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Can Catholic Priests Be Married?

Throughout the Catholic Church, it is known that priests may not marry. But did you know that there are is an exception to this particular rule?

There is a loophole in Catholic rules that allow some priests to be married. If a priest or pastor in a Protestant church was already married and decides to convert to Catholicism, he is permitted to seek Catholic priesthood. 

Why is Celibacy Important?

The act of celibacy is one of the biggest acts of self-sacrifice a Catholic priest can do. Forgoing a spouse, progeny, and sex to focus on God and his relationship with Him is quite the step. According to the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, celibacy is a special gift God gives to practitioners to follow Christ’s example more closely since he was Chaste.

The Vatican finds it to be easier for unattached men to commit their lives to the church as they would have more time to devote and far fewer distractions. The earliest record of celibacy started in 205AD at the Spanish Council of Elvira when a local assembly of clergy members there met to discuss the matters of the church. (Source: The Economist)

Do Priests Have to Be Virgins?

Before celibacy was introduced, clergymen were actually married. Prior to becoming a priest and a bishop, Saint Augustine was apparently sexually active. Therefore, virginity is not a requirement at all. Even today’s rulings do not require priests to be virgins, but they need to be celibate. (Source: Boston College Libraries)

Can Married Men Be Ordained as Priests?

While celibacy is preferred, there are certain exceptions to the rule. Being celibate is more of a discipline, and this discipline can be modified depending on the need. Unlike the dogma that priests must be male, the rule on celibacy can change.

For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.

Matthew 9:12

In the earliest days of Christianity, we see that the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ were married, which was confirmed by several scriptures and passages. This simply meant that the celibacy Jesus followed was not something that was imposed upon clergymen but was something that had inspired them.

I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

1 Corinthians 7:32-34a 35

The Latin Church has allowed married men to be ordained as priests in more recent years. But it is essential to know that while married men can be ordained, a priest is never permitted to marry. The marriage must always precede the ordination. (Source: Aleteia)

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