Written by Jyrell Wynn, Staff Writer
2015 is a year where, all across the world, we are making changes and addressing many social, political and religious issues. One religious issue that has not been explored much is whether nuns and priests should be allowed to marry.
The Catholic Church should allow nuns and priests the opportunity to marry if they choose. Throughout history, the Church has changed its stance on various social issues such as slavery. Popes accepted and allowed the selling of slaves until Protestants led the charge against slavery. After several Christian nations abolished slavery, the Church finally rejected the practice.
In the early days of the Catholic Church, many priests and popes were allowed to marry and did. It wasn’t until much later that the Church decided that celibacy was the way for priests to go.
However, marriage is good for the Church, because it means that families will be rooted in God’s love and be able to control the sexual frustration that they may face as celibate priests or nuns. Priests can have wives and nuns can have husbands to support them through hardships and ministry. Subsequently, they can have children to spread the message of peace and understanding. According to the Bible, Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
This means that it is better to stand with someone than to be alone.
Despite their reputation, priests and nuns are people who have personal needs
So sex is something that needs to be addressed. Marriage will address those concerns by providing a partner to share an intimate relationship with. It will allow them to spread the word among their families as well as others. Being married won’t keep them from spreading God’s Word or change their personal relationships with God. If celibacy isn’t a Biblical requirement for priests, and other Christians are allowed to marry, why can’t they?
There is a history of married Catholic diocesan priests and even today some married Protestant ministers who convert to Catholicism are allowed to be ordained as priests.
However, married nuns is a contradiction in terms. Nuns and sisters (there’s a difference) live in a religious community and electively choose to give up family life for one of prayer, contemplation, and service. The male counter part is a brother or a religious priest (think Jesuit or Franciscian, etc). Religious persons (nuns, sisters, brothers, priests) make a vow of not only celibacy but also a vow of obidience and poverty. I’d think that a vow of poverty and obidience to a community is a greater obstacle to family life than celibacy, thus a contradiction in terms.
A typical diocesan priest only makes a promise of celibacy (a promise is different than a vow) and does not take a vow of poverty, so they are allowed to own things, have a bank account, etc. If th celibacy requirement were ever lifted, it’s entirely possible for a priest who is already married to be ordained and still have a happy family life.
When a person decides to become a priest or nun (i.e religious instead of secular) they have had years to discern their calling and should be making a clear choice to be celibate. To say that the Church should let them marry so they can meet their sexual intimacy needs is kind of a insult to all of the current religious who joyfully live out their vows before God. Intimacy is important and can be achieved in other ways than through sexual encounters. It’s best to talk with happy nuns and priests to find out why they love their life the way it is.
In hindsight, I should have interviewed priests and nuns and Catholics in the Church for their input on the issue.