Skip to comments.Married priests a possibility says Cardinal Egan [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 03/12/2009 6:09:59 AM PDT by NYer
ALBANY, N.Y. (CNS) | The possibility the Catholic Church will allow married priests shouldn’t be dismissed, New York Cardinal Edward M. Egan said March 10 during a radio interview.
“It’s a perfectly legitimate discussion,” he said during a talk radio program in Albany hosted by Fred Dicker. “I think it has to be looked at.”
Cardinal Egan was in the state capital as part of a legislative lobbying visit. He also discussed various New York legislative issues as well as the broader picture of the church’s public policy on topics such as same–sex marriage and access to abortion for minors.
Cardinal Egan’s resignation as head of the New York Archdiocese was accepted by the pope Feb. 23. He will serve as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese until April 15 when Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of Milwaukee will be installed as his successor.
In the radio show’s final minutes, when asked about priestly celibacy by Dicker, who also is state editor of the New York Post newspaper, Cardinal Egan said he thought the subject would be coming up for discussion by the church’s hierarchy.
“I’m not so sure it wouldn’t be a good idea to decide (whether priests can be married) on the basis of geography and culture, not to make an across–the–board determination,” the cardinal said. He noted that priests in the Eastern Catholic churches –– such as the Romanian, Maronite or Melkite churches –– are allowed to be married with “no problem at all.”
The Eastern Catholic churches often admit married men to the priesthood in their regions of origin but do not permit marriage after ordination. Outside their regions of origin, the Eastern churches may not admit married men to ordained ministry without a dispensation from the Vatican.
Some married clergymen from other Christian faiths who have joined the Catholic Church have later been ordained as Catholic priests.
In 1980 the Vatican approved special provisions under which former Episcopal priests who had become Catholics could apply for ordination in the Catholic priesthood. Since then several dozen married former Episcopal priests have become Catholic priests. In addition, a few married former Methodist and Lutheran ministers have been ordained Catholic priests.
Frederick J. Luhmann, an author and researcher who has kept track of the ordinations of married men for more than a decade, told Catholic News Service March 11 he counted 93 former Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist clergymen among U.S. Catholic priests currently serving the church.
In 2002 Luhmann wrote a book titled “Call and Response: Ordaining Married Men as Catholic Priests.”
In a 2006 interview with the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paolo, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who had just been named head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, said that “even though celibacy is part of Catholic history and culture, the church could review this question, because celibacy is not a dogma but a disciplinary question.”
The newspaper went on to quote Cardinal Hummes as saying the shortage of priests in some areas of the world was a challenge, and the church was not “immobile” but “changes when it should change.”
However, a couple of days later he issued a statement to clarify his remarks, saying priestly celibacy was not currently up for discussion by church authorities. He emphasized it was a long and valuable tradition in the Latin–rite church, based on strong theological and pastoral arguments.
Perhaps he did not follow the Vatican Synod of October 2005 - Catholic bishops reaffirm priestly celibacy
Egan was very unpopular with his priests during his stay in NYC. Perhaps confusing statements like this are one of the reasons why.
While the possiblity of married priests is an interesting one I wonder who will be supporting the priest’s family? Many people aren’t all that generous when it comes to giving. I could just hear some of they griping now, “why do I have to support his family?”
Mar Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir, Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, specifically addressed the topic of married priests at the Vatican Synod.
Sfeir warned the 245 bishops attending the synod's eighth daily session that marriage causes "just as many problems as it resolves," according to the text released by the Vatican. A married priest must care for his wife and children as well as look after his flock, said Sfeir. A bishop also has more difficulty in relocating a married priest than an unmarried one, the patriarch said. The cardinal, like many prelates at the synod, linked the lack of priestly vocations to the question of celibacy. "Celibacy is the most precious jewel in the treasure of the Catholic Church. But how do you conserve it in an atmosphere full of eroticism: newspapers, internet, advertising posters, shows, all shameless and always wounding the virtue of chastity," he said.
Sex is a snare, isn’t it? I can’t help but think that sex was a pretty strong thought in the back of Martin Luther’s mind too. Some day all Christians will be united, but it’ll be little more than a social club if they keep forsaking doctrine a paragraph at a time.
