Why don’t Catholic priests get married, and is it true that a married man could be ordained a priest? Could the Catholic Church’s rule of priestly celibacy ever be changed?
Patrick clarifies that priestly celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine, which means it is a custom that could potentially change in the future. He explains that in other rites of the Catholic Church, such as the Eastern Rites, married priests are permitted.
To understand the basis for priestly celibacy, Patrick refers to Jesus’ teachings in Matthew chapter 19. Jesus discusses marriage and consecrated celibacy, stating that not all individuals are called to celibacy but only those to whom it is given. Jesus presents celibacy as a higher calling for those who are willing to make themselves “eunuchs” for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.
Patrick emphasizes that the discipline of celibacy in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church developed over time to align the priesthood with the example of Jesus, who was celibate and universally available to all. He also mentions that St. Paul encouraged singleness for the purpose of dedicating oneself wholeheartedly to the kingdom.
Finally, he recommends a resource called “Celibacy and the Priesthood,” which is an audio conversation he had with a married Catholic priest, discussing the topic in more depth.