1st Edition

In Defense of Married Priesthood A Sociotheological Investigation of Catholic Clerical Celibacy

By Vivencio O. Ballano Copyright 2024
    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers an analysis of the sociological, historical, and cultural factors that lie behind mandatory clerical celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church and examines the negative impact of celibacy on the Catholic priesthood in our contemporary age. Drawing on sociological theory and secondary qualitative data, together with Church documents, it contends that married priesthood has always existed in some form in the Catholic Church and that mandatory universal celibacy is the product of cultural and sociological contingencies, rather than sound doctrine. With attention to a range of problems associated with priestly celibacy, including sexual abuse, clerical shortages, loneliness, and spiritual sloth, In Defense of Married Priesthood argues that the Roman Catholic Church should permit marriage to the priesthood in order to respond to the challenges of our age. Presenting a sociologically informed alternative to the popular theological perspectives on clerical celibacy, this book defends the notion of the married priesthood as legitimate means of living the vocation of Catholic priesthood—one which is eminently fitting for the contemporary world. It will therefore appeal to scholars and students of religion, theology, and sociology.

    PART I: Clerical Celibacy Law, Resistance, and Married Priesthood

    1. Introduction

    2. Law as a Strategy for Social Change

    3. Clerical Celibacy Law, Passive Resistance, and Married Priesthood in the Catholic Church

    PART II: The Impact of Celibacy to Catholic Priesthood in Current Times

    4. The Contemporary Globalizing World and Its Major Challenges to Catholic Celibate Priesthood

    5. Clericalism, Celibacy, and Clerical Sexual Abuse

    6. Celibacy, Sexual Abuse, and Married Priesthood

    7. Celibacy, Acedia, Anomie, and Diocesan Clerical Spirituality

    8. Celibacy, Priest Shortage, and Married Priesthood 

    9. Reestablishing the Catholic Married Priesthood in Contemporary Times



    Vivencio O. Ballano is Associate Professor V of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of the Social Sciences and Development (CSSD), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Manila, Philippines. He received his doctorate in Sociology from the Ateneo de Manila University and master’s degree in Theology from the Loyola School of Theology (LST), Ateneo de Manila University. He has published three peer-reviewed and Scopus-indexed books, under Springer Nature Singapore. His fourth book, A Sociotheological Approach to Catholic Social Teaching: The Role of Religion in Moral Responsibility During Covid-19, was published by Springer Nature in November 2022. Dr. Ballano has also written several Scopus and Web of Science-indexed journal articles on the sociology of law, religion, media piracy, post-disaster management, digital education, and Catholic social teaching. In 2021, he received a gold medal award for excellence in international research publication (Lathala Award 2021) from his university.


    'Conceptually this is a book that is desperately overdue. That is to say that the need to understand the origins and “logic” of certain Catholic practices in a wide socio-cultural context is still lacking in many places, and this book is a good beginning to address such a lack. This is especially true with issues such as sex, celibacy, and marriage in a theological context, which can function sometimes to obscure important, perhaps even predominant, social and cultural factors as well as the psychological.' - A.A.J. DeVille, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Saint Francis.