Why cannot Catholic priests get married after they become priests?

Bonnie

Well-known member
Where in the Bible are church leaders prohibited from marrying? I know what Paul wrote about not getting married, so one would be able to concentrate on the things of God and not have divided loyalties...but he also wrote "go ahead and marry; it is no sin."

So, why cannot Catholic priests get married to a nice Catholic girl, if they love each other and she is not already married? Where is the sin?

Martin Chemnitz, an early Lutheran theologian who lived near and after Martin Luther, addressed this issue:

Can the dignity and holiness of the ministry bear it that a priest have a lawful spouse?


By all means. For not only did priests in the Old Testament have their lawful wives, but Paul also writes, in the New Testament, that such a bishop and elder is to be chosen as is both of blameless life and the husband of one wife (l Ti 3:2; Tts l:5-6).

But some say: Paul is to be understood allegorically, namely that a bishop is to be appointed over only one church, or that he indeed can be chosen bishop who formerly was the husband of one wife, but not he who still is, or he who still has his own wife.


Paul himself is his own clear interpreter, namely that by husband of one wife he means him who has children, and not only of the church, but also of a family, that is, he rules well a wife, children, and servants (1 Ti 3:4; Tts 1:16). So also some of the apostles had their own wives, not only before they became apostles, but they also lived in marriage with them at the very time when they were apostles (1 Co 9:5). So also Ignatius and Clemens explain that passage of Paul. Moreover, Paul does not say, He who was the husband of one wife, but: He who is. And if these words were to be wrested to the past tense, it would necessarily also follow therefrom that a bishop is to be chosen who was at one time sober and able to teach, but is no longer so.

So, in the past church leaders were allowed to be married....but as Chemnitz noted, it is NOT in the past tense. IF the RCC thinks this was okay in the past but not today, then I guess the rest of what Paul wrote no longer applies, either...as Chemnitz pointed out.

The applicable verses are these:

1 Timothy 3:1-5 New International Version (NIV)​

Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons​

3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

And

5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.

So, if the RCC thinks this applies only in the past and not now--then I guess it must ALSO follow that a church leader (priest in RCC lingo) no longer needs to be sober, or have a good reputation, or be obedient, or not wild, not gentle, or honest, or able to teach. Since these things also must be rendered to have been in the past--right?

We had a lot of fun with this on the Lutheran board, imagining Foster Brooks of the Dean Martin "roast "fame, attempting to preach from the pulpit, while three sheets to the wind...after all, IF bishops and elders marrying was in the past and not now, then being able to teach and not given to drunkenness and being gentle, etc., are ALSO consigned to the past....
 

Bonnie

Well-known member
Maybe this is something that will change eventually.
I will be guided by what Rome says.

Guided by Rome...? Why not GUIDED BY THE BIBLE and what is actually written in it? Like what Paul wrote? I think he even said that forbidding marriage was a "doctrine of demons" but would need to double-check. Yep:

1 Timothy 4 New International Version (NIV)​

4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

Didn't the CC force the remaining married priests in the church to divorce their wives, in the what....12th century?
 

balshan

Well-known member
Guided by Rome...? Why not GUIDED BY THE BIBLE and what is actually written in it? Like what Paul wrote? I think he even said that forbidding marriage was a "doctrine of demons" but would need to double-check. Yep:



Didn't the CC force the remaining married priests in the church to divorce their wives, in the what....12th century?
It is only a discipline and it can be changed as a drop of a hat.
 

RickyJ

New member
Guided by Rome...? Why not GUIDED BY THE BIBLE and what is actually written in it? Like what Paul wrote? I think he even said that forbidding marriage was a "doctrine of demons" but would need to double-check. Yep:



Didn't the CC force the remaining married priests in the church to divorce their wives, in the what....12th century?

Didn't know about the 12th century change.
But so what, it is what it is now, until Rome decides to change it, under the guidance of God.
 

balshan

Well-known member
Was it under the guidance of God that made the RCC force the remaining married priests to divorce their wives, around the 12th century or so?
Interesting detail that should be mentioned when RCs claim they have always believed in no divorces.
 

Bonnie

Well-known member
Never heard of an annulment?
Goodness me.
Goodness me, yes--but some of the criteria for issuing an "annulment" are pretty lame. Like my uncle, who, after 20 years of marriage to a Protestant, and having 4 kids with her, proving they consummated the marriage, got a divorce from her. Later on, he rejoined the RCC and then wanted to marry a nice Catholic lady. Sooooo.... the bishop granted him an "annulment" of his marriage to Protestant, which basically said they had never really been married in the first place--after 20 years and 4 kids. I can still hear the scorn in my mother's voice about this. I am not sure what the reason given for the annulment was, but it may have been because my uncle was married in a Protestant church and maybe the RCC back then didn't think it was a true marriage. This was in 1960 or 1961.

