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Debate: Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?

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===Background and context=== ===Background and context===
-Catholic Priests are not allowed to marry. The general premise put forward by the Catholic Church to Justify this policy is that it forces priests to fully commit to God and their priesthood, without the distraction of a wife, kids, and family. Yet, many have begun to question this practice. Many simply argue that it is unnatural and harmful to suppress one's sexual urges and desire to find a life partner. The effect of such suppression can be unfortunate, with many arguing that it creates the nefarious impulse to sexually molest young boys in the church. And, it is the controversy surrounding the fairly widespread molestation of young boys by priests that has brought special attention to whether it is a good idea to prevent priests from marrying. +Catholic Priests are not allowed to marry. [[Image:Catholic Priests.jpg|right|120px]]The general premise put forward by the Catholic Church to justify this policy is that it forces[[Image:Vatican.jpg|left|200px]] priests to fully commit to God and their priesthood, without the distraction of a wife, kids, and family. Yet, many have begun to question this practice. Many simply argue that it is unnatural and harmful to suppress one's sexual urges and desire to find a life partner. There are many examples of Catholic priests falling in love, engaging in romantic affairs, and subsequently coming under scrutiny and derision for doing so. Many also argue that the sexual suppression resulting from celibacy creates the nefarious impulse to molest young boys in the Church. As such cases of sexual molestation have proven widespread in the Catholic Church, many believe that it is time for the Church to re-assess its celibacy policies. Other considerations surround whether celibacy is divine law and doctrine, or simply a Church discipline that can be un-done. As the number of Catholic priests dwindle, many also wonder whether celibacy is the cause, and if allowing priests to marry would increase vocations.
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=== Church: Does celibacy hurt/help priests perform duties to the Church? === === Church: Does celibacy hurt/help priests perform duties to the Church? ===
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
-*'''Marriage and family do not distract from priesthood.''' Thomas DeMatteo, a non-practicing Catholic from Dingmans Ferry, Delaware, USA: "There are pastors and ministers who are allowed to marry and it doesn't affect their job in doing God's work. I really don't see a problem with priests being able to wed."[http://media.www.tchnews.com/media/storage/paper840/news/2007/03/26/Opinion/Should.Priests.Be.Permitted.To.Marry-2790011.shtml]+*'''[[Argument: Marriage and family do not distract from priesthood| Marriage and family do not distract from priesthood]]''' Thomas DeMatteo, a non-practicing Catholic from Dingmans Ferry, Delaware, USA: "There are pastors and ministers who are allowed to marry and it doesn't affect their job in doing God's work. I really don't see a problem with priests being able to wed."[http://media.www.tchnews.com/media/storage/paper840/news/2007/03/26/Opinion/Should.Priests.Be.Permitted.To.Marry-2790011.shtml]
*'''[[Argument: Married priests could better consult married churchgoers| Married priests could better consult married churchgoers]]''' Priests are counselors in many ways, counseling individuals on their lives and how they can better reach God. Because marriage is such an important part of living a moral life, it would be valuable for priests to be married so that they can better understand their married churchgoers and provide better counseling as a result. *'''[[Argument: Married priests could better consult married churchgoers| Married priests could better consult married churchgoers]]''' Priests are counselors in many ways, counseling individuals on their lives and how they can better reach God. Because marriage is such an important part of living a moral life, it would be valuable for priests to be married so that they can better understand their married churchgoers and provide better counseling as a result.
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*'''[[Statements that Catholic priests should be allowed to marry]]''' Bishop McMahon: "There is no reason why priests shouldn't be allowed to marry. It has always been a matter of discipline rather than doctrine."[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/3406108/Catholic-Church-has-no-reason-to-stop-priests-from-marrying-says-leading-bishop.html] *'''[[Statements that Catholic priests should be allowed to marry]]''' Bishop McMahon: "There is no reason why priests shouldn't be allowed to marry. It has always been a matter of discipline rather than doctrine."[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/3406108/Catholic-Church-has-no-reason-to-stop-priests-from-marrying-says-leading-bishop.html]
