Why are priests celibate?

By Santiago Cortes-Sjoberg| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Scripture and Theology

Celibacy is one of the most widely recognized characteristics of a Roman Catholic priest. But though it is well known, celibacy itself is often misunderstood.

Technically, celibacy is the commitment not to marry. In the Latin (Roman) Catholic Church, it is a prerequisite for ordination to the priesthood. The candidate must freely assume this obligation publicly and for life. Because church teaching reserves sexual activity to marriage, celibacy also requires abstinence.