Anglican married man becomes catholic priest


I don’t understand why an Anglican, married man, can become a Catholic priest. I think it is great that they convert and come into the catholic Church, but why not be a deacon, or a layman?

I was taught that because a priest is in persona Christi, especially during consecration, they cannot be married.

Is dispensation given because of fear of losing a convert?

I don’t understand!


That’s a good question.

But I don’t think its due to losing a convert.

After all, the Catholic Church doesn’t issue dispensation for other protestant ministers who convert. Scott Hahn was a Presbyterian minister , married, but just a layman in the Catholic Church.


Maybe Hahn didn’t want to be a priest, but maybe some converts insist on becoming priests. I don’t know much about Hahn. :woman_facepalming:t2:


The practice is mostly a discipline, not a dogma with no exceptions allowed. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Eastern Catholics do permit married men as standard practice, though I’m not sure if they’re at all discouraged.

In my diocese, there’s one married priest that I’m aware of. From what I understand, he was a Lutheran minister prior to converting to Catholicism, and he got a dispensation to be a priest after converting. Oddly, from what I hear, he actually believes priestly celibacy is a good thing.


This is not accurate. I met a married, former Presbyterian minister priest - Fr. Slider Steuernol. He has since passed away.


I’m not surprised. Look up Father Dwight Longenecker. He is another married priest (former Anglican) who has written in favor of celibacy. I think these priests are worth listening to. My priest is also married and has four, young children. I think he is in favor of married priests, but I can see the burden it places on his wife and family…and him.


The convert’s time as a minister would suggest that God was calling them to ministry, and so the Church- after educating the man in the Catholic faith- would allow him to continue with that vocation in the True Church.


Celibacy for priesthood is a discipline. There are certainly married priests except for those in the Latin Rite.

Anglican married priests can remain married after they converted to Catholic, but that depends on which Anglican and the background accordingly, which are given dispensation by the Pope. The Ordinariates were among the recent ones.


Why not as a deacon seeing that he is married?


Yeah it must be hard! I get tired, and I am a lay single person!! :woman_facepalming:t2:


The truth is , @Sing04 , that your were taught wrong .

In the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches married men can be ordained . This has been the custom from the first


We had a priest in my diocese who who had converted from another denomination who was married with kids. He got to be pastor of a parish. An LA Times article in 2017 estimated there were about 120 married Roman Catholic priests in the US at that time, mostly Anglican priests who had converted.

The Church is having a hard time finding priests. I’m in a parish in Richmond, VA and our pastor is from Ghana. (He’s great, BTW). He is a pastor of two parishes, about 20 minutes apart. We have become “the missions!” The Church is going to have to change something to get more priests.


That is not correct. Many/most of Christ’s Apostles were married. The Eastern Churches have always ordained married men, and the Latin Church had married priests and bishops for the first Millennium. The celibate priesthood is only a discipline, one to which exceptions can be made.


That has never been true. As others have said, celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma. There has always been married priests. They are far more common in the Eastern Catholic Churches than in the West. But there is nothing ontological that prevents a married man from acting in persona Christi.

As for why, I don’t think it’s out of fear of losing a convert. :wink: The rationale I go with is that—as a non-Catholic Christian—the man was responding to the call of God to be a minister in the best way he knew at the time. As non-Catholic Christian ministers often are married, it was not a problem for him to be both married and a minister.

Once he came to know the fullness of the truth found in the Catholic Church, his “vocation” doesn’t cleanly transfer over. So the Church may grant a dispensation on an individual basis to allow that man to be ordained a priest.

Not all Protestant pastors become priests. Some are content to do other things. But, yes, some are ordained priests.


Here is a website that explains in detail:


Sounds like a question for a married priest…


The unmarried priesthood is a church law. It can be chang or exceptions can be made. Anglicans are close to the Catholic Church to begin with. Allowances have been made for married priest when they convert. However, the candidate must complete 2 or 3 years of Catholic theological training before being ordained a Catholic priest.


[quote=“Sing04, post:1, topic:506391”]
I was taught that because a priest is in persona Christi, especially during consecration, they cannot be married.[/quote]

Priests cannot marry, that is true. Married men can become priests, although in the Latin Church the current discipline is celibacy.

Celibacy is a discipline of the Latin Church. And yes, it can be dispensed. In Eastern Catholic Churches (in communion with Rome) married men can and do become priests.

No, the rules related to the Anglican Ordinariate are based on the Anglican Communion’s traditions and the desire to reunify the Church, the same way the disciplines in the Eastern Catholic Churches are different from the Latin Church and were incorporated into the laws of those Churches when they returned to communion with Rome.


The state of marriage is not an impediments to the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Under normal circumstances, it is only an impediment for admission to Candidacy for Ordination. Yet, the celibacy requirement for ordination of Baptized, Catholic males is man-made law, not divine law. Divine law may never be dispensed. Man-made law may be and may even be abolished by competent ecclesial authority. Priestly Celibacy in the Roman Catholic has only been required since the 7th century. Before this time, priests could be married.


Economics are also considered. As I understand, deacons aren’t paid, and a minister-convert likely doesn’t have a career they can fall back on- all of their education has been relevant only to their ministry. Converting could impoverish them.

Besides, they already have a lot of the skills of a priest, and it would make the most sense to move them “laterally”.

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