January 29, 2005

Celibacy no longer relevant for priest

The Dallas Morning News

12:12 PM CST on Saturday, January 29, 2005

By STEVE BLOW / The Dallas Morning News

"I was lonely," he said.

Simple as that.

And even when he outlines the full dimensions of his predicament, he still keeps it pretty plain.

"I want to be a priest," he said, "and I want to be married."

Now you see the complications begin to arise.

Father John has the priest part of this down pat. He left home for the priesthood at 18 some 47 years ago.

And as for the marriage part, well, he'll take that plunge very soon. At the age of 65, John will marry in May.

Half jokingly, I asked how many centuries of Catholic tradition he is bucking here.

"Oh, 10 or 11," he said with a wry smile.

He seems unfazed. "I'm so happy," he said. "I feel such a peace about everything."

The Roman Catholic Church, of course, is less thrilled. This month, the bishop of the Dallas Diocese officially branded him a renegade. ...

John doesn't want the marriage debate to get sidetracked into the controversy over pedophile priests. But in that regard, he simply said, "I think a married priesthood would be a healthier priesthood."

The spokesman for the local Catholic diocese said it's fine to debate the marriage issue.

"But he's not doing it in an honorable way," said Bronson Havard. "He's doing it in a defiant, I-want-my-cake-and-eat-it-too kind of way. It's not proper, and it's a sadness for the church."

Posted by kshaw at January 29, 2005 03:47 PM