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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Money and sex and married priests

I've been reading some of the posts around the blogosphere on the possibility of married diocesan priests and it's interesting what points are brought up.

One question seems to be money - how will the church pay the salaries of married priests. That made me wonder how much priests make now and I found this ...

A survey conducted by the National Association of Church Business Administration found that Catholic priests earned some of the lowest wages for clergy in the United States. As of 2008, a Catholic priest can expect a median wage of $33,100 a year, while a Catholic music minister made $42,700 a year. By comparison, a Protestant minister earned an annual salary of $48,100, while a Protestant music minister earned an annual salary of $53,700 for that same year.

As with any vocation, location affects salaries, and priests are no exception. In Los Angeles, for example, a Catholic priest averages $57,593 a year, reports the Economic Research Institute. Those in New York City also make more than most, averaging $45,125 a year, while an Atlanta-based priest can expect a salary of $40,149 a year. The same, however, can’t be said for Catholic priests in Dallas, Texas, where salaries average out at $33,279 a year.

That's not so little, and if more was needed, consider the tens of thousands spent now on fighting marriage equality and sex abuse SOLs which could be diverted to paying married priests

Another issue mentioned was sex. Deacon Greg Kandra writes (bolding his) ...

If—and it’s a big if—the rules regarding priestly celibacy are one day relaxed, it does not mean that priests will start dating. Those already ordained will not be allowed to marry. This has never been a practice in the church, even in the Eastern rites (which have always had married clergy.) You can expect that tradition to continue. In a nutshell: men who are married can be ordained, but men who are already ordained cannot get married. It’s a distinction, but an important one.

According to Wikipedia, Clerical marriage is admitted in Protestantism, Anglicanism, Independent Catholic Churches, Judaism, Islam, and the Japanese sects of Buddhism, so it's interesting that the Orthodox don't and the Catholic church wouldn't allow this - what must the church believe about religion and about sex in order to not want priests to date?

This all reminded me of a 2009 article at America magazine - When Priests Leave the Church by Fr. Stephen Joseph Fichter, pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Haworth, N.J., and a research associate for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. - which concludes that most diocesan priests leave the church to marry.


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