Scoot: Why priests should be allowed to marry
History has shown that traditions are not always right, however, it is not always easy to change traditions.
Many Catholics cling to the traditions of the Church as if they are the support beams that hold up the church. Though established through history - the tradition of the vow of celibacy for priests in the Catholic Church continues to be an active debate among Catholics and clergy.
Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry? There are reasons that many continue to support the celibacy of priests – ranging from the mobility of priests to their devotion to the church to the issue of a financial responsibility the Church would have for a priest’s family. But none of the reasons supporting celibacy address the ultimate question – how would married priests negatively impact the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church currently has married priests – so the argument that married priests could not function in their role is a moot point. For example, Episcopal priests who are married and convert to the Catholic Church – are welcomed into the church as married priests. If being married conflicts with God’s wishes or the functions of being a priest – then the Catholic Church should not accept married priests from other demonization.
The Catholic Church continues to face a shortage of priests and the New Orleans Archdiocese is preparing to welcome four new priests into the church. Archbishop Gregory Aymond said, “Studies show that if there was not the discipline of celibacy that we certainly would attract more men to the priesthood.” How could the Catholic Church benefit from a rule that potentially prevents qualified applicants from even considering the priesthood?
The vow of celibacy is a vow to never marry and since having sex out of wedlock is a sin, then the vow of celibacy is a vow to never have sex. Sex is a function of the human body and as part of a loving relationship – sex is the physical manifestation of two becoming one. To deny that human experience to priests – and nuns – seems to defy one of the emotions that separate humans from much of the animal kingdom.
Pope Francis has implied that the requirement of celibacy for priests is open for discussion and that was unsettling to many Catholics around the world. But why is the idea that priests be allowed to marry unsettling?
If you are a Catholic, what aspect of a priest’s duties would be adversely affected if a priest was married? As a Catholic, I can’t think of any. And if you are Catholic, would you refuse to accept Communion or go to confession if the priest in your parish was a married Episcopal priest who is now a married Catholic priest?
Clinging to traditions simply because the traditions are accepted and established is not the right reason to maintain any tradition. Within our society and within the Catholic Church – there have been changes in traditions. Recently, some of the wording in the Mass was changed and if that hadn’t happened I am not sure how many of us would ever have used the word “consubstantial,” which is now part of the Nicene Creed.
I respect many traditions – in society and in the Catholic Church – but it is important to reassess some traditions that no longer fit into a society and a church that continue to evolve.
At the time when the man-made rule of celibacy became part of the Catholic Church – the need may have reasonable. But in the context of the world in which we live – I don’t understand how the continuing requirement that priests remain celibate benefits Catholics. Celibacy disqualifies countless young men who have great talent at expressing their spirituality and inspiring a congregation.
In my opinion as a Catholic – it’s time to remove the requirement of celibacy and open the door to the many young men who could – and should – be the new leaders in the Catholic Church.
However, no priest should be forced to get married – that might lead to an even greater shortage of priests!