How Can Priests Avoid Causing Scandal?

By Thomas Heinze

The Bible makes it clear that marriage is not prohibited to those who serve God full time. The New Testament sets out the requirements for church officers:

"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife...One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" (1 Timothy 3:2-4).

The priests of the Old Testament were usually married, just as were the church leaders of the New Testament. The Catholic Church calls Peter its first pope, and he was married (Matthew 8:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5).

While severely condemning sexual relations between people who are not married to each other, God explains that sexual contact between married people is not sin. On the contrary, to help them avoid sexual sin, He commands both husband and wife to be available to the other:

" avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband... Defraud [deprive] ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency" [inability to control yourself] (1 Corinthians 7:1-5).

This passage makes it clear that God wants married people to be satisfied at home. The reason He gives is "to avoid fornication."

Because the Catholic Church controlled a great deal of property, it imposed celibacy upon its priests to stop them from passing the property on to their children. This was done through the synods of Elvira, Orange, Arles, Agde, Toledo and by the Lateran Council of 1139.

The Bible says: "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." (Heb 13:4). Priests who fall not only break God's law, they induce others, often children, to sin with them, and scandalize the public.

They find themselves trapped in a system which multiplies their temptation by not letting them marry, and has no real salvation from sin to offer them. Priests should repent, get out of the system, and search the Bible until they find the salvation that God in His love is offering them in Jesus Christ!

Adapted from Answers to My Catholic Friends, a book that will help you help your Catholic friends.

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