Married Priests in Past

My friend in Jacksonville, Florida was in a Bible Study group at her Catholic church last year.

During the Bible Study it was alleged that priest some time ago were able to marry. Then at some time they were told to leave their wives and children because the church did not want to share the $$ or property with the priests’ families.

It was also alleged that the church looked for men to become priest who were gay or homosexuals so they would not be tempted to have a wife or want women in their lives (Not pedophiles).

Her pastor was there and confirmed that this was true.

Do you know anything about this?

  1. Married - True. 1700 years ago.

  2. Leave their wives - Not true.

  3. Homosexuals - Not true generally, although there is some proof that homosexuals in some countries - notably, the USA - got control of the seminary admissions process and steered heterosexuals away from the priesthood while admitting homosexuals. But that was done by men, and not by the Church, and it was not for the allegedly “altruistic purposes” you mentioned, but was done as a means of infiltrating the Church and bringing it down from within. See “Goodbye! Good Men” by Michael S. Rose.

Celibacy in the Latin Rite is purely a matter of discipline.

The clerical celibacy did not become mandatory until the early Middle Ages. However, many Catholic priests in the Eastern Rites are married and some Catholic priests in the Latin Rite (ex-pastors) are married too.

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that in the Eastern church, married priests must abstain from sexual relations the evening before celebrating Mass. That is why daily Mass is more common in the West.

[quote=JimG]Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that in the Eastern church, married priests must abstain from sexual relations the evening before celebrating Mass. That is why daily Mass is more common in the West.
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:smiley:

My brother-in-law’s cousin married a preist…he left the preisthood for her. I wonder if they sinned or if there will be any consequence for thier actions?

[quote=Sarah Jane]Celibacy in the Latin Rite is purely a matter of discipline.

The clerical celibacy did not become mandatory until the early Middle Ages. However, many Catholic priests in the Eastern Rites are married and some Catholic priests in the Latin Rite (ex-pastors) are married too.
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Clerical celibacy was normative from the infancy of the Church. There were married clergy. The 10th Century (or was it the 11th?) mandate came to control abuses surrounding inheritance of property.

See Christian Cochini’s book, The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy.

Answer to the question about Orthodox abstaining from conjugal privileges the night before Mass: Yes. I have heard that. I know an Anglican Bishop who has always observed that practice also.

[quote=JimG]Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that in the Eastern church, married priests must abstain from sexual relations the evening before celebrating Mass. That is why daily Mass is more common in the West.
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I know that this seems amusing to some people, but you are essentially correct, at least in the Byzantine tradition.

The altar must be abstaining as well as the priest. This means only one liturgy per day for the altar, and no conjugal relations for the priest.

Celibates are primarily monastics, it is there one might find a daily liturgy, but not at the parish, if one follows the tradition strictly.

It should be no wonder then, that Divine Praises (Liturgy of the Hours) loom large in the Byzantine parish tradition. It is the parish where most of the married priests are assigned.

The Byzantine tradition parishes in the USA were once immediately subject to the Latin rite bishops, these insisted on celibate priests (in short supply always) and daily “Mass”, as well as multiple liturgies on Sunday. The bishops also suppressed the Divine Praises and promoted Rosary before “Mass”. Most Byzantine parishes I am familiar with still have celibate priests and daily Divine Liturgy (including Rosary before), but as we reintroduce a married clergy the daily Divine Liturgy should become a thing of the past, with the Rosary being replaced by the Divine Praises.

One other interesting point, it is my understanding that the priest does not celebrate a liturgy without the congregation. There is no private Mass in the Byzantine tradition, the liturgy is fully participatory and requires a congregation. An old friend of mine was a retired Latin Rite priest, I helped him with his altar at home and with the accoutrements. He would say a Mass every day and I used to join him occasionally, from my understanding this would not be the case in the Byzantine tradition.

PS Contrary to what some people will say, celibacy was not normative in the infant church. That is a myth being promoted by some Western writers to reinforce the tradition of mandatory clerical celibacy in the church. The Byzantine churches have always had optional celibacy (with those committed to a celibate life generally residing in the monasteries), and the Western church had optional celibacy in the first few centuries.

