Can Catholic Priests Smoke?

Can Catholic Priests Smoke?

As someone who has lots of questions about the Catholic faith, regarding vocations, I have always wondered about the dos and don’ts of a Catholic Priest. Can they marry? Can they have tattoos? How about alcoholic beverages, are they allowed to drink them? To name a few might be funny questions but these are actually valid, especially to those who are discerning the priesthood. In this blog post, we will answer another question that sparks curiosity, can Catholic Priests smoke?


Before we answer the question, let’s start first with what the Catechism has to say about smoking.

CCC 2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

The Catechism clearly states that we Catholics can smoke but not abuse it.

The Catholic Church allows smoking as long as it is in moderation.

If we choose to excessively smoke then it would eventually deteriorate one’s health falling as a sin.


Aside from smoking, the Church also warns us of abuse in other things. It could be food in case of gluttony, medicines, sports or even playing video games. The point is, excessive use of these things can keep us away from doing our responsibilities or negatively affect our health which can be sinful.

The abuse of smoke is not exclusive to the laity, it could also happen to the religious. Priests are no excuse. Therefore, moderation must always be observed.

Biblical Reference

Although not explicitly stated in the Bible, here are the bible verses that relate to excessive smoking that can impact one’s body.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

1 Corinthians 3:16 -17

Since too much smoking can cause negative effects on our bodies which is the temple of God, it is a sin.

Priests can smoke

Now that we know the Church’s stand on smoking, let’s proceed to discuss if it also applies to priests.

Can Priests smoke?

Yes. Priests can smoke. But, it must be in moderation. If not, it could fall into voluntary destruction of his body which is a sin. As a shepherd, he must ensure that he is setting himself as a good model to his flock and therefore always do things in a responsible manner.


The Catholic Church allows us to enjoy things but also warns us of being abusive. As Catholics, we are supposed to balance different life aspects. We must practice moderation.

This is not only exclusive to us, the laity. Religious, such as priests, and nuns are also included.

Certainly, priests can smoke, but as to the manner, it should always be in moderation.

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