Saturday, December 5, 2009

Married Catholic priest change ahead for the church

From Scripps-

The only married priest ordained by the nation's largest Catholic diocese has discovered in the past two years what other priests already know:

There's more need for them, more requests for their services, than hours in the day.

"It means that the priest shortage is really being felt," said the Rev. Bill Lowe. "Being an available priest is like being a lone cow walking through mountain-lion country."

The gregarious former Episcopal cleric -- known by some as "the Smiling Priest" -- was ordained by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in May 2007. The ceremony drew national attention and was interpreted by many as a sign the Catholic Church was rethinking -- or should rethink -- its mandate of celibacy.

Two years later, the long-term forecast for a dramatic increase in married priests still seems cloudy. An announcement by Vatican officials that church officials were making it easier for disillusioned parishioners and married priests from the Anglican community to convert was interpreted as a sign the door was opening. But Rome recently reaffirmed the importance of celibacy and announced that married Anglican priests would be welcomed into the church in the same type of manner as Lowe was two years ago, on a case-by-case basis.

Lowe is 71 and served for 36 years as an Episcopal priest before retiring, converting and un-retiring. He carefully tries to steer clear of any controversy, but he thinks the need for clergy will some day bring change.

More here-


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