The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Nashville to get its first married priest

posted by jmcgee

nashville.jpg
Continuing a quiet trend in this country, another diocese is about to get its first married Catholic priest:

Prentice Dean will be ordained as a Catholic priest on Monday — while his wife watches.

The former Episcopal priest and father of two will become the first married priest in the Nashville diocese.

He resigned from the Episcopal Church because he thought the denomination had moved away from traditional Christianity. He converted to Catholicism five years ago, and, after Monday, he’ll be celebrating Mass, hearing confessions and handling all the responsibilities of a priest.

Since the 1980s, the Roman Catholic Church has allowed former Episcopal priests, like Dean, to be ordained under a special provision. Church leaders say the provision is an act of grace toward converts. But some wonder why that same grace isn’t extended to former Catholic priests who left the ministry to marry.

Right now, about 100 married former Episcopal priests have been ordained. Still, the vast majority of the more than 40,000 priests in the United States are celibate.

[snip]

After he is ordained, Dean will continue his job as vice chancellor at the diocese while trying to maintain a semblance of normal family life with his daughters and Teresa, his wife of 27 years.

The two met at a friend’s New Year’s Day party in 1982. He had considered the ministry but decided to focus on raising a family.

In his early 40s, the call to the ministry returned.

The Deans moved to Sewanee, Tenn., in 2000 so he could attend divinity school at the University of the South. After graduation, he became rector of St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Manchester, Tenn.

In seminary, Dean became concerned about his denomination. What troubled him most was that there seemed to be no authority that could tell Episcopalians what theology was right and what was wrong.

While at St. Bede’s, he began meeting with a former Episcopal priest who had converted to Catholicism. The more he learned, the more he was drawn to the Catholic Church.

In 2005, he took a leap of faith, resigned as pastor of St. Bede’s and became a Catholic.

Although Dean says that decision eased his soul, it came at quite a cost. He was left with no job, few prospects and college bills for two daughters.

Dean knew about the pastoral provision, but was given no promises that it would apply to him. “We left everything in God’s hands,” he said.

There’s much more at the link. Check it out.

And keep this man and his family in your prayers!



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Comments read comments(11)
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Paul Anthony Melanson

posted February 21, 2010 at 10:49 am


Meanwhile, I feel called to the priesthood but I’m not welcome:
http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2010/02/catholic-free-press-buys-into.html
The older I get the more I appreciate John 15 and what it has to say about the world’s hatred. Please pray for me.



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jh

posted February 21, 2010 at 11:56 am


Deacon
Thanks for the link. Since you are in the media too let me address a short coming I see in these “married Priest” articles.
I think the article is pretty good though I think the Episcopal angle conisdering what is going on is more interesting.
the main theme of the article is “Should Catholic Priest be married” which is of course a story line we have seen a million times.
The Priest shortage angle is of course mentioned.
A few things as to that.
Why is not mentioned that other Liturgical bodies are starting to see vocational problems. In fact talking to a local evangelical recently she mentioned that they were seeing signs of it there.
However the biggest fault is the people that write these articles seem unaware that in many places vocations are going good. It is a critical part of the storyline that is often missing and thus makes a important story incomplete. We see this all the time.
Why for instance is the secular University of Texas A and M producing vocations galore(not just to the Priesthood) and some major Catholic colleges are not. Why are there many Dioceses from rural to urban in the United States that have had major upswings in Vocations over this decade. They are all over the country but rarely get mentioned in these stories.
What is happening there and why is there no Priest shortage compared to other places. Of course for the “we need married Priests crew” it is against their interest to mention this.
However it needs to be talked about. I think Catholics would be very interested to know there are Dioceses in the United States where vocations are going very good. They might starting asking questions in their own Diocese about Why that is not happening there



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Dcn Scott

posted February 21, 2010 at 1:29 pm


Like many, while I am happy to have more priests, I find this kind of odd. On the other hand, Catholics, who had taken a vow of celibacy and then abandoned their ministries to get married present a set of challenges that has nothing to do with married priests. Many former Episcopalian priests have arguably, or even actually, received valid orders. I find cases, like married former Methodist ministers, who can make no claim to valid orders and who ordained Catholic priests far more problematic.