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 +*'''[[Argument: Celibacy forces priests to live lonely life; bad for Church| Celibacy forces priests to live lonely life; bad for Church]]''' [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article577213.ece Ann Bain. "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online, Comment. October 11, 2005]: "Of course priests should be allowed to marry. There is nothing sadder than seeing an old priest live out his days with no family of his own; the zeal and fervour of youth has gone and ahead, loneliness."
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-====Con====+====Con====
-*'''[[Argument: Celibate priests avoid being torn between God and family| Celibate priests avoid being torn between God and family]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31091-2004Nov6.html Andrea Lemieux. "Should Roman Catholic Priests Be Allowed to Marry?". Washington Post. November 7, 2004]: "Roman Catholic priests should not be allowed to be married. They are to be Christ's earthly representatives, to live as He did, and that cannot be done with a wife in tow. When a priest takes his vows, he consecrates his life completely to God and forsakes all earthly attachments. A man cannot serve two masters, and it would be far too easy to follow a wife's wishes over God's."+*'''[[Argument: Celibate priests avoid being torn between God and family| Celibate priests avoid being torn between God and family]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31091-2004Nov6.html Andrea Lemieux. "Should Roman Catholic Priests Be Allowed to Marry?". Washington Post. November 7, 2004]: "Roman Catholic priests should not be allowed to be married. They are to be Christ's earthly representatives, to live as He did, and that cannot be done with a wife in tow. When a priest takes his vows, he consecrates his life completely to God and forsakes all earthly attachments. A man cannot serve two masters, and it would be far too easy to follow a wife's wishes over God's [...] I personally love having a non-married priesthood. I never have to worry about whether I am taking away from a child's time, or a wife's time, if I call up with an emergency."
-:''Unmarried 1 Corinthians 7:32b–35 NIV'': "An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."[http://patrickoneil.blogspot.com/2006/02/why-dont-catholic-priests-marry.html]+:[http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article577213.ece "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online. October 11, 2005]: "A good friend of mine is a Pastor for the Church on Scotland and I know how he struggles in his marriage as well as in his community as he feels he can't be totally devoted to any of them. Name and address withheld."
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 +:[http://www.pearlsofnonsense.com/2009/05/12/should-catholic-priests-be-allowed-to-marry-i-dont-think-so.html "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry? I don’t think so." Pearls of Nonsense. May 12th, 2009]: "I’m no theologian, but it seems there are two main ways we Catholic faithful share in the Church’s mission as adults: through marriage and family life, or through religious and clerical life. Since both vocations require a lifelong, full-time commitment, it seems unreasonable to expect anyone to do both at the same time. For example, if a priest were also a husband and father, and he had to choose between the needs of the Church and the needs of his wife and children, who would come first? Or, similarly, if a nun were also a wife and mother? There’s no obviously correct answer, so the preferable thing to do is avoid the question."
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-=== Vocations: Would allowing priests to marry increase vocations? ===+===Religious doctrine: Would allowing priests to marry comply with religious doctrine? ===
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
