Priests and marrige?

Simple question…(:
Is there Biblical basis for denying priests the right to be married?

Do you mean to ask if there is a Biblical basis for the Church only selecting men for the priesthood who have made the decision to renouce marriage for the sake of the Kingdom?

The answer to that would be yes.

thank you. would it be too much trouble to ask for specifics, like some books or verses :slight_smile:

A celibate clergy is a church discipline. As such this discipline can be changed, modified or exceptions granted.

This discipline has changed over time…

While celibacy is the norm, there are [today] some married clergy. Most are already married former anglican [or another protestant faith tradition] pastors who have come into full communion with the Church. They have asked for and recieved a dispensation from Rome…if there current spouses would ie [or leavethem] they would not be allowed to marry again. This is similar to the Office of deacon, they [if married] are not allowed to contract another marriage, evenif their spouse die.

That said, there is in scripture [Hebrew Texts and new Testament] high praise for those who dedicate their lives to the service of God [this is true even in the Jewish tradition] and forego the married state…this leaves them free to be in service to God’s people without the distraction of and caring [rightfully so] for the needs of spouse and children…

Recall that St. Peter and the other Apostles, the first priests, left their homes and families when Our Lord called on them to follow Him.

Excellent, thank you both.

Sorry - had to jump off for a second. Here are the passages I was thinking about from Scripture that commended the celibate state as the “higher” state spiritually…such a calling is a gift for the sake of the Kingdom of God…Matthew 19:10-12
The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”

1 Corinthians 7:32-34, 38
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord, but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband…
…So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.

I made the clarification of your question in the first response because it’s an important thing - the Catholic Church forbids no one to marry. The man who is a priest went through a discernment process. he determined that the Lord was calling him to celibacy and made a vow to God in that respect. Prior to the vow, he was certainly free to marry. (The Church commends marriage, acknowledging that the Lord raised it to a Sacrament) The Church simply selects men for the priesthood who are among those called to celibacy and have made a vow as such. Certainly they are free to marry - but know one is “free” to break a solemn vow to God.

Paul talks about this as well, as there was an early “order” of widowed women religious that did just that…notice it here:1 Timothy 5:9-12
Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband; and she must be well attested for her good deeds, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the feet of the saints, relieved the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. But refuse to enrol younger widows; for when they grow wanton against Christ they desire to marry, and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge.

That’s all for now, Peace in Christ!


And you explain I Corinthians 9:5 how?

I’m not familiar with all the different translations out there now, or the original Greek transcripts, but the Douay Rheims has this note with the verse:1 Corinthians 9:5
Have we not power to carry about a woman, a sister, as well as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

*5 “A woman, a sister”… Some erroneous translators have corrupted this text by rendering it, a sister, a wife: whereas, it is certain, St. Paul had no wife (chap. 7 ver. 7, 8) and that he only speaks of such devout women, as, according to the custom of the Jewish nation, waited upon the preachers of the gospel, and supplied them with necessaries. *

At times, such as at the earliest times, it has been possible for the Church to select already married men for the priesthood (still possible even today in certain Rites of the Church and in extraordinary cases even in the Latin Rite), but what was never “allowed” is for an already ordained man to get married. This is true even in the Eastern Rites (and still maintained by the Orthodox I believe).

This article from CA has alot of helpful information packed in a short tract…***Celibacy and the Priesthood***.

Peace in Christ,


There is no such thing as the RIGHT to be married. Not even within a secular context (no matter what homosexual agenda might say). There is only the privilege to get married.

You are correct. The Eastern Catholic Churches may ordain married men and some of them do so. It is upheld in their canon law, and in some cases in their treaties of union. The Union of Brest brought the Ukrainian Church into the Catholic Communion and listed it as article 9.

The Orthodox likewise maintain a married priesthood. Once ordained, marriage may not be undertaken. There are a few very rare exceptions that have been allowed historically, most notably in the case of a priest with young children being widowed.

A tradition of celibate priests also flourishes in the East. While most parish priests are married, celibate priests are traditionally monks. In the modern Eastern Catholic Churches, this is not always the case with some churches having celibate parish priests. Some have celibate priest-monks leading parishes as well. In both the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the bishop is chosen from the celibate clergy.

Both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches attest to the early Church’s use of celibate clergy. East and West put this into practice differently from almost the earliest times, but celibate clergy itself was never disputed.

Douay is reading late Latin practice into the text. The Fathers for instance have preserved St. Peter’s words to his wife at her martyrdom, etc…, along with the words of the bishop being the husband of one wife (no, they did NOT interpret it as meaning the Church).

I Corinthians was written by St Paul, not St Peter. St Paul never married. Notthing to do with “Late Latin practices”. You’re the one who is “reading in” something which isn’t there.

Read the quote. He mentions St. Peter by name (“Cephas”).

The fact is that marriage is discouraged for those who choose to devote their lives to serving the Lord; however, there are exceptions.

Try to think of it this way: Priests are to be available to their flock 24/7. Marriage doesn’t benefit the flock, and it wouldn’t benefit the family of the Priest, as a married man has obligations to his wife and children. It’s not fair to the parish, the wife and children, or the Priest. It only makes sense. Keep in mind, exceptions are just that, exceptions, not the norm.

When changing a discipline of the Church (or any organization for that matter), the questions always need be asked “to what end?”, that is, what is to be gained?

There is no evidence that allowing RC Priests to marry carte blanche will do anything to affect the priest shortage, or any other facet of their life.

The most ardent critics of said policy tend not to be Priests, or those considering the vocation, but outsiders who simply don’t like it.

Members of the Deaconate can be married (assuming they after post marriage), and it isn’t as though the Deaconate is busting at the seems with volunteers.

So really, we need to ask “why should the Church allow Priests to marry?”

There are legitimate and lovely reasons to have celibate clergy which can be shown through Biblical quotes and early church writings. Bashing the venerable traditions of 22 of the 23 Catholic Churches as being not beneficial, unfair. senseless, and the exception to the rule isn’t one of them.

I bashed no one, just stated a fact. Protestant ministers marry; it still isn’t fair for the family or the parish that the priest should have to divide his time that way, and the Bible makes that clear.

Why don’t you show us where the Bible makes it clear that married parish priests are unfair? That is what the OP is looking for.

Many in the early church thought that Jesus’ return was imminent and there was no point in marrying or raising families. They had no idea that it would be 2,000+ years before His return. Their understanding of the times led them to write eloquently and forcefully on the benefits of celibacy for everyone, including priests. It was a tradition of the western Church to have predominantly celibate clergy from the earliest times. At the same time, the eastern Churches did not have the same influences and they had married clergy from the earliest times. They wrote eloquently and forcefully on the benefits of married clergy. The OP is apparently aware of those writings and is unaware of the writings which extol the benefits of celibate clergy.

Instead of bashing one of the venerable traditions of the Catholic Church, you could just answer the OP’s question and provide the Biblical quotes you say you are in possession of.

Well Sherlock, all one has to do is read Mt. 19: 11-12; I Corinthians 7, and 2 Tim 2: 3-4. You might find Corinthians appealing to this cause, as St. Paul says that one should marry ony if they can’t help themselves, if they can’t keep themselves from fornication, then let him have a wife. Marriage, according to St. Paul, and Jesus, is for those who are not strong enough to remain celibate. This doesn’t mean that marriage is bad, but celibacy is the higher calling. Happy?

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