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Debate: Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?

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*[ Oliveiro Vernie. "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online. October 11, 2005] *[ Oliveiro Vernie. "Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?". Times Online. October 11, 2005]
 +*[ Rev. Donald Cozzens. "Commentary: Celibacy should be rethought". CNN. May 15, 2009]
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Revision as of 01:27, 26 May 2009

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.

Church: Does celibacy hurt/help priests perform duties to the Church?


  • 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.
  • Priestly celibacy is unnatural. 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."
  • Marriage/sex are honorable; 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."[1]


  • Unmarried priests can focus entirely on God, Church. 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."
"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."

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


  • Church policy on marriage is greedy effort to maximize revenues.


  • Allowing priests to marry would require Church pay them more. 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."

Vocations: Would allowing priests to marry increase vocations?


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