Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Two Rochesterians to Become Priests

May 3rd, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Deacon Scott Caton

Scott Caton, a former Protestant minister and father of six, will be ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 11th at 10:30 AM. Deacon Caton is a parishioner of Our Lady of Victory/St. Joseph church in downtown Rochester. Prior to his ordination to the diaconate, Caton received permission from the Holy Father to proceed on his path toward the Catholic priesthood by way of an exemption which permits married male Protestant ministers to become Catholic priests after their conversion (with the blessing of the local ordinary, of course).

All are invited to Deacon Caton’s priestly ordination this June. We ask that everyone please pray that his ordination will not be marred by protesters; either fundamentalists who feel that he betrayed their version of Christianity or women’s ordination/married priest promoters.

Deacon Daniel Serbicki

Dan Serbicki is a young man who has lived in both the Diocese of Rochester and Buffalo. Though he is a member of Brockport’s Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Serbicki made a personal decision to pursue ordination in the Diocese of Buffalo. Deacon Serbicki has been preparing for the priesthood through seminary study and formation since 2005, and will be ordained for service at the Lord’s altar in June. His ordination is scheduled for Saturday, June 4th at 10 AM at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo. I hope that a large number of Rochesterians will make the thruway trip to support Mr. Serbicki and celebrate this big day. Church of the Nativity was arranging a bus trip for the ordination should anyone be interested, though that may have already filled up.

Congratulations to Deacons Caton and Serbicki. These two solid, orthodox men will soon be carrying out the Lord’s work!

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31 Responses to “Two Rochesterians to Become Priests”

  1. avatar annonymouse says:

    Deacons are not ordained at the same time as priests.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    The permanent diaconate ordination is the week before on Sat, June 4th.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    Although Deacon Caton may be a wonderful man; I still believe that all priests should remain celibate. How can a married former protestant become a priest but not a married cradle Catholic. I believe that priests should be married to the Church. A man cannot have two brides.

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon 75101– Are you a celibate? Are you a priest? I think you are out of line saying that. You clearly have no practical understanding of this unless you are celibate or a priest. He is a wonderful man who is devoting his life to God at this time in a way totally supported by Holy Rome. Who are you and what kind of catholic are you to put him down in any such way? Shame on you!

  5. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I still believe that all priests should remain celibate.

    I suppose it’s legitimate to espouse that belief, but realize that you are on the other side of the fence than BXVI (usually a good sign that you should switch sides).

  6. avatar Scott W. says:

    The question I would say is not that he is married, but that all priests, married or not, are to practice continence. See Ed Peter’s work that says that Canon Law must either be changed or enforced. See:

  7. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Scott W,
    That applies to all deacons as well, correct?

  8. avatar La Sandia says:

    Re: Continence for married priests/deacons, how do the Eastern Churches approach this? I know that only celibates can become monastics and bishops, and priests cannot marry or remarry AFTER ordination, but I’m not aware that married men who are ordained are bound to continence in the Eastern Rite.

  9. avatar Scott W. says:

    That applies to all deacons as well, correct?

    That is what Ed is saying I believe. Unfortunately, rather than interacting with his solid case, most responses want to talk about how awful Ed is for bringing it up. See:

  10. avatar anonymous says:

    Canon Lawyer Peters is wrong, because he lifts part of c. 277 section 3 without its conclusion. The conclusion of this canon is that clerics must be celibate. However, married deacons are explicitly allowed NOT to be celibate; therefore, the antecedent (continence) does not apply to married deacons (and presumably, to married priests).

    This blog details the argument better than I just did:

  11. avatar anonymous says:

    I meant canon 277, section 1, not section 3.

    I am quite sure that the Church does not intend Deacon Caton to have ceased conjugal relations with his wife after his diaconate ordination last year, nor does the Church expect that to change with his priestly ordination.

  12. avatar Scott W. says:

    Thanks anonymous. That is a response I have not seen before. I sent Dr. Peters a quick email about it in case he was not aware of it.

  13. avatar anonymous says:

    Further, unmarried deacons are required under canon 1037 to take a vow of celibacy at ordination. If Lawyer Peters were correct, does not it follow that married deacons would be required to take a similar vow of continence? It should be noted that once upon a time, the wife of a married deacon was required to take a vow of perpetual chastity. The Church has done away with that requirement. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that the Church has no intention of imposing continence on either the married deacon or his wife.

