Former Anglican married priest to take over Catholic parish

After 25 years in the priesthood a Catholic priest has announced that he is leaving the ministry to get married. He was a man who was well loved by his parishioners and they were sad to see him go.
This happened recently in the parish of St. Thomas More, Coventry, England.
The Bishop then sent a letter to the parishioners to say that the priest would soon be replaced by a former Anglican married priest who would arrive with his wife and 3 children, aged 16, 13 and 10.
It doesn’t make sense to not allow celibate priests to marry and continue in their ministry and then accept priests who are already married. Why not accept a catholic priest who feels the calling to marriage to also have a shared vocation of husband-priest?
This decision to swap a catholic celibate priest for a married Anglican priest is a slap in the face to those catholic priests who want to marry and continue in the ministry.
Nobody doubts the sincerity and dedication of married Anglican priests and their presence now in the church, which is growing more and more, especially in England, will no doubt be beneficial for they will bring to the Latin Rite new forms of ministry, but yet there is a contradiction here.
When Our Lord calls someone  to follow him in the  priesthood, it is a calling to be a good shepherd, to go  after the lost sheep, to have a special love for the poor and the abandoned. These are the essential qualities that someone should have if they want to be a priest. Now they  can keep these qualities and put them into practice if they  decide to marry . Marriage will not kill or destroy this vocation, it will now take another road while still being faithful to the original calling.
May this catholic priest who was honest enough to share with his parishioners his decision to marry continue to exercise his priestly vocation in his new role in society as a married man, there are many many pastoral activities he can still do. Most people will accept him and be happy to receive his pastoral service.
For the past 32 years, ever since I got married, I have been doing pastoral work. The people call me and I answer that call.  I am no longer a Parish Priest or a member of the clergy because I’m no longer celibate but I still continue to serve the people in many pastoral situations as a priest.
Brian Eyre, married catholic priest, Recife, Brazil

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  1. maureen mulvaney says:

    Yes, indeed, Brian, I totally agree. As you stated, “it’s a slap in the face” to all those who leave to marry and who wish to continue in their ministry.
    Just another contradiction to add to the many other contractions “that don’t make sense” in our church.
    The woman is the “Elephant in the Room” here. Unless the hierarchy change their attitudes towards women who are campaigning for justice, equality and involvement at all levels of ministries in the church we will still continue to experience these ludicrous situations.
    On the other hand, if more Anglican married priests are assigned to parishes, a New Theology of women may emerge!!

  2. Well said Brian
    The decision to replace Fr Gay with a married RC priest was indeed a misplaced decision. As much as I’d like to think and, indeed pray, that we will have a more realistic theology of women, Maureen, the reason why so many married Anglican priests are converting to Rome is because of their opposition to the ordination of women!!!

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