Married Priesthood and Sex Scandals

Q. If priests could marry, wouldn’t that solve these sex scandals?

A. No. Most pedophiles are married men. So, marriage does not cure pedophilia. This is a sexual disorder that is not easily eradicated. A few years ago many prominent married Protestant pastors were involved is sex scandals. No one called for abolishing the institution of marriage or for the Protestant churches to have their ministers remain celibate. The cause and effect relationship just doesn’t exist between celibacy and sexual perversion.

God has called all men and women to remain celibate until they marry. We are called to self-control and self-mastery. The problem is, in today’s culture there is very little encouragement to do this except from Christianity. Should we solve the epidemic of STD’s , unwed mothers, and premarital sex by having our children marry in adolescence? Historically other cultures have done exactly this with arranged marriages.

Besides, in the most current scandal, the priests have molested adolescent boys, so they are homosexual. Should the Church, then, not only allow the priests to marry but have a married homosexual priesthood?

The problem was ignorance about the possibility of a “cure” with counseling. Also, the bishop’s wanted to be forgiving and give the offending priest a second chance. These two factors led to moving priests around when they should have been dealt with by removing them from any access to our children and teens. Or, perhaps, even removed from the active priesthood after a repeat failure.

Where could the Church put sexually disordered priests? In administration, at the diocese? They still might act out with people they come in contact with or the other disordered priests in administration, children at the park, in their neighborhood, etc. And still, we would have headlines, Diocesan Priest Accused of Molesting Children in Neighborhood or Diocesan Priests Seen Drinking at Gay Bar.

2 Responses

  1. “Does the Bible teach the celibacy of priests?”

    Answer: This is an interesting question to answer, as the Bible does not even teach that there are to be “priests” in the New Covenant established by Christ. Please read our articles on the “priesthood of believers” and “confession of sin to a priest” for more information. The Bible addresses the celibacy of church leaders, but not priests.

    In regards to celibacy of church leaders, in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, the Apostle Paul teaches, “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” (1 Corinthians 7:32-34). In some instances, celibacy has a positive impact on ministry. If a church leader is free from spousal and familial responsibilities, he can better focus on ministering to others. Jesus mentions some becoming “eunuchs” for the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23). Celibacy is definitely allowed for church leaders, and to a certain degree, it is encouraged. However, Scripture nowhere requires celibacy for those serving in positions of church leadership.

    In 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9, the Apostle Paul seems to assume that elders, bishops, overseers, and deacons will be married. Notice the phrases: “the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:6), “he must manage his own family well” (1 Timothy 3:4,12), “his children obey him with proper respect” (1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6). On a related issue, please read our article on whether these Scripture mean that a church leader must be married and have children. While these Scriptures are not a requirement for church leaders to be married, they most definitely present an allowance for church leaders to be married. It is therefore anti-biblical for any church to require celibacy of its leaders.

    Why, then, does the Roman Catholic Church (and a few other Christian denominations) require celibacy of its church leaders / priests? The celibacy of priests has an interesting history. The first official church statements requiring celibacy appeared at the councils of Elvira (A.D. 306) and Carthage (A.D. 390), although clerical celibacy, to a lesser degree, definitely predated these councils. Ultimately, though, celibacy became the official requirement of the Roman Catholic Church due to the practice of nepotism. Church leaders were giving their children positions in the church, despite a lack of any qualifications or training. Further, church leaders were giving church property to their descendants. As a result, the Roman Catholic Church mandated celibacy in order to keep its priests from having familial attachments which made nepotism attractive.

    Again, the Bible encourages, but does not demand celibacy. In fact, Paul recognizes that most church leader will be married. The Roman Catholic requirement of celibacy is a sad example of the Church taking something that the Bible encourages, and transforming it into a requirement, in order to protect its own interests. Sadder, still, is the damage that has been done as a result of the Roman Catholic Church’s anti-biblical requirement. Men whom God has not gifted or called to be celibate (1 Corinthians 7:7), are being required to be celibate, and the result is tremendous failures in the areas of adultery, fornication, and the sexual abuse of children.

  2. Jeronie,

    All of your arguments are based on a false premise. That premise is that all Christian truth can be found in Sacred Scripture and ONLY sacred scripture. The irony is that this Protestant Doctrine of Scripture Alone or Sola Scriptura cannot be found anywhere in Scripture.

    You base your beliefs and criticism of the Catholic doctrine on Protestant interpretation of scripture which is actually Protestant Tradition.

    Click the links for more posts on Catholic TRADITION

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