Married priest replaces cleric who fell in love with parishioner

In the UK, Fr. Phillip Gay left the priesthood after admitting to relationship with a woman is being replaced by a married priest.

Parishioners at St Thomas More Catholic Church in Coventry were informed in October that their parish priest, Fr Philip Gay, had decided “after careful consideration and for personal reasons” to step down from his duties in order to consider his future.

A fortnight ago, his departure was confirmed in a statement from the Archdiocese of Birmingham that said: “It is with regret that we must now let you know of [Fr Gay’s] decision to leave the priesthood.”

According to parishioners, Fr Gay – who celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination earlier this year – left after falling in love with a female parishioner.
The archdiocese also announced that Fr Gay’s replacement would be Fr Stephen Day, a 53-year-old former Anglican priest who is set to arrive at the presbytery next week, from his current parish of St Anne’s in Nuneaton, with his wife and three children aged 10, 13 and 16.

“This really points out the contradictions in the Church’s current position on celibacy,” said Dr Michael Winter, chair of the Movement for Married Clergy. “The truth about any law is that it has to be consistent, and here we see an inconsistency.

Never could understand this. Seems like one rule for one and another rule for someone else!

There is no inconsistency.

One priest took a vow of celebacy and broke it.

The other priest never took such a vow.

One priest was ordained while single.

The other priest was ordained while already married.

Only if Fr Day married after ordination.

Married men can become priests and deacons. Priests and deacons, however, cannot marry.

Which means that widowed priests and deacons cannot re-marry.

Different kettle of fish.

Still, it is confusing for the rest of the world etc to read that a Catholic priest cannot marry but a married priest can become a Catholic priest!!:shrug:

C’est la vie. Sad, but I don’t have a problem with it. At least he admitted it and did the right thing - didn’t continue to violate his vow. And I am ok with the married guy coming in. We’re only human after all.

In this case, the married man (Fr Stephen Day) was not a married priest. Rather, he was a married man who was a non-Catholic Anglican minister. In other words, he was a married man who became a Catholic priest.

So, to be fair, your objection is really “a Catholic priest cannot marry, but (in rare cases) a married man can become a Catholic priest”. That’s a more accurate way of looking at it. And, to tell the truth, it’s not all that difficult to explain: a Catholic priest cannot marry, just as a married man cannot get a second wife – in both cases, the men have made promises not to marry another. Not too difficult to understand… :shrug:

The Catholic Church could never please the “rest of the world”. God Bless, Memaw

Do you have the same confusion with married deacons? Because the rule is identical: a married man may be ordained a deacon, but an unmarried deacon may not marry. Marriage has to come before ordination.

It’s only confusing because people don’t care to learn and stereotype/jump to conclusions.

And not just that, but the married priest is not exempted from the law of celibacy either. If his wife predeceases him, then the rule of celibacy kicks in, and he cannot remarry.

Yes, whereas if he had chosen to stay an Anglican minister, he probably would have been free to remarry.

I for one think that Catholic priests should be able to marry. They used to be many many centuries ago!

All the priests I have ever talked to and there have been many in my long life, have said they are happy with their vow of chastity. Their life belongs to God and their service to His people. Even “married” priests, at times, while they love their families, envy the freedom of unmarried priests. And if their wife dies, they are not free to marry again. God Bless, Memaw

This, this, this, and more this. :happydance:

I’ve had this topic come up a lot recently and it always comes down to, “Why aren’t Catholics more knowledgeable in their faith in order to a. understand it, b. discuss it with other Catholics, c. explain to non-Catholics?”

It still kills me a bit because suddenly the Pastoral Provision seems to have everyone up in arms (hyperbole, here) but married men called to be priests already have a pretty long history in the Eastern Catholic churches and had faced great discrimination in the US, especially around the turn of the last century.

Roman Catholics are not widely aware of our Sister Churches (Eastern Catholics) who have had this discipline for eons and yet Roman Catholics are very, very focused on reunions with our separated brethren instead. And for every reservation regarding ordination after marriage, there have been thousands of years of successful precedent that is ignored or overlooked.

There is no inconsistency, only people who have never bothered to work at understanding the principles.

Priests in the catholic church are never permitted to marry, not even the Eastern Churches.

In eastern churches, some allow married men to be ordained, but never ordained men to later marry.

In the Latin rite, there is a pastoral exception for men whose lifelong conversion to Christ started outside the catholic church and who discerned a call to priesthood even before they knew what that really meant or were even catholic! In most cases, such men were ministers in another Christian community before converting to Catholicism. It is likely that had they enjoyed the privilege of being catholic all along, they would have submitted to the requirement of celibacy in order to honor their call to priesthood. But through no fault of their own, they were not AWARE of the requirement to be celibate. As such, the church has decided that such men CAN be ordained after their conversion.

Not so complicated, eh? Almost Twitterable, even.

Many centuries ago they used to be married. Why was it changed?

Today, right now, the eastern catholic church in places ordains married men. Why not in the Latin rite? Because we discovered the innate benefits of it and they’ve been profound. No less than St. Paul and even Jesus himself endorse the benefits of a single-minded vocation to religious life that excludes marriage.

Universal priestly celibacy came about during the dark period after the fall of the western Roman Empire to the barbarians when monastic Christian enclaves became the life boat of civilization there that allowed the conversion of the barbarian hordes. Monastic priests have always been celibate, even then.

Celibacy is a more profound witness today than ever before now that sexual gratification has become the golden calf of our times.

At least part of the change was due to problems they had with clergy; Priests marrying (an issue dealt with over several centuries), some issues apparently of some clergy having concubines, possible issues of ownership and inheritance of lands of the Church, and what would appear to be partially driven by an ascetical aspect of theology.

None of that should be take as in derogation to celibacy. Both appear to go clear back to the Apostles; St Paul clearly speaks highly of celibacy, and for centuries the Church had both married and celibate clergy; in the Western Church, celibacy finally became the discipline, while the Eastern Church continued to have both, to this very day.

As Eastern rite Catholics migrated to the Americas in sufficient numbers that clergy also migrated, the bishops of North America raised Cain with Rome about not letting married clergy into the US, and that has been the rule until most recently; I think Francis has amended that to allow Eastern rites to ordain married men in the US.

There is ample theological support for a celibate clergy, and there is ample historical support for a married clergy. One of the problems in discussion about the possibility of having a married clergy in the Western Church is the red herring that gets dragged in about “eliminating celibacy”. And it is just that - a red herring designed to cast doubt on any rational discussion.

Yep, and of course this was a big one during the Protestant breakaway too. To me, the obvious solution is to have both, but as I have said, I think the celibate priests should somehow be in a separate category or “higher” as befitting their sacrifice, in honor of the tradition as well. It would be good for the Church and I do think celibacy would survive it.

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