Sacramento prepares to welcome first married priest

And another one swims the Tiber.

From the Sacramento Bee:

Jeff Henry’s long journey of faith has brought him full circle, not only back to the church in which he was baptized as an infant but also back to serving God. When he’s ordained at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on June 4, he will become the Sacramento Catholic Diocese’s first converted, married priest.

“This will be new for us,” said Bishop Jaime Soto. “I announced it to our priests on Monday, and they’re very excited. They were curious but very welcoming of the idea. I think it will be an adventure not just for Jeff and his wife but for us.”

With Peg, his wife of 26 years, at his side, Henry called their grown daughter when he learned two weeks ago that the Vatican has approved his application to become a Roman Catholic priest.

“I said, ‘Guess what? I’m going to be a father again,’ ” said Henry, 51, a former Lutheran minister who lives in Vacaville.

There’s much more, including details about what led to his conversion.  Check it out.

  • Darren

    I was under the impression that if a person was baptized Catholic but then left the church, he was not allowed to come back in as a married priest. Apparently I was wrong.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    Darren …

    I imagine it depends on the circumstances. The article suggests that Jeff Henry didn’t so much “leave the church,” as he just wasn’t brought up in it, despite being baptized a Catholic. From childhood on, he didn’t really know the faith, through no fault of his own.

    Deacon Greg

  • Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher

    If he he is a baptized Christian, he wouldn’t be a “convert”. A convert is someone who is new to the Christian faith. The Sacramento Bee needs to check their facts.

    We have so many married, faithful, lifelong Catholic men who would make such wonderful priests. It doesn’t make sense to ordain men who come from other churches and not our own.

  • Dave

    I didn’t know Lutherans also swam the Tiber. I thought that was only an Anglican waterway.

  • RadTrad

    These people are Trojan horses intended to pave the way for jettisoning priestly celibacy and furthering the implosion of the Church. They must be opposed at every opportunity.

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  • Pat McNamara

    Just wondering… why is it that whenever a married priest is ordained from another church, it’s always in dioceses out west? Do eastern dioceses tend to be more conservative in this regard, or are there no candidates out this way?

  • Rudy

    Actually, in the Catholic Church, any one coming in from any of the protestant ecclesial communities or from the Orthodox Church is a convert. Most famously Cardinal Newman or Ronald Knox later.

    Priestly celibacy is a matter of Church discipline and not of Church dogma. There is no need to oppose these married priests as if it was a heresy.

  • Deacon Bill

    Actually, these men are not just “out West”. There are several serving, for just one example, in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. One of them succeeded me as the director of the archdiocesan diaconate office, as a matter of fact!

    God bless,

    Bill

  • Deacon Bill

    One of the first men (he may, in fact, have been the first) to be brought into the Catholic priesthood as a married man after the issuance of the “Pastoral Provision” of 1980 was a former Catholic priest who had left the church, married, joined the Anglican communion, and served as a priest for many years. When the pastoral provision was issued, he returned to the Catholic church under that provision.

    A good example of a former minister from another ecclesial tradition who also became a Catholic deacon and then priest under the Pastoral Provision was the late Richard Neuhaus, who had been a Lutheran pastor.

    God bless,

    Bill

  • Jimmy Mac

    RadTrad: “They must be opposed at every opportunity.”

    “The British are coming. The British are coming.”

    Paul Revere did it much better and many years ago.

    The difference is that he was right and you are wrong.

  • Belen

    Did I say these situations are kind of unjust? let me correct myself… they are very unjust. How can you refrain some married catholic men who took the sacraments from being priests just because “they know their faith”, while not applying that same rule on married catholic men who just got baptized and left the Church just because “they didn’t know their faith”? Again, i love it if God calls you to be celibate, but the Church has to be always open to GOD’S – and not men’s – Will. If God’s will was to open the deaconate to married men then why wouldn’t His will be to open the priesthood to married men as well? I fully agree with Paula on her comment: “It doesn’t make sense to ordain married men who come from other churches and not our own”

  • pagansister

    If the church will accept married men ministers/priests from other faiths to convert and be Catholic priests, why can’t the church allow their single priests to marry? If they feel that married men can be effective priests, then to me it makes no sense for it to continue to require single priests to remain single. (and supposedly celibate). Is a puzzlement. If I understand correctly, in the far past the church did allow priests to be married.

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  • http://themightyambivalentcatholic.blogspot.com/ Steve

    Pagansister, couldn’t have said it better myself.

    The church ends up engaging in rather convulted logic when it argues that celibacy is mandatory (for some, vaguely defined, supposedly compelling reason) for cradle-Catholic priests, but not for men who were married and originally ordained in another faith. I have no problem with the new folks coming over. Just wish the church would open itself to the gifts that would just as likely occur in married cradle-Catholic priests. (You ever get the sense we–the faithful–could be missing out on something good when those folks are turned away?)


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