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Author Topic: Influential cardinal says priests should marry
Canuckistan
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Story here.

quote:
An influential Brazilian cardinal says the Roman Catholic Church should reconsider its ban on allowing priests to marry.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who was recently named to head the Vatican's office in charge of priests around the world, made the comment about two weeks after the Holy See reaffirmed the requirement of celibacy for priests.

“Celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma of the church,” Cardinal Hummes was quoted as saying by the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper. “Certainly, the majority of the apostles were married. In this modern age, the church must observe these things, it has to advance with history.”

A Vatican spokesman could not be reached for comment Sunday. But the Vatican has strongly resisted calls for relaxing its celibacy rule.



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Logoboros
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Being married shouldn't be any obstacle to being celibate...

--Logoboros

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"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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trollface
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And, of course, being sexually active doesn't mean that you're married.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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Cowboy Joe
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And being married never prevented anyone from being a pedefile.

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Doug4.7
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You do realize there are valid, married priests in the Catholic Church, right?

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And now for something completely different...

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Morgaine La Raq Star
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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
You do realize there are valid, married priests in the Catholic Church, right?

Yes but don't they have to become ordained within another denomination (say Episcopal) & then switch to becoming a Catholic priest? Its like a 'grandfather clause' as I see it.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
Being married shouldn't be any obstacle to being celibate...

--Logoboros

You could make a pretty good Biblical argument that it should, actually. [Wink]

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by Morgaine La Raq Star:
quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
You do realize there are valid, married priests in the Catholic Church, right?

Yes but don't they have to become ordained within another denomination (say Episcopal) & then switch to becoming a Catholic priest? Its like a 'grandfather clause' as I see it.
Yes.

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And now for something completely different...

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Logoboros
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
You could make a pretty good Biblical argument that it should, actually. [Wink]

I've actually wondered a bit about the technicalities of this. If you can have a marriage annulled because it was never consummated, does it follow that an unconsummated marriage is not a "real" marriage? (No doubt some anti-gay-marriage-in-the-church advocates could use such an interpretation.) So can two paraplegics who never have vaginal intercourse have a "real" marriage, if a condition of marriage is consummation?

--Logoboros

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"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

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TallGeekyGirl
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Let me start by saying that I don't have a cite for what I am about to say because I am not sure where to go to look it up.

Wasn't priestly celibacy enacted during the middle ages to prevent priests from making powerful political marriages that would undermine the monarchies?

If that is the case, then it has no validity anymore and should be rescinded, IMO. Besides... if one is allowed to marry and choses celibacy anyway, that seems more of a personal sacrifice and a symbol of dedication than one who is given no choice at all.

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Canuckistan
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TGG: The story in the OP seems to agree with you, at least in part:

quote:
Early Christianity had no formal ban on marriage for clergy. The Bible mentions St. Peter's mother-in-law and many scholars suggest other apostles had wives — as well as at least some popes, such as the 9th century Hadrian II.

In the early Middle Ages, however, movements for celibacy gained momentum and it became a requirement by the 12th century.



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Logoboros
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quote:
Originally posted by TallGeekyGirl:

Wasn't priestly celibacy enacted during the middle ages to prevent priests from making powerful political marriages that would undermine the monarchies?

If that is the case, then it has no validity anymore and should be rescinded, IMO.

The problem with these kinds of issues is that these doctrinal decisions aren't made only to achieve a political goal. It would be easy to denounce it if it had been "only" done for political reasons. But there are usually lots of reasons. Poltics may be a huge motivating factor for why a doctrinal change happens at a particular time, but is seldom the sole reason or justification for that change. It would be rather like saying the U.S. "only" invaded Iraq to get cheaper oil. No doubt someone, somewhere, was thinking, "If we do this, we'll have more control over the oil! That's a bonus!" but it's absurd to think (though some do) that oil was the only "real reason" for going to war.

--Logoboros

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"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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qualli
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Not that it adds anything to the discussion but I saw the topic and immediatly thought "to each other?"

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Nick Theodorakis
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quote:
Originally posted by Canuckistan:
TGG: The story in the OP seems to agree with you, at least in part:

quote:
Early Christianity had no formal ban on marriage for clergy. ...

