for what is now basically a private school.

Maybe it’s time to redirect those resources to the domestic Church, ie the family, which is the primary educator of the children in the faith.
There is plenty of money to support a priest’s family if resources are allocated well.

The question is, how important is it to us? Do we want elite schools and high graduation rates (all very good stuff) more than an increase in priests?


The two married Catholic priests I know hold down a second job, and their wives work.


There are many married priests that earn an income in other ways such as teaching at a university, seminary or even catholic high schools. We had a married priest at our parish a while back. Father was retired then ordained.



They don’t have time for another job but they can do jobs inside the Church. The wives usually work (but not all works are acceptable.for a priest’s wife) and the parishioners also help buy bringing them food and generally questioning about their well being. In other words God helps them by sending them people eager to help.
It is a hard life and the order of priorities is different than from other families. Church and the people’s needs come before the wife and the family. It really does take a woman willing to accept these conditions. But God helps. I know this from some interviews with local EO priests especially one that I remember well. The priest has passed away in the meantime but I will never forget him and the interview he gave. He was very honest and said it all straight up. Most of the times there is no time for walking in the park with the family and every time someone called he had to answer. The wife mostly got help.from other family members and parishioners and he felt God helping his family all the time.
Priests usually also have 3+ kids. I mean 3 is a low number for them. But people usually love the priest’s family and his wife (who can under extreme circumstances baptize, hear confessions but she cannot offer the Eucharist) is always part of the ministry and is known as “priestess”.


All priests (Diocesan) are supplied with a salary or stipend, the amount varies from Country to Country and from Diocese too Diocese as well. If a priest is married and has young children (a rarity in the Western Catholic Church but possible non the less), the Diocese has to make provision on how to fund the family since the priest’s primary responsibility is the parish.


I was extremely surprised to read this. The real point of this sacrament is being given absolution, and that is reserved to priests. Not even deacons can do this. A priest’s wife could not do this in any Apostolic church.


I don’t know to which Orthodox Community you are referring but I’ve never heard of a priest’s wife [ EC or Orthodox] who heard Confessions or is known as ‘priestess’


I am Romanian Orthodox and the info I read on a site. It said - “under extreme circumstances” - as in, a priesr cannot be found and the danger of death looms over all of us.


Might be what you read, but that’s not part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith.


Ok whatever you’re just trying to be offensive to build.a.discussion. you wish… It doesn’t matter from my part.


Generally, in my experience, congregations that can afford to do so try to pay a salary to the pastor that is reasonable for their region. Our districts usually provide congregations that are going through the call process documents that provide guidance of pay and compensation, specific to that district based on the size of the congregation, and experience of the pastor. I have also known pastors, usually in more rural areas where the congregations may be smaller and more constrained by resources, that are working pastors. I figured I would give a Protestant response since our pastors are normally married.


Nobody has said anything offensive. You made a claim that a priest’s wife can hear confessions. This is simply not true. The Roman and Eastern Catholic churches would not allow this nor would any Eastern or Oriental Orthodox church. Even though Anglicans/Episcopalians do not have valid Orders and are not Apostolic churches they would never allow the spouse of a priest to hear confessions. Even if a priest’s wife were faced with a platoon of soldiers about to fight and facing almost certain death and the priest could not be located she cannot absolve their sins. She simply lacks the power of order required to do so. Perhaps you could cite your source and others could read it and form their own assessment.


I have heard of the practice in some Eastern Churches in which a person confesses to a personal confidant, whether this be the wife of the priest or some other trusted advisor, but the priest himself remains within hearing distance and then administers the absolution. Even in this case though, the sacrament cannot take place without the priest.


I have never heard of this. I do not say it does not happen because I do not know. However, if the priest is within hearing distance and grants the absolution there seems to be no need for the third party. If that does happen the third party would be as bound by the seal of the confession as the priest.

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