The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Married father of six to become a deacon — and then, a priest

It will happen in upstate New York, as another former minister takes advantage of the “Pastoral Provision.”

From CNA:

As former Protestant minister Scott Caton prepares for his ordination as a Catholic priest in 2011, his wife and six children are prayerfully offering their support. As a priest, he hopes to focus on reconciling men and women with God and to “break down” any misunderstandings between Protestants and Catholics.

1570185.jpg“My wife and children have been incredibly supportive and I could not do this without their love and prayer,” Caton told the Diocese of Rochester, N.Y.


In 1980, the Vatican created a Pastoral Provision allowing married Lutheran, Anglican and Episcopal ministers to enter the priesthood after their conversion and theological-catechetical formation.

Caton has been married for 28 years and is a former Protestant minister. Twelve years ago, he converted to Catholicism, but recognized that God was calling him to more.

According to the Rochester diocese, Caton remarked that he has “always felt this tug, this inner true desire to continue with my vocation, in conjunction with my academic work.”

“The inward drive to become Catholic was related to my study of Scripture, theology, and the Church’s rich history, but also the beauty and the power of the Eucharist, and my need and desire for it. And as time went on, I increasingly felt the need to be a part of giving not only myself, but also the Eucharist, to people in the way that only a priest can do.”


Caton spoke with Bishop of Rochester Matthew H. Clark about his desire to become a priest and began undergoing preparations.
Bishop Clark expressed his excitement and pleasure at Caton’s decision to become a priest saying, “Scott is a man of strong faith and keen intellect, with a wonderful personality. He’s a good man and will be a good priest.”

Check out the link for the rest.

Comments read comments(17)
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posted May 20, 2010 at 11:55 am

This seems to me to be just skirting the married priest issue by the Bishop, after all this man has been a Catholic for 12 years for heavens sake. Granted he was a protestant minister before converting but why should that be the reason that the married man can now be ordained? It’s one thing to be a minister, convert and be ordained, but after 12 years?
Come on now!

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posted May 20, 2010 at 12:03 pm

If he has a vocation great! We have a priest who was an Epicopalian pastor before his ordination in the Catholic Church. He brings experience as a husband and father that I have found very enriching–so much so I’d like to have him as a spiritual director.

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posted May 20, 2010 at 12:23 pm

If a solid former minister can be effective great. Real issue continues to be why validly ordained priests who were honest enough to leave the priesthood rather than carry on clandestine affairs and who’d jump at the chance to return to active ministry are treated like pariahs.

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Civitas Occiduus

posted May 20, 2010 at 4:48 pm

… or, to continue jim’s point to the next logical conclusion, why we can’t just quit the charade that this sort of thing is and admit married men to the seminaries. A priest and I were recently enjoying a conversation on this very topic (married Protestant clergymen becoming Catholic priests) and the good Father said to me, “Rome will allow married priests when Sunday Mass is celebrated via satellite and there are only 1,000 of them [priests] left in the world.” Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

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posted May 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm

If a man who is married and has a background like this fellow, why is it considered necessary to continue the celibacy of priests? If the married men can be effective in the priesthood, what is the point of preventing the single priests from marrying?! Why is celibacy so darn important?? Seems to have nothing to do with effectiveness in performing their jobs.

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posted May 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm

“why validly ordained priests who were honest enough to leave the priesthood rather than carry on clandestine affairs and who’d jump at the chance to return to active ministry are treated like pariahs.”
Maybe because they knew when they were ordained they were called to celibacy and they broke their vow?

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posted May 20, 2010 at 7:12 pm

And still our long serving, and under-appreciated, Deacons are ineligible. The logic escapes me.

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posted May 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Right JACK; the catholic people are being denied priestly ministry in hospitals and nursing homes, etc, and yet Rome will not ordain any permanent deacons to fill the gap…..where is the “pastoral provision”?

