The Fiction of Clerical Celibacy

During the first four centuries, no law was promulgated prohibiting clerical marriage.

P. Delhaye, s.v., “Celibacy, Clerical, History of,” New Catholic Encyclopedia.

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  1. Luther wrote this in 1538 in Article 11 of The Schmalkald Articles:

    “The bishops have forbidden marriage and burdened the godly estate of priests with perpetual celibacy… With this, they have given the occasion for all kinds of horrible, enormous, innumerable sins of unchastity. They are still stuck in these things.”

  2. Does this mean that the current requirement for celibacy is merely a temporary policy, or does the church claim that it is irreformable/infallible/ex cathedra doctrine?

    • I don’t think that it’s considered either irreformable or ex cathedra simply because she can grant exceptions when it suits her. E.g., recent Anglican converts are being granted an exception.

  3. Rube,

    It’s considered a clerical discipline that is required. It’s not dogma, and there are exceptions. It would still require papal approval, I’m sure through a convening of the College of Cardinals(technically the pope wouldn’t have to rule directly on a council decision, he could just ‘receive’ it-he does have to convene the council).

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