Letters | Married Priests, Mourning a Miscarriage

Husband, father, priest
Richard Gaillardetz’s “Married Priests: A Countercultural Witness” is thoughtful and succinct.

I am an Episcopal priest, married almost forty-nine years. I know several Episcopal priests who have become Roman Catholic priests and a number who have gone from Rome to Canterbury. My friends who have become Roman Catholic priests have seemed to seek a church in which ordination and clerical celibacy (even for those who are married when they are received by Rome) confer a status of superior “purity,” both in some deep-seated sexual sense and by treating the priesthood as a higher state, reflected in a theology that regards ordination as descending “from above.”

Anglicanism considers the ministerial priesthood as deriving its ultimate meaning and authority from the baptized—“from below”—with episcopal ordination confirming one’s call to minister as an icon of the faithfulness to which we are all called by virtue of our baptism. That I am married, have children and grandchildren, and wrestle with family life, mortgages, and all the other issues my parishioners might wrestle with (including sexual issues) makes it impossible for me to think of myself as purer or above them in any ontological sense. Married priesthood has its problems (ask my wife and children!), but in the long run, it seems healthier for both the...

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