-*'''[[Argument: Priests should be allowed to marry to increase vocations| Priests should be allowed to marry to increase vocations]]''' [http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/05/15/cozzens.celibacy.discussion/ Rev. Donald Cozzens. "Commentary: Celibacy should be rethought". CNN. May 15, 2009]: "For some years now I've been teaching in the religious studies department at John Carroll University in Cleveland. I've asked dozens of serious, healthy young students if they have given any thought to being a priest. They seem flattered by the question. With only one exception, each has answered, "Yes, I've thought about being a priest, but I want a family. [...] There are, of course, other factors, urgent and pressing, that will keep the celibacy issue alive. The Catholic priesthood is aging. The average age of active priests hovers at 60, and if retired priests are factored in, it is considerably higher. Moreover, Catholic seminaries are lucky to be half full. [...] Parish staffing challenges alone will press for a review of the celibacy rule. Catholic bishops simply do not have enough priests to meet the pastoral and sacramental needs of the Catholic faithful. Closing and merging parishes may offer some temporary relief for overworked priests, but the shortfall of priests will continue to challenge the vitality of Catholic parishes and the health of Catholic clergy for decades to come."+*'''[[Argument: Celibacy is not divine law, only Church law| Celibacy is not divine law, only Church law]]''' [http://www.theage.com.au/news/Opinion/Church-will-benefit-if-priests-are-able-to-marry/2005/01/30/1107020254938.html Muriel Porter. "Church will benefit if priests are able to marry". The Age. January 31, 2005]: "Unlike the issue of women priests, which the Pope has declared to be theologically impossible, the celibacy requirement is not a matter of church doctrine. Rather, it is a discipline only formally imposed on the clergy in 1139, when a church council declared clerical marriage invalid. What the church has banned, the church can restore."
 +*'''[[Argument: Priestly celibacy is unnatural| Priestly celibacy is unnatural]]''' [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article577213.ece Adrian Ryan. "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online, Comment. October 11, 2005]: "Celibacy is an unnatural state. How can a priest be expected to advise on the complexities of a normal marital relationship when he himself is utterly ignorant? It is only natural that a priest would want to marry, have a family and experience the love, affection, and fulfillment that marriage can bring. It is high time that the Church recognised and encouraged it. Adrian Ryan, Ardara, Ireland."
 +*'''[[Argument: Men inclined to love/marry should not be forbidden priesthood| Men inclined to love/marry should not be forbidden priesthood]]''' [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article577213.ece Oliveiro Vernie. "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online. October 11, 2005]: "It is ridiculous to bar a man from becoming or being a priest simply because he has happened to fall deeply in love with a woman."
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 +====Con====
- +*'''[[Argument: Bible clearly and rationally forbids priests from marrying| Bible clearly and rationally forbids priests from marrying]]''' ''Unmarried 1 Corinthians 7:32b–35 NIV'': "An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."[http://patrickoneil.blogspot.com/2006/02/why-dont-catholic-priests-marry.html]
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-*'''[[Argument: Allowing priests to marry would not increase vocations| Allowing priests to marry would not increase vocations]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31091-2004Nov6.html Kathryn Nicole Stockhausen. "Should Roman Catholic Priests Be Allowed to Marry?". Washington Post. November 7, 2004]: "I have heard some who state that it would lead to an increase in vocations, but there is not a single piece of statistical data to prove that. Of those who have contemplated a vocation to the priesthood, very few have stated that a vow of celibacy was a stumbling block that they could not overcome. In fact, I have known of many ordained individuals who see celibacy as a blessing, and as a way to allow them to focus more on their vocation of service to others and to the church."+
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===Tradition: Is it wrong to maintain the ''tradition'' of Catholic priest celibacy? === ===Tradition: Is it wrong to maintain the ''tradition'' of Catholic priest celibacy? ===
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*'''[[Argument: Catholic Church did not adopt celibacy until second millennium| Catholic Church did not adopt celibacy until second millennium]]''' [http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/05/15/cozzens.celibacy.discussion/ Rev. Donald Cozzens. "Commentary: Celibacy should be rethought". CNN. May 15, 2009]: "More and more Catholics today are coming to understand that celibacy as a universal law for priests had its origins in the 12th century and that during the church's first millennium, priests and bishops -- and at least thirty-nine popes -- were married." *'''[[Argument: Catholic Church did not adopt celibacy until second millennium| Catholic Church did not adopt celibacy until second millennium]]''' [http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/05/15/cozzens.celibacy.discussion/ Rev. Donald Cozzens. "Commentary: Celibacy should be rethought". CNN. May 15, 2009]: "More and more Catholics today are coming to understand that celibacy as a universal law for priests had its origins in the 12th century and that during the church's first millennium, priests and bishops -- and at least thirty-nine popes -- were married."
