Friday, 5 October 2012

Former Anglican minister becomes first Liverpool Catholic priest to be ordained with a wife and young family

Article by Peter Guy of the Liverpool Echo :

A FORMER Anglican minister with a wife and young family is the first in Liverpool to be ordained a Catholic priest.
Father Jonathan Brown needed special permission - known as a “dispensation” - from Pope Benedict XVI to be exempted from the traditional vow of celibacy.
And there is nothing to stop him from having more children if he wishes. Only if Fr Jonathan outlives his wife will he have to follow the strict rule of celibacy to which all Catholic priests are bound.
Although it is not unusual for former Anglican ministers to convert to Catholicism and become ordained priests only a handful in the whole country are married and with a young family.
Fr Jonathan was ordained by the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Rev Patrick Kelly, at Christ the King Church, Wavertree.
The ceremony was witnessed by Fr Jonathan’s parents, his wife Kara and their two children, Rosey and Matthias.
Fr Jonathan said: “Being the first married priest in Liverpool is special because I’m first but it’s pure historical coincidence.
“My clerical celibacy is deferred as I’m a happily married man. But I can’t re-marry in the event of my wife’s death. Until that point my life remains as normal. We will live as a Catholic family and theoretically I can have more children.”

He admitted his conversion had proved “very difficult” for many of his former colleagues and for his parents who remain staunch Anglicans.
"He said: “I know it has not been easy for them. I’ve turned my back on a stable life with a good income and a nice house, and given all that up.”
His first role as a newly-ordained priest will be working as a chaplain at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals NHS Trust.
He could go on to be a parish priest although – because of his status as a married man with children – he would be known as a “parish administrator”. In practice however he can carry out all the functions of a Catholic priest.
He said: “The Catholic church doesn’t recognise my Anglican ordination so I had to be ordained again as a Catholic priest. But it’s not simply a rubber-stamping exercise. This is far more momentous and far more of a life changing moment.”

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