Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Ordained and married

Very strange coming together of events these last two days. Wearing my Canon Law hat, one of the things I'm involved in is laicisations, that is, the process whereby a priest petitions the Pope to be returned to the lay state. Very often this involves the desire to get married in Church. On Monday I was working on one of these cases.
Now today it seems that the Vatican has announced some kind of arrangement for Anglicans who become Catholics, whereby they will be able to hang on to some aspects of their Anglican practice. And, of course, as we have been seeing for some years now, this can include their married clergy being ordained as Catholic priests.
I can see the argument behind this arrangement, and I would be the last one to deprive someone of being a priest if that is what it is felt he is called to. But being involved also with men who are "cradle Catholics", who go through great trials and tribulations and eventually leave the priesthood, sometimes because they feel a calling to both marriage and priesthood, it does seem to point to some sort of inconsistency. The Church is living with this at the moment, but for lots of people it's not a comfortable cohabitation ...

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