In fact, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, priests may be married, as was always the case, as alluded to above. In fact, the "parish priest" is normally married; there are celibate priests, but they are usually considered to be on a different "career track," for want of a better word.

Also, to amplify on Doug's point, many Eastern Rite Catholic (which is not the same as Eastern Orthodox) traditions have or had a practice of married priesthood, which sometimes caused friction when married Eastern Rite Catholic priests immigrated into areas where the Roman Rite celibate priesthood tradition was the norm.

Nick

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LeaflessMapleTree
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quote:
If that is the case, then it has no validity anymore and should be rescinded, IMO. Besides... if one is allowed to marry and choses celibacy anyway, that seems more of a personal sacrifice and a symbol of dedication than one who is given no choice at all.
Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, the choice is to become a priest in the first place.

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Morgaine La Raq Star
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Very true MapleLeaf but, at least here in the US, there is a shortage of priests. IIRC, the Catholic church across the street from our church doesn't even have a priest. I don't know how they do communion & such but they have no priest even listed on their website.
Opening up the priesthood, from the start, to those Catholic men who wish to serve God & be married, would probably help this shortage.

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Elkhound
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quote:
Originally posted by Morgaine La Raq Star:
quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
You do realize there are valid, married priests in the Catholic Church, right?

Yes but don't they have to become ordained within another denomination (say Episcopal) & then switch to becoming a Catholic priest? Its like a 'grandfather clause' as I see it.
I think that Doug 4.7 was refering to the Uniate Rites. These are some Eastern Christian communities who in wake of the Council of Florence were allowed to come under the Bishop of Rome's allegiance but to retain their local customs, such as a Byzantine-style liturgy and married priests. (In Uniate Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition, a married man may be ordained, but a priest may not marry.)

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Hero_Mike
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I am aware of married Catholic priests - there being one in my hometown - and the only ones I am aware of were all ordained as Anglicans (Episcopal to you Americans), married (legitimately, I might add), then converted to Catholicism. I believe that they are required to be "chaste", as their role as priest supercedes their role as "husband".

In the Eastern rite, a priest may marry, but then becomes ineligible for higher office, because, quite sensibly, it can be said that if one is to hold higher office in the church, they must dedicate their whole life to it. Being married *and* being a Bishop would imply that either the priest's family, or their flock, or both, would suffer, because of the demands made upon their time. This would be the most reasonable and balanced view of clergy and marriage, and in my opinion, is what the Catholic church should adopt.

The tradition of priestly celibacy has to do with preserving the wealth of the church, rather than allowing a priest to distribute it among their heirs. A celibate priesthood has no heirs, and thus, the wealth of the church is preserved.

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Michael Cole
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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
You could make a pretty good Biblical argument that it should, actually. [Wink]

I've actually wondered a bit about the technicalities of this. If you can have a marriage annulled because it was never consummated, does it follow that an unconsummated marriage is not a "real" marriage? (No doubt some anti-gay-marriage-in-the-church advocates could use such an interpretation.) So can two paraplegics who never have vaginal intercourse have a "real" marriage, if a condition of marriage is consummation?
Depends on the law...

Steinberger v. Steinberger 33 N.Y.S.2d 596
Supreme Court, Trial Term, Bronx County, March 28, 1940

Wife sought to have marriage annulled on grounds that husband concealed from her physical inability to consumate the marriage.

“4. Marriage
Capability of consummation is an implied term in every marriage contract, and the power of ordinary and complete sexual intercourse is of its very essence”.

It could also be said that because the intent of consumation is conception, perhaps infertility of one of the persons is grounds for considering it as not a "real marriage".

Good grounds, IMO, for seperating civil and religious law...

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Troberg
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quote:
Wasn't priestly celibacy enacted during the middle ages to prevent priests from making powerful political marriages that would undermine the monarchies?
The story I've heard is that it was to prevent the wealth of the church to be lost through inheritance. When the priest dies, his stuff goes to the church, as he has no children. Such things were considered very important in those days.

Of course, that would not be a problem if they allowed the priests to marry each other, but somehow, I suspect that is not likely to happen in the immediate future.

