Can I Marry a Priest?

Q. I am a young woman. There is a young man that I know whom I am very much attracted to. He wants to become a priest. He says that God has called him to this duty. I believe that is true, but I also believe that I am in love with him. Does that mean that I can’t marry him if he becomes a priest? I’ve been through many very extremely tough and painful spots in my life, and I do not think God would keep me from marrying him. Could you explain to me?

A. A man with the character and integrity to consider the priesthood is very attractive, indeed. I am not surprised that you love him. But, I am sorry, but once a man is ordained to the Priesthood of the Catholic Church, in all rites (Latin & Eastern) –he may not subsequently, marry. There are some rites in the Catholic Church where a married man can be ordained to the priesthood after marriage but he would have to be a member of this rite already.

The celibacy of the priesthood is a beautiful discipline of our Church. Our priests imitate Jesus who was not married. They also imitate the Heavenly state in which none are married or given in marriage.

Matthew 22:30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Mark 12:25 “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Luke 20:35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;

In this way they are able to be undivided in their interests whereas a married man has a divided focus–Wife and family on the one hand and the congregation on the other.

I Cor. 7 32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

By forgoing marriage and family, he proves his serious devotion to Christ and a willingness to sacrifice his own pleasure to further the kingdom. His “wife” is his church and the people are his children. Through baptism he begets children for the kingdom of God.

This is a discipline of the Church. It is very old and very beautiful. However, it could be changed by the hierarchy. But I seriously doubt that it will be changed because the advantages of priestly celibacy, far outweigh the disadvantages.

12 Responses

  1. To whom it may concern:

    Please, be very careful about how you handle God’s Word and about what you teach and practice. This notion may sound good from a human and earthly perspective; however, it contradicts what God intended and in fact said.

    Jesus is not without a bride. He in fact came for His bride, the church (Ephesians 5: 22-33). The priest cannot be the bridegroom of the church, because the church is the bride of Christ, and He is the Bridegroom (Mark 2: 19-20; John 3: 28-29).

    In the resurrection, they neither marry nor are they given in marriage; however, we are not in the resurrection.

    In 1 Corinthians 7: 32 Paul is saying that “for the present distress” he judges such to be the case for Christians in general; however, he emphasizes that they are free to marry (1 Corinthians 7: 28 and 38). Two chapters later in 1 Corinthians 9: 5, Paul expresses the right of he and Barnabas to marry a Christian just as the other apostles, and the brothers of the Lord and Peter had.

    To suppose that he is contradicting his own words (that were in fact breathed by God) in 1 Timothy 3: 1-2 would be a huge mistake. God does not contradict Himself. Therefore, Paul was not including bishops in his statement in this passage. If he did, He contradicts God and is to be accursed.

    Moreover, his letter to the Corinthians was earlier than his letter to Timothy. Therefore, his command to Timothy that bishops MUST BE THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE came later than the passage you point to as your reason for contradicting 1 Timothy 3: 1-2 and for fulfilling Paul’s prophetic warning one chapter later in 1 Timothy 4: 1-3.

    1NOW THE SPIRIT SPEAKETH EXPRESSLY, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

    3FORBIDDING TO MARRY, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

    Please, harken unto these important truths.

    Sincerely concerned,



    • <>

      Joe, I’ll let the other readers respond about the marriage issue (BTW, I would like to mention that Catholicism does indeed have an approved married clergy: we have ordained deacons who usually marry, and marriage is optional for Catholic priests in the many Eastern Rites such as Maronite, Melkite, Byzanntine Catholics. Also there are the Lutheran and Episcopalian cross-over clergy.)

      My main comment is that there are many Christians who abstain from meat (and I don’t know of any who “command” this) because of the cruelty involved in modern factory meat farms and the plethora of wonderful non-meat alternative sources of protein–both did not exist in biblical times as today.

      As one goes deeper along the Christian path, the fruits of the spirit ripen, making one more gentle and aware.

      It’s the frightening, abusive housing, and slaughter of animals, especially the more sentient mammals, that I have come to find so disturbing and literally unpalatable.

