Wednesday, December 9, 2015
MARRIED PRIESTS, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?
Pope Pius XII allowed Lutheran ministers in Sweden to become married Catholic priests there, but it was an exception.
Pope Saint John Paul II allowed the "pastoral provision" in which disaffected Anglican/Episcopal married ministers could be ordained Catholic priests.
Augusta, Georgia in my diocese has been ground zero for married priests. We have a small Greek Catholic parish there (Eastern Rite/Byzantine). Their current priest is married. Their previous priest now in Atlanta was married and their previous priest to them was married (now deceased, Fr. Daniel Munn).
Fr. Daniel Munn was a former Episcopal minister. He was one of the first ordained under the Pastoral Provision. After being ordained for our diocese, he was allowed to become bi-ritual. Thus he became the pastor of the Greek Catholic Church, but also remained the Parochial Vicar of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. I served with him almost 14 years.
I use to get upset that those Episcopalians, Lutherans and even Methodists who were married ministers could become married Catholic priests under this provision.
Why, you ask? Because technically, the only valid sacraments they have received are Baptism and Holy Matrimony. Their confirmation was invalid as was their ordinations in these separated denominations. They were inquirers into the Full Communion of the Church and thus not only did they have to make a Profession of Faith as Catholics, they had to be re-Confirmed, make their First Holy Communion and then be ordained a deacon and then a priest after receiving the ministries of acolyte and lector and candidacy.
However, married Catholic men, completely initiated into the Church since childhood do not have the same pastoral provision which could and should be extended to them, perhaps men in the permanent diaconate.
So that's where I stand. Augusta still has two married Catholic priests, one a parochial vicar at our largest parish and the other bi-ritual, pastor of the Byzantine parish, but also a fill-in priest in the other parishes in Augusta. No one blinks an eye about it and it has enhanced the presbyterate in Augusta.