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/Troberg

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
I am aware of married Catholic priests - there being one in my hometown - and the only ones I am aware of were all ordained as Anglicans (Episcopal to you Americans), married (legitimately, I might add), then converted to Catholicism. I believe that they are required to be "chaste", as their role as priest supercedes their role as "husband".

Untrue. Chastity, as used by the Church, does not mean no sex. It means no sex outside marriage. Priests take a vow of Celibacy...which means not to marry. Combining the two results in no nookie, but if you got rid of either celibacy or chastity, it would be allowed.

pinqy

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TallGeekyGirl
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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
quote:
Wasn't priestly celibacy enacted during the middle ages to prevent priests from making powerful political marriages that would undermine the monarchies?
The story I've heard is that it was to prevent the wealth of the church to be lost through inheritance. When the priest dies, his stuff goes to the church, as he has no children. Such things were considered very important in those days.

Ah, thanks! I knew it was something like that. And I can see the church supporting *that* idea much more than the one I originally posted there. That makes much more sense.

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jw
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quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:

In the Eastern rite, a priest may marry, but then becomes ineligible for higher office, because, quite sensibly, it can be said that if one is to hold higher office in the church, they must dedicate their whole life to it. Being married *and* being a Bishop would imply that either the priest's family, or their flock, or both, would suffer, because of the demands made upon their time. This would be the most reasonable and balanced view of clergy and marriage, and in my opinion, is what the Catholic church should adopt.

This doesn't make sense. A Bishop doesn't fall out of the sky. He would have to have been a priest first. If the RC church were to abolish celibacy, I think most priests would marry. By only promoting the ones who don't marry, you would be very much reducing the pool of talent to choose from.

The chairmen of large corporations are not celibate. They can still give time to their families and run giant corporations that would put Catholic church business well in the shade.

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Floater
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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
Being married shouldn't be any obstacle to being celibate...

--Logoboros

Since celibacy means the state of not being married (among other things, but this is the original meaning) I'd say the two are mutually exclusive.

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PeterK
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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
quote:
Wasn't priestly celibacy enacted during the middle ages to prevent priests from making powerful political marriages that would undermine the monarchies?
The story I've heard is that it was to prevent the wealth of the church to be lost through inheritance. When the priest dies, his stuff goes to the church, as he has no children. Such things were considered very important in those days.

Of course, that would not be a problem if they allowed the priests to marry each other, but somehow, I suspect that is not likely to happen in the immediate future.

Spreading this absurd "story" is totally inappropriate on a site dedicated to debunking same. Next time you hear such a "story", check it out or at least test it by logic. There is not and never has been any law requiring priests to leave their estate to the Church. Whether married or single, priests may leave their worldly possessions to anyone they please. Priests do not get a share of the fabled "wealth of the Church". They are paid a small stipend and given bed and board.

And if they were to "marry" each other, what would happen when they both had died? Or do you think that if they "adopted" children (presumably only boys)then the adoptees would be forced to become priests? I've seen some bizarre posts about the Church but this one's a doozy.

And to clarify, no Catholic, Orthdox, or Oriental church has ever allowed its priests or deacons to marry. Some of them have, and some still do, allow already-married men to become priests and deacons. When a priest's or deacon's wife dies, he may not remarry.

Celibacy did not become universal in the Western Church until the 11th century, but it had always been the majority and preferred option. St Peter had been married, but most think that his wife had died well before he became Pope, probably even before he met Christ. That would explain why his mother-in-law was keeping house for him. Many women died young in previous times.

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Floater
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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:

And to clarify, no Catholic, Orthdox, or Oriental church has ever allowed its priests or deacons to marry. Some of them have, and some still do, allow already-married men to become priests and deacons. When a priest's or deacon's wife dies, he may not remarry.

As far as I know orthodox priests are not only allowed to marry, they are indeed urged to. The idea being that a married priest can concentrate on his job better with someone taking care of the household chores for him.

A married priest can not, however, become a bishop, so that is a job for career monks only.

