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Debate: Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?

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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]
-*'''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." +*'''[[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."
-I think priests should be allowed to marry for the simple reason that we all have the right to procreate and leave a progeny, a legacy when we leave this world. Yes i agree to the fact that a family can be a distraction but we also have to consent to the fact that we need a family to somewhat feel complete - to some extent that is, its an overbearing urge in nature, a God given need, if God gave it to us why fight it, it means its justifiable. The discipline of celibacy as practiced by the Catholic Church is based on the premise that if you become a leader you cannot marry, its more generic than an individualized decision, its based on a misconception and needs to be revised, because it is even more of a requirement to marry than to stay a celibate when in authority  
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====Con==== ====Con====
-In response to Gwat's 8 June 2009 post: "I think priests should be allowed to marry for the simple reason that we all have the right to procreate and leave a progeny, a legacy when we leave this world." 
- 
-Procreation is not a right--it is a privilege. But not the kind of privilege the state or any religion has the "right" to control. 
- 
-Humans are different from all other living creatures in that we are the only (or one of maybe three) species to participate in actions that can result in procreation for the sole reason of pleasure--not always with the intent of procreating. Further, I would differentiate between those who procreate to leave a legacy and those who solely procreate. In my mind, procreation with the intent of generating a legacy entails the nurturing and raising of one's progeny; I simply cannot accept that every individual who procreates does so with this goal in mind. 
- 
-I am very aware of the social and religious stigmas surrounding adoption, however, a solution to this problem is allowing those in these "problem positions" to adopt children from individuals who didn't want to, couldn't or can no longer properly raise their progeny. In my mind, while nature does play a certain role in the production of children, nurture is more influential in the raising of a child. In this model, individuals like priests would be able to create a legacy without breaking their religious obligations.  
- 
*'''[[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." *'''[[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."
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*'''[[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: 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."
-*'''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: 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." *'''[[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==== ====Con====
-*'''Bible provides clear rationale for forbidding 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]+*'''[[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: 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."
*'''[[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. *'''[[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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====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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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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Pro

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Con

  • 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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Pro

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Con

  • 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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Con

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Vocations: Would allowing priests to marry increase vocations?

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Pro


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Con


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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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Con



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Pro/con sources

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See also

External links

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