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If Peter is the rock upon which Christ built his church (roman catholic) and the Pope cannot be married, why was it ok for Peter to have a wife? (Matthew 8:14-15 When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's Mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.)

Why is the Pope not allowed to be married when Peter (the first pope) was?

  • Because he was already married before he became a Disciple

    13%
  • Peter didn't have a wife

    2%
  • I don't know

    78%
  • I'll explain..........

    5%
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MrsHart6
Submitted by at 11:55 PM on Dec. 25, 2008
Votes (141) Comments (23)

Why is the Pope not allowed to be married when Peter (the first pope) was?

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MrsHart6
Submitted by at 11:55 PM on Dec. 25, 2008
Votes (141) Comments (23)

Comments

  • eringobrou...
    Submitted by   at 9:16 AM on December 26, 2008

    Easy explanation -- the pope can be married! In fact there have been about 39 married popes in the history of the Catholic church.

    Longer explantion - Priestly celibacy is a 'discipline' and not a 'doctrine/dogma' of the Catholic Church. Doctrines/dogmas are WHAT we teach. Disciplines are HOW we put those teachings into practice.

    The church does not say married men cannot be priests. But it does say that at this point in time it's best for both the Church and the priest if the priest is unmarried and celibate. That is the best way to serve the church. There are exceptions - but generally it's best.

    Even Paul agrees. He endorces celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7, "Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband" (7:27-34).

    A married men should be concerned about his family and their needs. An unmarried man has more freedom to dedicate his life to the church and serving people.

  • MamaBee07
    Submitted by   at 11:07 AM on December 26, 2008

    I didn't vote and I won't comment, because Eringoborough answered this beautifully.

  • eringobrou...
    Submitted by   at 6:41 PM on December 26, 2008

    I just wanted to make it clear that even today a pope could be a married man. The pope is elected by a college of Cardinals (special bishops) and there's no rule or doctrine that says they have to elect another Cardinal as pope. They can elect any man -- even a married man who is not an ordained priest. They haven't done so since about 1350 - but it's possible.

    Although if they were to elect a married man who is not a priest, in order for him to become pope he would have to be ordained Bishop of Rome (since that's the ractual title of the Pope - Bishop of Rome).

    So a married man can become pope and be ordained a priest. As I said, it's more that the Catholic Church believes it's best if a priest is unmarried and celibate (a position Paul supports in the Bible).

  • MrsHart6
    Submitted by   at 11:01 PM on December 26, 2008

    Eringo, doesn't this go back to our previous discussion? I believe that you told me that a priest can get married but he would be removed from his position as priest and made to be something else (not really a priest but still able to perform certain duties) Would that not also apply to the Pope if he were to get married while being the Pope? (he would be removed from his position and made to take another?)

  • eringobrou...
    Submitted by   at 11:39 PM on December 26, 2008

    A married man can become pope. If a single man becomes a priest or bishop (and remember the pope is basically the bishop of Rome) he takes a vow of celibacy - so if a single man were to become pope and receive the sacrament of Holy Orders he would be required to take a vow of celibacy.

    As we talked about before this is not "forbidding" marriage -- it's asking the single man to make a choice. Does he want to be a priest/bishop or does he feel he may be called to be married. Part of a man's discernment for the priesthood is "am I willing to give up marriage?" If he is not then he should not enter the priesthood (or become pope).

    So I guess it goes back to one of your responses -- that Peter was already married before he became the first pope. He didn't get married afterwards.

  • eringobrou...
    Submitted by   at 10:28 AM on December 27, 2008

    One other thing I wanted to point out why the pope (and priests in general) should be celebate after they receive the sacrament of Holy Orders (the sacrament that basically makes them deacons/priests/bishops).


    Now we are all called to make Christ first in our lives - to commit our lives to Him. When one receive the sacrament of marriage, in addition to committing ourselves to God (which is what we all should do) we are committing ourselves to another human being. This is a life-long commitment.


