Dogmas III - forbidding priests to marry
As a lifelong non-Catholic, I wouldn't presume to critique the RC church and suggest where it's gone wrong, even though Altoona-Johnstown Diocese Bishop Joseph Adamec practically invited outsiders' input in his interview last week. But these thoughts are more intended as discussion starters and questions.
As a Protestant most of my life and now Eastern Orthodox confessor I never understood the Roman Catholic opposition to marriage for their priests and have never heard a persuasive explanation. Both Protestants and Orthodox believe that spiritual fathers or advisors can better know the burdens of married people and families by being married and having children themselves. Most Protestant congregations and denominational officers prefer married clergy (though single ones are not unknown),
In Orthodoxy, a single man is generally told to become a monk rather than a priest if he wants to enter full-time ministry and doesn't intend to marry. Some (few) monks become parish priests, and others are ordained to the priesthood for monastic duties, and all bishops are chosen from the monastic ranks (with rare exceptions, most notably among widowed priests). In the early church, marriage was not forbidden, and even the Apostle Peter is known to have been married,
For these reasons and especially in light of the current sex scandals, compounded by large-scale abandonment of the priesthood in recent decades by men wanting to marry (to say nothing of the increasing difficulty recruiting new priests), and even calls from other ranking RC church leaders for a change in the policy, it's difficult to understand the Pope's defense of this uniquely Roman Catholic church dogma. Anyone able to shed light or express a constructive opinion is urged to join the dialog.
Next time: questions about birth control and divorce dogmas.
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