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Married Priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church

Recently the subject of married priesthood has surfaced again. The Holy Father Benedict XVI has met to discuss the issue with his advisers about month ago. While the meeting reaffirmed the value of priestly celibacy it fell short of saying that discussions about married priesthood are nothing but over. In fact Holy Father in the past, while still a Cardinal, acknowledged that the celibacy is not a dogma but "the life style". Recent comments of Cardinal Humes had sparked new speculations that the issue indeed is not over. Vatican insiders report that in the near future Vatican may permit of ordaining married men who have proven their faith and are very likely candidates for the priesthood. This may very well involve ordaining current "permanent deacons" who are allowed to marry. Many arguments can be made against or in favor of married priests. The fact of the matter is, that if married priesthood re-introduced back into the Roman Catholic Church, it will without question deeply affect the church and they way "business is done".

Unlike with celibate clergy, Bishop will be limited on how often can they transfer a married priest from one parish to another. If married priesthood is allowed again, for the benefit and well-being of priest's families, bishops should consider of assigning the priest to one parish for as long time as possible. Today in the Roman Catholic church priest are moved from parish to parish, and it is unlikely to see a priest stay more than ten years in one parish.

The married priesthood will most certainly be accomplished with some financial hardship on the part of the family of the priest. It is very unlikely that a priest alone can support his family today. His wife will have to contribute financially and even sometimes be what we call "the bread winner". Currently most of the priests in the United States are covered with a medical insurance that is provided to them by their diocese. The insurance costs will definitely be a factor for many dioceses when considering married priesthood.

Some believe that the married priesthood will also solve the problem with shortage of priest. If allowing married priesthood comes in along with permission for the priests who have left to get married to reenter the ministry, it may provide a short term solution to the shortage, but it is very unlikely to be a long term solution. The orthodox churches in America are also suffer from the shortage of vocations although their priests can get married.

Supporters of married priesthood in the church say that it will eliminate many problems that church recently faced in regard to sexual abuse. Unfortunately pedophiles exists among married men as much, if not more.

It is not to say that married priesthood is something bad. In fact the married priesthood has potential to enhance the church. But in order to succeed in marriage, both the priest and his wife need to feel a special vocation to the life required by the priest. Many say that married priest will have to split his attention between the church and the family. If in marriage both become one, his wife should share with him the desire to work for the benefit of God's church. This kind of approach can eliminate the need of dividing one's attention, a both priest and his wife can dedicate themselves completely to the service of the church.

Eugenia Brown is a writer for Everything Catholic!- website that promotes products from Ingatius Press, a Catholic Publisher. There you can find books and literature on variety of topics including pope.

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