Married priests

I know we have some married priests but I wonder, if some had their way, how that would work? I don’t see, especially in such hard times, money-wise, church attendance down, how a married priest could be taken care of by the church.
I know other religions do it, but how? Do married clergy get everything paid for, a home, food, utilities, etc. and what about children? Are they all taken care of, can they go to Catholic school or college and if yes, what money is used?
It always confused me that the issue with Catholics was whether they should be for various reasons and no one ever address’s how hard it would be to regulate. How do you handle affairs, divorce, abuse? What if a child has special needs and needs a lot of attention?
If all needs were taken care of as with a single priest, I can see how vocations might be discerned the wrong way.

Any thoughts on this, I don’t get the logistics at all if it ever came about.

I think all of the reasons you listed are reasons that it will never happen!

The diocesan priests do not have everything paid for them. I don’t know how it is in the US but in Canada they are paid a salary which is taxed. Their food and board are considered income and they are taxed on that too. They pay for their own vehicle.

Parishes have living space where the priest would live. I guess the cost of that goes to the parish as well. I can imagine if the parish has a school, probably they’ll let the priest’s kids go there for free. Or they can go to the public school. The wife would probably work if they need more income. The priest can also do extra work, like teach religion at a highschool or if he has a PhD, then teach at a college.

Depends really what a Bishop would allow. I have heard of Orthodox priests who have regular, secular day jobs.

I wonder how the Episcopalian Pastor converts that become Catholic priests are able to pay for their families :shrug:

If a priest does extra jobs, how will he be there for help, funerals, weddings, masses, counseling, sick visits?

I know strict rabbis, their wives are alone a lot, and the Jews, at least Orthodox, give money to help them, but that is a different scenerio all together, from what we have.

I wonder with 3 in college myself, who would foot that bill since colleges woudln’t give a free ride because your father is a priest and it seems unseemly that his wiife would have to work and use daycare…maybe it’s just my age (50) but it seems very complicated and expensive. Supporting a family, maybe a large family, and having priests who just want that, is another pandora’s box all together.

Our priest gets a few hundred a month, was honest about finances, etc. and lives very frugally. Some have nicer cars, etc. and came from more affluent families and without the vow of poverty, can use that. I don’t think many parish priests have a lot of money.

One married priest on TV I saw who was Catholic, had a job, etc. from before, and he just kept that and became Catholic. (Anglican before) since he had a family. That is something I don’t think is bad, but I can’t see across the board.

Be interesting to hear from our Orthodox brethern, as their priests can also be married.
I think most ministers have ajob, and they also preach.We have married deacons,and so
I assume unless a man is older and retired, he has a job and family too, and has to balance family life with his duties to the Church.Would be nice to hear from some of you married deacons out there.

I go to a parish which has only a little over a hundred members (many children), and we support our priest, his wife and three little children. At our parish meetings, we emphasize tithing (giving 10 percent of your earnings to the church). Some generous members go above and beyond and give more.

Latin churches, which generally have more persons per parish, should have less difficulty raising the funds to support one’s priest, and a family if the Latin Church takes that route.

Some Orthodox priests take secular jobs. It depends on how much they are paid, which depends on the socio-economic level of their congregations. Greek priests generally are paid more, their congregations often more prosperous and larger in numbers, while priests of, say, the Carpatho-Russians, do not receive as high a salary, a greater number of their parishes in coal country.

Priests don’t do all these things all the time. It will have to be scheduled around his daily schedule. Priests who don’t have secular jobs would be busy with many things too. From Masses in other areas and other jobs and tasks around the diocese. Some of them may also be teaching or studying themselves and they won’t be at the parish all day just waiting for the next parishioner who may need their services.

Maybe some parish’s are like that, but our priests are always busy, always seems to be a meeting or something to prepare for. We also have a school which makes it harder and has a lot more responsibilities too.

I’m just saying, unless the number of church’s became less and had more people (which might be the next step in the shortage which is sad) it would still be very expensive and if the priest or his wife, couldn’t find work, had 8 children, many scenerios, it would get very expensive. I could only imagine the healthcare would be much more also, going from one person to 2 or more.

I don’t know what the perfect scenerio is, being lonely, not just being in a crowd of people, is a very real problem with priests from what I’ve read, especially when not in a community. I remember one priest saying, you go to weddings, parties, and everyone thinks your fine, but everyone goes home together, and you go home alone. Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes the need to talk to someone, not as a “priest” is very great.

