Fr. John Kerns discusses the vow of celibacy that priests take. It is a common question of Catholics: someday will priests be allowed to get married? Currently, there are priests that are married that entered the faith from other churches. They were married previously, and remain married in their new faith in the Catholic Church.

The theological reasoning behind vows of celibacy comes from a number of sources, including St. Thomas Aquinas’ writing on vacare Deo, meaning “to be empty to God.” This emptiness for God is carved out by celibacy. In hard times, this vacancy requires the celibate person to rely only on God. Another way that it makes room for God is by creating an availability of service; if somebody needs the service of a priest, then the priest is available to leave his home at any hour of the day without having to arrange childcare or other family matters. This emptiness created by celibacy also leaves bandwidth for other matters, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual.

That energy can be devoted to the people of God, which should otherwise be spent on children and a spouse. But just as married couples sacrifice, so do celibate people. But celibacy creates a vacancy for God and an availability of service, and brings tremendous joy.

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