Priest of note: he tried out for the Met — and he's married

Priest of note: he tried out for the Met — and he's married August 8, 2011

From Oregon comes this intriguing piece about yet another married Episcopalian minister who has become a Catholic priest:

Two things set Father Bryce McProud apart from most newly ordained Roman Catholic priests: He once tried out for the Metropolitan Opera and placed highly enough to consider it a career option. And he’s married.

The opera part is easy to understand. About 40 years ago, about the same time he was considering a calling to the ministry, he “sang quite a lot,” and apparently very well. “At that point, I had to choose between opera and the church,” McProud said. “I prayed about it a lot and decided to go with the church.”

As for being married, McProud, a longtime minister in the Episcopal church and now parochial vicar at St. Mary Catholic Church in Eugene, received a dispensation from Pope Benedict XVI that allowed him to make the switch and, as an already married priest, to bring his wife along.

Since July 1, after a few weeks of volunteering in local parishes following his ordination on June 4, he has been a full-time member of the St. Mary clergy, celebrating Mass, officiating at funerals and hearing confessions of parishioners in the old brick church at 11th Avenue and Charnelton Street.

He and his wife, Deanna McProud, have been married “almost 41 years,” he said. “We have a son, and we have two wonderful grandchildren.”

Upward of 100 Episcopal priests in the United States have sought to become Catholic in recent years, reflecting schisms that have arisen within their ranks — originally an offshoot of the Church of England — over issues) such as same-sex marriage, ordination of women, abortion rights and updating of the Book of Common Prayer, the Episcopal church’s equivalent of the Catholic missal.

Their recent acceptance by the Roman Catholic Church dates back to 1980, after Pope John Paul II received a petition from the Catholic bishops in the United States on behalf of disaffected Episcopalians and issued a “pastoral provision” designed specifically to allow former Episcopal priests into the Church of Rome fold.

The pope’s response opened the door to two possibilities. An entire Episcopal congregation could become part of the Roman Catholic Church but still remain as its own parish and use an Anglicized version of the Mass, including either the traditional or modernized Book of Common Prayer.

And, on a case-by-case basis, married Episcopal priests could be ordained into the Roman Catholic clergy without affecting the Catholic value placed on celibacy of its priests.

McProud’s disaffection with Episcopal doctrine started in the early 1990s, “after the church’s general convention voted to become pro-choice on abortion,” he said. “The other major issues were not as important to me.”

He had been ordained into the Episcopal priesthood in 1978 and had served in parishes in Yakima, Wash., and Albany before coming to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Eugene in 1985.

Check out the rest.  Congratulations and welcome, Fr. McProud.  Ad multos annos!

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2 responses to “Priest of note: he tried out for the Met — and he's married”

  1. It is great to see this man join the Church, may God bless him and his family in his priestly ministry.

    In the other hand I wonder if this may not be somewhat unfair to celibate priests even though they made the conscious and free choice to join the priesthood under that condition.

    As we get more married priests as a result of cases like the one above or permanent deacons, most of whom are married, it does create the question of why an exclusive celibate mandate for all priests.

  2. Your last paragraph, rudy, has crossed my mind also. It seems that the more the church accepts married men from the Episcopal church, what affect does that have on the rule that those who are trained by the RCC to be priests have to remain unmarried and celibate? Being married apparently hasn’t hendered those who come from the other faith from doing their jobs as a priest.

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