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-*'''Priestly celibacy is unnatural.''' [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article577213.ece Adrian Ryan. "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online, Comment. October 11, 2005]: "Celibacy is an unnatural state. How can a priest be expected to advise on the complexities of a normal marital relationship when he himself is utterly ignorant? It is only natural that a priest would want to marry, have a family and experience the love, affection, and fulfillment that marriage can bring. It is high time that the Church recognised and encouraged it. Adrian Ryan, Ardara, Ireland." 
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-*'''Celibacy forces priests to live a life of loneliness.''' [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article577213.ece Ann Bain. "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online, Comment. October 11, 2005]: "Of course priests should be allowed to marry. There is nothing sadder than seeing an old priest live out his days with no family of his own; the zeal and fervour of youth has gone and ahead, loneliness."  
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-*'''[[Argument: Celibacy is not divine law, only Church law| Celibacy is not divine law, only Church law]]''' [http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/05/15/cozzens.celibacy.discussion/ Rev. Donald Cozzens. "Commentary: Celibacy should be rethought". CNN. May 15, 2009]: "How can a gift be legislated? The church answers that if a man is called to the priesthood, God will grant him the gift of celibacy. Many priests today wonder how church leaders know this. Reading the mind of God in this matter -- in any matter of church discipline -- is risky business. [...] More and more Catholics today are coming to understand that celibacy as a universal law for priests had its origins in the 12th century and that during the church's first millennium, priests and bishops -- and at least thirty-nine popes -- were married." Therefore, in the first years of the Church, it was not seen as a gift from God. It can only be seen, therefore, as something that the Church imposed on itself as a discipline and mandate. And, the Church can undo such a mandate." 
*'''[[Argument: Other priests can marry, Roman Catholics should be able to| Other priests can marry, Roman Catholics should be able to]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31091-2004Nov6.html Joseph Snyder. "Should Roman Catholic Priests Be Allowed to Marry?". Washington Post, Letter to the Editor. November 7, 2004]: "Eastern Orthodox Catholic priests are allowed to marry. Also, certain married Protestant priests may convert as priests to the Roman Catholic faith. Obviously, the precedent for married Catholic priests is already established. So the question is not 'if' Roman Catholic priests should be married but 'when.'" *'''[[Argument: Other priests can marry, Roman Catholics should be able to| Other priests can marry, Roman Catholics should be able to]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31091-2004Nov6.html Joseph Snyder. "Should Roman Catholic Priests Be Allowed to Marry?". Washington Post, Letter to the Editor. November 7, 2004]: "Eastern Orthodox Catholic priests are allowed to marry. Also, certain married Protestant priests may convert as priests to the Roman Catholic faith. Obviously, the precedent for married Catholic priests is already established. So the question is not 'if' Roman Catholic priests should be married but 'when.'"
-*'''Married men don't have to divorce upon entering priesthood.''' [http://www.usnews.com/blogs/john-farrell/2009/05/12/catholic-church-should-end-celibacy-rule-let-rev-cutie-and-other-priests-marry.html John Aloysius Farrell. "Catholic Church Should End Celibacy Rule, Let Rev. Cutie and Other Priests Marry". US News and World Report. May 12, 2009]: "if you come to the priesthood already married, the church doesn't make you divorce. There are practicing Catholic married priests, and the world has not come to a flaming end."+*'''[[Argument: Married men don't have to divorce upon entering priesthood| Married men don't have to divorce upon entering priesthood]]''' [http://www.usnews.com/blogs/john-farrell/2009/05/12/catholic-church-should-end-celibacy-rule-let-rev-cutie-and-other-priests-marry.html John Aloysius Farrell. "Catholic Church Should End Celibacy Rule, Let Rev. Cutie and Other Priests Marry". US News and World Report. May 12, 2009]: "if you come to the priesthood already married, the church doesn't make you divorce. There are practicing Catholic married priests, and the world has not come to a flaming end."
