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Old 23 June 2009, 05:49 PM
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RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
 
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Default How to Be a Married Priest

Here's something I've been told by several people, which sounds fishy to me, but who knows, so I'm going to run it past snopesters, some of whom must belong to the relevant religions.

Here it is: you can be married and a Roman Catholic priest under certain special circumstances. Episcopalian (other Anglicans too, but people tend to mention the E church, not the Church of England, of whatever) and Eastern Orthodox priests can be married. They also can choose to continue to be priests if they convert to Roman Catholicism, but if they are married, they continue to be married in the eyes of the church, even if they remain priests.

This seems questionable for many reasons. While I could believe that possibly somebody already ordained as Episcopalian or Eastern Orthodox might be allowed to use their seminary degree to apply for ordination, I think they would still have to apply, and then be ordained, and it is at ordination that the vow of chastity is taken. So I think having a spouse would mean your application would be tossed.

Now, I don't know how the RC views the non-RC marriages of people who convert as a couple. Maybe blessing the marriage is part of the conversion, turning the marriage into an RC marriage. But I'd think that the non-RC marriage would be at least questionable until there had been some hand-waving, and the converts (or convert, if just one spouse becomes RC) could choose not to convert the marriage, as it were, and that this would open up the possibility for ordination. But that's probably true for any convert, with the distinction that someone who has not been to seminary has to go.

On the other hand, I also know the RC church is having a priest shortage, so maybe they have approved something like this.
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Old 23 June 2009, 05:58 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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The first modern ordination of a married ex-Protestant minister in the Roman Rite was approved by Pope Pius XII in 1951, for a one-time Lutheran pastor in Germany. Pope John Paul II issued a “Pastoral Provision” in 1980 permitting some married Anglican priests who had joined the Catholic Church to be ordained. Former U.S. Lutheran pastors, and a few of other Protestant denominations, have been approved for ordination as well. But Rome considers every case on its own merits – and it has approved only about 100 such ordinations in America.

When a married ex-Protestant minister is approved for ordination, it means Rome has judged that he had a divine call to the ministry, one that he had answered in his former church body as best he understood it. His call now has been ratified – but, even so, as Paul says, “his interests are divided.” And both must be tended to.
Omaha Catholic Examiner
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Old 23 June 2009, 06:00 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
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Byzantine-Rite Catholic clergy are allowed to be married, so I presume if an Eastern Orthodox married priest converted, it is likely he would be part of the Byzantine Rite anyway, since the services woudl be familiar to him.

As for married Episcopal clergy joining the RC-Latin Rite, the last Pope specifically made it permissible for them to do so and remain married.

Quote:
Finally, concerning married Episcopalian clergy becoming Catholic priests, "the Holy See has specified that this exception to the rule of celibacy is granted in favor of these individual persons, and should not be understood as implying any change in the Church's conviction of the value of priestly celibacy, which will remain the rule for future candidates for the priesthood from this group
Source.

Nick
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Old 23 June 2009, 09:49 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
 
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Historically in the UK, when Henry VIII created the Church of England, those clergy who joined the new church were allowed to marry. His immediate successor Edward was also anglican; however his successor, Mary, was Catholic. As I understand it the clergy then followed catholic doctrine and either had to have their marriage annulled, or live a considerable distance (I think 100 miles) from their wives, with no physical contact.
I also believe that the Greek Orthodox church has rank-specific rules; Deacons and Priests can be married (but must have married before ordination); but Bishops must be unmarried
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Old 15 October 2009, 02:18 AM
Rabbititus Rabbititus is offline
 
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Sorry if this thread is a bit dead, but here's a blog maintained by a married priest: http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/ - he was a Church of England priest before converting, but now is a Catholic school chaplain in the U.S. He regularly shows pictures of his family, including ones where his son is acting as an altar boy.

Also, Mycroft is right about the Orthodox. They, as well as the Eastern Catholic Rites, allow men to marry before ordination to the priesthood, but only allow celibate men to be bishops.

Also, the Latin Rite (what most people think of when they think "Catholic") allows married men to become deacons.

I must admit that I always found it odd that a married layman* can become a priest if he was an Anglican or Lutheran priest before converting, yet a "cradle" Latin-Rite Catholic may not.

