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Q & A with Father Anthony

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Is it against the faith to be a married Catholic priest?

Dmitri asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

In the Catholic Church there are 22 Churches sui iuris. That is, they govern themselves and have various traditions. The majority of these, often called "eastern rite churches" ordain married men. Consequently, it is not against the faith to be a married catholic priest. It is only contrary to the discipline of the Latin-Roman church in particular. Should not this information be passed on for those pondering marriage or priesthood?


Dear Dmitri,

Thank you for your message. You are quite right; celibacy is not essential to the priesthood. However, it would not be accurate to say it is merely a "disciplinary rule" of the Latin Rite. It is a treasure that was discovered very early on in the Church as particularly suited to the priesthood, so much so that in the Eastern Churches bishops (the fullness of the priesthood) are chosen only from among the celibate clergy, and a priest may not marry after ordination.

In the Latin Church the vocation to celibate consecration is an integral part of the vocation to the priesthood. How can this be? Because it is God who calls, on his terms, through his representatives. This can be a blow to our pride, because we would prefer to have the vocation on our terms, allowing us to pick and choose, but that is not the way it is. We cannot change the call; we only have power over answering yes or no to it.

God bless.

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