Actually there is married preist in my dioceese. (Latin rite)
There are over 100 married latin rite priest in Canad and the United States. Most are converted protestant clery. Like some have said it is a discipline and not a dogma. It is preferred that priest be celeibate but not an absolute it has been this was since the apostolic age. The degree of which the church has enforced the celibaby rule has wavered back and forth. I think the church will loosen up this discipline as it becomes more difficult for the faithful to attain the sacrmanets with this priest shortage. I would think the sacarmaents would trump a preferred discipline in the church.
That is not to say that married state is better in fact in many cases celibacy is better. It is just that in today’s society it is a requirement few are willing to forgoe.

We have plenty of married Catholic priest (Latin rite excluded). We had them in the past and we have them today. I really wish the Church did a better job at educating Her flock.

[quote=MaryButler]Then at some time they were told to leave their wives and children because the church did not want to share the $$ or property with the priests’ families.
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According to the online Catholic Encyclopedia, this appears to be true. In fact, a decree of the Synod of Pavia in 1018 made the children of priests into perpetual slaves as the property of the Church.

I think I heard it said on Catholic Answers Live in the past year or so that there are approximately 100 married Roman Rite priests. I also remember seeing one on “The Journey Home”.

Steve

We had a married priest in our diocese (former Episcopalian priest) with ten kids. His wife said she loves him dearly but would not recommend a married priesthood for the Catholic Church.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryButler
Then at some time they were told to leave their wives and children because the church did not want to share the $$ or property with the priests’ families.

According to the online Catholic Encyclopedia, this appears to be true. In fact, a decree of the Synod of Pavia in 1018 made the children of priests into perpetual slaves as the property of the Church.

Hmmm. A very careful reading of that long article shows that the one statement you made, regarding the decree of the Synod of Pavia–and an incomplete statement at that–comes as a result of a disruption in the countries mentioned 2 centuries ago–and in fact, since the 3rd century, celibacy was considered both normative and exemplary.

To state or imply, as this woman’s pastor did, that the sole, or the overwhelming, or even reason that the Catholic church “enforces celibacy today” is because of MONETARY reasons, is disingenuous and jejune.

Thanks, Tantum. :tiphat: I should have been the one to post your response, since I was the one who tossed off the comment that celibacy was normative from early days. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 115), who was married, laments in one of his letters that he could not go back and consecrate his virginity to the Lord.

[quote=MaryButler]My friend in Jacksonville, Florida was in a Bible Study group at her Catholic church last year.

During the Bible Study it was alleged that priest some time ago were able to marry. Then at some time they were told to leave their wives and children because the church did not want to share the $$ or property with the priests’ families.

It was also alleged that the church looked for men to become priest who were gay or homosexuals so they would not be tempted to have a wife or want women in their lives (Not pedophiles).

Her pastor was there and confirmed that this was true.

Do you know anything about this?
[/quote]

Celibacy of the preisthood is only a discipline and can be changed by the pope if it is necisary. In the first milenium priests were allowed to marry but there was always a big debate on the issue of whether they should be.

It was not started because the church did not want to share its money with the preists families. It was started because it was thought to be a better way to devote yourself to God.

I have heard the money arguement before. But this is not really one of the reasons. This was only true in the church in England in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was not characteristic of the entire church.

I have never heard the statement about the gays but I can assume that it is very incorrect and untrue bsed on the teachings of the church.

During the Bible Study it was alleged that priest some time ago were able to marry

In the first milenium priests were allowed to marry but there was always a big debate on the issue of whether they should be.

Were priests allowed to marry or was it just that married men were allowed to become priests? As I understand it, the latter is the situation with the Eastern Catholic churches.

Perhaps you are right, however this same argument is often put forward during discussions on the subject as a reason for strictly enforcing mandatory celibacy. So it seems that it is not an unreasonable consideration, based upon what I have read in threads on the topic here.

[quote=kmktexas]Were priests allowed to marry or was it just that married men were allowed to become priests? As I understand it, the latter is the situation with the Eastern Catholic churches.
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As far as I know priests were not allowed to marry after ordination in the church, East or West.

It has always been the case that being married, or contemplating marriage, was not considered an impediment to a priestly vocation in the Eastern churches, according to the traditions.

Hesychios,

Thanks, that’s what I understood too. There have been two recent cases of priests, as a group, stating that they wanted to be able to marry. One in Minneapolis and more recently in Ireland. Married priests is a discipline that could, theoretically be changed. To allow currently ordained priests to marry (and by extension, date :frowning: ) would seem to be a complete break from tradition.

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