Oh, and regarding RivkahChaya's question about the marriages of non-Catholics still being recognized by the Church if the couple converts - My understanding is that a couple who converts would have their marriage recognized without any trouble. Two Lutherans who get married in the Lutheran church and then choose to become Catholic would be considered validly married in the eyes of the Church.

*The Catholic Church doesn't consider Anglican and Lutheran ordination valid.
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Old 15 October 2009, 07:55 AM
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Floater Floater is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
I also believe that the Greek Orthodox church has rank-specific rules; Deacons and Priests can be married (but must have married before ordination); but Bishops must be unmarried
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Originally Posted by Rabbititus View Post
Also, Mycroft is right about the Orthodox. They, as well as the Eastern Catholic Rites, allow men to marry before ordination to the priesthood, but only allow celibate men to be bishops.
Not altogether true, I think. If it was then how do you explain the little old lady (cantor in the Russian orthodox cathedral in Tallinn) I saw interviewed on TV once, who told about her life, how she came back to her home town after studies and everybody thought she would make a good match for her father's assistant priest. When the TV program was filmed she had just recently got widowed after a long marriage.

I also remember reading some autobiography by the son of a Greek orthodox priest who claimed that not only are priests allowed to marry, the church actively urges them to do, so their wives can help them taking care of the parish (for free of course).
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Old 15 October 2009, 11:24 AM
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Algae Algae is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbititus View Post
Also, the Latin Rite (what most people think of when they think "Catholic") allows married men to become deacons.

I must admit that I always found it odd that a married layman* can become a priest if he was an Anglican or Lutheran priest before converting, yet a "cradle" Latin-Rite Catholic may not.
We had an interesting case in town for a few years. Dan decided he wanted to serve the church, but he was married. He and his wife worked it out and he became a deacon. Deacon Dan was deacon for years - raising kids (one of his sons eventually went on to become a priest) and serving the church. After his wife passed (from cancer, IIRC), he took orders and became a priest.

Deacons also seem to have more say in where they serve. While a priest is expected to serve wherever the archbishop places him, a deacon seems to be able to choose an area - not their "home" church, but one in the same town where they and their family live.
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Old 15 October 2009, 05:05 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater View Post
Not altogether true, I think. If it was then how do you explain the little old lady (cantor in the Russian orthodox cathedral in Tallinn) I saw interviewed on TV once, who told about her life, how she came back to her home town after studies and everybody thought she would make a good match for her father's assistant priest. When the TV program was filmed she had just recently got widowed after a long marriage.
Either a miscommunication, mistranslation, or perhaps someone just misspoke. It is definitely true that (prospective) priests must marry before ordination.

Quote:
I also remember reading some autobiography by the son of a Greek orthodox priest who claimed that not only are priests allowed to marry, the church actively urges them to do, so their wives can help them taking care of the parish (for free of course).
See above. The average parish priest is expected to be married, but he will be married before ordination (There are also celibate clergy in the Orthodox Church, but they are usually in a different "career track than married clergy). I suppose the cynical explanation is that the priest's wife is expected to help out for free (she does often play a special role, analogous to the role the First Lady of the US does), but the usual explanation is that the priest can identify more with the concerns of families in his flock if he has one himself.

Note also that an unmarried seminary graduate who is expecting
to become a priest is often assigned to be a lay assistant to a parish until the time is married and then becomes ordained. Perhaps that is the source of the confusion.

Nick
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Old 15 October 2009, 08:53 PM
Insensible Crier Insensible Crier is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
but Bishops must be unmarried
Kind of a nitpick/random fact but a priest who is a widower can become a Bishop.
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  #10  
Old 15 October 2009, 10:18 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
 
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A widower is unmarried by definition

WRT to other posts - the item I found was from the Australian Greek Orthodox church and they mentioned the situation in other Orthodox churches very briefly.
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  #11  
Old 24 October 2009, 02:44 PM
Rabbititus Rabbititus is offline
 
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The Catholic Church recently announced that it is going to set up an Anglican Ordinariate. This could open the door for many married Anglican priests to be ordained in the Catholic Church. It comes after years of petitions to the Vatican by Continuing Anglican groups (primarily the TAC - Traditional Anglican Communion).

Basically, the Vatican set up a way for large numbers of former Anglicans to convert without worrying that an unsympathetic local bishop will demand they abandon traditional liturgical practices (a valid fear considering how hard it is for average Catholics to retain traditional practices).
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