Friday, February 10, 2006

Married Catholic Priest

Article about a married Catholic priest; was an Episcopalian: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/13843047.htm.

Fr. Gregory Elder is one of about 80 former Episcopalian priests in the U.S. who have been ordained as Catholic priests. The same provision exists for former Lutheran pastors. But if he loses his wife, he can never remarry.

Typically, in Eastern Catholicism and Orthodoxy, parish priests can be married before their ordinations, but cannot marry afterwards. And in all of the Churches, religious order priests and Bishops can never be married. About 20% of all Catholic priests are married.

During the French Revolution, priests were forced to get married by the tyrannical government, under penalty of death. After the restoration of the Church, they were allowed to serve as married Catholic priests.

There are reasons why a married priesthood is discouraged. Theologically, a priest stands in the person of Christ, whose bride is the Church. Practically, a priest is required to be available to his flock at all times; also, parish priest salaries are currently quite low (and nonexistent for religious order priests).

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