    • Hello Joe,

      What’s your issue with being single-mindedness in doing God’s will on earth? Maybe the problem is your own making:

      Matt 12:19: ” … and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs FOR THE SAKE of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

      1Cor 7:32,35: “I want you to be free from anxieties. The UNMARRIED MAN IS ANXIOUS ABOUT THE AFFAIRS OF THE LORD, HOW TO PLEASE THE LORD, but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs.”

      Conclusion: “So that he who marries his betrothed does well, and HE WHO REFRAINS FROM MARRYING WILL DO BETTER.” (1 Cor 7:38).

      So who’s being carnal?


      • Dear Franas,

        “Who’s being carnal?”

        Great question Franas!

        What is it to be spiritual and what is it to be carnal?

        To be spiritual is to follow the Spirit of God.

        To be carnal is to follow after any other thing.

        God said that a bishop MUST BE THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE (1 Timothy 3: 1-2). He commanded this after he said the things you quoted from 1 Corinthians 7.

        The statement by the Spirit through Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 is to the church in general. The statement by the Spirit through Paul in 1 Timothy 3 (a later statement) is specifically for Bishops and Deacons. The Spirit then, says that A BISHOP MUST BE THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE. Therefore, it is spiritual to follow this command and it is carnal to reject it.

        Additionally, Jesus said,

        “33Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

        34BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, SWEAR NOT AT ALL; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

        35Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

        36Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

        37But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for WHATSOEVER IS MORE THAN THESE COMETH OF EVIL (Matthew 5: 33-37; KJV).”

        Therefore, I have no problem with a man choosing to be unmarried, just as Paul chose, but if he does he also chooses not to be a Bishop, just as Paul also chose. He also must choose such without swearing an oath. He must simply let his yes be yes and his no, no.

        Moreover, concerning deacons, since no man has the authority to forbid any other man to marry, all deacons have the right to marry (Please study 1 Timothy 3). Perhaps, they may choose to remain unmarried, but they may also choose to marry. No man may forbid it. How can any man compel him to swear an oath of celibacy as a condition of his office when he, specifically as a Deacon, is authorized by the Spirit of God to marry. How can any man compel him to swear an oath of celibacy when he is forbidden, as a Christian in general, by the Spirit of God to swear any oath of any kind?

        I hope that you will sincerely ponder these very important truths and questions.

        Thank you.


  2. I am a man, and I married one (the high priest Jesus Christ). I am his bride. Thank God for the priest of my profession.

  3. Hello Joe,

    So when Jesus adjured by the living God in response to the high priest Caiaphas’ question (Matt. 26:63-64), did Jesus violate His own commandment? And when Paul called upon God as his witness (2 Cor 1:23, Gal 1:20), was he in complete disobedient? In Ex 30:2, we were warned to not break our vow if we swore an oath to God. In Jm 5:12, we are exhorted to “let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No,’ LEST you fall into judgment.” So clearly, making a vow (like celibacy) is not prohibited, but it’s man’s failure to keep it faithfully which is the problem. I think it will help tremendously if you will read the bible in context.

    Your citation about bishops being married with one wife is already explained very adequately else where.


    • Dear franas,

      I understand that you are refuting the teaching that we are not to swear oaths, and that it is perfectly in harmony with God’s Word to compel men to swear oaths of celibacy in order for them to be considered for the office of a bishop. You cite Matthew 26: 63-64, 2 Corinthians 1: 23, and Galatians 1: 20 as Scriptural support for your argument. I further understand you to be saying that a bishop “MUST NOT BE (or MAY NOT BE) THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE.” You claim that this has been well established elsewhere. You also suggest that if I read the Scriptures in context I will understand better.

      Let me begin my response by commending you for the understanding that we must read the Scriptures in their own context rather than some context introduced by a man. I also appreciate that you seem to understand that we may use Scripture to prove the truth. These points are exactly what I have been trying to establish for many months.

      With these things in mind, let us look at the context of the verses you cite. In Matthew 26: 63-64 we read,

      ” 63But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

      64Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matthew 26: 63-64, KJV).”

      Here we see the High priest command Jesus by the authority vested in Him by God to answer whether He is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus does answer by saying that the High priest has already said what is true, namely that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus then says that after that time the priest would see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Where is the evidence that Christ swore an oath contrary to His earlier command?

