Priest who left ministry to marry replaced by married priest


*A Catholic parish priest who has left the ministry to marry will this week be replaced in his English parish by a married priest with three children.
Last June, Fr Philip Gay celebrated 25 years as a priest at Coventry’s St Thomas More parish in the Catholic archdiocese of Birmingham. In October his parishioners were told he had decided to stand down from ministry “after careful consideration and for personal reasons”, so he could consider his future.

It has since emerged that Fr Gay is to marry a female parishioner of St Thomas More.

The archdiocese also announced that Fr Gay’s replacement will be Fr Stephen Day, a 53-year-old former Anglican priest who is to arrive at the St Thomas More parish this week with his wife and three children, aged 10, 13 and 16.*


:shrug: I’m not sure what there is to say about it.


Ironic, isn´t it?


Becoming more common and direction of the pope wants to go


What goes around, comes around; I guess. :shrug: We should pray for both priests.


It is all about “rules” -if you join a club that has certain rules for admission you comply with them-for example a celibacy vow -if the leadership makes some exceptions for membership those are “one off” events and do not change the initial membership rules

well what about “fainess” -nobody forced you to join -the concept of fairness is a specious arguement

I would not be surprised if in the next generation or so diocesan Priests are allowed to be married like the Otrhodox (must be married before Ordination not after) this still would not change the rules for those Priests ordained while single

if you do not like the rules don’t join


I don’t see any irony. The Church has a longtime discipline of a celibate priesthood in the west and has rightfully made exceptions for the reception of Anglican married priests wishing to convert. No irony, just the way it is.


Well said.


Optional celibacy has been show to work well in many cases.


Already being discussed in this thread:


If you say so. I’m not arguing with the rules. It does, to me, seem a little ironic.


True, that.
And he did leave once he did not agree with the rules anymore.
Once he had another “calling”.

Still, it doesn’t make sense to not allow priests to marry…and then, accept priests who are already married.
Where is the reasoning there?

If the point for the celibacy is for a priest to be “pure” like Jesus…or to be able to focus all his energies on the church and not family…or because the church is the symbolic “wife” of the priest, so to speak…it doesn’t make sense to allow married priests who are coming from another religion.

Personally, I think it’s great to allow the already-married priest with children to be a priest in the Catholic church.

But if you are going to do that, then it makes sense to allow the others to marry as well, if they want to.

If the church accepts that Fr Stephen Day had a change of heart/vocation, and wants to move from being a husband and non-Catholic priest to being a Catholic priest, thereby having both husband-priest as a shared-vocation…then why not accept the same heart/vocation evolution in reverse?
Why not accept the change that a Catholic priest like Fr Philip Gay has when he feels the calling to also have a shared vocation of husband-priest?

They are both wanting to love and live the same way and “serve God” the same way…but just one of them is allowed to do it–just because his timing was different.

Weirdly, it’s almost as if the Catholic priest is being “punished” for starting out Catholic from day one…while the former-Anglican priest gets to bypass the rules and is “rewarded” for choosing Catholicism much, much later in life.

You’d think it might go the other way around.



Although I am in favor of allowing Priests to marry the difference is obvious. one broke a solemn vow, the other did not.


It appears he’s a secular diocesan priest, in which case he’d have made a promise rather than a solemn vow. Not than I support breaking promises, either.


The article was not clear on whether or not he returned to the laity and is still in good standing with the Church.


This simply points out something that is said often on CAF but that most people don’t “get”.

There’s a world of difference between ordaining a married man and an ordained man wanting to marry.

Unfortunately, many people, including the media just see “married priest” and think it’s all the same. :frowning:


There is no irony in this at all.

Nor is it an argument for abolishing celibacy.

The Church has seen fit not to allow its priests to marry. It also, in its wisdom, allows married men who have had a suitable religious education outside the Church, to serve in the priesthood. The exception is not automatic, and it does not disprove the rule.

Both rubrics have been in place for a long time.

It only seems strange because of the circumstances under which one left and the other came in.



God’s peace. My diocese (Tyler, TX) actually has a married priest who is a former Presbyterian minister–not even Anglican! I understand this situation had to go all the way to Rome for clearance, and that was under St. John Paul II. Maybe the time has come for change. Blessings, ~Br. Carlo~


I have no problem with married priests, I also have no problem with a celibate priesthood.


What is this world of difference?


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