Why Can't Catholic Priests Have Sex?

Before a man becomes a Roman Catholic Priest, he must take a vow to never experience sexual intimacy again.

In recent years, there has been substantial questioning of some traditions of Catholicism. The more progressive stances of Pope Francis have encouraged discussions about climate change and LGBT issues among his followers. His distinctive leadership has also prompted a reexamination of clerical celibacy.

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The vow of celibacy may seem extreme from an outside perspective but it's only one aspect of a priest's many commitments, which he has quite some time to consider prior to being ordained. In order to prepare for ordination, a man must go through anywhere from five to thirteen years of preparation. A portion of this time is spent in seminary school, which covers human, spiritual, academic, and pastoral aspects of Catholicism. After years of learning and thoughtful reflection, and after spending some time working in pastoral settings, a trainee priest can apply to his local bishop for ordination. He must then spend six months to a year as an ordained deacon prior to being ordained as a priest. Priests who are part of a religious order (versus a diocesan priest) take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Diocesan priests promise celibacy and obedience and are expected to live a life of simplicity.

Some of the specific debate concerning the vow of celibacy are bolstered by the fact that some Catholic rites have different rules regarding marriage and celibacy. In the Eastern rites, it is fairly common for married men to be ordained, there are even rare instances of this happening in the Latin rite as well, when they have converted from another faith. However, even in Eastern churches, unmarried priests are not permitted to marry. In March of 2013, a letter was written to Pope Francis by 21 Catholic parliamentarians, formally asking him to allow the ordainment of married men as priests while still upholding the vow of celibacy for bishops.

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United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: FAQs - Priesthood, Ordination, Seminary

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The Catholic Herald: Catholic MPs urge Pope Francis to allow ordination of married men