    And in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, in addition to commiting himself to God (which as I said we should all do) he is also committing himself to the institution of the Church - to serve the Church (which means serving the people not the building).


    Catholics look as priests as being married to the Church. Just as marriage is the total gift of self to another, the priesthood requires the total gift of self to the Church. A priest's first duty is to his flock, while a husband's first duty is to his wife. Obviously, these two roles will often conflict, as Paul noted and as many married priests will tell you. A celibate priest is able to give his undivided attention to his parishioners without the added responsibility of caring for his own family.


    Now a married man can become a priest - it is possible but rare. But it would require a lessening of the commitment to the family/wife. As you pointed out Peter was married - but he left his wife to follow Christ and spread the word. Hardly an ideal marriage. Yes, a wife can be supportive and helfpul but the nature of marriage is that the couple is committed to each other and their family. The bible does tell us that if we recieve a higher calling from God to leave our families if necessary. So as I said it's possible, but not preferred.


    A single man who chooses the priesthood (even pope) has committed himself to the church. To then seek to be married afterwards would lessen his committment to the church - it would have to because of the nature and demands of marriage. So once a man receive the sacrament of Holy Orders he cannot get married and remain an acting priest.


    I think some non-Catholics have problems understanding this because they don't undersand/accept the idea of a ministeral priesthood. We are all called to a common priesthood of Christ -- that's what the Catholic Church teaches. But some are called to a special vocation of ministerial priesthood. The article "Why We Have a Minsteral Priesthood" talks about the biblical basis for this.

  • MrsHart6
    Submitted by   at 2:55 PM on December 27, 2008

    I'm sorry, I'm still confused on this. Can the Pope be married or not? Your telling me it's possible but then telling me that if a man wants to be a priest/bishop/pope he can't get married because of the vow of celibacy. I understand 100% that a leader of the church should really not be married because it will distract him from serving the church completely. I understand the reasons for not allowing a priest to be married but I don't feel like I'm getting a straight answer in regards to the question I asked.

  • eringobrou...
    Submitted by   at 4:20 PM on December 27, 2008

    Sorry - yes a priest (or the Pope) can be married - if he gets married before becoming Pope. As I mentioned this has happened something like 39 times in the church's history. And as you pointed out Peter was married before he became Pope.

    There has never been an occassion where a pope wants to get married after he has become pope. He would have taken a vow of celibacy and he couldn't get married until he is released from that vow (just like any priest). And he couldn't get married and continue to function as Pope.

    Does that answer the question?

  • MrsHart6
    Submitted by   at 3:43 PM on December 28, 2008

    I think I understand it now. If a man is already the Pope, he cannot get married and still continue as pope. If he's already married before becoming Pope, than he can stay married. Would the church ever grant someone to be the Pope if he were married? (vow of celibacy, having to decide to be single and become a head position or be married and never be priest, bishop, ect?)

  • eringobrou...
    Submitted by   at 10:31 AM on December 29, 2008

    Would the church ever grant someone to be the Pope if he were married? (vow of celibacy, having to decide to be single and become a head position or be married and never be priest, bishop, ect?)


    As I said - there have been married popes in the past.  So yes the church would make someone pope if he were married.  However it has been centuries -- I do think it would be highly unlikely that it would happen in the near future.  The role of the church in society has changed greatly over the centuries.  I think if a man had such a committment to the Church so as to make a good pope he would have already made the commitment to the priesthood.  And generally that would mean he has taken a vow of celibacy ahd dedicated his entire life to the service of God through the Church. 


    Would church ever allow a pope to get married?  Maybe - I'm really not positive from a theological basis.  It has never happened and I really can't imagin it happening.  I think someone who is an acting pope would understand the demands of the position and understand that it would be better to remain unmarried.  Plus most popes are quite old when they are elected and basically if they haven't married by now it would be unlikely to suddenly decide to do so at such a late date.

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