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====Con==== ====Con====
-*'''The Church should maintain its tradition of celibacy.''' [http://www.helium.com/debates/69718-priests-should-be-permitted-to-marry/side_by_side R.N. Lentejas Jr. "Debate: Priests should be permitted to marry". Helium]: "I believe that priests in the Latin Church should live a celibate life to maintain the rich tradition of the Church. It has been a universal notion from time immemorial until today and until the future that priests are celibates for the sake of the Kingdom of God. This is a universal understanding from across the globe unique to Catholic priests alone, because there are priests in other Christian churches who are actually married. There exists among them (Catholic priests) a universal concept of brotherhood, surpassing the many barriers of race, culture, ethnic origin, economic standing, and many others."+*'''[[Argument: Church should maintain tradition of celibacy| Church should maintain tradition of celibacy]]''' [http://www.helium.com/debates/69718-priests-should-be-permitted-to-marry/side_by_side R.N. Lentejas Jr. "Debate: Priests should be permitted to marry". Helium]: "I believe that priests in the Latin Church should live a celibate life to maintain the rich tradition of the Church. It has been a universal notion from time immemorial until today and until the future that priests are celibates for the sake of the Kingdom of God. This is a universal understanding from across the globe unique to Catholic priests alone, because there are priests in other Christian churches who are actually married. There exists among them (Catholic priests) a universal concept of brotherhood, surpassing the many barriers of race, culture, ethnic origin, economic standing, and many others."
-*'''Allowing priests to marry insults those who kept celibate.''' Archbishop John Foley, a Vatican spokesman, said in 2005: "I think it would be an insult to the priests who have remained faithful to readmit these individuals who have left the priesthood in order to marry."[http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2654486]+*'''[[Argument: Allowing priests to marry insults celibate| Allowing priests to marry insults celibate]]''' Archbishop John Foley, a Vatican spokesman, said in 2005: "I think it would be an insult to the priests who have remained faithful to readmit these individuals who have left the priesthood in order to marry."[http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2654486]
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
-*'''Allowing priests to marry would reduce sexual abuse in Church.''' Louise Linehan, a non-practicing Catholic from Dingmans Ferry: "I think priests should be allowed to marry because it might lessen the sexual abuse cases there are in the church."[http://media.www.tchnews.com/media/storage/paper840/news/2007/03/26/Opinion/Should.Priests.Be.Permitted.To.Marry-2790011.shtml] +*'''[[Argument: Allowing priests to marry would reduce sexual abuse| Allowing priests to marry would reduce sexual abuse]]''' Louise Linehan, a non-practicing Catholic from Dingmans Ferry: "I think priests should be allowed to marry because it might lessen the sexual abuse cases there are in the church."[http://media.www.tchnews.com/media/storage/paper840/news/2007/03/26/Opinion/Should.Priests.Be.Permitted.To.Marry-2790011.shtml]
:[http://www.usnews.com/blogs/john-farrell/2009/05/12/catholic-church-should-end-celibacy-rule-let-rev-cutie-and-other-priests-marry.html John Aloysius Farrell. "Catholic Church Should End Celibacy Rule, Let Rev. Cutie and Other Priests Marry". US News and World Report. May 12, 2009]: "You would think that after all the molestation scandals of recent years, the Catholic Church would give its priests a break and let them choose to be celibate, or to enjoy loving relationships with women." :[http://www.usnews.com/blogs/john-farrell/2009/05/12/catholic-church-should-end-celibacy-rule-let-rev-cutie-and-other-priests-marry.html John Aloysius Farrell. "Catholic Church Should End Celibacy Rule, Let Rev. Cutie and Other Priests Marry". US News and World Report. May 12, 2009]: "You would think that after all the molestation scandals of recent years, the Catholic Church would give its priests a break and let them choose to be celibate, or to enjoy loving relationships with women."
