Keeping the Vow: The Untold Story of Married Catholic Priests

Hardcover | September 30, 2015

byD. Paul Sullins

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At one of the largest Catholic churches in America, hundreds of people make their way into the spacious, well-appointed sanctuary for an evening Mass. The congregation is several times larger than most Protestant megachurches. In addition to its twenty weekly services, eight choirs, andelementary and middle schools, the church also administers a long roster of Bible studies, home groups, community outreach, and specialized programs for every conceivable class and group of persons. The sermon is delivered by the pastor and celebrant priest who, at one point, refers to his struggleto relate to his teenage daughter. No one is surprised, for the long-time leader of this prominent Catholic Church, in a conservative suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, is a married Catholic priest.Following the Episcopal Church's 1976 decision to ordain women, Catholic leaders in America and Rome were approached by Episcopal clergy who opposed the decision and sought conversion as a result. The Catholics responded by establishing rules that would allow the Church to receive married convertpriests as exceptions to the rule of celibacy-a decree known as the Pastoral Provision. In this fascinating book, D. Paul Sullins brings to light the untold stories of these curious creatures: married Catholic priests. Sullins explores their day-to-day lives, their journey to Catholicism, and theirviews on issues important to the Church. Surprisingly, he reveals, married Catholic priests are more conservative than their celibate colleagues on nearly every issue, including celibacy: they think that priests should, in general, not be allowed to marry.Drawing on over 115 interviews with priests and their wives, as well as unprecedented access to the U.S. records of the Pastoral Provision, Keeping the Vow offers the first comprehensive look at these families and their unusual and difficult journey from Anglicanism to Catholicism. Looking to thefuture, Sullins speculates on what the experiences of these priests might tell us about the future of priestly celibacy.

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At one of the largest Catholic churches in America, hundreds of people make their way into the spacious, well-appointed sanctuary for an evening Mass. The congregation is several times larger than most Protestant megachurches. In addition to its twenty weekly services, eight choirs, andelementary and middle schools, the church also adm...

D. Paul Sullins is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at The Catholic University of America. He has been married for thirty years, and has been a Catholic priest for more than ten.

other books by D. Paul Sullins

Format:HardcoverDimensions:344 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:September 30, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199860041

ISBN - 13:9780199860043

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Table of Contents

List of FiguresList of TablesIntroduction1. What Is a Married Priest Like?2. How Did They Come to Be Married Priests?3. Why Are Married Priests Becoming Catholic Now?4. Why Did the Married Priests Convert?5. What Are Married Priests' Wives Like?6. Why Aren't There More Married Priests?7. Are Married Priests Worse--or Better?8. Why Clergy Celibacy?Conclusion: The Future of Married PriestsBibliographyAppendixIndex