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William H. Sanford wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • If Peter was a Pope, then how is it he was married?
  • Doesn't Catholic doctrine forbid marriage?

God says:

"2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober,
of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach"

1 Timothy 3:2

According to Strong's Concordance, a Bishop is defined as an Overseer or pastor (Strong's # 1984)

  • Would not the Pope be considered an Overseer or Pastor of the Catholic Church?
  • Why, then, does Catholic doctrine forbid marriage, when the Bible states that it is OK,
    if not preferred, to be married?


  { Why does Catholic doctrine forbid married priests, when Peter was a Pope and was married? }

Mike replied:

Hi, William —

Thanks for the question.

When our Lord instituted the Church, having a married priesthood was allowed because the Church was just in Her infancy. That said, let's remember the two premiere models for our life in the Scriptures were celibate:

  • Jesus Our Lord, the Ultimate Head of our Church, and
  • St. Paul, who encouraged celibacy — 1 Corinthians 7:7-8

As the Church grew, She began to see how the holy priesthood was a full-time family role for the priest. The Roman rite, by discipline, not doctrine, requires a celibate priesthood. In the Church, we view priests as spiritual fathers of their parishioners. Anyone, including a priest, who sees the priest as a bachelor, doesn't see the holy priesthood in the correct way.

An important note:

  • Men who become priests are celibate of their own choosing!
    No one is forcing them to do anything they don't choose to do on their own accord.

As my colleague John said in another posting:

There is no dispensation in the Roman Rite, for someone already in the Roman Rite, to become a married priest. Yes, there are married Roman Rite priests who are married but they are former Protestant ministers who were already married ministers before they came into the Church.

For the most part, this is done with Anglicans and Episcopalians and to a lesser degree with Lutherans and Methodists [who desired to keep serving in the Church.]

It's my understanding that if the wife, of a former Protestant minister who becomes Catholic, passes, the priest, as is the case with anyone born into the Roman Rite, may not re-marry|marry.

By discipline, the Church does allow married priest in Eastern-Rite Catholic Churches.

Thanks for writing!

Mike Humphrey

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