Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The popular understanding of priestly celibacy in inaccurate.

The Vatican's Secretary of State has told a Venezuelan newspaper that the issue of mandatory priestly celibacy may be discussed. The issue has been largely dismissed since it is a long-standing Church discipline.

Word to the wise: Nobody should expect sweeping changes anytime soon, not even from Pope Francis. The hype is just that.

Word to the wise: Nobody should expect sweeping changes anytime soon, not even from Pope Francis. The hype is just that.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Priests, celibicy, Pope Francis, marriage, married priests


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to long-standing Church discipline, Roman Catholic Priests and Bishops are chosen from those who pledge to remain celibate for the Lord.   There are some exceptions for priests. Those exceptions include a small contingent of Anglican or other Protestant clergy who have returned to the full communion of the Catholic Church and are already married.

Otherwise, all Roman Catholic priests are to remain celibate.

The Vatican's Code of Canon Law reads: "Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity" (Canon 277).

Permanent Deacons can be either celibate or married. The decision must be made prior to ordination.

Priestly celibacy isn't a Tradition in the major sense of a dogmatic teaching, but rather an ancient and honored discipline which can be changed. However, the discipline exists for a reason and in this case the reasons are as ancient as the Church. They also happen to be very good reasons, pastorally and prudentially.

Just because the issue may become a topic of discussion within the Vatican does not mean change will happen anytime soon. The Catholic Church is not resistant to change, but is extremely judicious, so changes tend to be gradual and very carefully considered.

If a change happens, it will be the result of careful deliberation, pastoral and prayerful contemplation. This may not occur during the tenure of Pope Francis, in fact, it is unlikely to happen so soon, even from a Pope who seems full of surprises to the uninformed.

Pope Francis may approach the subject differently from his most recent predecessors, but that does not make him radical in any sense. While the media may hype him as overturning tables within the Vatican Pope Francis is doing no such thing.

Instead, he is simply reaffirming ancient and wise theological insights and leading by his personal example. However, he is not changing any dogmatic teaching of the Church. In fact, he cannot do so. 

What's missing is a proper understanding of Church teaching and the real meaning of the discipline of celibacy in the media. This too is an old problem, hardly unique to this pope or this generation.

What the Secretary's comments likely reflect is a willingness to revisit an ancient discussion on an ancient discipline. Pope Francis has familiarity with directing married clergy, having also served the Eastern Catholics during his tenure in Buenos Aries.

The Eastern Catholic Church, like the Orthodox Church, has allowed either married or celibate men to be considered for ordination to either the diaconate in Christ or priesthood. Celibacy or marriage as a state in life is determined before the first ordination to the Diaconate. Bishops are chosen from the ranks of the celibate clergy. 

He may be willing to discuss the idea of considering admitting married men to candidacy for priesthood for pastoral reasons within the Church. However, it is premature to wager that he will be opening ordination to the priesthood to married men any time soon. In addition, this entire discussion has nothing to do with already ordained priests. Their promise of celibacy is permanent. 

Anyone who thinks such a major change will occur quickly are mistaken. 

A forthcoming, in-depth analysis of this story will appear shortly from Deacon Keith Fournier.

Watch Catholic Online's most viral videos here!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Amazing beautiful ancient mosaic church floor found under courtyard of current church Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient decorated mosaic floor of an ancient church, underneath its modern incarnation, during an excavation. The Christian mosaic is believed to be about 1,700-years-old and part of the old Byzantine church of the fourth century. ... continue reading


Remembering another great encyclical!

Image of

By Tony Magliano

While Pope Francis' new encyclical Laudato, Si' is enjoying wide publicity, few people are aware this year marks the 20th anniversary of another powerfully prophetic social justice and peace encyclical: Evangelium Vitae ("The Gospel of Life"). Trying to awaken the ... continue reading


Former 'Accountant of Auschwitz' asks God for forgiveness during trial facing 300,000 counts of accessory to murder Watch

Image of Oscar Groening,

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Auschwitz guard, Oscar Groening has asked for God's forgiveness after serving Austchwitz during his testimony in court, last Wednesday. The 94-year-old worked for Austchwitz when he was just 13 and later became the "Accountant of Auschwitz." MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


U.S. archbishops express excitement over pending papal visit Watch

Image of After visiting Cuba, the Pope will visit three major cities on the U.S. east coast - Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia - and the respective bishops of those cities were indeed jubilant.

By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)

Looking forward to Pope Francis' September visit to the U.S., the nation's bishops were exuberant on Tuesday, as the itinerary for the apostolic voyage was released. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - Fewer than three months before the scheduled visit, Archbishop ... continue reading


Pope Francis to meet with president, prisoners and homeless during U.S. visit Watch

Image of Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden and preside over a vespers service at the newly spruced-up St. Patrick's Cathedral.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis' visit to both the United States and Cuba will be hectic. In addition to meeting with political officials in both countries, the Pontiff will meet with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia and the homeless at the ... continue reading


Learning from Elijah: Shipwreck, Struggle and the Broom Tree

Image of Elijah under the broom tree

By Deacon Keith Fournier

There are lessons that can only be learned under the broom tree. The lesson St Paul gave to the early Christians in Greece about the reality of being shipwrecked and experiencing daily struggles in life is critical in our age. God is searching for men and ... continue reading


Head of Russian Orthodox Church to meet with Pope Francis to repair rift between branches Watch

Image of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is a Russian Orthodox bishop. He became Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church in February of 2009.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is definitely going to happen -- but where and when has yet to be decided. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and Pope Francis have agreed to meet in an attempt to repair the major rift between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity. LOS ... continue reading


Pope Francis explains the nature of faith - the whole Gospel is written in its light Watch

Image of Francis lamented that

By CNA/EWTN News

The Pope focused on the virtue of faith during his Sunday Angelus address, saying the whole gospel is written in its light. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - "Faith is this: to touch Jesus and to draw from him the grace which saves," Pope Francis explained June 28 at ... continue reading


Pope Francis admonishes archbishops to be convinced by what themselves teach Watch

Image of The Pope added that, in being witnesses to the faith, archbishops should practice what they preach.

By CNA/EWTN News

During his Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday, Pope Francis called on the Church's new archbishops to be courageous witnesses who are not ashamed of Christ, and who are convinced by what they themselves teach. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux to be canonized by Pope Francis later this year Watch

Image of The canonizations of the married couple will coincide with the Synod on the Family, to be held on Oct. 4-25.

By CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis formally approved on Saturday the decrees necessary for Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin - known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux - to be declared saints later this year. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - The two blesseds will be the first ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 2:2-5
2 As he said these words the spirit came into me and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 123:1-2, 2, 3-4
1 [Song of Ascents] I lift up my eyes to you who are ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:1-6
1 Leaving that district, he went to his home town, ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 12:7-10
7 Wherefore, so that I should not get above myself, I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 5th, 2015 Image

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria
July 5: Cofounder of the Barnabites. Born in 1502 in Cremona, Italy, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter