The only thing that I question is the way this article describes him as choosing the Catholic Church… I’m not so sure that he really thinks the Catholic Church is the “fullness of truth” as much as he just wants to be in a church that has the same moral values as him… (even if they are the right moral values)
But, God bless him and his parishioners anyway – God writes straight with crooked lines, and good will come of this anyway!
**SCRANTON – The Diocese of Scranton might soon have its first married Roman Catholic priest.
Diocesan officials will ask the Vatican for permission to let former local Episcopal priest Eric Bergman become a Catholic priest with an exception allowing him to bypass the celibacy requirement.
Should the Vatican approve, Bergman would become one of more than 60 married Protestant priests to become Catholic priests since 1980, when the Catholic church first allowed the practice, according to Catholic News Services.
“It’s fairly rare,” said Maria Orzel. Spokeswoman for the Scranton Diocese, which includes Bradford County. This is the first time the Diocese of Scranton has asked the Vatican for permission to install a married man as a priest, she said.
Bergman left his old parish, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Green Ridge, on Friday. It was the culmination of his growing disillusion over the Episcopal church ordaining the Rev. V. Gene Robinson – a homosexual – as the bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003.
Bergman said more than 50 Good Shepherd parishioners have followed him and also plan to convert to Catholicism. He is now acting as executive director of the St. Thomas More Society of St. Clare Church, a newly formed group of parishioners that now meets just down the street from his old rectory.
For the conservative Bergman, a homosexual bishop was the last straw in what he saw as the church’s escalating attack on traditional Christian values.
“He is a symptom of what the pope describes as the culture of death,” Bergman said, referring to Rev. Robinson. “We as a nation have begun to embrace things that do not bring life, but death.” Bergman told his Episcopal parishioners in October that he could no longer continue to support the church, spiritually or financially. He decided to seek priesthood within the Roman Catholic church, which has values more in line with his own.
One of the main reasons he chose the Roman Catholic Church, he said, was because of its stance against contraception. He said he never agreed with the Episcopal Church’s acceptance of contraception, but he recently realized that condoning it is a slippery moral slope.
“What it has fostered is a culture that sees a child as a burden instead of a blessing,” Bergman said. “Once you accept the use of contraception as blessed by God, it’s not a very big leap to accept sexual relations between people of the same sex as blessed by God.” Many of Bergman’s Episcopal parishioners agreed.
Former Good Shepherd parishioner Jerry McGreevy said the Episcopal Church has strayed too far from traditional Christianity for his taste.
“They crossed just too many lines,” McGreevy said. “I could no longer just tolerate the changes they were implementing.” Bergman said he briefly considered getting a job outside of religion but chose Roman Catholicism instead because he felt his parishioners needed him.
“This is what I’m called to do,” Bergman said. “I was called to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church changed. That doesn’t mean my call to the church changed.” Ms. Orzel said the process of converting Bergman into a Catholic priest could take weeks to months. Once Bergman gets papal permission, he will study to become a transitional deacon and then a priest, she said.
The Roman Catholic Church enacted the provision allowing married men to become Catholic priests in 1980 at the request of the North American Province of the Society of the Holy Cross, a secular institute of Anglican priests, Ms. Orzel said.
“These people were already married, so it would be a considerable hardship and perhaps an injustice to spouses and families to require them to give up a marriage they had already begun,” said Bill Ryan, spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, based in Washington, D.C.
Bergman’s wife, Kristina, and three young children will also convert to Catholicism.