Outcomes of priestly celibacy

What are the expected outcomes of priestly celibacy (outside religious orders), how are these outcomes measured, and to what extent are they achieved?

The Eastern Churches provide a good control group, as would parts of the Anglican Church, but I have not heard of any study along these lines. Is there one?

Without stating my personal views on mandatory celibacy. Here is what I know, In the latin rite, priests have a lot of duties to their parish, such as saying mass daily, lots of administrative work, spiritual guidance appointments, hospital visits, ect. They are on call 24/7. So balancing a family and priestly ministry iwould be difficult for some like myself who are discerning.

Most other rites, and denominations do not have daily mass, and they are probably not used by their congregants the same way a Latin rite priet is used.

However, there are no theological objections to married men becoming priests, rather it is a church law. I think there are some men who are capable, and some who are not like me.

I wouldn't use the word 'outcome' in respect of celibacy, since there aren't any physical outcomes to measure - i.e. a celibate person obviously does not get married or have children to show for the decision to be celibate.

If what you're interested in is the reasons behind celibacy, then that's different.

Celibacy offers a person the opportunity to offer themselves without encumbrance to the service of the community they support. For a priest it means, in a practical sense, that when a member of his flock is taken ill he can respond at once at a time of day where otherwise a family man would find it inconvenient or impossible to leave his children. It means he can dedicate the energies he would expend upon caring for a wife at all times to caring for any of the people of his flock when they need it most.

Furthermore, it allows him to change his focus from being just the immediate people around him to hundreds or thousands of people. He becomes more attuned to the needs of the many rather than the needs of the few.

Celibacy as a discipline supports rather than hinders the demands placed upon a priest. It is essential, for the most part, and a great enabler for him. It gives him a freedom that a married man would never have.

[quote="DarrenOglesby, post:2, topic:271598"]
Without stating my personal views on mandatory celibacy. Here is what I know, In the latin rite, priests have a lot of duties to their parish, such as saying mass daily, lots of administrative work, spiritual guidance appointments, hospital visits, ect. They are on call 24/7. So balancing a family and priestly ministry iwould be difficult for some like myself who are discerning.

Most other rites, and denominations do not have daily mass, and they are probably not used by their congregants the same way a Latin rite priet is used.

However, there are no theological objections to married men becoming priests, rather it is a church law. I think there are some men who are capable, and some who are not like me.

[/quote]

Just one bit of correction.

They are not on call 24/7.

It isn't just practical as some have said. Secular priests, like us religious, are meant to show a foretaste of heaven where there will be no marriage; giving the totally of their love to the Church, priests manifest being an Alter Christus in a radical way outside of the sacraments by having in tehir flesh the marital union of Christ and the Church; and then we go to saint Paul who suggested it so that priests are fully dedicated to God.

Such arguments are not necessary, but show theological, not just practical, reasoning behind the law of the Latin Church.

Hopefully that helps.

One of the outcomes, anecdotally, that I have seen in the Anglican "control group" is a phenomenally high divorce rate among their clergy.

[quote="MPSchneiderLC, post:5, topic:271598"]
It isn't just practical as some have said. Secular priests, like us religious, are meant to show a foretaste of heaven where there will be no marriage; giving the totally of their love to the Church, priests manifest being an Alter Christus in a radical way outside of the sacraments by having in tehir flesh the marital union of Christ and the Church; and then we go to saint Paul who suggested it so that priests are fully dedicated to God.

Such arguments are not necessary, but show theological, not just practical, reasoning behind the law of the Latin Church.

Hopefully that helps.

[/quote]

That is part of the problem.

That is the using of such theological arguments. The Latin Church is not the only Church. Other Catholic Churches have a long standing tradition of a married secular priesthood.

I believe this is a blurring of the lines between religious life and the secular priesthood in the Latin Church.