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Doug4.7
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A couple of things. First, annulment and consummation of a marriage are NOT related, at least in the Catholic church. The basic idea of an annulment is that the original marriage vow was not valid. That is the "only" way out of a Catholic marriage. Now reasons for the original vow to be non-valid include things like one party really was not committed to the marriage. I.e., they got married to "get some". Note that many of the people on this site who were married and then divorced would qualify for annulment. I won't go into details, but from the descriptions of how their marriage went, they would easily qualify.

Letting priest marry would really NOT increase the # of priests that much. The problem of the priest shortage is much deeper than that.

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Nick Theodorakis
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To amplify and clarify some of the comments about clergy marriage in Eastern Orthodox churches (and by extension, at least some Eastern Rite Catholics):

Deacons and priests may be married, and only once. As others have said, they must marry before ordination. Occasionally, you may see a young single seminary graduate in a sort of a "holding patttern," in which he has a church-related job (such as youth minister or something like that) but not (yet) ordained to the diaconate. Most people will assume he is "looking for a wife" before becoming ordained. (Although this may not be necessarily a valid assumption; there is a traditon of the lay theologian and some people study at the seminary without any intention of becoming ordained). If a priest loses his wife, he may continue to be a priest, but if he remarries, he is returned to the laity.

The "parish priest" is usually married and with a family. The practice is that the parish priest is expected to live like a typical parishioner, which is more or less the case depending on the parish and jurisdiction.

There are celibate clergy, but they usually are not parish priests. Monks are celibate, as are bishops. The practice of the celibate episcopacy is considered to be a matter of disciple rather than dogma; it's known that there have been married bishops and the practice could be changed if the need was felt (and it does come up for discussion now and then).

Bishops can be widowers, however, and I can think of at least a couple of recent and historical examples of bishops who had been married.

Someone mentioned where bishops come from if they are celibate and priests are not. The answer is that there is a pool of celibate clergy, either among the monasteries or elsewhere, although some do complain that the pool of educated (i.e., with some kind of post-graduate education) celebate clergy as potential episcopal candidates is thinner than they like.

Nick

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Hero_Mike
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Thank-you Nick - my Orthodox friend (and relative "expert" on this) was not available to ask for advice.

PeterK, the "story" of why priests aren't allowed to marry, with respect to the wealth of the church, should be examined in its historical context, and not as things are today.

In today's world, priests take a vow of perpetual poverty, are paid a small stipend, and have their living expenses paid for by the church. In my limited experience, I was told that priests use their stipend to pay for things like their vacations, personal books or materials, etc.

Now you should yourself know that it was not always the case, and that it was only some orders, historically, which took a vow of poverty. Priests were, during the times when marriage was allowed and common, still accumulating vast amounts of *personal* wealth, which was easy to do because of the influence they had (and often peddled).

It stands to reason that a married priest would required a greater "stipend", because of the need to provide for his wife and children. It also stands to reason that they would often have many children, as often was the case even among nobles of that era. In any case, priests would have been able to wield considerable power and influence, and as it happens with the laity, where people tend to favour their own children over others, such would be the case with priests.

I don't know if there is great evidence that this was happening, but it stands to reason that such abuses of power could happen, and frequently would, because the ties of blood are indeed very strong.

This is the point, jw, about where there is some validity to some (but not all) priests (or clergy of either gender for that matter) to dedicate their entire lives to the work of their faith and church. A married priest would be less likely to relocate or do missionary work in, say, Africa, if only out of concern for his family. A single priest has only his himself to consider.

As for your point comparing corporate CEO's to those who take a religious vocation, it is definitely not valid. Being a CEO is a just another job, maybe not 9-5, but a priest doesn't stop being a priest when they go home from "work". CEO's don't take vows and they do not intend to make any life-long committments to their employers. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. The point is that the vows of religious orders are stronger than anything that exists in "civilian" life, and the next best example I can imagine is military service.

In any case, I don't believe that religious orders would suffer with some or even *most* of their clergy being married and having families. However, I think that there will always be a place for those who really dedicate themselves to their faith, and they should be encouraged in that work as much as possible.

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"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

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Logoboros
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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
Whether married or single, priests may leave their worldly possessions to anyone they please. Priests do not get a share of the fabled "wealth of the Church". They are paid a small stipend and given bed and board.

