St. Paul says that a Bishop must be the husband of one wife. 1Tim. III., 2.

The Catholic Answers

St. Paul does not say that a Bishop must be the husband of a wife, but insists upon the expression “one wife.” Had he meant that it was necessary to have a wife, he would have been violating the law himself. In the early Church, owing to the scarcity of single men eligible for the Priesthood, married men who wished to be ordained could be accepted provided they had not been married twice. Those presenting themselves must have been the husband of but one wife. That is all that the text means. Catholic Bishops and Priests do not violate that law. A law forbidding a man to have had more than one wife does not order him to have one; nor is it violated by a man who has never had a wife at all. However, as Christianity grew and vocations became more plentiful, single men only were accepted, and had to remain celibates, according to the advice of St. Paul which I have quoted.

Radio Replies Volume 1 by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble MSC and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty

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