Married Roman Catholic Priests - think it'll happen soon?

I know some Roman Catholic priests are already married, but that’s not the norm. But the idea of that changing, to a limited degree at least, has been in news. Particularly recently in regards to Brazil.

Article from March

Article from this week

So, who thinks this might happen?

Also might end up eventually extending to a point where all priests are allowed to marry, within the next 10-20 years? And yes, I know that’s not what’s being discussed now. How much is that dependent on Francis remaining Pope? How widespread is support for this, both in the general Catholic population, and in the College of Cardinals?

And do forgive me, if I’ve gotten everything incredibly wrong; not Catholic and don’t really know how everything works.

I think that it will happen soon. You either adapt or you die.

I don’t think so. Some orders and areas of the world have plenty of vocations and these priests can move around.

Orders are separate, their own vows of celibacy are separate from those of the regular clergy, which in this case and confusingly enough means those who do not belong to an order.

Celibacy for priests was already recommended in some of the Epistles on the basis of avoiding “distractions” (less likelihood of nepotism, less being worried about your kids…), but it didn’t become an official and absolute requirement until the Council of Trent in the 16th century. There’s no theological reason for it, it’s a matter of practicality and control. And quite a few priests could use some experience worring about their kids, or dealing with a wife who is OMG not 100% chirpy and capable 24-7-365.25.

As I understand it, American congregations end up with a lot of priests who are not homegrown, because there’s a lack of vocations in the US, but they get plenty in a couple of places where there isn’t a lot of trouble either with immigration or English, and that’s Quebec and Ireland.

Also, I imagine that Puerto Rico gets plenty of vocations, maybe more than it needs.

If it ever gets to the point where there’s a worldwide shortage, that’ll be different.

I kinda do wonder what will happen though, if in Trump’s US, immigration gets so tight, that even people from Canada and the UK have trouble getting in.

If a priest, say Lutheran, is already married and converts to Catholicism, he is allowed to stay married. But if his spouse dies, he is expected to be celibate. This allowance already exists.
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Actually, I listened to a program on the BBC World Service a few months ago about priests in Ireland – and even they are now having to recruit priests from other countries (most typically from African countries) to staff Irish parishes.

Lutheran? Really? I don’t think Lutherans even use the word “priest.” I think it’s just Anglicans (including American Episcopalians) and Orthodox Christians.

Not exactly.

For one thing, Lutheran clergy are referred to ministers or pastors, not priests.

Yes, the Roman Catholic church allows certain priests from other denominations, who are already married before converting to Roman Catholicism, to remain married while becoming Roman Catholic priests.

However, these are, as I understand it, either former Anglican / Episcopal priests, or former Eastern Catholic priests, denominations which are seen by the Roman Catholic church as being fairly close in doctrine to Rome.

According to this L.A. Times article from earlier this year, there are around 120 married Roman Catholic priests in the U.S., and most (if not all) of them came into the church from those denominations.

Not soon…but eventually. Same for women as priests. Same for acceptance of gays as “not sinful.”

We may not live to see it, but the church will, in time, have to make these and other concessions, or fall into irrelevance (even farther.)

It might come in the form of a schism, with a “Reformed Catholic Church” with their own hierarchy. (Wouldn’t it be cool to have a modern anti-Pope?)

This is correct. But the Orthodox already allow a (lower) tier of married priests.

I used to think so. But the Catholic Church, unlike most other denominations, is very much a global church. In my California diocese, of the fifteen or twenty seminarians working their way through the system, there is one Anglo. All the rest are hispanic, most being immigrants from Mexico and Central America. There’s a couple from Asia – Vietnam and the Philippines supply priests to the west too. I have seen priests from African countries here too.

There are almost no vocations from earlier waves of Catholics in the US (Polish, Irish, Italian). But that gives you a false perception. Roman Catholicism doesn’t feel the pressure to modernize that, say, the Episcopalian or Lutheran or even Baptist churches do, because its growth areas are not in the west.

So, my guess is probably no married priests. Women priests are even less likely.

But I’d like to be surprised . . .

Two popes have already said that this isn’t absolute. And there are already small exceptions being allowed. It seems that the Church is starting the process of allowing it. Now, how long that will take, or whether it will be halted before completed, I don’t know. But it does definitely seem more likely than it did less than a year ago.

You’ll see married priests long before women priests.

Okay. Minister then. Whatevs.

Married priests are a lot more likely than female priests. The Roman Catholic Church could (resume) allowing married men to be ordained without any theological issues. It’s already the norm in the Eastern Catholic Churches and allowed in the Latin Church by Papal dispensation.

Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern-Rite Catholicism both allow married men to be ordained to the priesthood (well diaconate then priesthood), but neither allows marriage after ordination to the priesthood (which is why widowed priests have to remain celibate). Married priests have the same status as unmarried priests (they’re not a lower tier) and are usually preferred for parish duty (because they can draw on their own experience dealing family matters). The only difference is a married priest cannot be ordained as bishop unless he becomes widowed (theoretically it’s also possible if his wife becomes a nun).

Oh, okay. Bishops then.

Not whatevs, it’s one of the biggest differences. The words aren’t just labels, they refer to having very-different functions, related to Lutherans having a lot less Sacraments.

That may be, but there are certainly priests and priestesses in many religions beyond Catholicism. I believe you’re being unnecessarily narrow here. In any event, the Catholic Church certainly does allow for the existence of married priests under certain circumstances. There were many married popes historically as well.

My take is the RCC will have married priests pretty soon. By the timescales that the RCC follows.

So give 'em 200 or 300 years and they’ll get it done. Which will be “soon” by their lights. Their whole and entire doctrinal center point is that “We and our practices are eternal, unchanging, and god-given as-is forever and ever amen.”

The RCC will sink in scale to a mere footnote of history before it’ll make what it thinks of as radical change. Yes, I know that the “no married priests” thing is not scriptural. And is fairly recent (again on the RCC timescale, being a mere 500 years old). And I know that they know both those things. But doctrine overrules mere scripture every time with these folks.