Wednesday, July 30, 2003

A thought on married priests

There are some in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church who believe that married men should be ordained into the priesthood. I do not think this is wise, but it is something that could happen. In fact, it does happen in the cases of some protestant clergy who convert. But there are also those who think that priests who have been dispensed from their vows in order to marry should be allowed to perform priestly duties again. This, I think, should never happen, and I have a reason. It has been the practice of the Eastern churches to ordain married men. But it has never been the practice of the Church to marry ordained men. In fact, short of the dispensation, if a married deacon or priest loses his wife, he cannot remarry licitly, but must remain celibate for the rest of his life.

If we were to allow married dispensed priests to act as priests, we would be betraying the age-old practice of the Church.

Note: I am dashing this blog off in a hurry, and don't have time to research thoroughly. I think this rule has been in effect at least since the council of Trullo in the 7th century, but if I have any orthodox readers, perhaps they can explain better the reason for this ancient practice.

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