Billy Barbee wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What part can a divorced man have in the Catholic Church?
  • Can they be a Deacon, Priest, Bishop, etc.
  • Do you have to be a virgin to be a priest?

I'm (SDA) Seventh-day Adventist so I don't know everything. I'm divorced and would like to know.

God bless,

Billy Barbee

  { Can a divorced man be a Deacon, Priest, or Bishop and do you have to be a virgin to be a priest? }

Bob replied:


There is no pre-requisite for virginity for those ordained:

  • deacons
  • priests, or
  • bishops.

So, men that have been married earlier in life can become ordained plus most deacons are currently married. There is however the vow to celibacy in the Roman Catholic priesthood (which means once one is ordained they cannot marry, however, for deacons if they are already married, it only applies when their spouse is deceased).

In the Orthodox churches married men may be ordained to the priesthood and sometimes Protestant clergy who convert to Catholicism are already married so they have the privilege that belongs to the eastern rites in their married status.

So to sum up, once ordained, no more getting married. Marriage must precede ordination.

That is pretty much the universal rule for both Catholic and Orthodox Churches.


Bob Kirby

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Billy —

To answer your question specifically about divorce and ordination:

If a man has an annulment of his marriage, then he could potentially become a seminarian but the Bishop would be prudent to read the annulment to see if he is a suitable candidate.

Fr. Jonathan

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