In Christian religions, if someone is a permanent deacon without any intentions of becoming a priest, he can have a girlfriend and marry her.
If he is already married and wishes to be ordained as a permanent deacon, he may do so.
However, if his wife passes away, he is compelled to remain celibate for the rest of his life. In this case, the prospective deacon may not ever expect to become a priest.
Different rules for different religions
In religions other than Catholicism, ordained priests are allowed to date and get married.
These religions feel it is healthier and better for their priests if they have a wife and family.
That said, in the Catholic faith, it is still forbidden for priests to have any kind of relationship with a woman.
As we stated earlier, permanent deacons with zero designs on priesthood may have a girlfriend and go on to marry her.
Is the Catholic church likely to change its mind about marriage and the priesthood?
No, not very likely at all. There have been occasions when this matter was brought up to the Vatican only to be shot down.
The compromise to this rule is the ordination of permanent deacons.
These deacons are allowed to perform many of the same services as a priest with some exceptions.
They are permitted to have a normal love life and family life for as long as their wife lives.
What if a deacon is not married at the time of his ordination?
Please note that this applies to the Catholic faith.
To answer the question, if he is not already married at ordination time, he is not allowed to date or seek any kind of relationship with a woman.
Not only that, but he must remain celibate for his entire life.
What has been happening to cause the questioning of this rule?
Some deacons and full-fledged priests unintentionally fall in love. Then they leave their ministry and marry.
We say unintentionally because very few unmarried deacons or priests set out to meet a woman they love. When it happens, it is purely by chance.
Then they must make the choice of whether or not to continue in the priesthood.
In some religions are the clergy allowed to marry?
Yes, they are. Examples of such religions are Protestant, modern Christian faiths, Eastern Orthodox churches, and a few rogue Catholic churches that are independent of the Vatican.
These are merely a few examples. We are certain that many others exist.
What is the International Federation of Married Catholic Priests?
In its day, it was an association of priests raised in the Catholic faith who wanted to change the rules.
These people truly believed it was possible to serve God while loving a wife and raising a family.
This organization was technically dissolved back in 2008. However, in reality, it still exists under a new name and has a more diverse membership.
What does the future hold for Catholic priests and deacons as far as dating and marriage go?
That remains to be seen. Perhaps in time, there will be a Pope who agrees with them.
Meanwhile, someone who wants to serve God and marry too can always choose another religion where such a thing is allowed to happen.
Is there an actual reason for this stance by the Catholic Church?
There are reasons that are borne out of tradition rather than dogma and practicality. In theory, the Pope has the authority to change this rule in a heartbeat.
Many people in the church itself, especially in younger generations, feel it would be better for everyone if priests and deacons were permitted to have a love life.
Perhaps in time, this school of thought will win out.
So, what is the reason?
Old-line Popes and other leaders of that religion feel it is not possible to effectively serve God if their clergy led a normal life with a wife and families.
They claim Jesus himself never married and survived just fine. There are people who do not believe that either. A few sects honestly believe Jesus had a wife and family.
Is anybody right or wrong on this issue?
No, not right or wrong, just different. In theory in the United States, we are allowed the freedom to worship God as we see fit.
That is why there are so many various religions around today. There is no right or wrong, only varied schools of thought.
An individual may choose what religion to follow. This includes someone who also wants to be a priest or a deacon.
Are women allowed to become permanent deacons?
In some religions, yes, they are. Only in the strict old-line churches is this still forbidden.
A lot of faiths now permit the ordination of women permanent deacons and even ministers. This writer personally knows of at least one woman who is an ordained minister in her church.
What about women deacons in the Baptist faith?
This is another religion that allows women to become ordained deacons.
Religions such as this feel women are just as well-suited to serve God as men.
They foresee an expansion of the role of women clergy members in the future.
Are there women deacons in the Catholic Church?
As of January 2021, the answer is yes. Pope Francis made changes in the church laws to allow this. The women deacons sometimes assist male priests during services.
They can also be lectors during mass and perform other religious acts of service.
Are female permanent deacons able to be married?
The woman must go through a four-year program in order to be ordained a deacon. They are allowed to be married prior to this.
However, if they are not married once they are ordained, they must remain single and celibate for life – just like their male deacon counterparts.
Are there exceptions?
The rules we just stated apply to the Catholic Church and some other religions.
However, as with the men deacons and clergy, other faiths permit their women deacons and ministers to lead a normal love life and family life.
Their feeling is a woman is just as capable of serving God and her family as a man is.
In other religions, are ministers allowed to marry?
In some religions, the head clergyperson is called a minister rather than a priest.
Many of these faiths do allow the minister to marry and have a family. They manage to serve the Lord and their family equally well.
In the Jewish faith, are rabbis allowed to marry?
Yes, in fact in some sects it is expected that a rabbi who conducts marriage ceremonies for followers be married himself.
Most of the time, they are also expected to marry a woman of their own faith.
There are individuals nowadays who are petitioning Jewish religious leaders to allow a rabbi to marry a woman who is not Jewish.
What will happen with this? Only time will tell.
What does the future have in store for deacons and priests as far as marriage goes?
It is only a matter of time before all the old-line leaders pass away and are replaced by younger people with modern ideas.
At that time, we might see changes in the strict religious faiths such as Catholicism. We shall see, won’t we?