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Amrit Sakoa wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Can a Reverend marry in Christianity?
  • How can a married man be referred to as Reverend?
  • If a married man becomes a Reverend in Christianity, what are his limitations in terms of his personal marriage?


  { Can a Reverend marry in Christianity and what limitations, if any, does a married clergy have? }

Mike replied:

Dear Amrit,

You said:

  • Can a Reverend marry in Christianity?

It's first important to note that having a married clergy in the Catholic Church is a discipline (meaning it can change, not a doctrine.)

In the Roman Rite of the Church, the current discipline is that priests may not be married and there are good reasons for this. Trying to minister to two different families (their church family and physical family) can be extremely difficult.

Also, neither the Roman Church nor the Orthodox Church has ever allowed priests to marry once they are ordained although it has ordained men who are already married. If a married priest's wife should die, he may not remarry.

That said, there are exceptions:

  • In the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church (the minority portion of our Church), they are allowed to be married.
  • Protestant ministers who convert to the Catholic faith, with the permission of the bishop, may also stay married and also be priests.
  • In most non-Catholic Christian denominations, Protestant ministers are allowed to marry.

You said:

  • How can a married man be referred to as Reverend?
  • If a married man becomes a Reverend in Christianity, what are his limitations in terms of his personal marriage?

A married priest is referred to with the same respect and honor that an unmarried priest is. Period.

For your last question, I searched our database and found these results which should answer the question:

If anything is off, I'm sure my team will send me a correction.

Sorry, it took a while to get back to you.

I hope this helps,


John replied:


A slight correction to what Mike just wrote regarding Catholic priests (and this actually applies to the Orthodox Priests as well). Priests cannot marry. Period. (Neither in the East or the West.)

Eastern Catholics and Orthodox, routinely ordain married men. There is a difference. Once ordained, a man cannot marry — that goes for Deacons as well who, up until recently, were also referred to a Reverend.

In the Western Catholic Church or Roman Rite, we almost exclusively ordain unmarried men but we do make exceptions.

That is the situation among Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

Protestant Ministers, who are also Christian, are allowed to marry both before and after ordination.

With respect to your last question, there are no limitations on marriage for Protestant Christian Ministers. The same holds true for married Deacons in the Catholic and Orthodox Church, however, with respect to married men who become Priests (again either in the Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and those exceptions in the Western Catholic Church), there are some restrictions with respect to the exercise of marital relations.

I'm not positive on the time span but I know that they have to abstain from marital love before celebrating the Divine Liturgy. I believe it's something like 24 hours. Certainly the priest is not supposed to have sex the night before he celebrates the Divine Liturgy where he will be consecrating the Eucharist.


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