Was St. Paul married?

I work with an ex-Catholic who preaches in his Protestant church. He insists that Catholics should allow married priests and states that St. Paul, as a Pharissee, was required to be married. Therefore, St. Paul was married. Is this true?

While being married would have been customary or common, I can find no evidence that it was required to be a member of the Pharisees.

St. Paul wrote:

Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do…

  • 1 Cor 7:8

Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a Christian wife, as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? …If we have sown spiritual seed for you, is it a great thing that we reap a material harvest from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more? … I have not used any of these rights…

  • 1 Cor 4-5, 11-12, 15

Paul quite clearly states he is unmarried at the time of his writing. The only two possible interpretations are that Paul was either never married or was a widower before his conversion and never remarried.

Now, on to your friend’s main point about clerical celibacy. There are married Catholic priests. They exist in the Eastern Catholic Churches, in the Latin Church when certain married Protestant ministers convert to become Catholic priests, and in the Anglican Ordinariate. Celibacy is not a Church doctrine, it is a discipline which could be changed at some point if the Church wanted to do so.

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