Marriage for priests


Please, let us get real about this history of abuse in the Church. Isn’t it time we paid attention to what the Holy Spirit is telling us?

Celibacy might be a fine ideal but it doesn’t always fit well with reality.

Diocesan Catholic priests need to have the option of marriage.

About twelve years ago, my husband Terry and I were given some information by a priest who had received it from a cardinal.  This was about a survey that had come from Rome.

The survey revealed that 98.2% of priests did not cope with celibacy.

If this information is false, I would like to know.

If it is true, perhaps someone can tell me why the church has not acted on it.

Some priests have had the courage to campaign for the option of marriage.

In America, Fr Donald Cozzens began speeches with a litany of popes who were married, and then he would point out that celibacy came in because church property was being passed down in families.

If natural law is sacrificed for financial reasons, then surely there will be repercussions.

The apostles were married. Paul says their wives helped them in their ministry. (1 Corinthians 9: 5)

We can be fairly sure that these wives were among the women who supported Jesus and his disciples.

As for the 72 whom Jesus commissioned to go out in pairs, I assume these were husband and wife partnerships. Marriage was important, and what is taken for granted is often left unstated.

The defense for celibacy is idealistic: an unmarried man has more time to give his ministry.

This works for some priests, but for many others the gap means loneliness, alcoholism. depression and guilt-ridden sexual behaviour.

If we look at our Anglican cousins we usually see husband and wife in ministry together, and the family home a warm place of welcome for others.

Why are our priests denied that?

Mandatory celibacy may have financial advantage, but that is small compared with the costs incurred by abuse scandals.

Every time I see another report of abuse, I think of a line from the Greek playwright Aeschyles: “Who is the slayer and who the victim? Speak!”

A while ago, our brave bishops took the cause for married clergy to Rome, and were sternly reprimanded.

Isn’t it time to try again?

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.











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