Thanks for the question.
The celibate priesthood is a matter
of discipline and not of faith. The
Church in centuries past has ordain
The Catholic Church is not just the
Roman Catholic Church, as most of
us in the America and Western Europe
are used to. The Catholic Church
also includes several Eastern Rites
which still ordain married men on
a regular basis just like the Greek
On occasion, the Latin Rite, or Roman
Church, will make an exception and
ordain a married man. This usually
involves an Anglican, Lutheran, or
Methodist Minister who:
- is already married
- interested in joining the Church
- and interested in pursuing ordination
as a Catholic priest.
The Church has the authority to impose
disciplines for the benefit of the
This authority is easy to see when
you carefully read Acts 15 (the
Jerusalem Council). The Church was
not dealing with the priesthood,
but the principle is the same. In
this instance, the Church had to
decide what to do with non-Jewish
converts to the faith. In Acts 15,
we see that a doctrinal decision
is made; that is, Gentiles need not
get circumcised. They also added
that they should abstain from certain
meats. This latter provision was
a simple discipline added for pastoral
reasons, though it was removed later.
Luckily today, we both sit down to
a nice juicy steak, without worrying
about eating the blood of an animal.
The celibate priesthood is in place
because of the demands of the priesthood
on the individual.
If someday the Holy Spirit leads
the Church to change it, the Church
There are also some theological reasons
which surround celibacy. They
are secondary, but they buttress
the pastoral concerns of the Church
in maintaining this discipline.
Nevertheless, the issue of priestly
celibacy it is not an article of
faith. It's simply a matter of authority,
pastoral concern, and discipline;
it is not immutable. Exceptions are
often made, and remember, it only
applies to the Western Catholic Church
or Roman Rite.
One last note, neither the Roman
Church nor the Orthodox Church have
ever allowed priests to marry once
they are ordained. It has ordained
men who are already married. If a
married priest's wife should die,
he may not remarry.
I hope this answers your question.
May God Bless you in your spiritual
journey. Please feel free to write
if we can be of further assistance.