Position Paper Topic: Clerical Marriage
Arianne Christian G. Tapao
Wedding Rings for Catholic Priests
“When you go home, regardless of the day you had, you go to your wife and family. I go home to an empty rectory,” said one priest. For a cleric to marry or not has been subjected to debates long enough, after its being passed as an obligatory discipline, and for the longest time, it has been an issue unresolved, for the reason that: it would largely dictate the essence of being a priest and being a married man, all the same for the Roman Catholic Church. Well, it is about time. They should accept clerical marriage.
There are plenty of reasons why, but the major aspects of the debate simply revolves around these things: complying with the religious doctrine, the definition of discipline, the tradition wherein everyone is used to, different problems the church faces (i.e. pedophilia, sexual abuse and alleged relationships), and the number of men still willing to accept celibacy in exchange for their vow of priesthood. To date, St. Peter, the first pope, was married.
In fact, it was written in evidence that St. John was the only proven apostle of Jesus Christ to be a lifelong virgin. Still, most well-read cradle Catholics are surprised to learn that St. Anastasius, pope from 399 to 401, was succeeded by his son, Pope St. Innocent I, and that a century later Pope St. Hormisdas' son, St. Silverius, also was elected to the papacy. Furthermore, the origins of celibacy as a law for all Roman Catholic Churches has been dated in 1139, and during that time, priests and bishops, added to at least 39 popes, were married. It has also been a common knowledge to accept clergymen of other Christian religion, like the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Protestant, if they would want to be converted and be priests. That is, even if they are married. The question now is, if these people – some are even written in the Holy Bible – have been married and performed the task given to them by Jesus at the same time, then what makes it so different to the present condition of the priests? If these were not obligatory prerequisites to the vow of Holy Order in the first place, why should they be chained within its grounds? In 1 Corinthians 7:32b-35 NIV, it dictates that: “An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
The scriptures on the Corinthians book have been right; it is advisable to restrict priests from taking the sacrament of matrimony. But they have also been right when they wrote that it is not to restrict them; it is written merely as an advice.
There are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Confession, Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Order, and Marriage. People would ask; if these seven sacraments are very much sacred, as much as included in the foundation of Catholic teaching, then why would the church forbid people who would want to achieve two of them at the same time, merely because of an imposed discipline that is celibacy? Never in the Bible did Jesus Christ directly say, “No priest should be married,” or vice versa. On the other hand, the Church would always answer that a priest should be a celibate because he must not and does not need any distraction, or for that matter, civil affair, with anyone. The main argument here is the spiritual and emotional stability of priests, whether they can assert an equal amount of effort or not given they are married or not. Some, according to Rev. Fr....
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