Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 12, 2009
Allowance for married priests is exception – cardinal
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
VATICAN CITY - The Catholic Church will need to educate its members that a dispensation to allow married former Anglican clergy to serve as Catholic priests is an exception, says Cardinal William Levada.
The Church continues to uphold the virtue of celibacy, said Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Levada told reporters Oct. 20 that he realizes "for some people it seems to be a problem" that the Vatican is allowing married former Anglicans to be ordained Catholic priests, but will not allow Catholic priests who have left to marry to return to ministry.
"They are two different circumstances," the cardinal said.
Respecting "the authenticity of the call to service" of Anglican clergy who were married when they came to the decision to become Catholic is different from the case of "a Catholic who knowingly commits to a celibate priesthood and then decides for different reasons to leave the priesthood for married life."
"I do not think it is an insurmountable problem," Levada said.
An unmarried man ordained a Catholic priest will not be permitted to marry, and the pope's apostolic constitution will state a clear preference for a celibate clergy, said another Vatican official.
The Anglican priests and bishops who enter the Roman Catholic Church will have to be ordained as Catholic priests, Levada said.
New priests for the new personal ordinariates for former Anglicans will study in seminaries with other Catholic seminarians.
But an ordinariate will be able to "establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony," the cardinal said.
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