How do I answer the charge that letting priest marry would prevent scandals like the recent ones?

By November 30, 2014 4 Comments

Full Question

Karl Keating has used 1 Corinthians 7 to explain how Paul felt about priests needing to be unmarried. But this statement bothered me: “If they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire” (verse 9). Given this, how should I handle questions like, “Wouldn’t Catholics have fewer priest committing adultery and—worse—molestation, if they were allowed to marry”?


There is no statistical evidence that unmarried people are more likely than married people to fall into the sins you mentioned. Most adulteries, for examples, are performed by married people (by definition, at least one party to adultery must be married—if neither is married, the sin is fornication, not adultery—and commonly the other party is married also). The moral defects that lead some into molestations are found in both the married and unmarried; those defects do not arise out of the state of celibacy—nor out of the state of matrimony. Among Protestant ministers we find cases of marital infidelity and, yes, molestations. Your non-Catholic friends surely would not conclude that a married clergy therefore should be rejected.


  • jeff walsh says:

    How would a parish react to their priest being sued for divorce by his wife? I imagine not very well.

  • michelle tavakolu says:

    Do married men not cheat, or not lust after other women or not ‘swing’ with other couples. It’s all about the WILL not to offend God, and being, remaining, and increasing always in God’s geace-no matter what yout vocation-but esp. Clergy.

  • Vern says:

    Wouldnt Priest be able to give better marriage advice to couples if they were able to actually experience it? Who knows maybe there wouldnt be so much divorce if Priest had a clue what marriage was like and could actually give some good advice to struggling couples. Also wouldnt Priest be more caring, kind, possably more loving if they actually experienced human to human family love as well as Gods love? Priest not being able to marry is nothing 0 a man made discipline not doctrine. My personal opinion about it as a Catholic is “the dumbest man made dicipline to hit religion”. Then to top everything off, the Catholic Church allows Eastern Rite Catholics to be married as well as some previous Protostatant Latin Rite to be married, but not everyone else. Sound pretty hypocritical to me!!!! Just saying.

  • Kerry says:

    I have received marriage counseling from a priest. They no more about marriage then the so-called marriage counselors. I don’t know a single person that knows more about commitment, sacrifice, and love then our Holy priest! Pray for Priest!

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