Can priests adopt?

I'm posting this here since it has to do with the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
On St. Sabina Church's website, the pastor Fr. Pfleger states that he was ordained in 1975. In his bio, it goes on to say that he adopted his two sons in 1981 and 1992 and then became a foster father to a third son in 1997.

Is there anything in Canon Law that prohibits priests from adopting?

No, there is not.

this was rather highly publicized at the time of the adoptions, the point made that he needed permission from his bishop, and of course to assure the civil authorities that he had means to support them, and he received both. The wisdom of single parent adoptions was still being debated at that time, and many still have reservations about it, but it is legal both in canon and civil law at this time.

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:199982"]
...but it is legal both in canon and civil law at this time.

[/quote]

But it does seem kind of strange...

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:199982"]
but it is legal both in canon and civil law at this time.

[/quote]

I find it extremely hard to believe that canon law says that it is acceptable for a priest to adopt a child.

Which canon number says it is OK for a priest to adopt?

That’s not the right question. Things are not forbidden to priests unless specifically permitted; by and large, they’re permitted unless specifically forbidden. No canon says a priest can run a blog, run a marathon, appear on a talk show, or brush his teeth either.

[quote="MarkThompson, post:6, topic:199982"]
That's not the right question. Things are not forbidden to priests unless specifically permitted; by and large, they're permitted unless specifically forbidden. No canon says a priest can run a blog, run a marathon, appear on a talk show, or brush his teeth either.

[/quote]

puzzleannie claimed that it is legal per canon law. If so, what is the canon that says it is legal?

I agree that there can't be a canon to govern every little detail of a priest's life. Yet, there are many things that are simply inappropriate or imprudent for a priest to do. A priest would know what is inappropriate or imprudent by having good seminary formation or just plain common sense. Judging Fr. Pfleger by his history, one can question if he has either.

Believe it or not, this issue actually IS found in canon law; only not directly.

Under canon law, the diocese has a responsibility to provide for the needs of a priest–in other words, to support him financially.

Parents likewise have an obligation under canon law, natural law, and divine law, to provide for the needs of their children.

This means that if a priest adopts a child, he is placing a financial obligation on the diocese to provide for the needs of the child. I mention financial because it’s the most obvious–the same applies to all the other obligations involved in being a parent.

Since a priest who adopts a child is actually making a commitent which obligates the diocese, he needs to have the bishop’s permission beforehand.

Forgive me if this is a bit off-topic, but is St. Sabrina's an orthodox Catholic church? Reading through their website, I'm slightly off-put, but I may just be reading some things the wrong way.

it is off topic, perhaps you can start a new thread for it as well as provide a link to the site you are talking about

I forget the title and the author, but I read a book about 20 years ago about a priest who adopted a boy who had AIDS and was also horribly abused by his biological parents. From what I recall, it was all valid and the necessary approvals had been obtained.

It was a wonderful book, by the way. :wink:

[quote="TeddyRoosevelt, post:9, topic:199982"]
Forgive me if this is a bit off-topic, but is St. Sabrina's an orthodox Catholic church? Reading through their website, I'm slightly off-put, but I may just be reading some things the wrong way.

[/quote]

It is a genuine catholic parish under the nominal jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Chicago. I only say "nominal" because the pastor there is, um, unusually certain of the truth of his own convictions even when they run contrary to the teachings of the catholic church and the instructions of his bishop. Things get rambunctious sometimes. Search here on the pastor's name and you'll get LOTS of hits.

I think the adoption was a sincere and heartfelt act born of conscience. But I also think it was not the right thing to do as a priest. The whole reason we have celibate priests is to give them the freedom to be fully Christ's, to be living martyrs (and quite possibly actual martyrs).

[quote="TeddyRoosevelt, post:9, topic:199982"]
Forgive me if this is a bit off-topic, but is St. Sabrina's an orthodox Catholic church? Reading through their website, I'm slightly off-put, but I may just be reading some things the wrong way.

[/quote]

Nope :rolleyes: Just youtube father Pfleger and you will see why. Pray that the Bishop removes him asap. (I'm not exaggerating, just check out his liturgical abuses and see why. He believes in women's ordination on the most faulty of logic. He allows liturgical dancing. He messes with the words of consecration, and uses invalid matter for the Eucharist. I could go on and on!)

There are other examples where a priest may (my opinion) adopt for legal reasons for the protection of the children.

I believe that Fr. Gregory Ramkissoon, founder of Mustard Seed Communities and priest of the diocese of Jamaica, adopted a number of orphans wot disabilities after the state run facilities were closed. I think that the state was in support of this, but for guardian reasons he may have had to adopt the children. He did this with the complete permission of his Bishop. I can't find a reference for this so it may just be urban legend, but I think it illustrates mu thoughts.

A number of years ago, a priest from Africa visited our Parish. He (if I remember correctly) had adopted 4 children.

They were siblings who were orphaned.

Our current parochial vicar who is Vietnamese was adopted by an American priest.

[quote="FrDavid96, post:8, topic:199982"]
Believe it or not, this issue actually IS found in canon law; only not directly.

Under canon law, the diocese has a responsibility to provide for the needs of a priest--in other words, to support him financially.

Parents likewise have an obligation under canon law, natural law, and divine law, to provide for the needs of their children.

This means that if a priest adopts a child, he is placing a financial obligation on the diocese to provide for the needs of the child. I mention financial because it's the most obvious--the same applies to all the other obligations involved in being a parent.

Since a priest who adopts a child is actually making a commitent which obligates the diocese, he needs to have the bishop's permission beforehand.

[/quote]

This is not necessarily true. Secular priests do not take a vow of poverty, so if the priest were independently wealthy, there would be no financial burden on the diocese.

In the practical sense what you say is true.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the Church is still responsible for the priest and thus, the child.

I’m not sure the financial burden is necessarily the most significant obligation a priest would be taking on. The time aspect is probably more important, especially for a young child. Consider that in the Catholic rites that allow married men to be ordained, it is usual that there is a wife to care for the children while the priest performs his duties.

[quote="kristie_m, post:17, topic:199982"]
This is not necessarily true. Secular priests do not take a vow of poverty, so if the priest were independently wealthy, there would be no financial burden on the diocese.

[/quote]

Kristie,

Even though a priest might be wealthy, that doesn't change the fact that the diocese is still responsible for supporting him, and therefore any potential adopted children. If he loses his wealth (bad investments, for example) the diocese still has to provide for him. Sure, if a priest is wealthy, that would probably count in his favor in the bishop's decision--but since an adopted child is a potential financial burden on the diocese, the bishop has to approve it. Please let me repeat that I'm not trying to reduce this to a financial issue--a parent has more than just financial obligations.

Recently I heard from someone who had met a nun who was stationed in Africa that had adopted an orphan with AIDs.

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