Is it lawful and right for a Catholic Priest not to marry? - Gospelbaze
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Is it lawful and right for a Catholic Priest not to marry?

Catholic priests represent Christ. Christ did not marry, he was a virgin and he praised virginity (Mt. 19:11-12).

Critics of the Catholic Church charge that it is unnatural and unbiblical for men to celibate. Every man , they claim must obey the biblical injunction to be ”be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28); and also that Paul commands that each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband (1 Cor. 7:2). They equally argued that celibacy encourages masturbation, homosexuality and illicit fornication.

However, the primary basis for the requirement of celibacy is clearly the lifestyle example of Jesus. Jesus himself speaks of celibacy as a gift from God. (Mt. 19:11-12). The Gospel of Matthew 19:27-29, tells us that those of the twelve apostles who had wives left the company of their wives and followed Jesus for the sake of the kingdom.

 

More so, the gospel of Luke 18:28-30, confirms this fact and more explicitly with regard to wives. St. John of whom it is often said was most loved by Christ on account of his purity for he had never married, in his Revelation (14:3-5) speaks of unmarried virgins who have remained faithful to God and entered the kingdom.

Furthermore, there are many more reasons why the Catholic priests do not marry as Catholic Answers explains: The reasons Latin rite priests can’t marry are both Theological and Canonical.

Theologically, because, priests serve in the place of Christ and therefore, their ministry specially configures them to Christ.

Canonically, priests cannot marry for a number of reasons. First, priests who belong to religious orders take vows of celibacy. Second, while diocesan priests do not take vows, they do make a promise of celibacy. Third, the Church has established impediments that block the validity of marriages attempted by those who have been ordained. Canon 1087 states: “Persons who are in holy orders invalidly attempt marriage.”

Meanwhile, there are other reasons why Catholic priests do not marry ranging from being freer to serve their parish, have fewer reasons for holding back in ministry, and avoid favoritism. Although all these are secondary benefits of a celibate priest it doesn’t give the Church’s true reason for upholding her tradition.

Consequently, the church’s true reason becomes that as St. Paul Center explains the Catholic priest is celibate in order to be freed for fatherhood. “Celibate priests possess a unique capacity to reveal the Father and the Father’s love.”

In sum, Simon Onyebuchi in his book entitled: ”The Truth They Don’t Understand,” makes it clear that the Catholic Church does not forbid anyone to marry. No one is required to take a vow of celibacy; those who do , do so voluntarily. They renounce marriage (Mt. 19:12); no one forbids it to them. Any Catholic who doesn’t wish to take such a vow doesn’t have to, and is almost always free to marry with the Church’s blessing.

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