Cleansing Fire

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Before Someone Tries to Politicize the Caton Ordination…

May 17th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

…read this quote from Dr. Caton:

?I’m not going to be the poster boy for a married clergy. And that’s not the intent of my heart of why I’m doing this. So people will take this in different directions, and I just have to be focused and say — what has the Lord called me to do — without making any kind of political statement about that.?

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21 Responses to “Before Someone Tries to Politicize the Caton Ordination…”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    You will take this post down because you can't even bear to have one comment that might actually disagree with where you stand, although you would criticize any other blog where you might comment a statement of disagreement.

    This is not against Dr. Caton personally, but the acceptance of this man as a candidate for ordination is a slap in the face of all the faithful Catholic men who left ordained ministry to marry and who remained, still remain, faithful Roman Catholics.

    \

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    Dr. Caton will be ordained through a provision in Church law which allows for a Protestant minister to become a Catholic priest. It is acceptable in the eyes of the Church, and it has been approved by the Holy Father himself.

    I do kind of agree with what you're saying. Personally, I'm not a big fan of this. However, there exists such a provision, and it is being utilized in this instance.

    ~Dr. K

  3. dearest anon,

    i'm not entirely sure you can leave ordained ministry and remain a faithful roman catholic…it sounds a lot to me like those men reneged on their vows, and that appalls me

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    So Nancy DeRycke should still be a nun and Ron Stacy a priest? No. How about both be excommunicated for breaking their promise and vow to the Church.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    "i'm not entirely sure you can leave ordained ministry and remain a faithful roman catholic…it sounds a lot to me like those men reneged on their vows, and that appalls me"

    –even though the Church laicized those priests? Do we just pick and choose the actions of the Church we like? I happen to know that many former priests are daily communicants and contributing members of their respective parishes. Are you saying that a married person who divorced and obtained an annulment cannot be a faithful Roman Catholic?

    "So Nancy DeRycke should still be a nun and Ron Stacy a priest? No. How about both be excommunicated for breaking their promise and vow to the Church."

    As sisters and nuns live in community and take vows of poverty meaning they own nothing individually, they have always been celibate. As diocesan priests do not live in community nor take vows of poverty, they can be married as in the case of the thousands of Eastern Rite priests in communion with Rome.

    And as I remember, Ron Stacey left the priesthood long before Nancy DeRycke left the sisterhood. It was only years later that they married.

    What is disturbing to me in both of these posts is the tone of vindictiveness towards the men and women who had once served in ministry and since left. Even the Code of Canon Law makes explicit that those individuals should not only be given every freedom to leave their respective positions or ways of life, but should be given every understanding and support as they make this very difficult decision.

  6. avatar Persis says:

    This is a conundrum!
    While I do agree with Anon. 6:07 in some ways, I also believe that when a man becomes a priest, it should be forever. However, this is not a perfect world and people do change. I know many married men that would make wonderful priests, and some of them are deacons, and it seems to me that this is kind of a ?slap in the face? to them. Not to mention all of the men in diaconate formation right now, I know a few of them, and they would all make wonderful priests!
    As for Dr. Caton, I do not know him, and I wish him well. The Vatican has said it is OK, and that has to be good enough for me. God knows we need more priests!
    If anything, this is a good example of why the Church should maybe start to think about reconsidering its rule of celibacy.

  7. avatar Anonymous says:

    Do you remember what year Stacy left the priesthood?

    The thing with a sister leaving which makes it worse than a priest is that the sister is breaking a vow, while the priest is breaking a promise. Making a vow is as serious as it gets. To change your mind on that is not something we should at all celebrate.

  8. avatar Dr. K says:

    "Not to mention all of the men in diaconate formation right now, I know a few of them, and they would all make wonderful priests!"

    Pertaining to this, if there are so many deacons in the DoR that would allegedly make good priests, how come there are so few deacon Pastoral Administrators? You're not the first to make this point about our area deacons. I'm just curious what one has to say about why we only have 2 or 3 deacon administrators in the DoR versus more than 15 lay administrators.

    ~Dr. K

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    No one is saying to celebrate. And when a sister leaves, she is released from her vows – she doesn't break them. And when a priest is laicized, he is not held to his promises.

    Stacey left in 1993 or 1994. I believe Nancy DeRycke left the Sisters of Saint Joseph about five or six years later.

  10. avatar Dr. K says:

    On ending mandatory celibacy:

    I do not believe that we would suddenly see a flood of new priests were the Church to end the policy of mandatory celibacy. The Eastern Rites allow married men to become priests, yet they are not enjoying any sort of abundance of priest vocations. A few of the rites only have 1-2 men in formation… for the entire rite. These men, I believe, are also pursuing ordination as celibate priests. So it's not like married men are rushing to be ordained priests.

    Secondly, were we to remove the celibacy requirement, some priests might actually leave the priesthood in protest of such a change. Any gains we made in ordinations of married men might actually be negated by more traditional priests leaving. Also, priests who would like to get married, but may not because they have already been ordained, might leave in protest as well. Remember, the policy in the Eastern Rites (and Orthodox churches) is to permit married men to become priests, not priests to become married men. Our current priests would not be able to marry under such a policy.

    ~Dr. K

  11. avatar Anonymous says:

    Dr. K makes very good points regarding this issue. Although I wonder if priests who would leave in protest aren't leaving now because:

    -There are already married priests within the Roman Catholic Communion and in the Latin Rite.

    -Priests, as well as sisters and nuns, are allowed to leave their states of life validly by the Church and still remain faithful Roman Catholics just as married people can divorce, seek annulment and remarry validly within the Church and still remain faithful Roman Catholics. Therefore, we should not villify these people.

