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Encyclopedia > Clerical marriage

Clerical marriage is the practice, followed in most Protestant and Orthodox churches, of allowing clergy to marry and have a family. “Matrimony” redirects here. ...

This is in opposition to the discipline of clerical celibacy currently followed in the Roman Catholic Church, where priests are not allowed to marry, on the principle that this leaves them free to devote their lives fully to the service of the Church and God. However, from time to time married priests have been allowed to transfer from other denominations into the Roman Catholic Church – for example, a number of priests left the Church of England after it admitted women to the priesthood, and were granted entry to the Roman Catholic priesthood. Clerical celibacy is the practice of various religious traditions in which clergy, monastics and those in religious orders (female or male) adopt a celibate life, refraining from marriage and sexual relationships, including masturbation and impure thoughts (such as sexual visualisation and fantasies). ... The Roman Catholic Church or Catholic Church (see terminology below) is the Christian Church in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, currently Pope Benedict XVI. It traces its origins to the original Christian community founded by Jesus Christ and led by the Twelve Apostles, in particular Saint Peter. ... A religious denomination, (also simply denomination) is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity. ... The Church of England is the officially established Christian church[1] in England, and acts as the mother and senior branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as well as a founding member of the Porvoo Communion. ...

The tradition of clerical celibacy did not exist in the earliest church, and was not fully enforced even in the Middle Ages. The practice of clerical marriage was reinitiated in Wittenberg in 1521, inspired by the writings of Martin Luther. Luther himself, even though he was a monk, married Katharina von Bora, a nun, in 1525. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Statue of Martin Luther in the main square Wittenberg, officially [Die] Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Germany, in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, at 12° 59 E, 51° 51 N, on the Elbe river. ... Events January 3 - Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem. ... Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a German monk,[1] priest, professor, theologian, and church reformer. ... Portrait of Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther, by Lucas Cranach the Elder. ... Nun in cloister, 1930; photograph by Doris Ulmann A nun is a woman who has taken special vows committing her to a religious life. ... Events January 21 - The Swiss Anabaptist Movement was born when Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, and about a dozen others baptized each other in the home of Manzs mother on Neustadt-Gasse, Zürich, breaking a thousand-year tradition of church-state union. ...

The Eastern churches never developed a tradition of enforced clerical celibacy, and parish priests are usually married, although marriage must have occurred before ordination as a deacon (the preliminary step before full priesthood), when the future priest is still laity. However, by tradition bishops are appointed from the clergy who have chosen to remain celibate, usually by taking monastic oaths, or from widowed clergy. Both these traditions are also followed by Eastern Catholic Churches which acknowledge allegiance to the Pope. Eastern Christianity refers collectively to the Christian traditions and churches which developed in Greece, Russia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, northeastern Africa and southern India over several centuries of religious antiquity. ... Deacon is a role in the Christian Church which is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. ... In religious organizations, the laity comprises all lay persons collectively. ... Celibacy refers either to being unmarried or to sexual abstinence. ... The Eastern Catholic Churches are autonomous particular Churches in full communion with the Pope of Rome. ... The current Pope is Benedict XVI (born Joseph Alois Ratzinger), who was elected at the age of 78 on 19 April 2005. ...

Certain groups (notably some of the Brethren fellowships) actually require a prospective pastor to be married before he can be ordained, based on the view (drawn from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) that a man must demonstrate the ability to run a household before he can be entrusted with the church. Even in these strictest of groups, a widower may still serve. The Brethren are any of several Christian denominations, most of which are Anabaptist-Pietist. ...

In many Protestant circles, there is no requirement that a pastor be married (never married persons are eligible to apply for openings; a divorced person would most likely not be hired in fundamentalist and several evangelical groups). However, in practice churches tend to hire married persons, so as to have the pastor's marriage serve as a "model" for a functioning Christian marriage.

External links

  • Recent videotaped interview with Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo (high-speed connection required) October 2006.
  • Recent online interview with Archbishop George Stallings, Jr., former Roman Catholic Priest, about "Married Priests Now!" movement.
  • Recent online interview with Catholic Priest Father Alan Phillip about the need to revoke mandatory celibacy.

  Results from FactBites:
Clerical celibacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2146 words)
Clerical celibacy is the practice of various religious traditions in which clergy, monastics and those in religious orders (female or male) adopt a celibate life, refraining from marriage and sexual relationships, including masturbation and "impure thoughts" (such as sexual visualisation and fantasies).
This vow of chastity is different from clerical celibacy because the promise is made directly to God, while the promise of clerical celibacy is made to the church alone.
The doctrinal consensus of the reformers in this point was reflected in the marriages of Zwingli in 1522, Luther in 1525, and Calvin in 1539; in England, the married Thomas Cranmer was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1533.
  More results at FactBites »



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