At least one attempt was made to study the "expected outcomes" of celibacy, published in an article by Don Swenson, "Religious Differences Between Married and Celibate Clergy: Does Celibacy Make a Difference?" in Sociology of Religion (1998) (Full text access to the article is restricted to participating libraries and universities). He tried to assess whether there was a difference between celibate and married pastors as regards devotion to Christ and the ability to devote themselves to parishioners, and found no statistical difference between them in these regards. Though he found that the celibates prayed more and more often, he did not seem to consider that as a reason in favor of celibacy. The main problem with the study is that he did not compare celibate and married priests, but compared celibate Catholic priests with evangelical pastors, which naturally brings in a lot of extra variables.

Some other comments and description of the article here: Empirical Comparison of Celibate and Married Clergy

There were also differences in parochial commitment. They weren't significant, but they likely would be in a larger sample. 2/3 constructs different out of 4 potential differences is significant.

There is also the social groupings and politics. Whoever a priest marries is likely to be seen as the model for women; Mary is known largely because of Christ, Hillary Clinton largely because of Bill. Yet, he may get married for reasons that have little to do with good character. He may do things because of his wife's pressure. And if they got divorced, would the church pay child support or alimony? Will a woman go to confession of her sexual sins to a priest that she will end up dating?

Seattle megachurch pastor sparks controversy over detailed sex book he wrote with his wife. religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/06/pastors-detailed-book-on-sex-divides-reviewers-sparks-controversy/?hpt=hp_bn8

The biggest outcome is in the # of saints. By and large, most saints have been single, even from the days in when priests could get married.

*Evolving Visions of the Orthodox Priesthood in America * www.orthodoxinstitute.org/files/HighlightsBrochure.pdf

Here are some stats on Orthodox priests: 45% of OCA priests think providing financially for their family is a problem. 62% think clergy divorce and remarriage of divorced priests is a problem. 82% said they need more time to spend with family. 68% of GOA and 82% of OCA priests do not think marriage should be allowed after ordination.

I don't know if this really needs pointing out, but it seems to me that contemporary pop culture overly exalts sex. So the hidden assumption in the OP's question is that sex is enormously important.

To my view, this pop culture acclaim of sex really shows the unraveling of our culture, with mere sex being one of the few things people pay much attention to.

[quote="ByzCath, post:7, topic:271598"]
That is part of the problem.

That is the using of such theological arguments. The Latin Church is not the only Church. Other Catholic Churches have a long standing tradition of a married secular priesthood.

I believe this is a blurring of the lines between religious life and the secular priesthood in the Latin Church.

[/quote]

My argument was to prove that single life is the prefered state for priests. I think LovePatience showed that even priests in Eastern Chrisitan Churches (Catholic or Orthodox) tend that direction. Obviously this is not doctrine. The Western Church has chosen to make this preference mandatory (at least in general, those Anglican "priests" converting will keep their wives).

As for the blurring of lines between Religious and secular clergy, I think this is mainly a problem that religious have when we don't stay to our specific mission and try to be too much of just another priest. All religious communities have a specific mission that is different from secular priests that should distinguish them - not just celebacy.

Both East and West have had priests and monks (religious) from near the beginning. However, only in the Latin Church was their a later development of apostolic religious communities. (I am not a good enough historian to tell if celebacy for secular clergy was a factor but it may have been considering such communities came after this was the discipline.) Personally this is important because I doubt I could survive well as a monk in silence or a secular cleric.

[quote="MPSchneiderLC, post:11, topic:271598"]
My argument was to prove that single life is the prefered state for priests.

[/quote]

The preferred state for eparchial (diocesen) priests in the Byzantine Tradition is married.

This is why I disagree with your argument.

[quote="ByzCath, post:12, topic:271598"]
The preferred state for eparchial (diocesen) priests in the Byzantine Tradition is married.

[/quote]

I was unaware. The eastern rite I have had most contact with are the Ukranians who have some celebate diocesan clergy that the laity I knew appreciated and showed a special respect for.

Could you explain this preference a little better? Is it basically required before ordination?

I find a theological preference hard to see given the theolgical arguments for celebacy. I could see a practical preference. I could also she how they could be considered equal options theologically.

Could you please help me to understand better? I have a great respect for the other rites, I just have never had time to study some of the intricacies they have.

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