I think the idea of the story (while still a bad explanation for the "reason" for celibacy) is that in the medieval church, some priests were scions of important, wealthy families. They did have private fortunes that they inherited. If they had no heirs, they were more likely to will their estate to the Church when they died (though they weren't legally obligated to). But if they had heirs, then it is far less likely that they would be giving the majority of their private possessions to the Church.

So to say married priests were "taking" money from the Church would be a misrepresentation; but married priests certainly would give less money to the Church than unmarried ones.

--Logoboros

ETA: Ah, spanked in part by Hero_Mike!

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"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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jw
The First USA Noel


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As quoted by Hero_Mike
quote:
A married priest would be less likely to relocate or do missionary work in, say, Africa, if only out of concern for his family. A single priest has only his himself to consider.


Could he not bring his family with him? The locals would probably view him in a more human manner, rather than as an intellectual elitist.

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Hero_Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by jw:
As quoted by Hero_Mike
quote:
A married priest would be less likely to relocate or do missionary work in, say, Africa, if only out of concern for his family. A single priest has only his himself to consider.


Could he not bring his family with him? The locals would probably view him in a more human manner, rather than as an intellectual elitist.

Yes, that may be true, but consider also that missionary work, even today, is done in impoverished, remote, and perhaps dangerous places. Dangerous because the people are often poor, and have nothing to lose in resorting to violence.

It is one thing to put yourself in harm's way - it's your choice. But it is quite another to do that for your own spouse and children. I have travelled to Africa on business, in an area where malaria is common. I don't have any kids, but I would rather not have my children to face that risk. Or the risk from not having potable water. Or access to medication, education, or health care.

And if you go anyway, despite the risks, this implies that you care more for the people you are ministering to, than your own children. Which implies that you probably shouldn't have had any children in the first place, because it is obvious that something else is more important. Not that everyone puts their children first and exclusively in their lives, but if you work in a dangerous place (like, say, an underground mine), you don't bring your kids to work with you.

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"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

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PeterK
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quote:
Originally posted by Floater:
quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:

And to clarify, no Catholic, Orthdox, or Oriental church has ever allowed its priests or deacons to marry. Some of them have, and some still do, allow already-married men to become priests and deacons. When a priest's or deacon's wife dies, he may not remarry.

As far as I know orthodox priests are not only allowed to marry, they are indeed urged to. The idea being that a married priest can concentrate on his job better with someone taking care of the household chores for him.

A married priest can not, however, become a bishop, so that is a job for career monks only.

You are mistaken. Orthodox priests are not permitted to marry. Your idea of a wife's role in marriage also leaves a lot to be desired. You also don't seem to understand what a monk is. A monk is a layman, not a priest or bishop.
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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
quote:
Wasn't priestly celibacy enacted during the middle ages to prevent priests from making powerful political marriages that would undermine the monarchies?
The story I've heard is that it was to prevent the wealth of the church to be lost through inheritance. When the priest dies, his stuff goes to the church, as he has no children. Such things were considered very important in those days.
Back then they didn't have legal mechanisms such as corporations and trusts to easily keep separate the priest's personal property and property he was administering as the Church's representative. Now, of course, we do in most countries at least. And countries whose legal system is not evolved enough to have such mechanisms have other things to worry about.

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"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
A couple of things. First, annulment and consummation of a marriage are NOT related, at least in the Catholic church. The basic idea of an annulment is that the original marriage vow was not valid. That is the "only" way out of a Catholic marriage. Now reasons for the original vow to be non-valid include things like one party really was not committed to the marriage. I.e., they got married to "get some". Note that many of the people on this site who were married and then divorced would qualify for annulment. I won't go into details, but from the descriptions of how their marriage went, they would easily qualify.

Actually consummation is important. It is adequate grounds for a declaration of nullity if the marriage has not been consummated because one or both parties cannot or will not do so, or if one or both did not at the time of the wedding intend to consummate, or was at the time of the wedding permanently physically unable to consummate. Infertility in itself is not grounds for nullity, unless a spouse knew s/he was infertile before the marriage and hid this fact from his/her fiance/e.
quote:

Letting priest marry would really NOT increase the # of priests that much. The problem of the priest shortage is much deeper than that.

I don't know about that. Churches with married clergy don't seem to have a clergy shortage.
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