One of the “hot button” issues that gets brought up frequently within the Catholic Faith is the question of married priests. Unfortunately, those who bring the “issue” up are usually not practicing their Catholic faith and see married priests as a solution to the sexual abuse crisis. Of course, those who sexually abuse little children need serious counseling and help, rather than a wife and their own children. So should Catholic priests be able to marry? Well, first and foremost, when one is ordained a priest, he marries the Church. Like Jesus the High Priest, the Church becomes his bride. In this sense, every priest is “married”. Then there are also catholic priests that are physically married as well. These priests are part of the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church. In the Latin, Western Rite, we have the tradition of celibacy. Although many in the world see celibacy as a curse, it really is a blessing and gift. As St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, those who choose celibacy are able to give themselves to the Lord with an undivided heart (1 Cor 7:32-34). As a Catholic priest of the Latin Rite, I do not have to worry about taking care of a wife and/or children. I’m able to be free to serve God and my parish. For example, I personally make a Holy Hour every day in the church as well as celebrate Mass. I’m free to go and visit those who are homebound, in the nursing home, or in the hospital. Besides being a Pastor of a parish, I am also a chaplain at a nearby high school. I’m free to not only go there during the week during school hours, but also show up at the different sports games that the kids have. Yesterday, I had a very beautiful, moving experience that really brought home to me what a gift celibacy is. I concelebrated a Confirmation Mass at a parish that I previously was stationed at, where I specifically ran the youth ministry as well as being involved in the school. I was able to witness my “spiritual” children receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, as well as spend a few hours with my brother priests, enjoying camaraderie and fraternity. So the next time someone brings up again the subject of Latin Rite Catholic priests being able to marry, please first ask us priests what we think, and you’ll find the right answer. God bless!