Leaving the Priesthood


I realise that Priests do and can be laicised from the Priesthood, but I’m wondering this:
Is Priesthood not in some way like a marriage? And if so, how can one be laicised and allowed to marry? Is it not like living in adultery?
Marriages can be annulled if they were never valid in the first place but surely Priesthood is valid and therefore cannot be cancelled out to allow a Priest to marry?


The marriage between a priest and the Church is a spiritual one, not a natural marriage, therefore the same rules do not apply. Even a nun in spiritual marriage to our Lord can have her vows dispensed in special cases. The Eastern rites have a long tradition of married priests, and there is nothing wrong with this. We can say, however, that celibacy is fitting for priests, and that it conforms more perfectly to the life of our Lord.


Priesthood is in some way *like *marriage in that a man in sacred orders, or one bound by a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute, is impeded from contracting marriage.

It is *unlike *marriage in that this impediment(s) may be dispensed by the Apostolic See. (But even in the Eastern Rites an ordained man is not routinely allowed to marry. A married man may be ordained, however)

Who Is Not A Canon Lawyer


If priesthood was exactly like marriage, we would not have married priests. Which we do.


Right. It is like marriage in some ways. But not in every way.


Because nearly all Latin rite priests of the Catholic Church are currently required to make a vow of celibacy, it is easy to assume that celibacy is essential to the priesthood but that is not the case. There are many married priests in the Catholic Church, just not so many in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church.

Unless I am mistaken, once a priest always a priest and the only difference between a priest and a laicized priest is a priest has permission to exercise his priestly powers and a laicized priest does not have permission to exercise his priestly powers, except in emergencies.

For serious reasons, vows of celibacy, such as Latin-rite priests make, can be dispensed with by papal authority. In the same way, even the marriage vows of two validly married Christians can be dispensed with, if their marriage has not yet been consummated. However, once a valid Christian marriage has been consummated, the couple is not only united by their vows but they are also united in their very flesh — the two have become one flesh — and only the death of one of the spouses can break that flesh bond.


You are correct.


Sometimes laitization can be to minimize scandal. My old parish had a priest “leave” the priesthood a little over a year ago to “marry” another man. What is a Bishop to do? Priests are humans, and sometimes humans make bad and even damnable choices.


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