Do popes marry?

The simple answer is no. However, this hasn’t stopped a few popes throughout history to bend the rule books.

The Rules of Celibacy

Although for other Christian churches, celibacy has become optional. However, for the Catholic Church, celibacy is still very much a rule for priests, bishops, and Popes, with only unmarried men allowed into the priesthood. Over time, there have been exceptions to the rules, which can only be granted by the Pope himself.

The History of Celibacy in the Catholic Church

Back in the first century, Popes, such as Peter and the other apostles, were all, for the most part, married men. However, Jesus Christ was unmarried and exercised a single-minded devotion to his beliefs and mission. In the New Testament, virginity, as well as celibacy, were seen as a gift from God to be embraced. Those who forego worldly possession and underwent poverty, chastity, and obedience, including sexual restraint was seen as the pursuit of holiness. Therefore, the Catholic Church’s pope, the purest and most moral member of the religion, was to remain celibate to focus entirely on their beliefs and task. Priests as well were asked to be celibate back in ancient times although this rule was broken many times throughout history.

Popes who broke this rule

There are plenty of Popes in history who, despite their vow of celibacy, have broken this rule. These include popes who were married, had long-term partners, lovers, and even a few that had children. Some Popes in history even have been known to be the son of previous Popes, who had been moulded into taking over. Hetero and Homosexuality have both been documented, with even abuse from offending Popes.

Modern-day Views

Although the Pope still remains restricted to celibacy, the rule for priests in the Catholic Church is a topic of debate nowadays. With many believers and members of the church believing celibacy should be optional as it is in other Christian churches.

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