Priest has adopted son?


I am confused. I was at mass last sunday and found out that the priest had an adopted son- isn’t this against canon law. I’m really confused. thanks!


Who knows - perhaps he adopted the child before he became a priest? I’m sure it’s the sort of Canon Law that can be dispensed from in any event, as the requirement to be celibate can be (in some situations) for married convert priests who wish to become Catholic priests.


That is possible, I have heard of one myself who has two adopted children and is a full time practicing doctor to support himself and them as well as a beach house and sports car. He is not a parish priest, but does sometimes celebrate Mass when the local priests are away.


My understanding is that priestly celebacy is not actually law, but tradition and as such can be excepted with the proper permissions. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I will speak up on this.


Sorry, but its more than a simple tradition (with a small “t”). It is in fact written into the 1983 Code of Canon Law:

Canon 277 §1 Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and are therefore bound to celibacy. Celibacy is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can more easily remain close to Christ with an undivided heart, and can dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and their neighbor.

It appears in the 1917 Code as well, and in numerous other older documents. If you really need them, I’ll go through them, although I really don’t think that its necessary.

That, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue raised in this post. The issue is whether a priest can have an adopted child. Nothing outright prohibits it, but I think that the Local Ordinary would have to approve.


What could possibly be wrong with a priest adopting a son? :confused:

I know it has happened many times.

Sets a fine example for the rest of us BTW.


One of our priests had been in the seminary as a young man and decided against. He re-entered the seminary later in life, after retiring from a ‘civilian’ job. He had adopted and raised eight Filipino boys. When he was ordained one of the boys was still living with him (along with his wife and son). Father “Grandpa” loves his sons and grandchildren very much. Now he has moved his mother here from their home state and she lives in the house next door to him.


The vow of celebacy is not broken by by adoption.


Just a random thought: The son could also be the child of relatives or close friends who have passed away unexpectedly.

Also, in the Latin Diocese with in which I reside geographically there is a priest who has a wife and his own kids. Not surprisingly, he is a convert from Anglicanism. There may be a law on the books requiring celibacy, but it comes of of a tradition of the Latin Rite. It is not an essential requirement for the the sacrament of Ordination to the Priesthood like being male would be. It is rule that can be suspended though a dispensation.

God Bless!


adopting a child has nothing to do with celibacy, which is the state of remaining unmarried (and of course chaste for that state of life).

a priest can adopt if he has permission from his bishop or superior and meets guidelines of the civil authority and adoption agency


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