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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/12/2005 11:57:29 AM EDT
Question: Why are Priests not allowed to marry?

The answer I recived from a friend was that back in the day, they were allowed to marry. The problem was that when he died, the land that was owned by the Church, where the Priest lived, was then being split up among his family so the Church was losing large amounts of land. Is this correct? Any truth to it?

(I am using Priests loosely to mean anyone in a position that is not allowed to marry.)
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 2:37:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/12/2005 2:37:31 PM EDT by happycynic]
I actually wrote a paper on this in undergrad. The origins go back to the Roman empire and predate most of the land issues. It comes from a few passages in Paul's letters where he states that it is better to abstain from sex if possible, but if someone isn't capable of abstaining, then marriage was the second-best option. Also, at the same time asceticism was seen as a positive sign among pagans and christians alike, as it was a symbol that one had moderated their passions with religion/philosophy and ascetics had a great deal of moral influence in the early church. In this regard, abstaining from sex was part of abstaining from food, shelter, sleep, and all the other "wordly" things. Early christian leaders would often be chosen from among those who abstained from sex because it was seen as a sign of moral virtue and leadership.

As to when it became mandatory, I didn't get into that, but I believe that politics did play a role. By way of contrast, the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is the other half of the ancient church and just as old as the Catholic Church, requires celibacy only for church members who are at the bishop level or higher, but not for local priests. The thinking being that the high-level leaders of the church should be drawn from the really virtuous people who are capable of abstinence.
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 5:35:02 PM EDT
There are Catholic Priests in some country's that are married, today.

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 10:40:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ZitiForBreakfast:
There are Catholic Priests in some country's that are married, today.

A priest that gets promoted to bishop (or is it cardinal) can marry.

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 11:53:33 AM EDT
Theologically, because the Priest, insofar as he is ordained in Persona Christi (do this in memory of me) follows Jesus' example: he didn't marry either. Neither did St John or St Paul. Nor did Timothy.

Like the Levites of old who did not have land, but rather were given "the Lord" as their share, so too in the Church those who are called and chosen by Christ as his priests are married in a sense to the Church, just as Jesus was. His bride, the Church was who he gave his life for.

Yes, I know mysticism and symbology is tough and lots of people don't like it. Well tuf. Yes, some married men can be ordained, but for the above no ordained man can get married.

The whole "well that's what the culture of the time allowed them to do" argument is bogus. That was a factor, as culture is ALWAYS a factor, but it wasn't then and it's not now the determining factor. Theology is and was.

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 3:02:43 PM EDT
Interesting. Thank you for the responses.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 10:16:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 10:18:46 PM EDT by Niccolo]

Originally Posted By QShok:
A priest that gets promoted to bishop (or is it cardinal) can marry.

Catholic men are able to be married and ordained as Deacons, and there are some exceptions to priests being married. However, Catholic and Orthodox bishops are never married, though I believe some Oriental Orthodox churches allow married bishops.

Originally Posted By ZitiForBreakfast:
There are Catholic Priests in some country's that are married, today.

A celibate priesthood is not a doctrine, but rather a matter of practice. Men in the Eastern Catholic churches are able to marry before being ordained, and some Anglican/Episcopalian priests have been allowed to be ordained a Catholic priest and be married when converting.
Link Posted: 9/14/2005 2:08:47 PM EDT
The one distinction that needs to be made is that it is possible for a married man to become a priest, but it is not possible for a priest to get married. Ordination to the priesthood is an impediment to the sacrament of Matrimony, but not vice versa.

Celibacy of the priesthood is a discipline that is 2,000 years old, although it has been mandatory for Latin Rite priests only for the last 900 years or so (and it's a good discipline at that!).
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