This article was shard through the SBCC Men’s Ministry of Faith and Fellowship:
Will Married Priests Solve the Vocations Problem?
The Dangers and Challenges of Changing the Church’s Discipline
By Father Dwight Longenecker
ROME, July 07, 2014 (Zenit.org) –
Married priests? I am one.
As a former Anglican minister, I have been ordained as a Catholic priest under a special measure called the Pastoral Provision. Through this process a married man who has been ordained in the Anglican (and sometimes Lutheran and Methodist churches) is granted a dispensation from the vow of celibacy in order to be ordained as a Catholic priest.
Therefore I am frequently asked, “Father, you are so good with the children, and you understand marriage first hand. Don’t you think the church should allow priests to marry?”
First of all there are some distinctions to be made. Celibacy for priests is a discipline of the church, not a doctrine. That is why exceptions can be made and the rule could be changed. However, if it is changed that doesn’t mean that priests can be married. The Church continues to uphold the fine and ancient tradition of priestly celibacy and a priest has taken a vow of celibacy which is life long and cannot be broken.
The Eastern Orthodox discipline is that married men may be ordained, but priests may not marry. In other words, if you’re already married you may be considered for ordination, but if you’re an unmarried priest you may not marry. This would seem to be in accord with St Paul’s instructions to single men that they “remain as he is” (I Cor. 7.25-27) and his instructions to Timothy on the other hand, that bishops and deacons should be the husband of one wife.(I Tim. 3)
That is to say men who are already married to only one woman (he forbids polygamy) may be considered worthy of ordination. It is the discipline of the Western Church that clerics are celibate, but it is a discipline which could be changed. Paul himself says in I Cor. 7.25 that his opinion that the unmarried remain so is not mandated from the Lord, and implies that it could be changed.
Should it be changed? Should we allow married men to be ordained?
For the rest of this article go to: