why can bishops not marry?

1 Timothy 3:2 states that bishops should be married only once. How does the church reconcile this scripture with church teaching that bishops remain celibate
Thank you for your answer.

The passage you cite is indeed a restriction, but not in the manner you are claiming. It states that a bishop should be “married only once.” It does not say he must be married, it only states that he should not be married more than once. The passage is setting the ground rules for a kind of ancient “background check.” The first Christians wanted to be sure that they only picked their community leaders whose lives would be no cause for scandal.

As often as this passage is thrown at Catholics, the same misinterpretation could be thrown at non-Catholic groups. After all, how many of them would actually forbid a widowed church leader to remarry? That would, technically, be a violation of the same interpretation.

The letter to Timothy continues on to say: “He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity…” Under the literalist interpretation if a married man is without children, he cannot be a bishop.

Recommended: Celibacy and the Priesthood

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