I doubt this will happen on a large scale in my lifetime, but it involves a lot more than just letting the priest have a spouse and a lot more money and concerns about abusing the system once in place.

I think that making celibate voluntary, would increase the number of priests, no doubt. I would become one myself if the Church would allow me to keep my girlfriend. Even she said that I would be a good priest, and others, protestants as well as catholics have said that they think I have a special vocation and would make a good priest. And I also think I could be a good priest, and have feeled called for a couple of years, which have caused me much pain because I could not be priest and keep my girlfriend. My conclusion is that I am called to the priesthood but not to celibacy. And we have priest that are married, but because I happen to be born in Western Europa I can’t become one (and keep my girlfriend), but if I was borne in Greece og Ukraine or some other place I could. I think it’s a litlle weird thing that geography can determine who can be a priest.

I hope they will change the rule, and have both married and celibate priests. Especially today there is lot less priest and a lot more Catholics than say a hundred years ago. I Denmark, we see a large decline. The Franciscans from USA are going away this year og the next. The Jesuits are leaving Copenhagen as well, and now the Montfortion order has retired from Sjaelland (the large Island in Denmark) who used to serve 3 parishes including my own.

So I hope soon that things will change. At least ordinate the married deacons to the priesthood after some years of service. Or let married men under the age of 35 be deacons.

Ah but there is a doubt.

The denominations and such that do allow a married clergy are also experiencing a clergy “shortage”.

The ending of secular clerical celibacy is not the answer to the “shortage”.

this is the answer
Protestent clergy that are able to live in a lifestyle comparable to that of their congregations (which Billy Graham for one has said is a good rule of thumb) tithe.

I have a co-worker who is an Orthodox priest. He is married with six kids and works as a software tester in our IT dept.

Their model is a bit different than ours. His parish has about 200 people total. So there isn’t much call for funerals, and he does sick calls on his way home from work.

Roman Catholics tend to have much larger parishes, with a larger work load, so I don’t think that will translate well into out model.

On the plus side, he keeps an annointing kit and stole in his desk, so I’m well covered if I have a heart attack at work or something ( as a excercise of ekonomia of course :wink: )

When we had a round of layoffs, a couple of people requested that he bless cubes of former co-workers before they had to move into them. He did it for them :slight_smile:

Yes the Episcopalians had a study done not that long ago. They have a glut of clergy in certain locations, and a dire shortage in others.

The big reason is that spouses do not want to move to locations where the bishop needs a pulpit filled.

So they stay on, a new priests take positions in parishes such as youth minister, or DRE in popular parishs, while parishes in small towns or inner cities go unserviced.

I think the LCMS have the same issue.

Oh yes, in my English class yesterday we were having a group discussion on a short story and somehow it turned into a debate about priests being married. This is a public school mind you so I guarantee most of the kids who said priests should be married were not Catholics. I was praying in my mind for strength not to jump up, yell, or punch someone. It was so frustrating. Things like that happen a lot in this class. Like before the priest debate, my teacher also made a comment about Jesus dying on the cross for us. Then she goes, “I’m not saying he did. It’s just a story.” This has happened before. Yesterday at one point she did say "I don’t want to keep attacking the Catholic Church and I actually said “Uh yeah please”. And then somehow that triggered the Married priests thing. I know this is somewhat off topic but I was frustrated about it and I had to get it out in the open. I honestly cannot wait to transfer out of this school. :banghead:

It is important to keep in mind that the celibate priesthood is only a discipline not a dogma.

It can be dispensed from in the Latin Church as with converting ministers from protestant denominations.

It is not the discipline of many Eastern Catholic Churches, that is to say that they do ordain married men.

I have a friends whose relative is a married minister. It is very hard on the kids and the wife. The bishop just moved them and the home assigned to them is smaller than the old house. They have four children in a three bedroom with no basement. The minister has no chance of becomin a bishop because he does not have a Phd. If he made bishop, they’d have a better retirement package. They actually qualify for the free lunch program.
I was surprised to hear that the minister’s wife takes no part in his ministry. She’s his wife, period. She is not involved at all.
Her church also suffered a scandal when they accepted a new minister. Shortly after arriving, the minister’s wife sued for divorce.
A married priest was discovered to have a facebook page where he listed his interests as “women”.
And then there’s the Jewish rabbi who murdered his wife to be free to marry his lover/secretary.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit