Whenever an exemption is granted as an exception to the rule, there will most likely be a debate. And Catholic priests who have taken a vow of celibacy will soon be welcoming (allowing?) ex-Episcopalian priests into the church, even though they haven't made the same promise of chastity—an exception to Catholicism's long-standing tradition for priests.
If you haven't heard about the big move to create a new diocese in the Catholic Church, here's what's going on:
A number of Episcopalians have been unhappy with the denomination's recent liberal changes, things like a shift toward pro-choice views and acceptance of gay marriage, even ordaining openly homosexual bishops. In response, the conservative Catholic Church is opening up a nationwide diocese to ex-Episcopalians who would like to join Catholicism as a group—a priest and congregation—so church leaders and members who are already comfortable with one another will have a chance to stick together. They will be expected to abide by the Catholic Church's governance, support their conservative views and acknowledge the Pope. But since priests in the Episcopal Church have never had to practice celibacy, and many are already married with children, the Catholic Church is granting an exemption to their mandatory celibacy code. 4 Non-Religious Reasons To Be Celibate
Are you seeing the potential debate here? ...Is this move unfair? Will Catholic priests be upset? Should it even be allowed in Catholicism?
In The New York Times article explaining the exemption, the writer asks Father Hurd, a Catholic priest and ex-Episcopalian who helped set up the diocese, if the exemption might "sow discord" in the church. He says no. But obviously the writer thought to ask, so it's natural to be curious.
I am not Catholic or Episcopalian, but I am a Bible-believing Christian. And I am happy to see the Catholic Church open its doors to Episcopalians who want to make a break from their denomination. Without getting into the church's motives for creating a diocese or anything like that, here's my take on the situation. First, to the question of allowing non-celibate priests—let's look at what the Bible says. Does The Bible Really Condone Homosexuality, Premarital Sex?