Who would decide if priests could marry?


#1

Since priestly celibacy is a discipline, it could be changed. My question is who would change it and how?

I am happy with the way things are now and am not looking to change this, I just need to know how to answer this question.

Malia


#2

Malia, that would be the bishops in union with the Holy Father.

Just to clarify: no permission will ever be given for men who are priests to marry; what could be changed is the discipline of allowing married men to become priests.


#3

[quote=FCEGM]Malia, that would be the bishops in union with the Holy Father.

Can you tell me more about the process (I am a new Catholic) or point me to an article or something that could explain how it would be decided?

Just to clarify: no permission will ever be given for men who are priests to marry; what could be changed is the discipline of allowing married men to become priests.

Yes, thanks for clarifying that. I knew that but I don’t want to mislead anyone.

Malia

[/quote]


#4

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]Since priestly celibacy is a discipline, it could be changed. My question is who would change it and how?

I am happy with the way things are now and am not looking to change this, I just need to know how to answer this question.

Malia
[/quote]

Nothing prohibits a married man from being Ordained to the priesthood. Canon Law prohibits an Ordained man from contracting Marriage. Only the Holy Father could change Canon Law to allow Ordained men to Marry.


#5

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Nothing prohibits a married man from being Ordained to the priesthood. Canon Law prohibits an Ordained man from contracting Marriage. Only the Holy Father could change Canon Law to allow Ordained men to Marry.
[/quote]

:confused: Ok, now I am confused.

It is my understanding that in the Latin Rite, married men cannot become priests (with the exception of converts to Catholicism who are already married and were pastors of another denomination).

"…The tradition in the Western or Latin-Rite Church has been for priests as well as bishops to take vows of celibacy, a rule that has been firmly in place since the early Middle Ages. Even today, though, exceptions are made. For example, there are married Latin-Rite priests who are converts from Lutheranism and Episcopalianism…"
catholic.com/library/celibacy_and_the_priesthood.asp


#6

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]:confused: Ok, now I am confused.

It is my understanding that in the Latin Rite, married men cannot become priests (with the exception of converts to Catholicism who are already married and were pastors of another denomination).

"…The tradition in the Western or Latin-Rite Church has been for priests as well as bishops to take vows of celibacy, a rule that has been firmly in place since the early Middle Ages. Even today, though, exceptions are made. For example, there are married Latin-Rite priests who are converts from Lutheranism and Episcopalianism…"
catholic.com/library/celibacy_and_the_priesthood.asp

[/quote]

A Married Lutheran clergyman or other convert to the Catholic faith is just another layman technically.

Canon 1042-1 says “The following are simply impeded from receiving orders:
1° a man who has a wife, unless he is lawfully destined for the permanent diaconate;” This indicates to me that this is something considered an irregularity and can dispensed with.

Where the wording in Canon 1087 “Those who are in sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage.” is mush stronger and would be reserved to the Holy See.


#7

:confused: All I need to know is how would the discipline of married men not being ordained be changed.

FCEGM said that it would be the bishops in union with the Holy Father. How? Who would make the initial suggestion? Would it be voted on? If so, would it be majority rules, or would it have to be unanimous?

I am sorry Br. Rich SFO, but I am just not understanding your answers.

Malia


#8

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]:confused: All I need to know is how would the discipline of married men not being ordained be changed.

[/quote]

The pope would need to change the Code of Canon Law.

As of now, when a married Anglican or married Lutheran minister becomes a Catholic, he may or may not be allowed to be ordained. I believe he would need a dispensation from his bishop if he were going to become a priest.


#9

[quote=Semper Fi]The pope would need to change the Code of Canon Law.

As of now, when a married Anglican or married Lutheran minister becomes a Catholic, he may or may not be allowed to be ordained. I believe he would need a dispensation from his bishop if he were going to become a priest.
[/quote]

I understand the permission is from Rome on the request from the local Bishop. I think there are something like 150 in the US.


#10

[quote=Semper Fi]The pope would need to change the Code of Canon Law.

[/quote]

So ultimately is it up to the Pope only? Could he change the Code of Canon Law without discussing it with anyone else?

Sorry to seem so dense, but as a new Catholic I am very unfamiliar with how the Magesterium works etc. I am only familiar with democracy.

Pretend that there was just an announcement that married men could now be ordained latin rite priests… what would it say?

Malia

Malia


#11

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]:confused: All I need to know is how would the discipline of married men not being ordained be changed.

FCEGM said that it would be the bishops in union with the Holy Father. How? Who would make the initial suggestion? Would it be voted on? If so, would it be majority rules, or would it have to be unanimous?

I am sorry Br. Rich SFO, but I am just not understanding your answers.

Malia

[/quote]

It would be up to an individual Bishop who wished to Ordain a married man to the priesthood to ask the Holy See for approval of his decision to dispense with Canon 1042-1. I do not believe a Bishop could do this on his own authority without approval of the Holy See. From what I understand that is the case when it involves converted Protestant clergy. The Holy See must approve on a case by case basis.


#12

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]So ultimately is it up to the Pope only? Could he change the Code of Canon Law without discussing it with anyone else?

