Can Anyone Be a Priest?

A thought occurred to me the other day and I also hadn’t heard it addressed before. I also must say it doesn’t apply to me or anyone else in my circle of friends or acquaintances. My question is this; does having fathered a child preclude one from becoming a priest?

No, strictly speaking, it does not automatically disqualify someone. However it does raise certain issues. First and foremost is the issue of the child. Is the child cared for and is the father fulfilling his moral responsibilities? Was the child’s birth the result of an immoral relationship that casts doubt on his suitability for ministry? After that comes the issue of prudence. Would it be prudent for this man to become a priest at this time in this place?

The usual scenario is someone in their 50’s who is a widower with grown children. And there have been a few occasions where individuals have received an annulment and later been ordained. In both scenarios its usually years after the death or annulment.

Yes it is possible, although rare. It all comes to down to the circumstances and the prudential judgment of the local Ordinary.

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