Is this allowed?


I saw on TV a while back (OK, way back) that an older gentleman said that he was going to become a priest after his wife died. I believe they did have children. It was a fictional show, though. Is this allowed? Was just wondering about that. Thanks.


Yes, we currently have a seminarin in our diocese. He is in 60’s. He was already a deacon before entering seminary though; he only needs 2 more years before being ordained. He has children and his wife passed away.


Any Catholic man who is in communion with the Church can be ordained, if he is approved by the bishop. If he is a religious, he must have the approval of his major superior.

A widower can enter a diocesan seminary or a religious order. The difference is between diocese and religious communities. They each have different age requirements. Also, religious communities can deny you ordination after you have made perpetual vows. Which means that you must remain a member of the community for life, but may never be ordained. In a religious community the community votes on who should and should not be ordained. But they do not do this until after the man has made a perpetual commitment to the community by either perpetual vows or solemn vows. Bot are until death.

By the way, a married man with children can also be ordained under certain circumstances, but he may not be a religious. He must be a diocesan priest.

JR :slight_smile:


Yes indeed, this is allowed. Our bishop has been very receptive to widowers wanting to become priests.

A few years ago our parish had a pastor, an assistant pastor, and an assigned seminarian/transitional deacon, all of whom had been married and their wives had passed away. The same pastor is still with us, and he is an excellent priest.


We had an anglican minister with a wife and kids convert here recently. We now have a married priest with kids. There are many married priests in the mid east for practical reasons. St Peter was married. Priestly celibacy is considered a treasure in the church and there are many reasons for it but the pope can drop the rule anytime he likes. :thumbsup:


Here in Massachusetts, we have a seminary specifically geared toward older men, Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Weston, MA.
Many of the seminarians and ordained priest to come out of there, are older widowed men. Often they were deacons, when their spouses were still with them.



Ya, I’ve wondered about that to. I’ve heard about both men and women doing that in fictional stories, like when Guinevere became a nun after her little fling with Lancelot in the story of King Arthur.

I suppose it would make sense if you and your spouse are longer together as “death [has done] you part,” for you to then be allowed to join a seminary.


We have Fr. Jerry in our Diocese, has 7 children and forgot how many grandchildren. He is such a wonderful man, he is retired and goes about the diocese helping the Priests with duties and Mass, he was such a blessing to me in November when he came to the Er and prayed over my mom as she was dying, such a comfort.


Thank you all for your responses!


The law of the Church still allows for married couples to separate and enter religious orders. However, the male cannot be ordained. He can become a monk, friars or lay brother. The woman can become a nun or a sister. Nonetheless, a married woman cannot enter an order of virgins. This is only possible if they have no dependent children and if they have permission from the Church. The marriage remains valid and binding.

JR :slight_smile:


hi all ,can you learned gentilemen help me with these scriptures? 1 Timothy 3;2-5 and 1 Timothy 4; 1-3… thanks in advance


It is a not-so-learned gentlewoman who is answering! :wink:
For the benefit of those who don’t have their Bibles handy, here is the first passage you reference, highlighting the parts you are probably questioning:

2 Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,
3 not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money.
4 He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity;

These footnotes from the Douay-Rheims/Haydock Bible may help:

Ver. 2. A bishop (the same name then comprehended priest) to be blameless, as to life and conversation, adorned, (says St. Chrysostom) with all virtues. See also St. Jerome in his letter to Oceanus. — The husband of one wife. It does not signify, that to be a bishop or priest he must be a married man; nor that he must be a man who has but one wife at a time; but that he must be a man who has never been married but once, or to one wife: because to be married more than once, was looked upon as a mark of too great an inclination to sensual pleasures. It is true, at that time a man might be chosen to be a bishop or priest whose wife was living, but from that time he was to live with her as with a sister. This St. Jerome testifies as to the discipline of the Latin Church. (Witham) — The meaning is not that every bishop should have a wife, (for St. Paul himself had none) but that no one should be admitted to the holy orders of bishop, priest, or deacon, who had been married more than once. (Challoner) — Sober. The Greek rather signifies watchful. — Chaste. There is nothing for this in the Greek text at present, unless in some few manuscripts. Perhaps the ancient Latin interpreter added it, as being signified and comprehended in the other words. — Teacher: a doctor, as the Greek signifies. (Witham)

And here is the second passage you reference:

1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions
2 through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences.
3 They forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

And here is the footnote from the Douay-Rheims/Haydock:

Ver. 3. Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, &c. Here says St. Chrysostom[1] are foretold and denoted the heretics called Encratites, the Marcionites, Manicheans, &c. who condemned all marriages as evil, as may be seen in St. Irenæus, Epiphanius, St. Augustine, Theodoret, &c. These heretics held a god who was the author of good things, and another god who was the author or cause of all evils; among the latter they reckoned, marriages, fleshmeats, wine, &c. The doctrine of Catholics is quite different, when they condemn the marriages of priests and of such as have made a vow to God to lead always a single life; or when the Church forbids persons to eat flesh in Lent, or on fasting-days, unless their health require it. We hold that marriage in itself is not only honourable, but a sacrament of divine institution. We believe and profess that the same only true God is the author of all creatures which are good of themselves; that all eatables are to be eaten with thanksgiving, and none of them to be rejected, as coming from the author of evil. When we condemn priests for marrying, it is for breaking their vows and promises made to God of living unmarried, and of leading a more perfect life; we condemn them with the Scripture, which teaches us that vows made are to be kept; with St. Paul, who in the next chap. (ver. 12) teaches us, that they who break such vows incur their damnation. When the Church, which we are commanded to obey, enjoins abstinence from flesh, or puts a restraint as to the times of eating on days of humiliation and fasting, it is by way of self-denial and mortification: so that it is not the meats, but the transgression of the precept, that on such occasions defiles the consciences of the transgressors. “You will object, (says St. Chrysostom) that we hinder persons from marrying; God forbid,” &c. St. Augustine, (lib. 30. contra Faustum. chap. vi.) “You see (says he) the great difference in abstaining from meats for mortification sake, and as if God was not the author of them.” We may observe that God, in the law of Moses, prohibited swine’s flesh and many other eatables; and that even the apostles, in the Council of Jerusalem, forbad the Christians, (at least about Antioch) to eat at that time blood and things strangled; not that they were bad of themselves, as the Manicheans pretended. (Witham) — St. Paul here speaks of the *Gnostics *and other ancient heretics, who absolutely condemned marriage and the use of all kind of meat, because they pretended that all flesh was from an evil principle: whereas the Church of God so far from condemning marriage, holds it to be a holy sacrament, and forbids it to none but such as by vow have chosen the better part: and prohibits not the use of any meats whatsoever, in proper times and seasons, though she does not judge all kinds of diet proper for days of fasting and penance. (Challoner) — We may see in the earliest ages[centuries] of Christianity, that some of the most infamous and impure heretics that ever went out of the Church, condemned all marriage as unlawful, at the same time allowing the most unheard of abominations: men without religion, without faith, without modesty, without honour. See St. Clement of Alexandria, lib. 3. Strom.


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