      In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul did not swear an oath. Paul intended to visit the church in Corinth when leaving Macedonia and heading for Judaea. He writes, “15And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; 16And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.[2 Corinthians 1: 15-16; KJV).” He then says that his yes is not yes and no, but in Christ it is yes. We read, “18But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea (2 Corinthians 1: 18-19; KJV).” He then explains to them why he did not end up coming to them. He points out that it is God who established them together in Christ and sealed them with the earnest of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. He then says that this same God is also witness of the fact that he had not yet come to Corinth in order to spare them, because he did not want to come to them in heaviness nor to make them sorry. He said God is his witness that something done by him in the past, and the motive by which it was done, was true, not that he swore an oath to God that he would do or accomplish something in the future. There is a huge difference.

      In the same way, in his letter to the Galatians, Paul tells them correctly that God was his witness, as God was Christ’s witness, that he was not lying (20Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not [Galatians 1: 20; KJV).” This is very different from swearing by God that you will do or accomplish something in the future when you do not even know what will happen tomorrow (James 4: 13-15; KJV).

      Furthermore, you insinuate that it is correct to compel men to swear oaths of celibacy before they may be considered for the office of a bishop. You claim that it has been well explained elsewhere. I would like to remind you of your exhortation to me that I should read the Scriptures in context. I would like us to do that with 1Timothy 3. In context, the Scripture says that “A bishop then MUST BE blameless, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach…(1 Timothy 3: 2; KJV). Since it says that a bishop MUST BE all of these things, for us to claim that a bishop MUST NOT BE THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE without also saying that a bishop MUST NOT BE blameless, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, and apt to teach, would be to remove that portion of the statement completely out of context. We must conclude that a bishop MUST BE THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE in order to conclude that a bishop MUST BE these other prerequisite qualifications, and that we must conclude if we are to believe God’s word.

      Much more could be said. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.



  4. Hello Joe,

    You misquoted. I didn’t say that one is “compelled” to take an oath as related to the office of the bishop. In fact, oath is a voluntary personal act between the person and God. It is a discipline (not doctrine) of the Latin Church only for the ministerial priesthood. No one is “compelled” to take a vow of celibacy.

    As far as Matt 26:63-64 is concerned, Jesus did not disagree when the high priest challenged him to swear by God that he was the Messiah by answering “You have said so.” In 2 Cor 23, Paul was calling on God’s name when he “call God to witness” against him. Similarly, Paul swore “before God, I do not lie” in Gal 1:20. In 1 Tim 3:2, there’s no prescription that a bishop MUST be married.

    The Second Commandment says: You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain. There, it is not saying one should not swear by or take a vow, but that we should not do it in vain (thus In Jm 5:12: “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No,’ lest you fall into judgment”). In fact in Ex 22:10-11, there’s even a commandment to swear by God “when someone delivers to another a donkey, or any other animal for safekeeping, and it dies or is injured or is carried off, without anyone seeing it, an oath before the Lord shall decide between the two of them … the owner shall accept the oath.” There are many other examples in the bible.

    I urge you not to be more scriptural than the bible.

    • Dear franas,

      You close by saying, “I urge you not to be more scriptural than the bible.” I like what you mean by this. I have been urging Catholics in this same way, though with different words, for a long time. It seems that they are too willing to cast off what the Scriptures say plainly for anything that their Traditions may say, as if their Traditions are somehow “more scriptural than the Bible.”
      As I pointed out, neither Jesus’ nor Paul’s statements constitute oaths. In Matthew 26: 63 the High Priest says to Jesus, ” …I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” Clearly, the High Priest is earnestly urging or commanding Jesus by the authority given to him by God as the High Priest, to answer. Jesus tells him that the High Priest himself has already said that which is true. The High Priest is not compelling Jesus to swear an oath; neither is Jesus swearing one. Paul says that God is his witness that he is telling the truth of past events or of the reasons for them. He is not swearing oaths.

      The Old Testament examples you mention do not apply to the New Testament age. Those things were for the nation of Israel. The covenant was between God and them, not between God and the New Testament church. Furthermore, The Old Testament covenant is not for anyone today, not even for the nation of Israel, as Christ fulfilled the Old Testament covenant, nailed it to His cross, and took it out of the way. There is only on Covenant today, and it is for all. Thus, Jesus says,


      34But I say unto you, SWEAR NOT AT ALL; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

      35Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

      36Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

      37But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (Matthew 5: 33-37; KJV).”

