Husband takes vows as Catholic priest

CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP) - It's official. Lawrence Blake is now a Catholic priest, husband and father of three.

Blake, a former Lutheran minister, is exempt from celibacy to preserve his marriage. The Vatican granted him special permission in June to become a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The Vatican's decision has drawn the attention of members of the Catholic community who want to see other mergers of marriage and priesthood.

The Rev. Michael Tegeder, a pastor at St. Edward's Catholic Church in Bloomington, said, ``I wish him well personally. It's just the concern that a lot of people feel they're being discounted.''

But Gerry Sell, Minnesota liaison for the national Catholic group Call to Action, said: ``For myself, I hope that this would be a preview of things to come - that we can have married priests.''

Her group, which also espouses women priests, has pushed to make several changes in church doctrine. But church leaders say this exception is not expected to become rule.

Blake, 47, of Victoria, joins more than 70 Catholic priests - most of them married - who converted from other religions.

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