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posted May 21, 2010 at 12:06 am

Civitas writes ” why we can’t just quit the charade that this sort of thing is and admit married men to the seminaries.”
Because it does not work. I well remember reading something by Marty Martin a famous 20th century Lutheran clergyman and author. In some piece we said that the Roman discipline of mandatory celibacy should be lifted but quit framkly a married clergy does not really work.
I have heard the same thing from others when they are “sober” and honest enough to talk about it.
So IF the Roman Church is to have any married clergy it will be by ordaining very select middle aged men; NO YOUNG FAMILIES. These men would almost be selected and “drafted” into the priesthood. Not something they targeted and chose. We would need to structure the situation to avoid the problems that Protestant clergy have with marriage and family. The problems are huge, but nobody in the religions realm really talks about it because all the discussion is about Catholic priests and their foblies.

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posted May 21, 2010 at 6:56 am

Most everyone, because of the CC admitting married protestant ministers, is for married priests. But what if we took a stand in the other direction…no married priests…even from the converts. It is true, this is a bit of a charde – a double standard, but I think the CC went to far over the slippery slope.
Peace to all.

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posted May 21, 2010 at 7:48 am

Consider how a celibate priest dignifies the marriage act by the very sacrifice he makes in his chastity. Discussion of the practicality of a celibate priesthood is short-sighted. The mystery must be considered or else we become less. Eternal life came through death…that doesn’t make any sense either but it’s Truth.
Check out Theology of the Body…a find a good priest who knows why he is celibate.

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posted May 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm

It is important to remember what the teaching of the magisterium is about this issue: Paul VI in his encyclical, “Sacerdotalis Caelibatus” (priestly celibacy) taught that celibacy is NOT inherent to the priesthood and that the Eastern Catholics and Orthodox priests have a form of married priesthood that is also a gift of the Holy Spirit, just as is celibacy.
So in healthy debates on priestly celibacy in the Roman Church, let’s not call the dignity or worth of married priests into question (converts or not) but focus on the practicality and the custom. As a married deacon I can see how IF we had married Roman priests the expectations of the faithful as to what a priest does and when he must be available for would need to change. I think the 24/7 availability of celibate Roman priests is a prime reason for valuing the charism of celibacy at least as a worhty and nobel option.

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posted May 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Dante, you think that a married priest couldn’t be available 24/7? That would just be part of their job, like a doctor who is called at all hours etc.

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posted May 22, 2010 at 2:18 am

Not the same pagansister. Will not work the same. People who decide these things are very knowledgeable about this. This married guy was only ordained after he reached middle-age, about 50; 12 YEARS after he left a Protestant ministry! You and others should smell the sense and evidence of this; clearing up the mystery of why after 12 years. The Roman rite of the Catholic Church is simply not going to ordain any young married men.
I wonder why non-believers shoud give a flip about this anyway. Some strange fascination or something, seems like.

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posted May 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Yes, Goodguyex, it is fascinating, actually. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be on B’net, reading all the different posts. Religion as a whole is very interesting. What people will believe and what they won’t. Truly fascinating indeed. That’s why this non-believer gives a flip. :o)
As to not letting priests marry…guess the fact that Protestant ministers and some Orthodox priests marry and Rabbi’s and the faiths seem to survive very well means it does work. However I guess those men AND women aren’t married to an institution.

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NY Barrister

posted May 25, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Since this provision for converts who were mainline church clergy is not new and thus not really news, I’m wondering Deacon Greg why you chose this story. Quite frankly, it could be viewed (and I hope in Christian charity I’m wrong) as old fashioned RC triumphalism. Surely you know how many RC have fallen away (some to mainline Protestant denominations, most to indifference)in recent years. Yet I can’t remember ever reading a blog post or print article from a Lutheran or Methodist pastor or Episcopal priest trumpeting RC converts. It’s in very bad taste and they, unlike the RC, don’t do it.

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posted May 30, 2010 at 1:46 am

NY Barrister , for us Catholics, Catholic Church is not a Church, but the Church founded by Jesus on the rock, Peter the Apsotle. So when some of our fellow Christians, (who’s faith we respect)recognize the Catholic Church as the Church Christ had established we all rejoice in it . The more the joy when he or she selects ministry a to serve the people of God. And this not triumphalism.
Said so, I have to clarify one thing. We Catholics consider all Christians, both Catholic and non-cathoic as the children of God and members of Christ’s mystical body. We seem them as our fellow Christians and do know that we have to humbly learn many things from them.
I think Catholics should become more assertive of their faith and should.

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