Check out this bible verse:
An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:32b–35 NIV
This was one of the readings in my church last Sunday. The sermon didn’t really focus on it, but as soon as I heard the words a light came on. So this is why Roman Catholic priests and dedicated religious people do not marry! I accepted and defended the Church’s teaching before, but this is clear cut and straight from the Word of God. Exciting.
The more I think about it the more the Catholic policy makes sense. There are so many demands placed on priests and pastors, having the added stress of worrying about a wife and kids would be a recipe for meltdown. Either meltdown or neglect of the parish; neither outcome is desirable.
Of course I’ve heard many critics say that if only priests could marry then the Church would not have faced the scandals it did a few years ago. It’s tempting to believe, but the hard truth is that if someone is predisposed toward pedophilia, marriage will not meet that desire. Those priests that have problems with sexual sin must confront the problem head on and seek help from their friends and superiors, just like any other person facing the same struggles. The biggest issue with the church scandal was an apparent effort to bury the problem and deny help to those who needed it. Fortunately I believe the Church has learned its lesson and that Pope Benedict is addressing the root of the problem.
I know that many protestant pastors seem to successfully balance the demands of leading a ministry and running a family. Certainly, they are to be commended as it can only be accomplished by the Grace of God. But the Catholic priesthood is an even higher calling. Priests must literally be married to the church; they administer the sacraments daily and are called to be personal examples of holiness; they are called to single handedly lead hundreds or thousands of faithful in their parishes; and they are always on call for emergencies. My prayers are with them.