Sorry to seem so dense, but as a new Catholic I am very unfamiliar with how the Magesterium works etc. I am only familiar with democracy.

Pretend that there was just an announcement that married men could now be ordained latin rite priests… what would it say?

Malia

Malia
[/quote]

Only the Pope can change the Code of Canon Law. A vote by all the other Bishops would not have any effect unless approved by the Pope. In addition the Pope could change it without consulting anyone else.

It would be a very simple document stating that Canon 1042-1 of the Code of Canon Law of the Latin Church has been changed and that having a wife is no longer an impediment to receiving Holy Orders. This would have no effect on the Canons of the Eastern Churches.

However you would not see this it would take place on a case by case basis with a Bishops request.


#13

Thank you! I think I finally understand. If the discipline were going to be changed, it would be up to the Pope.

Even if the entire Catholic population (clergy and laypersons) opposed it, he would have the ultimate decision.

Likewise, if the entire Catholic population wanted it but the Pope didn’t, it wouldn’t happen.

If I do not have this right, please tell me. If I do, I am going to use this to explain to a non-Catholic how the discipline could change.

Malia


#14

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]Thank you! I think I finally understand. If the discipline were going to be changed, it would be up to the Pope.

Even if the entire Catholic population (clergy and laypersons) opposed it, he would have the ultimate decision.

Likewise, if the entire Catholic population wanted it but the Pope didn’t, it wouldn’t happen.

If I do not have this right, please tell me. If I do, I am going to use this to explain to a non-Catholic how the discipline could change.

Malia
[/quote]

Malia,

The Code of Canon Law contains the disciplines of the day-to-day Church and you’re right, it would ultimately be up to the Pope if it were to change or not.


#15

The Pope could change it but will not in our lifetime.


#16

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]Since priestly celibacy is a discipline, it could be changed. My question is who would change it and how?

I am happy with the way things are now and am not looking to change this, I just need to know how to answer this question.

Malia
[/quote]

Pope or ecumenical council…won’t happen any time soon though. Seriously, it would be such a departure from Catholic Culture we’d be wigged out. Hello mrs Father Dave? And then how would you treat the kids and stuff at mass? Just too many things our Church isn’t used to yet…


#17

[quote=twiztedseraph]Pope or ecumenical council…won’t happen any time soon though. Seriously, it would be such a departure from Catholic Culture we’d be wigged out. Hello mrs Father Dave? And then how would you treat the kids and stuff at mass? Just too many things our Church isn’t used to yet…
[/quote]

It would not be a departure from the Catholic culture, it would be a departure from Latin culture. There are many of our Eastern Catholic brethren who are priests, have kids and are married (and are no less Catholic than you or I).

There have always been married Catholic priests, even St. Peter was married and had kids…


#18

[quote=twiztedseraph]Pope or ecumenical council…won’t happen any time soon though. Seriously, it would be such a departure from Catholic Culture we’d be wigged out. Hello mrs Father Dave? And then how would you treat the kids and stuff at mass? Just too many things our Church isn’t used to yet…
[/quote]

Honestly I haven’t put much thought into this. I assume we would deal with it in the same way the Eastern Catholics do (however that is).

I just needed to know how to answer a non-Catholic friend who has an issue with priestly celibacy. They are going to have a big problem with one man making all of the decisions, lol.

Malia


#19

[quote=Feanaro’s Wife]Honestly I haven’t put much thought into this. I assume we would deal with it in the same way the Eastern Catholics do (however that is).

I just needed to know how to answer a non-Catholic friend who has an issue with priestly celibacy. They are going to have a big problem with one man making all of the decisions, lol.

Malia
[/quote]

Malia,
Try and explain it this way. Jesus Christ is the ULTIMATE priest. He was celibate. All priests do is to try and to imitate the life of Christ, and since Jesus was celibate they try to emulate that. St. Paul spoke very highly of celibacy, going as far as saying that if you’re not married, to not get married and to focus your life on Christ. See 1 Corinthians Chapter 7.

1: Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2: Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3: Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4: The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5: Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
6: But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
7: For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
8: I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
9: But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

God bless,


#20

I just needed to know how to answer a non-Catholic friend who has an issue with priestly celibacy. They are going to have a big problem with one man making all of the decisions, lol.

Just tell them we have a ton of married priests, which is true, and watch the confusion on their faces :stuck_out_tongue:

When they object and say they always heard that Catholic Priests can’t be married, just say “Yeah, most Latin Catholic priests can’t be” and again watch the confusion :stuck_out_tongue:

When they push the issue, say “I really don’t understand the confusion. Catholic Priests can be married, and many are, just normally not Latin Catholic Priests” :rotfl:

Of course I later go on to explain the differences between the different rites, and the different Churches within the Catholic Church. I just find that the above approach is a good way to jolt people out of their preconceived notions about Catholicism, and leaves them going “wow, I didn’t know anything about you guys!” That, I find, is a much better place to begin :slight_smile:

The problem is that often in directly answering faulty objections, one can subconciously reinforce the practice of making such faulty assumptions, even while taking down particular ones. The quicker you can get them to abandon all faulty objections, and start from scratch learning about the Church, the much more fruitful, and enjoyable, the conversations are in my experience.

Peace and God’s love!


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