Blogs Mar 23, 2010 at 8:00 am


Yep. Several of the Eastern Rites that are under Rome are allowed to marry. And Episcopal priests who come back to the One True Church are allowed to be married. When the diocese I live in ordained a married, formerly Episcopalian priest a few years ago, I know several priest who's heads nearly exploded. They've lived lives of "celibacy" (which, for most Catholic priests is a relative term) for their entire adult lives, and all that guy had to do was make a confession of faith, take a few seminary classes, and he's a priest. Talk about lack of justice.
I was the lone Episcopal at a Catholic College, a lot of people seemed a mixture of curious and jealous about that loophole, and it is a loophole which boggled my mind. Why was one set of rules ok for most priests, but another for the rest?

I heard lots of tales about "Episcopal" priests who used the loophole (although if their wife ever died, they could not remarry, and I never heard of any divorces, that would have casued all kinds of head explosions I"m sure)

Also, @1, the "one true church" is just a matter of opinion.
@ 1 beat me to it - those aren't Roman Catholic priests, they're other old offshoots that remained loyal to Rome. They have a certain of autonomy the rest of the Catholics don't enjoy. The Portland priest, and all the others who sneak around with lifelong girlfriends, are probably well aware of it. They probably know all about the married priests and bishops in Africa too, although IIRC the one prominent Archbishop who was challenging Rome on this issue was excommunicated...
@2 - That was sarcasm. I suppose the tone of my voice in my head and my eye rolling as I typed didn't come through in writing. Sorry about that!

I left the the Catholic church about 5 or 6 years ago after spending most of my life as a faithful member, and the four years before I left working for them, an experience I am still recovering from.
The truth is, we, as a living entity, a mammal, need and want sex at our very basic level. It is, as much as we want to deny it, instinctual. And religion is all about denying all that is our animal selves. They are also all about oppression. And
until we are willing to recognize those things about life which are undeniable, we suffer and our behavior is aberrant. Much like a pig in a concrete sty that rubs it's nose raw trying to find roots in cement.
A guy I know in my neighborhood is married, drinks, cusses, talks about running over cyclists and is a major pain in the ass to the home owners association. Turns out he is an Anglican priest! Seems like he choose the correct church for his lifestyle.
Way to pretend ignorance just to get some web traffic there, Dan.

Somehow I doubt that a pre-seminary highschool attendee had no idea about the different rites in Catholicism.

Oh, and for the record, movement between rites is ridiculously hard. If it wasn't, a lot of seminarians would have just started to decide they preferred a different rite a long time ago... It may in fact be easier for an Episcopalian priest to switch over married.
@6 Assholes come in all sizes and colors. He's not bad because he's Anglican. He's bad because he's an asshole. Live with it.
@7 You are right about movement within rites. A priest who was a professor at my college was bi-ritual (a term that makes the 12 year old inside me giggle), with the Latin Rite and the Byzantine Rite, at the request of the bishop in his diocese. He pretty much had to do an extra two full years of seminary full time in order to do that. The Episcopal priest in my current diocese who was ordained in the Latin rite took what amounted to one class a semester and had several "exams" with the bishop and a couple of priests in the diocese for a grand total of a year.
I would actually prefer religious types to remain celibate.
@4 Sorry, I heard that spewed so many times during my four years at College that I take a defensive stance to it. I sometimes forget that people can have a rational and intelligent discussion about faith and religion! It helps to rebuild my faith in humanity!
@12, No worries. I heard it too, at the Catholic college I attended. And although I was a relatively devout member of the faithful then, it still drove me crazy. I had friends who were Protestant, Jewish, Hindu, and Islamic. My mom was Protestant. Although I am still a Christian, I consider all beliefs, as well as no belief at all, to be perfectly valid expressions of spirituality.
@11 or at least learn how to use birth control.
This isn't really news to anyone who is Catholic. Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches (which includes the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) allow priests and deacons to be married as long as they were married before they are ordained. They cannot become bishops if married, though. Same for the Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian Churches.

In Western Rite Catholicism, Roman Catholic married men are allowed to be ordained deacon, and Anglicans (who are arguably Catholic) don't have any marriage restrictions for men *or* women priests. Yeah. Go Anglicans. Oh, and there's the married Anglican priests who became RC when women were ordained (they will not be allowed to remarry on the death of their wives or to become bishops). That one has really pissed some RCs off.

So if anything the RC church is abnormal within Catholicism for its views on priestly celibacy, which were only adopted quite late in the church's history (in the 1100s), and there are lots of perfectly good reasons why priests should be allowed to marry. However, the RCs will never relax the celibacy rule simply because they can't afford to. The stipend for the average parish priest varies, but is somewhere in the area of $12000 a year, which simply isn't enough to support a family on. Effectively forcing clergy families to live in poverty wouldn't exactly do wonders for the RC church's public image, so it's not something they will even contemplate. I bet the priest in the article ends up becoming Anglican.
A big reason for barring clerical marriage is up until a few centuries ago, many bishops and archbishops were feudal overlords in their own right--not to mention the Papal States, which only ceased to be in 1870 (and it too about a century to settle out all the issues settled with that). The struggle by Rome to control appointment to these bishoprics has been at the center of every church-state conflict between the Pope and heads of state for a millennium and they certainly didn't want those offices becoming hereditary.

As the Uniat churches prove, however, it is an outmoded concept and married clergy can happily exist within the Roman Church.
Well, not everyone desires sex with people, as many asexuals such as myself will attest, though many of us masturbate (which is supposedly forbidden to priests as much as sex with others).

I agree whole-heartedly that the whole obsession of the Church with abstinence and celibacy is nothing more than a glorification of repression. Bizarre as it seems, the only flack I ever got for being asexual was from those that were the most religious and the most obsessed with celibacy. I'm not alone--I've talked to a handful of other asexuals that grew up in Mormon, Fundamentalist Protestant and Catholic environments. Asexuals weren't considered true virgins--no matter how virginal one may be--not because they don't have sex, but because they aren't doing the saintly holy act of gleefully repressing their sexual urges that is apparently a necessity to being a true virgin, celibate, or whatever.

The message I got from my Baptist relatives and co-workers was pretty clear: You have to be a sex-lusting person! Then, repress it immediately! Then you understand Jesus! Otherwise, I'm some sort of reverse slut--giving way to my personal natural instinct of not desiring sex with those of the opposite sex. You see, its the whole thing about giving in to your natural innate desire--no matter what it maybe--that bothers them, not so much what you actually do. Or rather, the actual act of sex/no sex is secondary to the motivation behind it. Witness the Born-Again Virgin Movement--hymenally not intact, but happily repressing those sexual urges for Jesus! That's why they can call themselves virgins [whatever the hell that means].

Ugh. They can explain it away all they want, but celibacy is nothing but repression.
@15 thank you for straightening things. I am myself member of one of these Eastern Catholic churches (the maronite church to be precise) that allows the marriage of priests. Being Greek from my mother side , the Orthodox church allows the marriage of priests.Married priests however cannot access to higher level of hierarchy. To my knowledge very few paedophile scandals have come into light because of social pressure (shame, cover up , fear etc...)

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