Why don’t Catholic priests marry?
Priests in the Latin Rite forgo their natural right to marry “for the sake of the Kingdom of God,” as Jesus taught his disciples (Mt 19:12). It is a gift from God which opens a man’s heart so that he can embrace all of God’s children in a very powerful way. His healthy and holy inclination to be married and have a family is transformed into a supernatural fatherhood that renders his ministry, if he is faithful, fruitful beyond all expectations.
Imitating the celibacy of Jesus, whose entire earthly life was devoted to His priestly mission, Catholic priests represent Jesus in a unique way while celebrating the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, and even in their ordinary pastoral work. Celibacy is a declaration that the greatest joys of humanity are not to be found in earthly goods but in union with God in this life and in the next. It is also a statement to the Catholic people that their priest is available to them and at their service in a way that would be precluded by the responsibilities of marriage.
Celibacy does not do away with a priest’s sexuality, but with the help of grace and his own growth in virtue, it can become part of a tremendously joyful and fulfilled human life. Like marriage, it is not always easy to live, but a solid prayer life, healthy lifestyle, good friends, and prudent judgement about persons and situations contribute to a beautiful expression of celibate generosity by the priest for the sake of the Kingdom of God, for his brothers and sisters, and for the Church.
Note: Why Catholic Priests Can’t Marry (at Least for Now) The Roman Catholic Church bars most married men from becoming priests, but that rule, could, in theory, be changed. Priestly celibacy is rooted in tradition, not Catholic dogma, so the pope could change it overnight.