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====Con==== ====Con====
-*'''Priestly celibacy does not encourage sexual predation.''' [http://www.pearlsofnonsense.com/2009/05/12/should-catholic-priests-be-allowed-to-marry-i-dont-think-so.html "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry? I don’t think so." Pearls of Nonsense. May 12th, 2009]: "Remember several years ago when celibacy was blamed by the media for creating pedophiles? It’s shocking how many otherwise intelligent people still fervently believe that not having sex with women makes men have sex with young boys."+*'''[[Argument: Priestly celibacy does not encourage sexual predation| Priestly celibacy does not encourage sexual predation]]''' [http://www.pearlsofnonsense.com/2009/05/12/should-catholic-priests-be-allowed-to-marry-i-dont-think-so.html "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry? I don’t think so." Pearls of Nonsense. May 12th, 2009]: "Remember several years ago when celibacy was blamed by the media for creating pedophiles? It’s shocking how many otherwise intelligent people still fervently believe that not having sex with women makes men have sex with young boys."
-*'''Lifting priestly celibacy would open door to sexual predation.''' [http://www.pearlsofnonsense.com/2009/05/12/should-catholic-priests-be-allowed-to-marry-i-dont-think-so.html "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry? I don’t think so." Pearls of Nonsense. May 12th, 2009]: "Matters of faith aside, there are secular concerns that, for me at least, make the idea of dispensing with clerical celibacy somewhat distasteful. Priests tend to be a huggy-touchy bunch. I think it’s an occupational hazard. The ministry of a priest usually demands a lot of touching; reconciliation is the only sacrament I can think of that doesn’t require at least some touching. Most of us are okay with this because we know these touches are loving, not sexual. But take clerical celibacy out of the picture for a moment, and suddenly every woman in the parish is a potential mate. Imagine, guys, a fresh-out-of-the-seminary priest at the church door hugs your teenage daughter a little too closely for a few seconds too long. Or imagine, ladies, a priest hears your confession about something you shouldn’t have done with your last boyfriend, and after granting absolution, he asks you out for a drink. I don’t know about you, but I think I just threw up in my mouth."+*'''[[Argument: Lifting celibacy enables sexual exploitation by priests| Lifting celibacy enables sexual exploitation by priests]]''' It would allow priests to take advantage of their position of power to seek to date or court women. And, it would create an heir of suspicion among church-goers regarding whether a priest is abusing their position.
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-=== Finances: Would allowing priests to marry help/hurt Church finances? ===+=== Vocations: Would allowing priests to marry increase vocations? ===
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
-*'''Church policy on marriage is greedy effort to maximize revenues.''' +*'''[[Argument: Priests should be allowed to marry to increase vocations| Priests should be allowed to marry to increase vocations]]''' [http://www.theage.com.au/news/Opinion/Church-will-benefit-if-priests-are-able-to-marry/2005/01/30/1107020254938.html Muriel Porter. "Church will benefit if priests are able to marry". The Age. January 31, 2005]: "The present plea is justified on the basis that drastic action is needed to restore priestly numbers, which in the Western world have dropped markedly over the past 30 years. In Australia the decline is estimated to be about 20 per cent overall, with a much greater drop - about two-thirds - in the numbers of trainee priests. [...] The requirement of priestly celibacy is perhaps the sole reason for this unprecedented decline. The Anglican and Protestant churches, which permit their clergy to marry, have not suffered any significant shortage of trainees over the same period."
-*'''Men inclined to marry should not be forbidden priesthood.''' [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article577213.ece Oliveiro Vernie. "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online. October 11, 2005]: "It is ridiculous to bar a man from becoming or being a priest simply because he has happened to fall deeply in love with a woman." 
