Not long ago, the Pope Himself spoke about the shame brought to the Church by priests who violate their commitment in terms of sexual misbehaviors. In fact, even the United Nations – the Vatican City is a State and wherefore relevant to the UN – also made mention of the phenomenon of errant priests. So it was that the matter of “Married Priests” came to fore supposedly to do away with said errant actuations.
By the way, although not exactly correct much less precise, the right and proper subject matter is really about “Married Clerics” considering that according to Church doctrine and law, the clerical state has to be celibate thus making married state as its opposite. There are sound and solid reasons for Clerical Celibacy according to the long standing norm and tradition of the Church – more than simply a matter of piety. In fact, there are sinners and Saints among those who stay celibate and those who get married.
Question: Why then should Clerics be celibate? Why is it wrong if they get married? Or why not simply allow the Clerics to stay celibate or to get married at their own personal and individual option? Answer: There are three fundamental as well as practical answers to the question in the sphere of faith, in the realm of reality, and in the area of practicality.
In the sphere of faith: Christ, the Son of God, the Lord of heaven and earth, the Savior of mankind, the High Priest was celibate from the time He came up to the time He left. So it is that the celibate Priesthood is made the norm in the Church. In the realm of reality: By virtue of their celibacy, Priests have more time, more opportunities, and more possibilities to reach out, to teach and serve people. In the area of practicality: Being celibates, Priests live and die without worrying about how they will survive, about the present and future of their spouses and children.
Conclusion: It is not realistic either to think or to expect that when Priests are married, then they would be more holy, more understanding, and more realistic – considering that there are many married men who are not holy, understanding, and realistic. The truth is that when Priests are allowed to get married, then the questions of parental support and authority plus the issues of assets and liabilities plus inheritance if any – all these and more become serious issues. It is not also true that Priests would ipso facto become more in number when they are allowed to get married – considering that during these times, less men and women are getting married for one reason or another. One thing is certain though: It is not that easy to live pure, to stay pure during these times of serious and pervasive moral laxity, of errant social sexuality. But this is no excuse at all for Priests to betray their commitment to celibacy through continence.