Right before and after the official assumption of the Pontificate by His Holiness Pope Francis, the matter of “Married Priests” has become a repeated subject matter – apparently on account of various press briefings given by the Holy Father. Irrespective of whatever the media persons concerned understood on the occasion of such encounters, the latter nevertheless said that the Supreme Pontiff himself appeared open to and receptive of the possibility of married priests in the Catholic Church. It might be then right and proper to forward the following realities on this matter which some people might not be acquainted with:
One: While there is but one Catholic Church the world over, the same however has two sections or branches – with the same Pope as the universal Head of both: The Church of the Oriental Rite and Latin Rite.
Two: The Church of the Oriental Rite allows its Priests to get married when they are still Deacons. When already ordained Priests, they have to remain celibate. Their bishops must be celibate.
Three: The Church of the Latin Rite – which includes the Philippines – has Priests who must profess and live the Law on Clerical Celibacy. Those who fail to do so, are removed from active priestly ministry.
Four: There is a distinction between the Ordination to the Priesthood and the assumption of the Law of Celibacy. Once ordained a Priest, he remains a Priest until death. Once he gets married, he loses his active priestly ministry.
Five: There is then a big distinction between Ordination to the Priesthood and the observance of the Law of Celibacy whereas one is separable from the other. More important is the faithful commitment to one’s vocation.