Today’s Washington Post has an article about a married German man who was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. Although rare, that isn’t unheard of; it usually happens when a married man who was an Anglican or Orthodox priest, or (more rarely) a minister in another Christian church, converts to Catholicism. I opened the story to read it because I have a mild interest in events in other Christian churches and try to keep up.
That’s when I found out that this man is married to a NUN? And they’re not required to be celibate? Married priests have a long history in Christianity; they are the rule rather than the exception in many Christian traditions, although not usually allowed by the Roman Catholic Church.
However, there is no allowance anywhere in Christian Tradition for non-celibate monks or nuns. The whole point of monastacism is that you are celibate and completely focused on prayer and service to God. Married people can become monks or nuns, but a married person who enters monastacism ceases to live with their spouse at that point. The usual practice in my own church (the Russian Orthodox church) would be for both the man and woman to agree to enter monastacism, usually after raising their children. I understand that this was also a known (if not common) practice in the Catholic Church. A nun who remains with her husband and is sexually active, however, is not only not normal — as best I know it has never happened before.
How is it that a reporter assigned to report on this story by the Washington Post knew so little about Christianity that she simply did not realize how unprecedented this was? She missed the real story.