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dadman

posted February 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm


I have no problem with a man being married to a woman .. BUT the priest is a concept of the Old Covenant .. there is NOW only one mediator between God and man .. Jesus . . . . sorry ‘priests’ no more job for you =:0]



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Victor

posted February 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm


Without writing a small book, I will simply say again that “JESUS” knew and knows the pass and future of His human sinful family or else and I say this with all the respect that my past, future and present spiritual and reality cells can muster UP and here goes. Jesus knew what He was doing when He created His Church or else He’s “The” biggest liar who ever walked His Father’s World.
Having said what I’ve said ‘ABOVE’, I’ll try closing now by saying that God does work in mysterious ways and who am i to tell The Good Lord that He can’t throw a rope to a drowning man at any time especially during Lent and please keep praying for sinner vic cause me, myself, i, our soul and our spirit are deeply in need of “IT”.
God Bless,
Peace



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Your Name

posted February 22, 2010 at 7:27 am


iN THE SCRIPTURE,GOD SAYS THAT HE KNOWS EVEN THE NUMBER OF OUR HAIR,SO,WE DON’T NEED TO KNOW WHY THINGS IMPROVE OR WHY THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE,LIKE THIS ARTICLE ABOUT A PRIESTS MARRYING A WOMAN,IN OTHER WIRDS,WHEN WE MAKE CHOICES IN OUR LIFE,WE BELIEVE THAT IT IS THE BEST AND THE RIGHT DECISION THAT IS VALID WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL WAY OF LIFE,THAT EXTENDS UP PROVIDING YOU SENSE OF FULFILLMENT IN YOUR NATURAL WORLD,AND TAKING HEART TO FULLY BELIEVE THAT THE DECISION WE MADE IS GOD’S WILL,AND IF IT’S HIS WILL,HE SHALL CAUSE THINGS TO COME TO IT’S FULFILLMENT ALL FOR HIS GLORY AND PRAISE.



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pagansister

posted February 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm


Now it they will allow Priests to marry that would be great. It they can take an Episcopal priest and his wife, (making them Catholic, of course) this proves that marriage doesn’t interfear with the job a priest does, right?



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Your Name

posted February 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm


God is the ONE in control what HE decides is. God chooses an unmarried man to serve HIM. That man is to stay unmarried to serve HIM WHOM CHOSE HIM. That God chooses a married man then God gives orders to serve HIM while married as God says, and instructs to be
according to Gods will Grace and Glory. Under Gods order not human order. The Bible HOLY WORD OF GOD explains. And listed and in order.
God explains in Genesis, Exodos, Sirach,Old and new testament.
Remember Moses was married before God Called him to serve him.
And Moses followed directions those that God Called that were umarried stayed unmarried. They made a coventent to God. God Called some unmarried and gave the grace to marry and prosper,and HE gave abundance. So God is the ONE that makes the choice and decides what God wants and will. That God calls answer and follow his will, Say Here I am LORD. What God Ask Directs, And instructs is what All Men and people shall do. For The Almighty God The Alpha and Omega ONE True God The Father Glory and Honor Forever and ever Amen!



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Ellen

posted February 23, 2010 at 9:45 am


Good. The only way the gay stronghold on the priesthood in this country is going to be broken is by ordaining more of these guys.



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Ray Hill

posted February 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm


I know a few married priests. This seems to surprise my Non-Catholics friends and the response I get is a look of bewilderment. As a devout Catholic and family man and knowing first-hand the demands of family life, I always wonder – how the heck does a man serve the Church at the priestly level AND also serve his family? Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have a problem with a married priest, but the ones that I know do not have the freedom that celibate men have – their time is compromised between the demands of family life and the demands of parish life. I think the diaconate is a better choice for a married person. My wife was raised in the Byzantine rite which does allow a married man to later become a priest, but even in the Byzantine rite it is a rarity. At any rate, I hope the wife of a priest has a lucrative career path to support her family, knowing full well that Catholics generally do not put much into the collection basket.



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Paul Anthony Melanson

posted February 24, 2010 at 7:09 am


1 Corinthians 7: 32-34.
Did I mention that I am single….And undivided.



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