Friday, February 20, 2009

I went to a bar to see a married priest

This week Rocky and I went to the DC Theology on Tap night. It was held at James Hoban's Irish restaurant and the speaker was a married priest. I enjoyed my bangers and mash (a soft, very mild sausage with mashed potatoes made with beer) and my iced tea. Rocky had a burger and fries. The service was quick and efficient but management demanded a credit card before our meals arrived. I suspect they've been stiffed by large dinning groups before but I really didn't like having our card in the waitress's pocket all evening.

Fr. Scott Hurd seems like a very nice man and is an amusing speaker but the whole talk made me feel as if I'd rolled in kudzu--just a little bit uncomfortable. He was an Episcopalian priest (hence the wife and kids) and converted after a few years of pastoring a small church in Texas. It was not deemed necessary for him to attend a Catholic seminary after his Episcopalian training. There are a handful of married priests in the DC diocese and we may get a few more in coming years.

Fr. Scott's story of the long and winding road that led him to the Church is interesting and he is in a unique situation but I don't see it as an answer to the vocations crisis. A married priest can not give his full attention to the vocation, something that Fr. Scott was gracious enough to acknowledge. As St. Paul said, a married man must be concerned with the world and pleasing his wife. If he fails in this, there will be trouble. That trouble could spill over into parish life.

A large subclass of married priests is a can of worms that we don't need to open. I guarantee you that one day some married priest will get a divorce, fall in love with another woman and will demand the "right" to marry again. More likely than not a group of lay fools will rally behind him.

As I said before, Fr. Scott struck me as being a very nice gentleman and I'm not picking at him---God bless him and keep him, his wife, and the little ones too, but I find myself very, very wary.


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Oh no, married priests will not be solution for the self inflicted priest shortage...prayer and fasting just might cure it ;)

The Pondering Catholic said...

I am with you! Just stumbled on your blog this morning. I love it! Added you to my blog roll! God bless!

Dymphna said...




This is the exact same thing I tell my friends when they advocate married priests -- you cannot give of your full time to either your parish or family.

I will also take it one further, because there will be those "married" priests who will see this simply as a job. I was once involved in a youth organization that was sponsored by a Lutheran church. Every day, at 5pm/6pm, the pastor said goodbye and he was gone for the day. Unless the church burned down, you would not see him until the next day.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"It was not deemed necessary for him to attend a Catholic seminary after his Episcopalian training."

Hmmmmm ... might not Fern-Seed and Elephants have tipped some superiors off on fact not all Anglicans/Episcopalians are as Catholic (relatively speaking) as CSL?

And some of his remarks, that he wasn't Catholic either, always? Perhaps just enough to get saved, perhaps not, but NOT enough to be a Catholic Parish priest!