Unius Uxoris Vir

Husband of one wife.

Expression found in the New Testament that opponents to clergy celibacy have been using for centuries in order to have a family. These words are found among others in the first Letter of St Paul to Thimothy (3:2):

“oportet ergo episcopum inreprehensibilem esse unius uxoris virum sobrium prudentem ornatum hospitalem doctorem”

“Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher”

At the end of the 4th century pope Siricius gave a clear answer to its meaning, saying that before being ordained , having had only one wife was a sign of faithfulness. The newly ordained priest was thus more trusted to carry on his vows of perpetual abstinence.

Now, here is the official (and lengthy) answer from the Vatican.

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