    It seems to me that Lawyer Peters should find something else to occupy his time than proof-texting one part of one section of one canon without taking into account all that Rome and the national conference have promulgated on the subject. Further, Lawyer Peters shows a remarkable (and quite regrettable) lack of understanding of essential aspects of the Sacrament of Matrimony, which precedes orders for a married deacon. Finally, he shows a complete disregard for the rights of the married deacon’s wife, and a complete misunderstanding of the married deacon’s wife’s required consent.

    Send that along to Canon Lawyer Peters while you’re at it, Scott.

  14. avatar Scott W. says:

    Send that along to Canon Lawyer Peters while you’re at it, Scott.

    I’ve already sent him the link to the article and the link to the discussion here, so he knows where to find it. As far as needing to find to else to occupy his time, I’ll just give the standard Friday response, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

  15. avatar anonymous says:

    Thanks, Scott. I anxiously await Dr. Peters’ response.

  16. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon 98121: Because I’m not celibate or a priest, does that mean I can’t have an opinion on this issue? If Mr. Caton was my biological brother, I’d still feel that way. I’m sure Mr. Caton’s a nice person (based on numerous posts on this site) I just don’t think there should be exceptions to this discipline. Have you ever asked a priest whether he’s married or not when he gives you advise on your relationship with your spouse? Your statement that I must be a celibate to understand this issue is quite bizarre.

    Ben: You have no idea what “side of the fence” I’m on based on my one opinion. 99.9% of the time I see eye to eye with the majority of the people on Cleansing Fire. Pope Benedict continues to allow Bishop Clark to ruin our diocese; does that mean we have to accept it? No. We just don’t agree with it.

  17. avatar Dr. K says:

    They make promises, not vows.

  18. avatar a recent convert says:

    This is very confusing. I feel like everything I have learned becoming a Catholic can change at any time.Sometimes things happen that make me doubt my faith. I guess this is one of them. Will we soon see woman with husbands and children becoming nuns. All of this holding a Priest to higher standards could be difficult if they are ” one of us” I respect my Priest because he is who he is. I.say this with respect to all of you I don’t understand why we want to change what we have spent so much time learning and BELIEVING. I guess I have never been a state of the art, new and improved person. Why change faiths if e eventually we become the same.

  19. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Anonymous-75101 said:

    You have no idea what “side of the fence” I’m on based on my one opinion.

    I only meant what side of the fence you were on in regards to this particular issue (whether or not all priests should be celibate) – I didn’t intend it to be a generalization about you. Sorry for the confusion. I hope I would never try and label someone quite like that. And you’re right – you’re entitled to your opinion.

    a recent convert said:

    I feel like everything I have learned becoming a Catholic can change at any time.

    disciplines can change – doctrines do not. Even in this case – it’s a rather small exception. I went through a period of doubt after I converted when I realized that some priests don’t adhere to the teachings of the Church. I thought “well, if none of this really matters (if all the books I read can just be thrown out the window), then why did I bother converting?” Then I realized, it doesn’t really matter what Fr X says – it matters what our Church teaches. If Fr X says something different, then that’s his problem.

  20. avatar annonymouse says:

    Dr K is correct. At ordination, unmarried deacons make a promise of celibacy, unless being ordained in an order, in which case it’s one of their vows (one of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience). There is no such promise required at the ordination of a married deacon or priest.

  21. avatar Anonymous says:

    I agree with anonymous-75101, just because Mr. Caton was a minister before converting to Catholicism should not exclude him from the promise or vow of celibacy. Why should he be held to a lesser standard than other Catholic young men who wish to join the priesthood? The renegade Bishop Clark has found another loophole to promote his liberal agenda.

  22. Congratulations to both men.

  23. avatar anonymous says:

    Anon-24981 – this has nothing to do with Bishop Clark or his agenda. It has to do with the discipline of the Church. The fact is, married priests are not called to celibacy, nor as Canon Lawyer Ed Peters asserts, continence.

    You may not like it, but as Scott says, that puts you in opposition to the Church and the Holy Father, not just Bishop Clark.

