I was scrolling through SiriusXM and stopped to listen to the Catholic Channel for a hot minute, and the host was asking people what they thought of married priests. He himself wasn’t opposed in principle, more just in practice. A parishioner from a parish in my area called in and said that he loved having a married priest as a pastor, and he thought that should be the rule not the exception. His biggest reason was that his priest could give excellent advice as a parent and as a husband. He found it preposterous that an unmarried priest could even begin to counsel a married couple or a parent since he would have no point of reference.
An unmarried priest can’t relate to married couples? Baloney. A classic bachelor might not quite get it, but a priest is by no means your run of the mill single guy.
When priests are ordained, they become a representative of Christ. They become married to His Church, just like nuns become married to Jesus. The Catholic Church is the spouse of every priest that has ever lived. And I can’t imagine being able to handle more than one wife, especially when the first is so troublesome.
As a spouse, I would do well to learn from the priests in my life. God blessed me with some incredible examples. They dedicate themselves whole heartedly to their mission and to their flock. They know the importance of leading by example and practicing what they preach. They would never ask a member of their flock to do anything they are not willing to first do themselves. Most importantly, however, their entire lives are a clear cut example of what it means to lead other people to God and Heaven. Isn’t that exactly what the vocation of marriage is about as well? To raise up more members for the Kingdom of God, and to lead your spouse to Christ?
Just as an aside, it also seems impractical to me as a woman. The Church is holy and wonderful, but it is also made of very flawed people. The sheep in the fold tend to wander, and they require constant shepherding. Doctor’s wives (ahem, sometimes engineer’s wives too) will complain about their husbands being on call and unavailable to them at times, how much more so would a priest’s wife?? Long hours, late nights, no holidays (I know about those)…
Both the vocation of marriage and the vocation of the priesthood have at their core a need for absolute selflessness. A priest no longer belongs to himself, but to the church. Likewise a husband cannot live only for himself but must also live for his bride and children. A priests has the obligation to shepherd his flock in love, just as a father and mother have the obligation to shepherd their children in love.
It’s a real blessing for our Church that we have these 600 or so married priests in the US, God knows we need them. But to claim that these exceptions are the solution and should be the rule would be to do our Church a great disservice.