Thursday, November 16, 2006

Roman Catholic Priests and Marriage

Vatican Holds Summit on Celibacy Requirement for Clergy After Flap Over Excommunicated Archbishop

As a former practicing Catholic (I'll be happy to send my resume outlining my qualifications to claim this to anyone who's interested) I have a pretty strong opinion on this matter: I think priests and nuns should be allowed to marry - plain and simple.

I know there are centuries of tradition behind the rule of celibacy and singleness in the priesthood, but I also know of a couple of instances showing it's not a bad idea.

First off, some of the apostles were married. The Bible clearly points out that Peter had a mother-in-law, which means he must have had a wife. She may have passed on before Jesus called him to ministry, but the fact that he was married speaks volumes to me. Paul wrote in his letters to the early church recommending that one in the ministry stay single. But in the very next sentence he tells them it is better to marry than to burn with passion and marrying was not a sin.

Most other Christian denominations allow their pastors to marry. I think it's time to recognize that those who are priests are regular men with regular desires (and I'm not just referring to sex here) who wish to serve the church and have a family, too. I think the Pope is wise to at least take a look at this issue.

NB - I don't think using Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is the best example of someone who was excommunicated over this issue. I would doubt his ability to lead Catholics if he's willing to participate in ceremonies in the Unification church. His ordination of four married men aside, I think there are more and better examples to study.

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