It seems in every area that many conservatives hold dear there is no escape. Not in the church, the state, the country, the world. Conservatives are being squeezed in every direction, trying to change them, conform them, and silence them. The pressure is building under the surface, like a huge magma chamber. The frustration I feel is becoming overwhelming.There is no place in this country it would seem for MY viewpoint to be accepted. My question is, are we deluding ourselves on this website? Are we really the majority? Are there enough of us to effect any change? If so, when? How? At what cost? and Why hasn’t it made a difference? Where is the outrage, besides on a few websites and conservative bloggers? Is there any hope of turning around this ship, or is it truly too late? You know, it would not have mattered if the rudder of the Titanic could reverse the direction of the ship once it struck the iceberg; it was still going to sink no matter the direction it was pointed. I guess my question is, have we already struck the iceberg?
Married priests are a reality if you happen to be a married protestant minister who converts and is subsequently ordained a Catholic priest.
That is precisely the problematic situation in some of the Eastern Catholic Churches (see my post #5). As Cardinal Sfeir commented at the Synod, he must be very selective in assigning a married priest to a parish; they will need the financial resources to support him, his wife, children, their medical, dental and educational needs, provide them with a home, and salary to sustain the family. If for any reason there is conflict in that parish, the cost of relocating the married priest is much greater than a celibate one.
My pastor is Maronite and celibate. His grandfather, on the other hand, was a married priest.
Celibacy is not Cannon from the lips of Christ and can be changed.
accepting married priest might bring more priests into the fold and more mentally stable priests at that.
Why can’t a priests wife work and support the family?
And then (one might reasonably expect based on the experiences of other denominations with married clergy), the church would somehow have to pay for his-and-hers divorce attorneys, separate maintenance, child support, the new wife and children, etc. A general case for married clergy is very difficult to make in a culture of instant divorce.
It doesn't appear this is the usual experience in Eastern churches (Catholic and Orthodox) with married clergy. However, it would be interesting to know what percentages of divorce or marital estrangement those churches' clergy have, and whether there's a trend to more or less marital disruption.
I wonder what he had to say about these other topics, too.
Luther's libido resided, prominently, in his frontal lobe. Right alongside his paranoia, schizophrenia and alcoholism.
“Why cant a priests wife work and support the family?”
In the Orthodox Church here in America, most priests’ wives do indeed work.
Supporting a priest and his family is not such a big deal. The parish simply has to commit to pay a reasonable wage and provide reasonable benefits. The overwhelming majority of Orthodox parishes in the world are staffed by married priests.
One shouldn’t second guess +Sfeir, however. Given the context within which the Maronite Church operates in the West, which is to say, as a comparatively tiny sui juris church along side the truly huge Latin Church with its own practices like celibacy, the politics of the situation militates against the assignment of substantial numbers of married priests to parishes here. Beyond that, as the cardinal points out, married priests bring with them their own set of problems.
Personally, I’ll take a married priest over a celibate (and we’ve had both in our parish) for parish work any day, but that’s as cultural for me as a celibate priest is for my Irish Catholic cousins.
My pastor is a convert from the Episcopal Church. He is married and has grown kids. He has grandkids as well. As far as I know, he receives the same amount from the diocese as any other priest.
Why would god care if priests marry?
“However, it would be interesting to know what percentages of divorce or marital estrangement those churches’ clergy have, and whether there’s a trend to more or less marital disruption.”
For the Orthodox its rather lower than the general population but in part that may be explained by the fact that all priests must marry, if at all, before ordination and cannot be married after so the skewing of divorce rates in the general population by serial divorce and remarriage won’t occur among clerical marriages.
Have you seen this?
Incorrect. Married men could be ordained but they were required to adopt the discipline of lex continentiae. Once ordained a single Priest was not allowed to marry, although many thumbed their noses at their vows and did anyway.
Celibacy is not Cannon(sic) from the lips of Christ and can be changed.
Celibacy is a discipline highly praised by Christ and St. Paul and practiced by the Apostles.
accepting married priest might bring more priests into the fold and more mentally stable priests at that.
A specious argument at best. You might want to enlighten yourself as to the shortage of Priests in the Eastern Rites as well as the Greek Orthodox Church. Some of the most unbalanced men in this world are married, many repeatedly.