A Laymen’s Commentary on the Smalcald Articles: The Marriage of Priests

This is part 17 of 18 in the series A Laymen's Commentary on the Smalcald Articles

Part III, Article XI. Of the Marriage of Priests.

1] To prohibit marriage, and to burden the divine order of priests with perpetual celibacy, they have had neither authority nor right [they have done out of malice, without any honest reason], but have acted like antichristian, tyrannical, desperate scoundrels [have performed the work of antichrist, of tyrants and the worst knaves], and have thereby caused all kinds of horrible, abominable, innumerable sins of unchastity [depraved lusts], in which they still wallow. 2] Now, as little as we or they have been given the power to make a woman out of a man or a man out of a woman, or to nullify either sex, so little have they had the power to [sunder and] separate such creatures of God, or to forbid them from living [and cohabiting] honestly in marriage with one another. 3] Therefore we are unwilling to assent to their abominable celibacy, nor will we [even] tolerate it, but we wish to have marriage free as God has instituted [and ordained] it, and we wish neither to rescind nor hinder His work; for Paul says, 1 Tim. 4:1ff , that this [prohibition of marriage] is a doctrine of devils.

Celibacy was and is the norm for Roman Catholic priests.  This practice was originally instituted in order to give credibility to the Christian clergy as celibate philosophers were thought to be more wise and pure.  However, this practice was not heard of at the time of the apostles; many of whom were married, as were many pastors in the Early Church.

From the beginning and to this day the practice of forced celibacy is abominable. The horrendous abominations found in the Roman Catholic church of homosexual priests, pederasty, pedophilia, and any number of sexual sins are a direct result of this forced celibacy.  Everyone should be allowed to marry who desires it, as God intended. Truly those who hinder marriage are preaching the doctrine of demons and doing their work (1 Timothy 4).

1 “Wake, awake, for night is flying,”
The watchmen on the heights are crying;
“Awake, Jerusalem, arise!”
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices;
“Oh, where are ye, ye virgins wise?
The Bridegroom comes, awake!
Your lamps with gladness take!
With bridal care
Yourselves prepare
To meet the Bridegroom, who is near.”

2 Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom.
For her Lord comes down all-glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious;
Her star is ris’n, her light is come.
Now come, Thou Blessed One,
Lord Jesus, God’s own Son,
Hail! Hosanna!
We enter all
The wedding hall
To eat the Supper at Thy call.

3 Now let all the heav’ns adore Thee,
Let saints and angels sing before Thee
With harp and cymbals’ clearest tone.
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where, joining with the choir immortal,
We gather round Thy radiant throne.
No eye has seen the light,
No ear has heard the might
Of Thy glory;
Therefore will we
Sing hymns of praise and joy to Thee!

(LSB 516)

About Dr. Paul Edmon

Dr. Paul Edmon is from Seattle, Washington and now resides in Boston, Massachusetts. He has his B.S. in Physics from the University of Washington in 2004 and Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Minnesota in 2010. He is professional staff at Harvard University and acts as liaison between Center for Astrophysics and Research Computing. A life long Lutheran, he is formerly a member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Seattle and University Lutheran Chapel in Minneapolis. He now attends First Lutheran Church (FLC) of Boston where he teaches Lutheran Essentials. He sings bass in the FLC choir and Canto Armonico. He was elected to the Concordia Seminary St. Louis Board of Regents in 2016. He is single and among his manifold interests are scotch, football, anime, board games, mythology, history, philosophy, and general nerdiness. The views expressed here are his own and do not represent Harvard University or Concordia Seminary. Twitter: @pauledmon


A Laymen’s Commentary on the Smalcald Articles: The Marriage of Priests — 1 Comment

  1. Celibacy is not “forced” on catholic priests. It is a commitment, for better or worse, expected of men when they decide to enter the priesthood. They can leave any time. Obviously it is currently increasingly controversial in the Roman church.
    I attended a LCMS grade school though 9th grade. Two years after I moved on,as it was discovered later, 2 male teachers began sexually abusing male students including friends of my younger brother and my best friend’s little brother; this went on for several years. These 2 men were trained in LCMS colleges and they were highly respected very talented apparently faithful servants for years and loved by students, including me, and parents.One had graduated from LCMS seminary before switching to teaching. Both were in stable marriages and had children. What was this horrendous abomination a “direct result” of?
    Sexual sin is every where and has been since the fall. Including churches and social organizations (see Boyscouts) of every kind. Blaming catholic celibacy is at best ignorant and worst arrogant and hypocritical. “I thank god we are not like those other denominations…”

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