Andrea Erdman’s lovely reflection what it means to be the wife of a Roman Catholic priest and her views on priestly celibacy has sent our blog stats through the roof.
While this topic is fresh on our readers’ minds, I thought I would call attention to a piece Peter Jesserer Smith wrote for the National Catholic Register entitled Wives of Priests Reveal Their Vocations as Spiritual Mothers.
The vocation of the priest’s wife comes from the fact that the Catholic Church has both married and celibate clergy traditions among its 24 sister Churches that are in communion with the Bishop of Rome. In the Eastern Churches and in the Latin Church, only celibates can be ordained bishops, and priests can never marry after ordination.
But the majority of married priests and their wives in the U.S. actually belong to the Latin Church, not the Eastern Churches, which comprise only 1% of the U.S. Catholic population. Under Pope Pius XII, the Latin Church made an exception to ordain former Protestant married clergy to the priesthood, later setting down a structure with St. John Paul II’s “Pastoral Provision.”
Most of the priests in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, created in this decade in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, are married men who had previously served in the Anglican and Episcopal churches. And many other Pastoral Provision married priests and their wives serve in parishes and dioceses across the U.S.
Lynn Grandon, for example, who serves as director of the Archdiocese of Denver’s Respect Life Office, is the wife of Father Douglas Grandon, who teaches homiletics at St. John Vianney Seminary and serves as parochial vicar of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Denver. He is also one of four national chaplains for the Catholic campus outreach Fellowship of Catholic University Students.
“We said, ‘Yes’ long ago, when our husbands felt the call to ministry from wherever we came from,” Grandon said, speaking of the perspective of wives of men ordained as priests through the Pastoral Provision. “So we knew what life was going to be like on most levels.”
“When we fell in love and decided to marry, I knew that I was continually going to have to give him back to the Church and not be selfish about it,” she said. “You have to give up selfishness 100%, 24-7, 365 days out of the year … and I happily do that — most of the time!”
Go on over and read the whole feature article. Some most interesting profiles and testimony.