-:[http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/05/15/cozzens.celibacy.discussion/ Rev. Donald Cozzens. "Commentary: Celibacy should be rethought". CNN. May 15, 2009]: "the most human, existential factor that should keep the celibacy issue on the table is the spiritual and emotional health of priests. Celibacy really isn't the issue -- mandatory or obligatory celibacy is. [...] There are many priests who do possess the gift of celibacy -- it is their "truth" so to speak -- and their humanity, warmth and pastoral effectiveness give abundant evidence of their authentic celibate lives. But there remain other priests who believe deep down they are called to the priesthood but not to celibacy. And for these men, the burden of mandated celibacy threatens their spiritual and emotional well-being. The priesthood may be their "truth," but mandated celibacy wraps them in a cloak of loneliness and struggle. [...] I wonder if church officials understand the burden they place on the shoulders of a man who believes he is called to priestly ministry but not to celibacy. Certainly, a married priesthood will have burdens of its own and, sadly, scandals of its own -- infidelity and abuse among others. But it should be left to the individual priest and seminarian to determine whether or not he is blessed with the gift of celibacy."  
 +|WRITE CONTENT FOR THE "Pro" BOX ABOVE THIS CODE width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top: 0.5em;"|
 +====Con====
 +
 +*'''[[Argument: Allowing priests to marry would not increase vocations| Allowing priests to marry would not increase vocations]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31091-2004Nov6.html Kathryn Nicole Stockhausen. "Should Roman Catholic Priests Be Allowed to Marry?". Washington Post. November 7, 2004]: "I have heard some who state that it would lead to an increase in vocations, but there is not a single piece of statistical data to prove that. Of those who have contemplated a vocation to the priesthood, very few have stated that a vow of celibacy was a stumbling block that they could not overcome. In fact, I have known of many ordained individuals who see celibacy as a blessing, and as a way to allow them to focus more on their vocation of service to others and to the church."
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 +|-
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 +=== Finances: Would allowing priests to marry help/hurt Church finances? ===
 +
 +|-
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 +
 +====Pro====
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 +*'''Church policy on marriage is greedy effort to maximize revenues.''' By banning marriage, the Church prevents the assets of a priest from going to his family, ensuring instead that it goes to the Church. This is an unfortunate abuse of Church power to acquire wealth.
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====Con==== ====Con====
-*'''Allowing priests to marry would require Church pay them more.''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31091-2004Nov6.html Kathryn Nicole Stockhausen. "Should Roman Catholic Priests Be Allowed to Marry?". Washington Post. November 7, 2004]: "And as for financial considerations, most Roman Catholic priests, especially diocesan ones, receive a substantial portion of their pay in the form of in-kind contributions. This would be difficult to maintain if a priest took on a wife and children, and their pay would have to be increased as well. The church, especially in America, is having enough financial problems right now without adding to it by allowing priests to marry."+*'''[[Argument: Allowing priests to marry would require Church pay them more| Allowing priests to marry would require Church pay them more]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31091-2004Nov6.html Kathryn Nicole Stockhausen. "Should Roman Catholic Priests Be Allowed to Marry?". Washington Post. November 7, 2004]: "And as for financial considerations, most Roman Catholic priests, especially diocesan ones, receive a substantial portion of their pay in the form of in-kind contributions. This would be difficult to maintain if a priest took on a wife and children, and their pay would have to be increased as well. The church, especially in America, is having enough financial problems right now without adding to it by allowing priests to marry."
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 +==See also==
 +*[[Debate: Catholic priest celibacy]]
==External links== ==External links==
*[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/3406108/Catholic-Church-has-no-reason-to-stop-priests-from-marrying-says-leading-bishop.html "Catholic Church has no reason to stop priests from marrying, says leading bishop". Telegraph. November 8, 2008] *[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/3406108/Catholic-Church-has-no-reason-to-stop-priests-from-marrying-says-leading-bishop.html "Catholic Church has no reason to stop priests from marrying, says leading bishop". Telegraph. November 8, 2008]

