Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Married Priests Push for Wider Acceptance Group Meeting to Discuss Issues

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Married Priests Push for Wider Acceptance Group Meeting to Discuss Issues

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Having entered the seminary at 13, Ed Minderlein knew no other life than that of a Roman Catholic priest. And even though he is now married to Fran, herself a former nun, he sees no reason why he can't continue giving his life to God.

"We need to recognize the value of guys who left to get married," said Minderlein, one of about 200 married priests from 15 countries on hand this weekend for a meeting of the International Federation of Married Catholic Priests. "We are still priests and we are still called to minister."

Most of those on hand at the meeting agree, saying celibacy was imposed on priests in the 12th century as primarily a practical matter and should not be the reason they can't continue to minister to parishes.

And despite continual rebukes from the Vatican and Pope John Paul II, they say they will continue to hammer away, hoping the next pope will be more reform-minded while trying to create a more democratic church by working with bishops on the grass-roots level.

"The church needs to practice the justice it preaches," said Sister Maureen Fiedler, coordinator of Catholics Speak Out, a national reform movement that also promotes the ordination of women. "But there have been 18 major issues that the Vatican has reversed itself on throughout the centuries.

"Just because they're saying no now doesn't mean they always will say no," Fiedler said, citing Vatican II, the sweeping reform movement of the 1960s.

Married priests are still allowed to perform some sacraments -- last rites, baptism, confirmation, and confession -- but only when another priest is not available.

Facing a shortage of priests, some bishops have begun using them sporadically for such purposes, and other married priests perform marriages that are legal but not recognized by the church. …

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