married priests

I have to admit I waver over this idea of whether or not Roman Catholic priests ought to be allowed to marry.

But here’s a situation that kind of convinces me that they ought not. From the Lutheran Church, ironically.

A coworker has spent her whole life very deeply involved in the workings of her church, an inner city Lutheran congregation. It’s old, small, struggling, and provides an enormous benefit to its neighborhood, which is notoriously ridden with drugs, violence, and poverty.

They just switched pastors. The old one, a former Catholic nun who was ordained into the Lutheran ministry and is married to a financial planner, retired several weeks ago. She and her husband are very well off, financially speaking. Which, I think, always rubbed my coworker the wrong way.

The new pastor is earning a salary of $73k. He asked the congregation for a loan so he can make a down payment on his new house, while he and his ‘partner’ put their 2,800 sq. ft. house in Maryland on the market for $412,000.

I know a 2,800 sq. ft. $400,000 house might be middle class in a lot of places, but in the church’s neighborhood $400,000 probably buys an entire city block of rowhouses, with money left over to bring them up to code.

And that’s a big reason why I think R.C. priests shouldn’t marry. How could the priest of a working class, blue collar parish have an income like that? It would never work.

on_the_hill said:

“The new pastor is earning a salary of $73k. He asked the congregation for a loan so he can make a down payment on his new house, while he and his ‘partner’ put their 2,800 sq. ft. house in Maryland on the market for $412,000.”

I lived in suburban MD for a bit and I’m actually surprised it’s such a big house for that money. It must be out in the sticks. Back in the day, I was looking at houses on literally the wrong side of the tracks for nearly $500k. It’s a different world.

“I know a 2,800 sq. ft. $400,000 house might be middle class in a lot of places, but in the church’s neighborhood $400,000 probably buys an entire city block of rowhouses, with money left over to bring them up to code.”

I would not be judgy about the old house (because $400k is often nothing in coastal areas of the US), but I would be very judgy about 1) buying a house before selling the old one and 2) approaching his blue collar congregation for the loan.

“And that’s a big reason why I think R.C. priests shouldn’t marry. How could the priest of a working class, blue collar parish have an income like that? It would never work.”

Very few parishes would be able to (or willing to) pay a “family wage.” Either the pastor would have to have a second job (which is quite common among Protestants) or Mrs. Pastor would have to bring home the bacon.

gci.org/church/ministry/bivocational

Bear in mind that priests are never going to marry, but married men can and do become priests. There is a huge difference.

FWIW, many priests are secular, not religious, and therefore do not take vows of poverty. Owning property is an entirely separate issue from being married. Over the years, I’ve come across Roman Catholic priests who owned real estate.

That does not really reflect the Lutheran pastor being married. That kind of reflects more on the Lutheran Synod he belongs to. Many synods pay their pastors out of a general fund rather than what the church brings in. Many big Episcopal Diocese do the same. In my parish, the priest gets paid party from the diocese and party from the parish. I know many Catholic priest that make a pretty penny while their parish does not. pastors and priest bascially work 24hrs a day so they should be paid for their time. The amount of income should reflect the cost of living in the area. A pastor or priest making 74k in a low cost area is kind of overkill a bit. :shrug:

We have also. We know priests who own cars, have modest homes. Etc

Who really cares how much this Lutheran pastor has to his name? What does someone else’s wealth have to do with their level of pastoral care? If this is really a problem then it speaks volumes as to how influential money is in the lives of the congregation and that they idolize money, even though they don’t have any.

Yeah I tend to agree with you. If the coworker is so concerned with the money, maybe the coworker should reflect on what he/she values in life.

Priests should be humble, thereby being an example to the faithful. Suitable housing for two people (except if children), and comfortable room for guests when hosting gatherings. I also do not believe they need to have luxury automobiles. The Church is charitable. So many poor people need to be served, especially the sick and elderly. I do not agree with Priests enriching themselves.

Whenever asked whether priests should be married or not, I always think of the following example of why I believe they should not.

A husband’s obligation as directed by God is to his family. A diocesan priest’s obligation is to his parish and parishioners. If a priest were married, what is he to do in the following circumstance?
-His wife is in labor, bringing their beautiful baby into the world. But he gets a call to administer last rites to a dying parishioner. How can he possibly be both husband and priest, and uphold his obligations to both wife and parishioner?

I know it is just one example, but to me it really highlights the conflict of being able to give of himself fully to both vocations.

Appears that even the Holy Father doesn’t believe in driving luxury cars. He has a Fiat beater with nearly 200,000 miles on it. And when he was at World Youth Day he was chauffeured in a Honda.:slight_smile:

Presumably, he is not the only Fr. for fifty miles. He should be able to call in another priest. As he would do, in any case, if he were contagiously ill, or had a flat tire, etc.

I for one have no sympathy for the drive toward a married priesthood. Celibacy is IMNAAHO a valuable witness to our sex-maddened world. But let’s not assume that all problems arising from married priests would be unique to them.

ICXC NIKA

That could be a fair assumption in most urban areas. However, many rural areas have only one priest for several parishes. For example, the nearest priest for Big Bay, Michigan lives 30 miles away with no highway to connect them.

If the Church were to come out and say, “You know what? Things need a change. We’re going to let the priests be married.” then I would just go with it. But as they stand currently, I do agree that they should remain celibate.

I’m pretty sure my married priest would go to the dying parishioner, and his wife would wholeheartedly agree with his decision. They both understand that the administration of the sacraments is the most important thing that he does. Missing a baby’s birth is not the end of the world and isn’t really something in which his presence is absolutely necessary, unlike the administration of sacraments. Let’s say he was a emergency medicine physician on the way to the hospital for his child’s birth, and he came across an accident on the way there. First responders have not yet arrived, or they are short-handed. Does he stop and give assistance? Of course he does! Yes, he and his wife will be disappointed, but these things happen. With some professions, they happen with amazing frequency.

:smiley: As a quick side note, I’ve been scratching my head trying to figure out what IMNAAHO stands for. “In My…something something something… humble opinion”… Help! :stuck_out_tongue:

He wouldn’t be the first married man to have to miss the birth of his child because of work. Honestly, being there for the birth isn’t nearly as important as being there for the next 18 years. And presumably if married men were ordained as priests there would be a larger pool of potential priests and they would be able to arrange better schedules.

Concur. Neither of my grandfathers was at the hospital when my parents were born. It wasn’t done in that generation. You were expected to stay at work until the baby was actually born.

In any case, the Eastern Catholics and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox have a largely married parish priesthood. Is there a huge crisis of Eastern and Oriental Christians being denied the Sacraments?

God Bless

In My Not At All Humble Opinion.

FWIW, I agree with you. What the Churcb says goes. But I trust that its leaders are too hardheaded to give in to the sexual revolution. IMNAAHO!

ICXC NIKA

ha! I like that! The IMNAAHO, that is. :wink: :thumbsup:

There is a huge difference. There are also married Latin rite priests today and they seem to manage somehow.

I do not imagione that the discipline of celibacy will chnage whoesale, but there will always be exceptions. I trust the bishops to discern when to allow a married man to be ordained. And then what job to assign him to afterwards…

That’s a big assumption, that a snowstorm of vocations would follow the end of celibacy. Celibacy, after all, has been around for a thousand years and the current pinch in vocations occurred only within living memory. If the pinch was not caused by celibacy, there is no argument that lifting celibacy would ease the pinch.

ISTM that once celibacy was lifted (remember, it only works from married -----> priest, not priest -------> marriage), many young men would leave formation to “find a wife.” That would worsen, not assuage, any vocational pinch.

ICXC NIKA

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