Married Popes


Since there have been many married popes…when did the Church make a concrete decision on celibacy within the priesthood??? I know that there occasional converts that are allowed to stay married and be a priest, but when did celibacy become more than encouraged??? Also, was Peter married before or after Jesus made him an apostle???


Have there been “many”? What is your source?

It’s always been that once ordained one could not marry - but I’m not sure of the exact date of when the Latin Rite began the strict discipline of selecting only single men for the priesthood.

Before - and his wife may or may not have been alive when Peter was called by Our Lord. All we know is that he had inlaws - no further specific information is available in Scripture as far as I recall.

God bless,

Dies Irae


What about 1 Cor 9:5?

Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?


I don’t know what history says about this - but I’ll pass on the thought of married popes (as if we don’t already have enough issues - please!:o ). Whether or not the apostles were married, let’s not forget that Our Lord said you cannot serve two masters. I would think that while celibacy is challenging, it is a grace - and it is a promise / a special gift, which priests offer to God. I’d rather we gather in special prayers for those priests and nuns who perservere in this promise. I know your question is based on curiosity - but I think we should spend some time being more cognizant of those who minister to us daily - God bless them all.


Here’s the passage in context -

1 Am not I free? Am not I an apostle? Have not I seen Christ Jesus our Lord? Are not you my work in the Lord?
2 And if unto others I be not an apostle, but yet to you I am. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 My defence with them that do examine me is this.
4 Have not we power to eat and to drink?
5 Have we not power to carry about a woman, a sister, as well as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to do this?
7 Who serveth as a soldier at any time, at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Who feedeth the flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
8 Speak I these things according to man? Or doth not the law also say these things?
9 For it is written in the law of Moses: Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
10 Or doth he say this indeed for our sakes? For these things are written for our sakes: that he that plougheth, should plough in hope; and he that thrasheth, in hope to receive fruit.

The note in the Douay-Rheims on vese five is:

“Some erroneous translators have corrupted this text by rendering it, a sister, a wife: whereas, it is certain, St. Paul had no wife (chap. 7 ver. 7, 8) and that he only speaks of such devout women, as, according to the custom of the Jewish nation, waited upon the preachers of the gospel, and supplied them with necessaries.”

God bless,

Dies Irae


That passage indicates that Peter may still have had a wife, even though the Greek word translated as “wife” is “adelphen” – sister.

By 325 A.D., the custom of “subintroductae” – such “sisters” had become a matter to be addressed at the Council of Nicaea. Canon 3 States:

“The great Synod has stringently forbidden any bishop, presbyter, deacon, or any one of the clergy whatever, to have a subintroducta dwelling with him, except only a mother, or sister, or aunt, or such persons only as are beyond all suspicion.”


I don’t agree with this guy’s beliefs but he claims 39…


His history is highly flawed. He lost me at “monks and hermits in the first century”. This form of life did not evolve until after the persecutions were lifted in the 4th Century.

Here’s his gripe. He left the Church to marry – despite having made promises of celibacy, which could hardly have come as a surprise. He is annoyed that married Anglicans and Lutherans have been admitted to Holy Orders under the Pastoral Provision.

He calls himself “Father” although he no longer has faculties to function as a priest, and he is part of “Rent-a-Priest”. My eyeballs are so far up inside my cranium I can’t even type.


:cool: Some of the early popes were married,as were some of the apostles and various early churchmen.

The lives and behaviour amongst some of the clergy were part of the reason for the manditory celibacy plus some of the reasons he states.Also,the Cathars perfectii were celibate,both men and women,and that may have also had something to do with it as the average person of those times talked about and compared the lives of the Cathar "priests and sisters’ with that of members of the church.They had a great deal of influence in Southern France and Northern Italy,but especially in France.
To the average person,it seemed they tried to live up to christ’s teachings in their daily lives and behaviour.
One can read Boccacio’s Decameron about scandulous activities by friars and monks and nuns.
Even church accounts talk about licentious activites conducted in monasteries and convents of the period.
Some of the popes had mistresses like Pope Alexander,father of Lucretia and Ceasar Borgia.
If the Church can let married anglican priests and lutheran pastors into the church after converting and becoming priests,why can’t the church do the same for those priests who have gotten marriedwhy ,could not they be welcomed back and not give up their families is what he is saying.implying that Rome is being a bunch of hypocrities, which in a manner of speaking they kind of are.
Certainly there would be nothing wrong with making a married deacon a priest,provided of course it was alright with his family
and in the event his wife died,he couldn’t remarry.
The Church won’t let these ex married priest back in to serve at parishes or whatever,yet they cover up horrible sexual abuse by priests and nuns,and shuffle these abusers around to different places to only abuse again.That to me is a greater sin than having some married priests in the Church.

Many Catholics just seem to stick their heads in the sand when it comes to some of the history of our Church.But there is much the Church did in the past that was horribly wrong.These past events have fueled some of the anti Catholic statments by protestants,.
which is a sad thing.


The Catholic Encyclopedia has an article on Celibacy of the Clergy (see here). One interesting first was in 1018:

In the first place, disabilities of all kinds were enacted and as far as possible enforced against the wives and children of ecclesiastics. Their offspring were declared to be of servile condition, debarred from sacred orders, and, in particular, incapable of succeeding to their fathers’ benefices. The earliest decree in which the children were declared to be slaves, the property of the Church, and never to be enfranchised, seems to have been a canon of the Synod of Pavia in 1018.


There can’t be that many since Celibacy in Holy Orders started in the 300’s at the Council of Elvira and slowly took hold until it became universal Church Law just after 1000. Although it was pretty much in place by 600.


Does that mean “started” in the 300s, or was it already established to a degree at that point?


Celibacy is established as a practice in the Gospel (Matthew 19:12) and St. Paul’s Letters (1 Cor. 7:8 and 7:32-35). There are also examples in the Old Testament. The local council of Elvira established it as Church law for clerics.


Do you think the Scriptures mandated celibacy as a requirement for church leadership?


Do the Scriptures mandate rejection or denial of Our Lord’s own example?


Jesus nor His apostles ever mandated celibacy as way of life based on Jesus’ status as a single man. He never once demanded His apostles to be celibate if they were to be leaders in the church.

Secondly, nowhere in Scripture do we see any mandate that a married man in leadership was to abstain from sexual relations from his wife. That did not come about until the Council of Elvira in 306 which states the following:

Bishops, presbyters, deacons, and others with a position in the ministry are to abstain completely from sexual intercourse with their wives and from the procreation of children. If anyone disobeys, he shall be removed from the clerical office.

To answer your question the Scriptures rejects celibacy as a requirement for leadership.


Scripture does NOT reject celibacy as a way of life for those who follow Christ. Moreover, the question is not “leadership” *per se *but the Papacy. It is perfectly consistent with the Christ’s command to “follow me” that someone who “follows Him” as shepherd of the sheep on earth, should follow Him in this.


Is it not true that the pope is the supreme bishop?
The qualfications for a bishop was that he was a married man who managed his own children well. See I Timothy 3:1-7.

Secondly, there is good evidence that Peter himself was married. Since Peter was a leader driectly chosen by Christ and was not disqualified for being a leader because he was married. This speaks volumes against the idea of a celibate leadership.


All of this has been explained exhaustively on many other threads.

Jesus said that this would be accepted only by the few who had ears to hear.


I think that we find the basis of clerical celibacy there.

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