Pastor converting to catholicism?


#1

Can a Protestant Pastor convert to Catholicism and continue Pastoring his Church? especially if he begins teaching Catholic doctrine.


#2

I would think that his non-Catholic congregration would not feel inclined.

But there’s a cart-before-the-horse issue here. A man who enters and completes the seminary training to become a priest (if he is accepted into the program) is then (after ordination) directed by a bishop as to where he will serve (in the case of a diocesan priest that is found in most Catholic parishes).

Therefore it would be improper (and impossible, since its not his jurisdiction) for a bishop to assign a former non-Catholic pastor, now a priest, to serve in his old capacity in a non-Catholic church.

However, that doesn’t mean that members of his old flock can’t visit him at his new parish and even consider converting themselves to the fullness of faith.


#3

[quote="Spencerian, post:2, topic:327070"]
I would think that his non-Catholic congregration would not feel inclined.

But there's a cart-before-the-horse issue here. A man who enters and completes the seminary training to become a priest (if he is accepted into the program) is then (after ordination) directed by a bishop as to where he will serve (in the case of a diocesan priest that is found in most Catholic parishes).

Therefore it would be improper (and impossible, since its not his jurisdiction) for a bishop to assign a former non-Catholic pastor, now a priest, to serve in his old capacity in a non-Catholic church.

However, that doesn't mean that members of his old flock can't visit him at his new parish and even consider converting themselves to the fullness of faith.

[/quote]

That's not the question. The question is, can a Catholic layman, who, having always been a layman (since all Protestant ministers are laymen), heretofore was employed as the pastor of a Protestant church, maintain his employment if everything he teaches is in accordance with Catholic doctrine?


#4

If he continued to pastor at his old Protestant Church, he could not by definition keep his teachings within Catholic doctrine, since teaching at his old church would itself be a tacit denial of the fullness of Truth found within the Catholic Church.


#5

So, the former Protestant becomes Catholic, meaning he believes in the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.

As a Pastor, he would want to teach the Truth of the Church.

So, he would meet with the people of the Protestant Denomination and tell them the Truths of the Holy Catholic Church. I assume he would invite them to attend Mass with him each Sunday.

Why would the Protestant Denomination want to retain him as their pastor instructing them in the Faith of the Catholic Church?

Why would he call himself Pastor of Protestant Denomination X, while not believing in the teachings of Denomination X?


#6

That’s not a logical necessity. He could come in one Sunday and say, “As far as I am concerned, this church is not the Church that God wills us to be in. Therefore, I am no longer going to conduct worship services, and I no longer consider myself your rightful pastor. I am going to use these Sunday meetings to instruct you in the Catholic faith to the best of my limited ability, which is the one true Faith, and then I am going to exhort you to attend Mass with me at 11 am at St. Isaac Jogues Church two blocks away, celebrated by our rightful pastor, Father Johnson.”

I doubt the Protestant church would retain him for a second such Sunday, but anything is possible.


#7

He could do all of that, yes…but then, I wouldn’t consider him a “pastor” of his old church at all, at that point.

Would you?


#8

They would be paying him to provide spiritual leadership and to teach them Biblical truths, and he would be doing exactly that, so insofar as any Protestant minister can properly be considered a pastor, he would be one.


#9

Yeah, I don’t see this happening. The Protestant pastors I have known who converted tend to realize that conversion means giving up their job.

There are cases like Alex Jones who ended up bringing a lot of his former flock along for the ride. But they did not continue indefinitely as a Protestant church. Catholics aren’t Catholics in a vaccuum. Catholics become Catholic in the context of a Catholic community (usually a parish in a diocese). It wouldn’t make sense for them to convert and keep doing their own thing.


#10

That’s assuming that the ones who didn’t choose to follow him to the CC didn’t just stop paying him and kick him out.

Your hypothetical situation is highly, highly unlikely; what prompted the thought, if I may ask?


#11

I’m not the OP.


#12

[quote="aemcpa, post:11, topic:327070"]
I'm not the OP.

[/quote]

Whoops. My bad.


#13

If a Protestant pastor wants to become a Catholic, first he (or she) goes through RCIA or one-on-one formation just like any other convert. At the point where the decision is made to swim the Tiber, they resign from their job. They cannot, either in the “Catholic world” or in the “Protestant world” remain as pastor of their church.

Once the man is Catholic, he can then apply to become a Priest. If he is married, it will require a special dispensation from Rome and has happened, though it is rare. If the pastor in question is a woman, she is out of a job.

One important thing to note here, while a Protestant pastor has not received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, most of them, male and female, have been ordained in their denomination. They are considered clergy and their congregations are the laity. A lot of them, male and female, possess within their denominaiton as much schooling as any Catholic priest. To call them laity is disrespectful to them because they don’t even know the Sacrament of Holy Orders exists. At least not usually.

From a purly practical point, it is extremely complicated for a Protestant Pastor to convert and become a Catholic. For one thing, they feel they are called to shepherd their flocks with just as much conviction as a Catholic priest does. As shepherd of the flock, they don’t want to do anything that will bring scandal to the laity they are responsible before God for. Therefore it is only after a lot of prayerful consideration that a Protestant Pastor will convert. On top of concern for their congregaitons, is also concern for the welfare of their family, who they are responsible before God to provide for - and converting means they are out of a job. Pray for them.
Kris


#14

chnetwork.org/

These guys help Protestant Pastors come to the RC Church. They have a show on EWTN Monday nights at 8:00.


#15

No


#16

No. But that doesn't mean that the congregation can't decide to join the Catholic church as well.

Anyone deciding to join the Catholic church is a big decision that should never be taken lightly. There is a convert by the name of Dwlight Longnecker who switched and he has done some amazing work.


#17

I think the answer is, yes, providing the denomination he is in allows it. I know a Protestant minister with a very small congregation which he pastors. In that case, I believe he answers to no one so, should he revert to Catholicism, his congregation will certainly hear about it! And then what happens next is basically up to the Holy Spirit and the free will of his congregation.


#18

You never know with some of those wacky protestants! They never kicked out John Spong, did they? He certainly left the religion of which he claimed to be a pastor… :wink:


#19

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.