No, Catholic priests are typically required to be celibate and unmarried before ordination. However, there are exceptions for certain circumstances, such as when married Anglican or Protestant clergy convert to Catholicism and are later ordained as priests.
Detailed answer question
Catholic priests are typically required to be celibate and unmarried before ordination. This long-standing tradition within the Catholic Church reflects the belief that priests should fully dedicate themselves to serving God and the Church without the distractions and obligations of married life. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
One significant exception is when married Anglican or Protestant clergy convert to Catholicism and are later ordained as priests. In 1980, Pope John Paul II introduced the pastoral provision, allowing for the ordination of married former clergy from other Christian denominations. This provision was intended to accommodate the desire of married Anglican clergy, who were seeking unity with the Catholic Church.
Another exception can be found in the Eastern Catholic Churches, which are in full communion with the Pope and follow their own distinct traditions. In these Eastern Churches, married men can be ordained as priests, but only before their marriage. Once ordained, they are not allowed to marry or remarry in the event of a spouse’s death.
While these exceptions exist, they are not the norm within the Latin or Western Catholic Church. Regarding this matter, Cardinal Celso Costantini, a prominent Italian Catholic prelate, once stated, “The tradition of clerical continence and celibacy is an ancient one, and it is continually reaffirmed.” This statement reflects the overall stance of the Catholic Church on celibacy and priesthood.
Here are some interesting facts regarding this topic:
- Celibacy was not formally required for Catholic priests until the Second Lateran Council in 1139. Prior to this, there were married priests within the Church.
- The idea of celibacy in the priesthood can be traced back to the early days of Christianity when some apostles, like Peter, were believed to have been married, while others, like Paul, were not.
- Some Eastern Catholic Churches, such as the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, allow married men to become priests, even in the Latin Rite jurisdictions where celibacy is the norm.
- In the 1960s, the Second Vatican Council discussed the possibility of allowing married men to become priests in certain circumstances but ultimately maintained the celibacy requirement.
An illustrative table on the topic could be:
|Majority of Catholic priests||Celibate and unmarried before ordination|
|Married Anglican or Protestant clergy converting to Catholicism||Exceptions made, married clergy can be ordained|
|Eastern Catholic Churches||Married men can be ordained, but must be before marriage|
Overall, while the majority of Catholic priests are required to practice celibacy, there are exceptions for certain circumstances, such as the conversion of married Anglican or Protestant clergy. The Catholic Church maintains a longstanding tradition of clerical celibacy, emphasizing the dedication and commitment of priests to their religious vocation.
See related video
Bishop Barron responds to the question of why Catholicism doesn’t allow women priests by explaining that power in the Church stems from being a saint rather than an institutional matter. He cites examples of powerful Catholic women saints who allowed the power of Christ to work through them and emphasizes that anyone, regardless of gender, can strive to be a saint and channel the power to change the world. He also clarifies that priests exist to serve the laity and help them become holy, underscoring the Church’s purpose of making saints.
Other responses to your question
Throughout the Catholic Church, East as well as West, a priest may not marry. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, a married priest is one who married before being ordained. The Catholic Church considers the law of clerical celibacy to be not a doctrine, but a discipline.
Moreover, people are interested
Can you be married and then become a Catholic priest?
Answer: "Voluntary celibacy is not a solution," he said. The Catholic Church already allows some married men to be ordained priests. Protestant married priests who convert to Catholicism can continue to be married and be a Roman Catholic priest, providing they have their wives’ permission.
Can a priest have been married before?
Response will be: Priests may marry prior to ordination, but not after. If their spouse should die, they may not remarry. Furthermore, bishops are chosen from the ranks of celibate clergy. However, the vast majority of Roman Catholics follow the Western or Latin Rite.
Can a Catholic priest leave the priesthood and get married?
After years serving as a priest in the Catholic Church, Mike Tynan decided he wanted instead to get married and start a family of his own. But Catholic priests aren’t allowed to do either, so he chose to leave the church instead.
When were Catholic priests forbidden to marry?
As an answer to this: The final document made clear that many participants of the synod were in favour of broadening the scope of its recommendations to the rest of the Roman Catholic church. The universal requirement to celibacy was imposed upon the clergy with force in 1123 and again in 1139.