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John Schenk wrote:

Hello,

We have the priest at my parish; a Catholic parish. He has a wife and five kids. He was a Lutheran pastor, who after he married and had some kids, decided to become a Catholic priest.

My history teacher was making fun of the topic saying there is no way the Catholic Church would allow married priests, no matter what.

  • Are their special exceptions for this rule, like in the case I just explained?
  • Can you please explain this?

Thank you,

John

  { Are their special exceptions where married men with families can become Catholic priests? }

Eric replied:

Hi, John —

Yes, there are several special exceptions. Married priests are the norm in the Eastern Catholic churches. The married priesthood is simply a discipline so exceptions can and are granted.

In the Roman Rite, the exception is called the pastoral provision and applies to those ordained in certain other communities who are married and convert to Catholicism. Typically this is restricted to Episcopal priests and Lutheran pastors, but it is possible others are admitted on a case-by-case basis. The pastoral provision is offered as a grace to make it easier for Protestant pastors to convert. Otherwise they would lose their livelihood.

Typically, in Eastern Rites, the married priesthood is unrestricted in their natural territory (i.e., for the Ukrainian Church, this would be Ukraine), but in the U.S. it is severely curtailed.
There are ways around it, however, typically by ordaining priests overseas.

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi, John —

Just to add to my colleagues fine answer, I wanted to make our readers aware of the great ministry Marcus Grodi offers at the Coming Home Network.

Many full-time Protestant ministers who want to become Catholic, but can't for various complex reasons have been helped my Marcus's work.

If you are a Protestants minister in such a situation, check out his web site at:

The Coming Home Network International

and . . . tell'em Mike Humphrey and the gang at AskACatholic.com sent you!

Mike

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