I have been think about this and I am just wondering what other’s think. I wonder if be allowing married Priest if it would help with the shortage of preist. I guess I am confused on why priest can’t be married also. Any thoughts?
God does not need quantity …He needs quality.
God was able to move a nation out of the hands of the Egyptians and through a dessert and made them His own through the hands of one faithful man… Moses.
It IS permissible to allow priests to marry. There is nothing theologically wrong with it. It’s simply a discipline of the church not to permit them (in most every case) to marry at this point in history.
The priests are EXTREMELY busy right now due to a shortage… and you want to increase quantity and have these men juggle a family and church (and all that entails) ?
I know a priest who runs a school and works a large parish and IF HE’S lucky …eats dinner around 11 if he can stay awake to cook.
I myself was considering priesthood ever since kindergarten and married a few years ago in my mid 20’s. The idea of religious life still is very appealing to me. But I can honestly say… knowing what it means to be a priest and what it takes to be a holy priest … I would NEVER take up the life of being a priest and a husband and father! never never never…it wouldin’t be fair. Our priests need to be completely dedicated (body, mind heart and soul) to their people…it should be the same for a husband and father to his family…it would be totally unfair.
The priest IS married, to the Church, just like Jesus Christ. Christ is the groom, the Church is bride. That’s why the priest isn’t married to a woman, he already has a spouse!
So would you say that Eastern Catholics and Anglican Use priests are bigamists?
married men can be priest, but a priest cannot be married anymore
The Ortodoxs will allow a married man to become an ordained priest but will not allow an ordained priest to marry.
AND they will only allow unmarried priests to become Bishops.
True but that doesn’t answer Elizium’s question. Fr. Jones mentioned the Church=spouse therefore no more wife. However, Elizium’s question is fair because it did not address bishops. Fr. Jones’ response was specific to priests and yes, Eastern Catholic and some Latin priests such as those ordained under the Pastoral Provision and Anglican Ordinariates are indeed married, in confirmity with ancient tradition. Yet none of us would say that they are bigamists.
It is a fact that celibacy is cherished throughout ALL apostolic churches but given that the Church herself is permissive when it comes to ordaining married men as priests, this reasoning of church=spouse therefore no wife isn’t really suitable to explain the norm of Latin celibacy, especially given that there are married Latin priests. Or at least, that’s how I read Elizium’s question.
Priests can marry. The only reason that some (not all) Latin Rite priests are not married is a matter of discipline, and so can be changed. There are many good reasons, both theological and practical, for priests not to marry, and likewise there are some good reasons for priests to be married. However, I don’t think making the vocation to the priesthood more attractive is one of them. The lack of vocations in our society isn’t a marriage issue, it’s a faith issue.
No, it wouldn’t increase the number of vocations. The #1 reason given for why someone didn’t choose the priesthood is not celibacy, but because nobody ever seriously asked them to consider the priesthood. Too many people are pushed into dating and marriage as if there were no other options. And with parents having fewer children, they want grandkids and are less likely to encourage their 1-2 children to discern a vocation.
I would just say that it is like trying to carry 2 full time jobs that both require AND mandate extra hours also.
It is very very hard to carry them both well.
And the Church having discerned Jesus’s own words as well as that of the Apostles on the subject takes them very seriously.
That is why it prefers to have celibate priests.
My very much Catholic pastor is very much married. His wife and children sat behind me today at liturgy. He was married before ordination.
Rome doesn’t want cradle Roman Rite Catholic men having the dual vocation, but the Churches in Union with Rome mostly allow married priests.
And there are actually quite a few former protestant preachers who are now Roman Rite priests, as well.
The restriction, dating to the 200’s, is that no man ordained a priest or deacon may contract a new marriage; a married man CAN be ordained.
I have mixed feelings about the question of married priests.
The main (and perhaps only) reason I can think of in favour is that we ask a lot of our priests and demanding celibacy on top of that is harsh.
I can think of lots of reasons against having married priests. From a purely practical point of view, the main reason is that we can’t afford them.
I am a priest, and I don’t find the discipline of celibacy particularly harsh (@ AuntyP :)).
I think the original question has been mostly answered already. I just wanted to add that I think we can approach the issue from a better angle.
It is not a question of whether priests can marry: in no part of the Catholic Church may an already ordained priest contract a marriage (at least without prior laicization).
Instead, it is a question of who is chosen to be ordained. In the Eastern Churches, both married and celibate men may be chosen to be priests. Only celibate men may be ordained bishops.
In the Western Church (with a few exceptions, as was mentioned), priests are chosen only from among celibate men.
My point is that celibacy is not an obligation imposed “on top of” the priesthood; rather, the priesthood is one of the possibilities for those who are called to a life of celibacy.
Father Louis Melahn, L.C.
Thank you, Imelahn, for the clarification. I thank God for your vocation and for all the priests He calls to serve us.
Well, think about this: If a priest was married, he would be so worried about his wife and children that he would barely have any time to focus on his parish duties. If you enforce celibacy, the priest can dedicate his entire life to Christ, not only part of it.
The reason Latin rite priests and bishops are celibate is because Jesus Christ was celibate. He came not to be an earthly father, but to give himself completely to his bride, the Church. It really is just that simple.
The Eastern rite had difficulty with priests maintaining the discipline so they allowed earthly marriage among the presbyterate, but not among their Bishops, who are required to be celibate.
Aside from the time factor, think about the cost factor. Very many parishes have trouble maintaining buildings and supporting celibate priests. How on earth could those parishes support a wife and children, including the cost of housing the family and educating the children? For starters, they would need to be two-car families. Most people I hear advocating for married priests think long and hard about contributing a penny to parish funds. The chance of them doubling or even trebling their own contribution is zilch, never mind making up the shortfall for parishioners who can’t afford to contribute.
That is a good reason, too. I went to an Orthodox church for awhile, and the Orthodox priests lived in nice houses. This is because their wives had good salaries. Plus, the priest worked as a paramedic during the week. But I guess this doesn’t work for Latin priests, since Latin priests have day-to-day parish duties, unlike Orthodox priests.
Doesn’t work that way in practice.
My father is a (retired) Roman Church Deacon. When he was ordained, his time at the church amounted to an extra half-time job above his day job. At no point was it a problem of family preventing service to the church. (The biggest problem was people’s change in attitude towards me.) But prior to the Deacon program, Dad was already spending 20 hours a week at the church…
Married priests generally will not have day jobs separate from the parish. The children will be able to be around, as the rectories are generally on the parish grounds, so, if a parental action is needed, they are likely to be present.
Does it change the priest-parish relationship? Yes, but not much. So does having a priest in a wheelchair, or a priest with a major health issue.