Former Protestant Minister to Become Priest
Dear Blog Visitors:
I want to take this opportunity to wish Scott Caton well as he prepares for his ordination to the priesthood in 2011. In preparation for his ordination, he will be serving in the transitional diaconate at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rochester.
What makes this particular ordination unusual is that Scott is a former Protestant minister who converted to Catholicism, and he is married with six children. I want to be sincere with my welcome to him, because after all, he may help to prove a point I have been trying to make for over twenty years - namely, that Holy Orders and Marriage are entirely complementary.
On the negative side, Scott's admission to the Roman Catholic priesthood highlights a double-standard that is operative in the church. In brief, if a married Protestant minister converts to Catholicism, he is allowed to become a Catholic priest if Vatican approval is granted. If, on the other hand, a married Catholic seeks Holy Orders, he faces condemnation by the powers-that-be. To make matters worse, if a validly ordained celibate priest wishes to marry, he is forced out of his active ministry.
Ironically, Scott Caton will be serving at the same parish where I am not allowed to receive Communion. While I have been able to receive Communion at other parishes, Blessed Sacrament Church is the one notable exception. The reason? I was ordained a married Catholic priest at the hands of a married Catholic archbishop in 2006. So, I agreed to the request of Blessed Sacrament's pastor that I not receive Communion there, because he was afraid conservative members of the parish would complain if I did.
Considering the vast number of parish closings in Rochester and beyond, the Vatican needs to revisit its long-standing policy of mandatory celibacy for priests. The bottom line is that we already have married priests in the Catholic Church, and Scott Caton will become another one. I chose an alternative route to ordination as a married Catholic priest, and I am thankful that I am at least allowed to officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals via my certification from the Federation of Christian Ministries.
I continue to pray, as I do every day, for a more inclusive priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church.
Peace to all,