Can a Catholic priest receive a dispensation from his vow of celibacy?

I sent this question to Ask an Apologist but haven’t received a response so I am posting it here. I didn’t know in which other forum to post this so I decided the Apologetics forum would be it. My thread has to deal with a situation I was in when my mother who at the time was dying of Cancer was still alive.

My mother’s cancer had spread to her brain and so the doctors all agreed that there was nothing else that they could do for her and spoke to me of doing hospice care for my mother from the home. The hospice care company helping me care for my mother in my home had a pastoral service where a pastor from one’s own denomination would come to ones home and do spiritual counseling.

A pastor called my home who I will just call “Pastor Bob” and asked if I would like for him to come to my home and do spiritual counseling for me and my mom. I said yes and a half an hour later he was in my home. He was dressed in plainclothes so I decided to ask him if he was a Catholic priest. He said that he was a married Catholic priest and that he had received a dispensation from his vows of celibacy from the Catholic church. He also added that the dispensation happened years ago and that the Church no longer allows these kinds of dispensations.

Being that I am not well versed in canon law or how dispensations operate, I took him at his word. He prayed with us and then later gave both my mother and I Communion. After he left I felt alittle uneasy as to the subject of his having received a dispensation from his vows of celibacy and whether or not the Communion wafers he had given my mother and I was validly consecrated.

I know that married Anglican priests wanting to join the Catholic Church are allowed to remain married and are given a dispensation from their vows of celibacy but for Catholic priests to receive a dispensation from their vows of celibacy is something I have never heard of.

Now I am worried that in my ignorance at the time my mother and I received Communion from this so called “Pastor Bob” that we may have received invalidly consecrated hosts.

If anyone can enlighten me as to what is the truth concerning dispensations and the vow of celibacy for priests I would really appreciate it.

Thank you and God bless

Maybe he was a former protestant minister. I know that is one of the only ways a priest doesn’t have to follow the vows of celibacy, granted i’ve heard that if this does happen, they are supposed to live as brother and sister. Maybe that explains it?

Back in the 60s and 70s they were releasing priests from service so they could marry. Is that what you are talking about? I’ve known two sets of former nuns marrying former priests in my life.

A simple call to the Diocese Chancery would clear it up pretty quickly. If he’s incardinated in the diocese they’ll have him on record. If not, then they’d want to check into it to avoid scandal.

Yes, call the diocesis and ask about him. Married anglican priest and married priests for the Eastern churches can join the church and remain married. However the church has never allowed a single man, who is ordained as priest, to receive a dispensation to get married and continue as a priest. Also, just to give you a heads up, there are “fake” catholic churches, beware of that!!! There are several sects that go through the name of “catholic ortodox church” or “catholic churches” and they call themselves “Catholics” and have so called “priests” who dress just like catholic priests, but they have no association with the actual Roman catholic church and is just a sect. What you have said about this priest makes me wonder if the priest belongs to this fake church. Many people have fallen for this fake church and is a real problem, so call your diocesis and verify the name of that priest with them.

Firstly, thank you all for your responses. :slight_smile:

The priest who came to my home I only know him by his first name. I never at that time got the full name. I could try to call the Diocese but his pastoral service involves going to cities all around the northern part of the state I use to live in so he isn’t attached to working in just one diocese.

He clearly stated to me that he was a Catholic priest that wished to be dispensed of his vow of celibacy by the Catholic Church so that he could marry. He is not a former Protestant priest or pastor…

Right now all I am worried about is that in my ignorance both my mother and I may have received Communion that wasn’t validly consecrated. I know I did not sin because I was not intentionally trying to consume an invalidly consecrated wafer.

I am just trying to see what I should do the next time I might be in the same predicament.

Thanks again and God bless

That statement that he is not attached to one diocesis makes me believe again is very likely that he belongs to the fake catholic church. Priests from fake catholic church Do refer to themselves as catholic priests but don’t get overly worried because you didn’t know. I am familiar with this fake church because my daughter was baptized by a fake catholic priest, I was totally mislead by the priest because he referee to himself as catholic and the church was called st Lazarus catholic church, there was no way to distinguish until I received the certificate that said “catholic orthodox church” then I went to the diocesis and spoke with the local priest from my real catholic church and he was the one who informed me about the existence of this fake church that was misleading tons of people.

I still recommend you to go and speak to the diocesis, as they do want to know about these cases to warn people, and they can guide you to see a real priest. You had no idea, just like me, that this was fake and you were just mislead so is not your fault. Again just go to the diocesis or to a church affiliated with the diocesis and talk to them about this. Also there was a thread in CAF too about this fake churches, search for fake catholic church and you will find it.

Interesting, but wrong. My mom’s cousin was a priest (he’s dead now). He applied for, and received a dispensation from his vow. He remained in good standing in the Church and married a women. He is only allowed to baptize and hear confession if someone is in the danger of death.

The Vatican can release a man from his vows, but he is then excluded from holding any Church office, or administering the sacraments except in extreme cases.

A priest is always a priest.

If a priest desires to leave the priesthood and marry, there is a right way (through his bishop) and a wrong way (just leave).

Either way, if a priest marries he is “laicized” meaning he may no longer act in a priestly capacity at all. His faculties are suspended by his bishop. He should not present himself as a priest and he certainly should not be giving Viaticum to hospice or other patients. He may hear confession/absolve in an emergency-- for example, if he came upon a car crash victim who was imminently going to die. Otherwise, he may not exercise his priestly ministry.

That said, he is still a priest, so if he used a valid consecration then the Eucharist was illicitly confected but was valid.

In the future, ask that a Catholic priest from the diocese be sent to the hospital, hospice, etc.

Sounds rather sketchy. I think he’s probably a member of one of these fake or “independent” catholic churches that have all the trappings of a Catholic church, but aren’t Catholic.

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