Rebellious priest

I met a priest at a truck stop recently. He was driving a semi. He said he had been half hearted about taking the vows of priesthood because he had a girlfriend. He left the priesthood to marry but she dumped him. He still is hoping to have a family someday and is now considering Lutheran seminary. I asked him point blank if he thought the Catholic Church was wrong or false and he said no. I wonder if a man in his position were to repent, is there a path back to full fellowship with the church? Also he mentioned after leaving the priesthood, he supposedly worked as a catechist for 15 years. How is that possible? It seems such a position for a rebellious priest would be unthinkable as it sets a bad example on the issue of authority. Thoughts?

sounds suspicious in many ways. I am not sure he was telling you the truth or the whole story. :shrug:

It is not necessarily rebellion. He may not have discerned his vocation correctly and was laicized (returned to the lay state) properly by the Vatican, in which case he can live as any lay Catholic, and yes, work as a catechist, and he would be in full fellowship with the Church.

But you don’t mention if he was laicized properly, or if he just left the active priesthood without proper procedures, so we can’t comment on this really.

The existence of a laisization procedure is news to me. That’s part of the answered to my question. I do not believe he went through such a process. Ecause he stated that if he were to get married and get Lutheran ordination he would be excommunicated. There’s two isssues there. Leaving the church and getting married. Assuming he did not get laicized and just walked off the vocation, could he return to the church? It was on odd conversation on that I have been to Catholic Church twice in my life and I was the one trying to encourage him to repent where he a seminarian should have been the one trying to bring me closer to the church. I don’t think he wants to repent but I am curious what the principles would be.

Not sure why you are posting this. Is it because you are shocked about his situation, or angry? You ask, how is that possible… with God anything is possible. That means he sure can repent. It’s not so shocking when you see so many people take vows in marriage, yet cheat, divorce. It’s the same thing. (People only think of their vows as lesser because of how common divorce and separation is. ). Bad examples everywhere!!! In Holy Scripture Moses arm was held up by his people. Exodus 17:11… the congregation can be just as guilty if not more, when not supporting their priests ( as in, not doing what real Catholics ought to be doing).

This man is human, with a soul. Being a priest does not make anyone less susceptible to influences. I’m wondering if you had a shallow conversation with him, or did you actually ask him why he left, and get a deeper understanding of what happened to him. Just as some people enter into marriage mistakenly, so can young men as priests. Is there an annulment process for them? Once a priest always a priest.

I’ll say this much, no matter who you are, sometimes the devil can throw you a real doozie. God allows it.

Well, I don’t know what Canon Law says about it if he did not get laicized, but if he did, he could get married–I know men who have done this and remained active Catholics. However, when a man is ordained a priest, he remains a priest forever, but cannot act in any priestly function, such as giving Sacraments (except emergency baptisms), hear Confessions, etc., except when someone is in danger of death and has no access to a priest, he can hear their confession and I believe anoint. I also know a now deceased priest who became laicized, got married and had children, and then became a widower, and was permitted to become an active priest again. He was at our parish for a while, and then got sick and died. But that is extremely rare. But if your friend became a Lutheran minister, he surely would be out of communion with the Church, although I don’t know what steps that involves. As for returning to the Church, that is possible for anyone who repents. I don’t know what would be involved for him. There are others on these forums who know about this more than I do, maybe they will chime in. I only know of real life examples I cited.

I think that this entire story is fake. It doesn’t make any sense that he would go through all of the years of seminary, take the vows of priesthood, and then leave within enough time to still get back in touch with his girlfriend and have her dump him. However, if it is true, then yes, God will forgive him if he repents.

May God bless you all! :slight_smile:

That is along the lines of what I had thought. I did ask him quite a bit about his life. The idea that a person would go through the trouble of getting through tough schooling and then change their minds is not new to me. I have met many people with difficult degrees who then went in a completely different direction. The main thing about his story that seemed doubtful was that he seemed to think he beyond return. Anyway, I just was wondering if the priesthood is something that can be entered and left through proper procedures and if a person who leaves incorrectly can be forgiven. Based on what you all have said, yes. For me this brings it down to a will issue. The man may have been telling a story, but also it could be that he just wants to do things on his own terms. I have met many people who believe in God intellectually, but want God to fit their agenda instead of yielding themselves to God.

I am not angry at anyone about this as one suggested. I was asking how it’s possible that a priest who was in a state of unrepentant disobedience to the magesterium would be permitted to teach. I suppose there might be a technicality that I did. It understand.

I didn't mean to suggest that you were angry, just merely trying to understand what your question was about...  anger might have been one of those possibilities, which is why I surmised it.  I certainly didn't think you were angry, so I hope that you did not take it- or others-that I inferred you were.   I apologize if I communicated erroneously.

We’re cool. I don’t think I asked the question very well. I guess the story got in the way of the real questions which are two:

1)Can a priest who leaves the priesthood improperly and then gets married be restored to full fellowship and how?

2)Would a priest who leaves the priesthood improperly be alowed to teach religious education at the parish before receiving the sacrament of reconciliation or if he was known to have a serious disagreement or failure to obey the church in a matter such as celibacy in priesthood.

The story was a conversation that actually occurred between me and another driver. I make no claim as to the other person’s sincerity or my understanding of his position.

Yes. He can be laicized and then have his marriage convalidated. He would also need to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.

2)Would a priest who leaves the priesthood improperly be alowed to teach religious education at the parish before receiving the sacrament of reconciliation or if he was known to have a serious disagreement or failure to obey the church in a matter such as celibacy in priesthood.

No. He would need to resolve his issue in relation to the priesthood first.

I knew a priest …

He felt a calling to the priesthood. But entered the Air Force … after serving he started in a seminary in Minnesota …
He was ordained in the early 60’s … served 5 years then left the active ministry - He fell in love … married … moved to the west coast

He went to work for a Catholic College …

His wife died after a long [many years] battle with cancer in the early 90’s… After her passing he approached the Archbishop and requested to be re-instated to the priestly ministry…The Archbishop sent a request to Rome …

This man attended a local seminary for several years- then late 90’s he was incardinated for the archdiocese - this was 4 years after his wife passed away.

This priest and served in 6 parishes for about 12 years before he passed away in 2010 at age 80. He was very well liked and appreciated.

So - while I do not know all of the intricate details of the processes within the Church on how he left and and exactly how he returned - it is possible …

As others have said, he could certainly be laicized. Being ordained in another faith is not ok. As for being married, it depends on the conditions of his laicization. For example, I believe John Paul II was Known to approve being laicized, but would require them to retain their promise of celibacy… if I remember correctly.

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