Married Clergy and Episcopacy
The calling to the priesthood is one of discernment for both married and unmarried persons. We recognize that there are advantages that both married and celibate clergy offer to the life of the Church. Those who are contemplating Holy Orders must prayerfully consider the path they are choosing.
It is clear from all extant literature, biblical, apostolic, patristic and consular, that the sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Orders have never been mutually exclusive. There is ample evidence from the historical record that since apostolic times there has always been married clergy. From deacons on up to popes, the sacrament of holy matrimony was not grounds to prevent men of faith from accepting holy orders or advancement to advanced ecclesial rank in the Church historic.
The CCIA Church stands with the Orthodox Churches in affirming the tradition of calling qualified men to the sacrament of Holy Orders regardless of their marital status. The doctrine and practice of the ancient Church can be fittingly quoted in the words of the Rev. John Fulton in the introduction to the Third Edition of his Index Canonum [p.29, NY, 1892]. He says, "Marriage was no impediment to ordination even as a Bishop; and bishops, Priests, and Deacons, equally with other men, were forbidden to put away their wives under pretext of religion." [p.365, Vol. XIV, The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church.