      Clearly then, Jesus points out that in the Old Testament they were told not to swear falsely, but that they were to perform their oaths unto the Lord. Nevertheless, Jesus then tells them that He says that they are not to swear at all. Instead, they are to let their yes be yes and their no, no, anything more than this is of evil.

      As far as your claim that your religion does not compel a man to swear an oath of celibacy, I continue to disagree adamantly. The Bible says that a man that desires the office of a bishop desires a good work. Now, imagine that a man earnestly desires the good work of the office of a bishop, which desire is good. For you to tell that man, who greatly desires the good work of the office of a bishop that he must swear an oath of celibacy in order to attain that good work, is to compel him to swear the oath. You have made it impossible for him to attain that good work without swearing the oath! On the other hand, the Bible says that a man “MUST BE blameless, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour…” etc., in order to qualify for the good work of the office of a bishop. If you remove the qualification “THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE” what keeps you from removing the others? If the qualifier “MUST BE” applies to “blameless,…, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour,” etc. how can you say that it does not apply to “THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE”?

      Since the Bible clearly and emphatically authorizes a man to be THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE as a bishop, how can you claim that your religion is not contrary to the Bible by forbidding bishops to marry and compelling men to swear oaths of celibacy in order to become bishops? The actions and reasoning of your religion on this matter sound like the reasoning of corporate lawyers looking for loopholes in contracts to avoid intended meanings that are clear but undesirable in their sight.

      Thank you for your thoughtful responses,



      • Hello Joe,

        What do you call it when you use God as a witness? Go figure. Now, you are certainly free to be a “conscientious objector” like an anabaptist or Quaker but bottom line, whether or not you pledge an oath to tell the truth, you will be sinning if you tell a lie all the same. You can find plenty of exegesis on this topic as well as the “bishop” question so do some critical research yourself.


  5. Dear franas,

    There may be great “exegesis on these topics as you say, nevertheless, Jesus still says, “…SWEAR NOT AT ALL…BUT LET YOUR COMMUNICATION BE YEA, YEA; NAY, NAY, FOR WHATSOEVER IS MORE THAN THESE COMETH OF EVIL (Matt 5: 33-37; KJV).” and Paul still says, “a bishop then MUST BE…THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE…(1 Tim. 3: 2; KJV).”

    Thank you.

    In Hope,


  6. Dear Joe,

    Like many loner me-Jesus Christians, you obviously think that you are more infallible than a Catholic pope can ever dream to be or somehow, believe that the Holy Spirit guiding Christianity’s got it all wrong for 2000 years (that is, until Joe Duran comes along with an impeccable English bible in the KJV translation). In charity, I just have to point out that it is very important to be contextually (in culture, history, language, specific audience and crowd of listeners, etc.) relevant and accurate in the proper reading and interpreting of the family book of the Catholic Church. At first blush, Matt 5:33-34 appears to forbid all oaths. In closer examination, Jesus was merely correcting the pharisaical and scribal abuses of oaths prevalent during the time. Words depend on character, and oaths cannot compensate for a poor character nor a careless use of oaths in everyday speech. In Deut 6:13, we hear of the commandment to God’s people: “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him, and swear by His name.” Isaiah also said: “He who swears in the earth shall swear by the name of God” (Is. 65:16). Earlier, I pointed out that God commands swearing before Him even in the mundane affairs of life (Ex. 22:10-11). So did God change after NT? Not if you believe that God is the same “yesterday, today and tomorrow” (or that He cannot command what He simultaneously condemns). In Matt 26:63, the high priest Caiaphas put Jesus under oath [to “adjure”, the Greek exorkizo, which means “to extract an oath, to force an oath” (J.H. Thayer, Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 224)]. Jesus affirmed by replying: “You have said” (su eipas). The NT contains numerous other examples of the approval of oaths if you will just not simply “shelve” them away (Examples: 2 Cor. 1:23; cf. Rom. 1:9; Gal. 1:20). Yes, Joe, for someone like yourself who constantly boasts that “God cannot contradicts Himself,” maybe it’s time to really start believing it than just mimicking “a form of godliness but denying its power.” Stop “proof texting” a single verse of the bible to the oblivion of the rest of the bible. It commonly leads one to a land called “heresies”.


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