Vatican alters policy on married clergy

Record Staff Report

The Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has rescinded a policy that restricted the service of married clergy who are former Protestant and Anglican ministers.

This policy, which was enacted in the 1980s, meant such priests could not be appointed pastors unless the local bishop requested and received permission from the Holy See.

A letter from Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to bishops in December, said the congregation “has now concluded its review of the reasons for enacting this policy in the early 1980s in the light of the now 30-year experience of the church with such married clergy, particularly in the Pastoral Provision.” The pastoral provision was established in 1980 for Episcopal clergy and laity who wanted to be in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, according to the website pastoralprovision.org.

In light of the congregation’s review, “the decision to appoint a married Catholic priest to the office of pastor is left to the prudential judgement of that priest’s ordinary,” the letter said.

The Archdiocese of Louisville currently has three priests who are affected by this change in policy.

Father David Harris has been assigned pastor of St. Albert the Great Church, effective June 22.

Father Jeffrey Hopper will serve as pastor of St. Christopher Church in Radcliff, Ky., effective June 22.

Father John Johnson serves as associate pastor of St. Albert the Great Church.

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