Why are Eastern Rite married men allowed to be ordained priests?

By November 9, 2014 5 Comments

Full Question

Eastern-rite Catholics allow for the priestly ordination of married men. Since they are in communion with Rome, why are they not held to the same discipline as Roman-rite priests?


Because priestly celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine, and so there is room for diversity on the issue according to the customs of the respective rites. If celibacy were a doctrine, all rites would have to conform to the judgment of the Holy See on the matter because doctrines are true for everybody. But celibacy is a discipline (a practice that is legislated by proper ecclesial authority) that has been deemed to be spiritually beneficial. In the Latin rite, this spiritual discipline ordinarily is required of all men who seek priestly ordination. In the Eastern rites, it is practiced by the monks and by some secular priests, but it is not required of all men who seek ordination. Out of respect for the longstanding customs of the Eastern-rite churches, the Vatican allows the Eastern churches in communion with the Holy See to maintain their own properly constituted discipline on this issue.


  • Denise says:

    I always thought that celebacy was universal as our catholics believes are. That is a sad fact, cause many good men leave the order because they are just not strong although they are pasionately in love with there faith.

  • john says:

    That is true. Lebanese catholic maronite priests are allowed to be married.
    But, when a married priest wants to come and be a part of an Australian Lebanese church, it’s frowned upon by the bishops. Why is that, whens it’s accepted by the Vatican? Even, Pope Francis recently accepted a maronite priest to be married in U.S.

  • jundelle jalique says:

    I just want to add (even if I am not really 100% sure): married priests from eastern orthodox churches can become married priests in eastern catholic churches while married priests in anglican communion can become married priests in personal ordinariates (the type of hierarchy within the Latin rite church for former members of anglican communion).

  • Vern says:

    I think the Pope should get rid of celibacy all together. It is simply hypocritical to allow some to marry but not everyone based on a discipline and not a doctrine. In addition, Priests would actually know human to human love as well as human to god love. Which in turn would make them more loving people. Also, if priest were married don’t ya think they could give better marriage advice to married Catholics? Another benefit of allowing married priest is more people would discern to become priests and we wouldn’t have such a big shortage of them. Just saying. I love my Catholic faith, and I’m not trying to sound like a cafeteria Catholic here, but like the answer said…It’s a man made discipline not a God made doctrine.


    I think this celibacy was meditated and contemplated upon by all celibates (priest and religious) not less than three (3) years before any of them becomes priest/religious. Most even spend up to 9 years of formation. My take is that is that, it is a divine calling by Our Lord Jesus himself (c.f. Matthew 19: 3-12) aside the fact that it is a discipline by the church. If you cannot be a good celibate (priest/religious), then it is equally hard to become a good husband/wife.

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