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Background and context

Catholic Priests are not allowed to marry.
The general premise put forward by the Catholic Church to justify this policy is that it forces
priests to fully commit to God and their priesthood, without the distraction of a wife, kids, and family. Yet, many have begun to question this practice. Many simply argue that it is unnatural and harmful to suppress one's sexual urges and desire to find a life partner. There are many examples of Catholic priests falling in love, engaging in romantic affairs, and subsequently coming under scrutiny and derision for doing so. Many also argue that the sexual suppression resulting from celibacy creates the nefarious impulse to molest young boys in the Church. As such cases of sexual molestation have proven widespread in the Catholic Church, many believe that it is time for the Church to re-assess its celibacy policies. Other considerations surround whether celibacy is divine law and doctrine, or simply a Church discipline that can be un-done. As the number of Catholic priests dwindle, many also wonder whether celibacy is the cause, and if allowing priests to marry would increase vocations.
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Church: Does celibacy hurt/help priests perform duties to the Church?

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Pro

  • Marriage and family do not distract from priesthood Thomas DeMatteo, a non-practicing Catholic from Dingmans Ferry, Delaware, USA: "There are pastors and ministers who are allowed to marry and it doesn't affect their job in doing God's work. I really don't see a problem with priests being able to wed."[1]
  • Married priests could better consult married churchgoers Priests are counselors in many ways, counseling individuals on their lives and how they can better reach God. Because marriage is such an important part of living a moral life, it would be valuable for priests to be married so that they can better understand their married churchgoers and provide better counseling as a result.
  • Marriage/sex are sacred; priests should be allowed to marry Paragraph 2362 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.) says: "The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honourable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude."[2]



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Con

"Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online. October 11, 2005: "A good friend of mine is a Pastor for the Church on Scotland and I know how he struggles in his marriage as well as in his community as he feels he can't be totally devoted to any of them. Name and address withheld."
"Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry? I don’t think so." Pearls of Nonsense. May 12th, 2009: "I’m no theologian, but it seems there are two main ways we Catholic faithful share in the Church’s mission as adults: through marriage and family life, or through religious and clerical life. Since both vocations require a lifelong, full-time commitment, it seems unreasonable to expect anyone to do both at the same time. For example, if a priest were also a husband and father, and he had to choose between the needs of the Church and the needs of his wife and children, who would come first? Or, similarly, if a nun were also a wife and mother? There’s no obviously correct answer, so the preferable thing to do is avoid the question."


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Religious doctrine: Would allowing priests to marry comply with religious doctrine?

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  • Bible clearly and rationally forbids priests from marrying Unmarried 1 Corinthians 7:32b–35 NIV: "An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."[4]


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Tradition: Is it wrong to maintain the tradition of Catholic priest celibacy?

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  • Church should maintain tradition of celibacy R.N. Lentejas Jr. "Debate: Priests should be permitted to marry". Helium: "I believe that priests in the Latin Church should live a celibate life to maintain the rich tradition of the Church. It has been a universal notion from time immemorial until today and until the future that priests are celibates for the sake of the Kingdom of God. This is a universal understanding from across the globe unique to Catholic priests alone, because there are priests in other Christian churches who are actually married. There exists among them (Catholic priests) a universal concept of brotherhood, surpassing the many barriers of race, culture, ethnic origin, economic standing, and many others."
  • Allowing priests to marry insults celibate Archbishop John Foley, a Vatican spokesman, said in 2005: "I think it would be an insult to the priests who have remained faithful to readmit these individuals who have left the priesthood in order to marry."[5]


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Sexual abuse: Will allowing priests to marry lower sexual abuse in Church?

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Pro

John Aloysius Farrell. "Catholic Church Should End Celibacy Rule, Let Rev. Cutie and Other Priests Marry". US News and World Report. May 12, 2009: "You would think that after all the molestation scandals of recent years, the Catholic Church would give its priests a break and let them choose to be celibate, or to enjoy loving relationships with women."


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Vocations: Would allowing priests to marry increase vocations?

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Finances: Would allowing priests to marry help/hurt Church finances?

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Pro

  • Church policy on marriage is greedy effort to maximize revenues. By banning marriage, the Church prevents the assets of a priest from going to his family, ensuring instead that it goes to the Church. This is an unfortunate abuse of Church power to acquire wealth.


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Pro/con sources

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See also

External links

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