Does the order matter?
In the Roman Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Church you can only get married before ordination. Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox can not get married after ordination. If the wife of a married Roman Catholic deacon dies, he cannot marry again. If the wife of an Anglican priest, re-ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, dies – he cannot marry again.
I have been involved in some discussions about this. The contention is that there is no evidence in the Tradition of marriage after ordination. None! There is, according to that position, not a single example of marriage after ordination until the Reformation. I find this an astonishing and fascinating claim. I would be fascinated if any reader could come up with a refutation. Or, of course, references to this being correct.
When I ask – what is the theology around this? What reflection do you have about this? What is the point of this? Why is it any different to be married before or after ordination? I get little more than, “Do they require post hoc justification? Is Sacred Tradition not enough?” Well I cannot quickly think of anything within Sacred Tradition that is not followed by some reflection, interpretation, theology, or explanation. Does anyone have such a reflection in this case – what is the difference between marriage before and marriage after ordination?
For reference I have been pointed to Celibacy in the Early Church: The Beginnings of Obligatory Continence for Clerics in East and West and Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy and am grateful to have been pointed to the Google preview. But (other than the preview section) I do not yet have these two books and would take some time to obtain them and then absorb them. Meanwhile – please share your wisdom.
Please also tell me if there is an ongoing tradition of abstaining from sexual relations 24 hours prior to presiding at the Eucharist. (And one has also mentioned a tradition of abstaining after presiding – but no indication for how long).
And don’t tell me that as in the case of baptism, confirmation, eucharist – marriage and ordination are in that order because they are so alphabetically LOL