  24. avatar anonymous says:

    And, Anon-94981, it is Deacon Caton, or Reverend Mister Caton (although the DoR does not use this title), not “Mr. Caton.” Please give the man the respect he is due.

  25. avatar good catholic woman says:

    It’s difficult to follow the arguments because it “appears” as if Church teaching is flip-flopping on the reasons behind priestly celibacy. Exceptions are made in this area. maybe the whole idea isn’t that priests shouldn’t marry because then they’d be “one of us”, but rather that they shouldn’t marry because celibacy frees up priests to love in a more general, wider way. A priest is not committed to one person ( and children), but rather to the worldwide Church. Those of us who are married love God through our vocations as wives, husbands, mothers and fathers..A priest loves God more directly through his ministry to the Church and God’s children. A priest doesn’t love God more, but in a different way.
    In fact, through his celibacy he is freed to be “one of us”–sharing our sorrows and joys.
    Deacon Caton will be challenged, but having already experienced ministry as a married man, I am sure he and his wife have their “routine” pretty well established–God’s grace will do the rest.

  26. avatar Anonymous says:

    to anonymous………..whats your position with the Bishop……perhaps his courier? Iam in oppostion to Bishop until the day he finally leaves. His legacy will be one of destruction of the Rochester Diocese Catholic faith community. If anyone in the Vatican cared about whats gone on in this diocese, they would have removed Clark a long time ago. The last time I checked, Priests are not allowed to marry because of family duties and commitments that would interfere with their priestly functions. You become married to the church and serve Christ. However, the exception as I undersatnd it here is if your a married minister you can become Catholic and petition the Vatican to become a priest. So apparently whats good for the goose is not always good for the gander. You can’t have it both ways. As far as calling it a promise not a vow, its made to God either way. Does that make a promise less than a vow? Or is it because of the old saying, promises are made to be broken? I personally do not agree with ordaining married men ex ministers or not. I do not think this puts me in opposition to the Church but if it does, so be it.

  27. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    I really problems with people who have the time and inclination to try to legislate etc the sexual activities of the married clergy!!!

  28. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    Anon 24981: so for over a thousand years, the Easten Right Catholics, who have a married clergy and are in union with Rome, have been shortchanged by their priests????

  29. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon-24981 – I have no relationship with Bishop Clark aside from having met the man, and this issue (your protestations notwithstanding) have nothing to do with Bishop Clark. I personally agree with you – if I were Holy Father, there would not be a “loophole” to allow former married Protestants to become married Priests. I know priests who are grumbling about this. I worry that it will destroy the celibate priesthood, which I treasure in our Church.

    But the last time I checked, I was NOT Holy Father, and that decision is made far “above my pay grade” in Rome, in fact. And if nothing else, don’t we who frequent this blog preach fidelity to Rome??

    I understand that you don’t like Bishop Clark but in this case, you don’t like Pope Benedict, either, get it? Bishop Clark did not decide to create this “loophole;” Rome did (implicitly – the POPE)! So complain to Rome.

    The issue I was commenting on was the quite clear intention that married priests and married deacons are to continue to enjoy and fulfill their marital obligations, including conjugal relations. Lawyer Peters is unquestionably mistaken in his narrowly-focused, proof-texting parsing of canon 1277, and it is not surprising that some here are jumping on Peters’ opinion based on nothing more than his (and his son’s) demonstrated orthodoxy.

    Nuff said. I wish to congratulate soon-to-be Father Caton. He will be in my prayers and I am confident that he will be a wonderful priest.

  30. avatar Dr. K says:

    so for over a thousand years, the Easten Right Catholics, who have a married clergy and are in union with Rome, have been shortchanged by their priests????

    Many Eastern Rite priests are not married, far more than one would think. I’d even guesstimate that most of them are celibate. Also keep in mind that Eastern Rite parishes, at least in North America, tend to be smaller and usually cater to a small ethnic group. The demands are far less than for Latin Rite priests who could be in charge of a parish of 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 or more families. Deacon Caton admits in one of the Catholic Courier articles that he will be limited in his service to mostly weekend Mass assistance because he has to continue with his other job in order to support his family.

  31. avatar Scott W. says:

    I heard back from Dr. Peters. He says he did post signed responses at StL Catholics and they were removed so he is not going to bother further. Make of that what you will.

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