Wouldn’t there be more priests if they were allowed to marry?


A married priesthood might increase the numbers in the short-run, but the real issue is, "Does God really want a married priesthood?"

A married priesthood might increase the numbers in the short-run, but the real issue is, "Does God really want a married priesthood?" Last week I offered ten reasons why I believe a celibate clergy is better for both the Church and the priesthood. Furthermore, it is not at all clear that allowing a married priesthood would necessarily increase the number of priests in any significant way, or at all. Just because a man — married or unmarried — thinks he is called to priestly ministry does not mean he is — or that he has the qualifications to serve effectively as a priest. That has to be discerned.

The real problem with the lower number of priestly vocations today is that many men have lost the spiritual awareness necessary to hear and answer God's call to priestly ministry (CCC 1578). Others are unwilling to make the personal sacrifices necessary to serve as priests. Ordaining married men would only mean that one less sacrifice would be required of men already disinclined to live a completely sacrificial life, which is the essence of priestly ministry. That does not seem to be a recipe for good priests (Mt. 10:5–10).

In addition, some have also made the case that in the past few decades single men applying for the priesthood have been "turned away" for ideological reasons by people in positions of authority.

I have great confidence that God will take care of His Church by calling enough men to this sacred office.



Matthew Pinto "Wouldn't there be more priests if men were allowed to marry?" Apologetics: "Question of the Week" Ascension Press.

Reprinted with permission of Matthew Pinto and Ascension Press.


Matthew Pinto is a co-founder of CatholicExchange.com, a premiere Internet portal for Catholics. He is also a co-founder and former president of Envoy Magazine, which received the 1st Place award for General Interest Catholic magazines in 1998 and 1999 from the Catholic Press Association. The co-author of Amazing Grace for Those Who Suffer (Ascension Press, 2002) and Did Adam and Eve have Belly Buttons? and 199 other questions from Catholic Teenagers (Ascension Press, 1998) and creator and co-author of the Friendly Defenders Catholic Flash Cards, Matt is a well-known speaker whose work has focused primarily on youth and young adults.

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