Divorced priests with custodial children?


#1

Does anyone have any stories of divorced priests with children? I know at least one priest in my city who has children, but I don't know his story. It seems likely to me that it would be difficult to be a seminarian with children. Assume that the divorce has been canonically annulled.

One particular issue is that it might not be possible for some men with minor children to follow the vow of obedience. For example, an man who has joint custody of a minor child and whose marriage ended in divorce may be bound by a judicial divorce decree mandating that he not move more than 100 miles from his ex-wife. Such decree would prevent a man in that situation from following orders from his bishop or religious superior that he relocate to residences outside of 100 miles from his ex-wife.

I could see other problems with actually being a custodial parent while under vows. Rectories typically don't have facilities for children. Children need to be taken to and from school and other activities, which may interfere with pastoral work schedules.

Any experience anyone can share?


#2

"Divorce" is a juridical concept, not a moral one. A "divorced" person is still sacramentally married. Since sacramental marriage is an impediment to ordination, the only circumstance I can think of for such a case would be priests who converted from another religion, e.g., those who came in under the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus, et al. Since provisions already exist in those cases for married priests with children, I imagine the circumstances aren't any different for those who are, for whatever reason, legally divorced.


#3

[quote="sw85, post:2, topic:336470"]
"Divorce" is a juridical concept, not a moral one. A "divorced" person is still sacramentally married. Since sacramental marriage is an impediment to ordination, the only circumstance I can think of for such a case would be priests who converted from another religion, e.g., those who came in under the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus, et al. Since provisions already exist in those cases for married priests with children, I imagine the circumstances aren't any different for those who are, for whatever reason, legally divorced.

[/quote]

I just edited the OP to reflect the assumption that the divorced marriage has also been granted a canonical annulment.


#4

I think you are correct that there would be difficulties. Some of those would be the same types of difficulties that face the priests who are married with children. Some would be different. I've known a few married priests. I've never known a priest who was divorced and/or had custodial children. So I cannot speak from personal experience.

All of the difficulties would, no doubt, be looked at beforehand by the bishop and the vocations director in conjunction with the priest-to-be. Not all priests are moved around to the ends of the diocese and back again. If there were such provisos in a divorce, the bishop would be made aware of them in advance and would likely recognize the need to work within them (assuming of course that he didn't choose to disqualify the guy as a candidate for priesthood).


#5

Oftentimes in situations like this, the man who is applying to the seminary is asked to wait until his children are no longer dependent on him before entering. Once they are on their own, he will finish his application and begin studies.


#6

It sounds like situations that are the concerns of bishops, meaning we don't really have to spend time figuring out possible issues and solutions.


#7

The priest who took me through my instruction in order to become Catholic was divorced but his children were grown and out of the house. You could not ask for a better priest either He is now ninety one years old and is on my facebook page.


#8

My understanding is that any potential seminarian would not be accepted until/unless his children were over the age of 18 to prevent just such situations.


#9

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