I find it interesting that the Roman Catholic Church takes much pride in claiming that the Apostle Peter was their first pope, even though Peter would not qualify for the position today. Catholic clergy, as you know, are required to be celibate, but the Bible indicates that Peter (also called Cephas) was married:
“When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.” (Matthew 8:14 NIV)
“Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?” (I Corinthians 9:5 NIV)
The truth is that the Roman Catholic rule regarding celibacy is not a rule made by God, but is a manmade rule that they have attempted to force upon all Christian ministers. The simple fact of the matter is that this rule directly contradicts Biblical teaching. While it is true that the Bible says that celibacy can be a good thing for men (and women) that choose it, (I Corinthians 7:25-28), it is also true that it should be forced on no one. The Bible specifically says that Christian ministers are allowed to marry:
“An elder (greek word Presbyter) must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.” (Titus 1:6 NIV)
“Now the overseer (greek word Episkopos) is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,” (I Timothy 3:2 NIV)
I think this is a big deal. The Roman church has no authority to overrule the Bible that was delivered to us by God. This new rule of celibacy that they have established in the last thousand years or so creates the perception that the ordained Roman priests are on a superior spiritual plane above the rest of us “laity.” but this once again contradicts the Bible, which teaches that all believers are royal and holy priests of God (I Peter 2:4-10).
To those of you who don’t think this false teaching is really that harmful, let me remind you that this doctrine is partially responsible for the many sex scandals that have plagued the Catholic church for hundreds and hundreds of years. Bad theology always has moral repercussions. In this case men who were not meant by God to be celibate attempted to go through life without marrying because of the church forced them to choose between marriage and the ministry. A sizeable number of them were not strong enough to handle this, and have fallen into many horrible sexual sins. It would have been much better if they had married in a godly manner the way that the Bible allows.