The issue of priestly celibacy is being debated again in the Roman Catholic Church.
For one, there is a shortage of priests. Reformers think that allowing for married priests would encourage more men to take the role. But that would go against a thousand years of Church tradition and law (by contrast, in the East, the Orthodox Church has always allowed married priests).
For another, there is a huge problem with homosexuality among Catholic clergy, including all the abuse scandals, most of which involve men and teenaged boys. I’ve heard this called “the lavender mafia.” Reformers think that allowing married men (i.e., heterosexual men) into the priesthood will help with that, too.
Traditionalists are not happy with the idea of ending priestly celibacy.
Pope Benedict XVI (who retired from the papacy) recently published a book condemning critics of the doctrine in the strongest terms, writing, “bad advocacies, the diabolical lies, the erroneous ways by which they wish to devalue priestly celibacy” (see here).
If your authority is the Word of God, what should you think?
The issue of priestly celibacy is a clear example of something about which Jesus warned the Pharisees, i.e., of:
“making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down” (Mark 7:13).
Does the tradition of priestly celibacy nullify the word of God?
Consider the following verses:
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach (1 Tim 3:2).
Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households (1 Tim 3:12).
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion (Titus 1:5-6).
According to God’s Word, can elders/overseers and deacons be married or not? Obviously, they can. Paul could not be clearer.
The tradition of priestly celibacy (which is completely man-made) nullifies these words of God, does it not?
If the Roman Catholic Church is wrong about who can lead their church, what else are they wrong about?
As a matter of fact, I believe they get the saving message wrong, too, adding works to the condition of salvation. The only condition to have eternal life is to believe in Jesus for it (John 3:16). Adding works to salvation means teaching “another gospel” (Gal 1:9).
If you’re a Catholic, haven’t you been taught that simply believing Jesus’ promise of eternal life is not enough, but that you also need to be baptized, go to communion, do penance, go to confession, and so forth, to go to heaven when you die?
Well, that Catholic tradition nullifies the Bible, too. Jesus was clear:
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36).
Believing is the only condition.
If you’re a Catholic, and this is news to you, we have a video series answering questions about the saving message and the proper role of good works and obedience in the Christian life that might interest you. You can start here.