‘It can be more tricky to find a suitable married man to ordain than a suitable celibate man’

‘It can be more tricky to find a suitable married man to ordain than a suitable celibate man’ October 3, 2018
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An Australian bishop has some thoughts on the pros and cons of ordaining married men to the priesthood, via CNA:

The possibility of ordaining married men to the priesthood merits consideration both of its positives and negatives, Bishop Michael McKenna of Bathurst has said.

“I’m very open to looking at it seriously, and looking at it seriously does mean looking deeply into it,” Bishop McKenna told the Australian newspaper the Western Advocate. “It may be one of those areas where more latitude is given to individual bishops or perhaps national bishops’ conferences to decide on cases rather than every case having to go through Rome.”

“It can be more tricky to find a suitable married man to ordain than a suitable celibate man because it places very particular demands on the marriage and so not every wife is willing and able to be part of this,” he added.

The Roman Catholic Church, unlike many Eastern Catholic Churches in union with the Pope, generally requires men to be celibate, that is, unmarried, in order to be ordained to the priesthood. In the western Church, celibacy was increasingly common throughout the centuries, and became an official norm in the 11th century through a decree of Pope St. Gregory the Great.

In some cases, the Church does allow married clergy from Anglican or certain other Protestant traditions be ordained as priests following their entrance into full communion with Rome. These exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis, following examination by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and with the permission of the Pope.

For Bishop McKenna, however, the exceptions should not necessarily inform the rule. He observed that in many circumstances ordaining married men “really wouldn’t be in the best interests of the man and his wife or indeed the Church.”

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