  12. avatar Teresa says:

    I think this is good. The provision in Church law will allow for Dr. Caton to be ordained in the Church. I think there should be more of an obligation to those who are cradle Catholics and desire to become priests to be celibate. Plus, would you really want to force this former pastor after joining the One True Church that Christ Founded to give up his call to serve the Church cummunity and not be able to serve God in a similar manner as he was previously?

  13. avatar Anonymous says:

    So let me understand you, Teresa. If I'm not a Catholic and I get married and become a Protestant minister, then want to be a Roman Catholic priest – that's okay.

    If I'm a Catholic and I get married and want to become a priest, that's not okay.

    The only difference is that, in your opinion, the priesthood is open to a married Protestant convert but not to a married man who has been Catholic all his life?

  14. avatar Teresa says:

    Yes, because a cradle Catholic doesn't have to ask for a special dispensation or exception and go through an extra process in order to become a Catholic priest, like a protestant minister who converts to Catholicism does. The former Protestant minister has already graduated from a Christian seminary and knows some of the basic pastoral and ecclesial Christian theology already. That would be like requiring a person to end their "career" after making fundamental changes to their life so that they could better themselves. I am not saying that the priesthood is only a career.

    I just don't see this as a big deal.

  15. avatar Anonymous says:

    "a cradle Catholic doesn't have to ask for a special dispensation or exception and go through an extra process in order to become a Catholic priest"

    No, just four years of college, a year or two of discernment, four years of seminary along with a great deal of formation. A Protestant minister goes through three years of divinity school.

    "The former Protestant minister has already graduated from a Christian seminary and knows some of the basic pastoral and ecclesial Christian theology already. That would be like requiring a person to end their "career" after making fundamental changes to their life so that they could better themselves."

    So because a Catholic hasn't gone to seminary yet, he can't marry. I guess I just don't follow. And many priests today did end their personal careers to enter the priesthood after making fundamental changes to their life.

    The way I am reading you is that the cradle Catholic man is deprived the joy of both priesthood and marriage while the converted Protestant is allowed to enjoy both priesthood and marriage.

    This is inconsistent. Why does the cradle Catholic not get what the converted Catholic does?

  16. avatar Mike says:

    "Why does the cradle Catholic not get what the converted Catholic does?"

    Remember the Gospel reading about the prodigal son. The father slaughtered the fattened calf and welcomed back his lost son with celebration. The son who remained faithful all along was upset. This is a similar situation. We are welcoming back the prodigal son, and going all out to welcome him back into the fold. We should not stomp out feet and cry "injustice!", but be glad to have a lost sheep back in the Church.

  17. avatar Anonymous says:

    I'm sorry Mike, this is not the same thing. Dr. Caton has already converted to Roman Catholicism ten years ago. Becoming Roman Catholic is one thing – ordination is another completely. Their is no logic in the converted Protestant minister remaining married and being ordained but a lifelong married Roman Catholic man who wishes ordination not being allowed. It is only compounded when one considers that Eastern Rite Catholic priests are also allowed to be married.

    The prodigal (the Protestant) was welcomed into the fold (conversion to Catholicism) and there was celebration and he received much (salvation). Ordination is not salvation.

  18. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    actually I agree with Mike on this one in that ordination is a GIFT and not a RIGHT. Therefore justice doesn't really matter. No one deserves to be a priest. Once we start talking about fairness and justice, we move away from the idea that the priesthood is a gift. And thus I believe the story of the prodigal's son does provide some insight. Just as salvation is a gift, so is the priesthood.

    The man is obviously solid. It's not like he devised some plan before he was Catholic to get married first before becoming Catholic so that he might slip into the priesthood through some backdoor clause. I believe the provision is a good one and that exceptions to the rule don't make the rule any less valid. This is an extraordinary case – it speaks nothing to the ordinary cases.

  19. avatar Anonymous says:

    I agree that ordination is not a right but a gift. I also believe that the Church has the right to establish criteria and requirements for priesthood.

    That said, to say to some "in order for you particular gentleman to be priests, you must be celibate" and to others, "in order for you particular gentlemen to be priests, you do not have to be celibate" is a contradiction.

    I have nothing against Dr. Caton. I've never met him. But he has no more right to the priesthood than anyone else.

    There are many married men who would love to serve as priests but are barred because of their marriage. Maybe they should all become Protestant ministers and then convert back to Roman Catholicism.

  20. avatar Teresa says:

    That wouldn't work because of the person's consent to willfully deny that the Catholic Church is in fact Christ's Church and that would mean they are also rejecting the One True faith on purpose. A person who is converting to Catholicism had faith, came home to Christ's Church, accepted the One True Faith, and has never known the One True Faith.

  21. avatar Anonymous says:

    To Persis –

    "I know many married men that would make wonderful priests, and some of them are deacons, and it seems to me that this is kind of a ?slap in the face? to them. Not to mention all of the men in diaconate formation right now, I know a few of them, and they would all make wonderful priests!"

    The calling to the permanent Diaconate is a different calling than the calling to the priesthood, and hopefully any ordained deacon or man preparing for ordination is fully aware of the differences. You make the mistake of seeing the diaconate as some sort of "priesthood lite." Fact is, the Deacon is ordained as a symbol of the Church's service (the Church's service sacramentalized), seen as Christ the Servant. The Priest, who is also a deacon, is ordained to symbolize Christ the High Priest. If a Deacon or Deacon in formation takes this action as a "slap in the face" then he should really step back and examine why that is. Perhaps this would be an opportunity for growth in humble service.

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