It is a matter of justice and it would bring us more in line with the practice of the early church.
Why would we not have married priests? It is clear that in the early church this was the norm. In the gospel we read that Jesus visited Peter’s home and cured his mother-in-law (Mark 1:30) and Paul in his first letter to Timothy gives instructions on the qualifications for ‘a presiding elder’. Among these he states that he must be, “Husband of one wife,................a man who manages his own household well and brings his children up to obey him and be well behaved.”(Tim. 3:2-4) We must therefore conclude that marriage in the earliest traditions of the church was far from being an obstacle to the priesthood.
The Church is currently facing a considerable crisis because of the shortage of priests. To allow married men to join the ordained priesthood would not immediately solve this problem, but it would be a good start and would be an indication that the Vatican was at last listening to the faithful. We have lost many good priests because of the insistence on celibacy. Also we have rightly welcomed into the Roman Catholic Church many married men from the Anglican communion and re-ordained them to minister in our churches and in the Ordinariate celibacy is not required. Why then put this obstacle in the way of our local churches, with many parishes having to close and be merged because they have no priest?
One final point. What does it say about our view of the Sacrament of Matrimony if it is seen to make a man less rather than more worthy of becoming an ordained priest.
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