When I was ordained in early June, the newspapers and TV stations all wanted to talk about the fact that I am married and a father. The Ordinariate was always the secondary issue. This article is an example. I don’t think this issue is going to go away any time soon, and it will be asked each time the Ordinariate ordains another married former Anglican priest. I have to be constantly on my guard not to let people put words into my mouth about celibacy.
I happen to be lucky enough to live in a city where I am actually one of three married Latin Rite Catholic priests in the area. This has certainly eased my entrance into the local Catholic community – they have seen my kind before! The other two married priests were part of the Pastoral Provision process 25 years ago, so while my wife and child don’t seem all that confusing to people, it doesn’t mean I have no work to do.
I have plenty of learning to do. How does one balance the life of being a Latin Rite priest and a husband and a father? There really isn’t a manual for this! There is a wealth of information for Deacons and their wives, but that only has so much correlation. I am blessed to have two other priests who have been in my shoes to give me advice, but the world and the culture in the local Church is different now than it was when they were ordained.
This is going to be one of the primary tasks of everyday life for the Ordinariate. How do we prepare our men for this transition from a culture with defined rules for a married priesthood to one with none? I think it will be important for us, as the first class of priests in the Ordinariate, to constantly share our experiences with the men who come through in the next few years. Consider this a first attempt at that goal.