Marriage and Celibacy of the Clergy
Eastern Orthodox non-monastic clergy may marry (though only before their
ordination). The notion of an all-celibate priesthood, narrowly
rejected in the East, caught on very early
in the West, although it was not entirely translated from theory into
practice until as late as the Counter-Reformation.
1912 Catholic Encyclopedia: (Read with caution)
- Henry Charles Lea:
History of Sacerdotal Celibacy, (1867).
University Books, 1966.
The standard, though now century-and-a-half old,
reference on the subject.
Description of the collection at
the University of Pennsylvania.
- Ann Llewellyn Barstow:
Married Priests and the Reforming Papacy --
The Eleventh Century Debate, (1982).
New York: Edward Mellen, 1982.
- Michael Frassetto, editor:
Medieval Purity and Piety, (1998).
New York: Garland, 1998.
Large collection of scholarly essays documenting
the evolution of the celibate clerical ideal in the
West, primarily in the Western Empire from
Carolingian times through the High Middle Ages.
- Some pre-Schism advocates of clerical celibacy:
St. Wulfstan II;
- Over-opposition to priestly celibacy:
Priestly celibacy in the Orthoox Church is an
option. Just as there were successful efforts in
the West (and unsuccessful ones in the East) to make this
option a requirement, so there were opposite efforts
in the IV Century (and, in the West, again at the Reformation)
to prohibit it. These efforts are especially
associated with Jovinian
Return to St Pachomius Library.