But I wonder--when the RCC ordered all of the remaining married Catholic priests to divorce their wives, in the 11th century or so, did the RCC grant them "annulments" instead?
 
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mica

Well-known member
Guided by Rome...? Why not GUIDED BY THE BIBLE and what is actually written in it? Like what Paul wrote? I think he even said that forbidding marriage was a "doctrine of demons" but would need to double-check. Yep:



Didn't the CC force the remaining married priests in the church to divorce their wives, in the what....12th century?
catholics are guided by Rome. Christians are guided by God's word. major difference in the 2.
 

balshan

Well-known member
Goodness me, yes--but some of the criteria for issuing an "annulment" are pretty lame. Like my uncle, who, after 20 years of marriage to a Protestant, and having 4 kids with her, proving they consummated the marriage, got a divorce from her. Later on, he rejoined the RCC and then wanted to marry a nice Catholic lady. Sooooo.... the bishop granted him an "annulment" of his marriage to Protestant, which basically said they had never really been married in the first place--after 20 years and 4 kids. I can still hear the scorn in my mother's voice about this. I am not sure what the reason given for the annulment was, but it may have been because my uncle was married in a Protestant church and maybe the RCC back then didn't think it was a true marriage. This was in 1960 or 1961.

But I wonder--when the RCC ordered all of the remaining married Catholic priests to divorce their wives, in the 11th century or so, did the RCC grant them "annulments" instead?
It still is a grounds for annulment, known as lack of form. If RC doesn't get permission to marry in another church or civil marriage then:

If a Catholic wishes to validly marry any other way (for example, observing his fiancé’s Protestant form), he must obtain a dispensation from the Catholic canonical form from his bishop. (This is ordinarily handled through his local pastor.) If he fails to obtain a dispensation and proceeds with a wedding apart from the Church, his wedding lacks canonical form and his marriage is not valid. Lack of canonical form constitutes grounds for annulment...
additionally, if a Catholic wishes to marry a non-Christian, he must first obtain a dispensation from his bishop in order for his marriage to be valid. To receive such a dispensation, the Catholic party must declare that he is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the Catholic Faith and he must sincerely promise to do all that is in his power to raise offspring resulting from the marriage in the Catholic Church.


 

Bonnie

Well-known member
Hmmm, could
It still is a grounds for annulment, known as lack of form. If RC doesn't get permission to marry in another church or civil marriage then:

If a Catholic wishes to validly marry any other way (for example, observing his fiancé’s Protestant form), he must obtain a dispensation from the Catholic canonical form from his bishop. (This is ordinarily handled through his local pastor.) If he fails to obtain a dispensation and proceeds with a wedding apart from the Church, his wedding lacks canonical form and his marriage is not valid. Lack of canonical form constitutes grounds for annulment...
additionally, if a Catholic wishes to marry a non-Christian, he must first obtain a dispensation from his bishop in order for his marriage to be valid. To receive such a dispensation, the Catholic party must declare that he is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the Catholic Faith and he must sincerely promise to do all that is in his power to raise offspring resulting from the marriage in the Catholic Church.


Hmmm, could be...I thought my uncle converted to his wife's church, but I could be wrong. He may have just dropped out of the RCC, without formally joining her church.
 

balshan

Well-known member
Hmmm, could

Hmmm, could be...I thought my uncle converted to his wife's church, but I could be wrong. He may have just dropped out of the RCC, without formally joining her church.
Well it doesn't matter because if he joined her church, they would just take him back into the fold and the grounds for annulments would be there because I believe there is a clause in that site where it says he cannot be lured away from RCC. That would be under the format lack of form, it would be mean the marriage failed to met the guidelines for marrying outside the church.

If you are in a mixed marriage with an RC, you just never know whether it is a real marriage or not. This is one grounds that is not found in civil annulments.
 

Bonnie

Well-known member
Still, no Catholic has told me why an RCC priest--a straight one--cannot marry a nice single Catholic lady, if they love each other...since Paul has said elders and bishops should be the husbands of only one wife....and that it is NOT a sin to marry. I know the RCC allows married men to remain married if they wish to become Catholic priests after they are married...so, if it is allowed for them to remain married, then why can't a Catholic priest get married, if he meets a nice single lady and they fall in love and want to get married?
 

balshan

Well-known member
Still, no Catholic has told me why an RCC priest--a straight one--cannot marry a nice single Catholic lady, if they love each other...since Paul has said elders and bishops should be the husbands of only one wife....and that it is NOT a sin to marry. I know the RCC allows married men to remain married if they wish to become Catholic priests after they are married...so, if it is allowed for them to remain married, then why can't a Catholic priest get married, if he meets a nice single lady and they fall in love and want to get married?
Don't hold your breath, it is just a discipline and can be changed at the drop of a hat.
 
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