Skip to comments.Rochester Man, Married with Children, To Become Catholic Priest
Posted on 05/20/2010 9:56:27 AM PDT by NYer
Rochester, NY (WBEN)- He's married Rochester man with 6 children, and within the next year, its expected that he'll finish his long journey to the priesthood. Yes, he's about to become a Catholic priest; yes, the Pope knows and approves, and yes, he's staying married.
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News Release from the Catholic Diocese of Rochester:
For Scott Caton, a former Protestant minister, becoming Catholic 12 years ago was a joyous occasion, the fulfillment of a long desire to experience the beauty and power of the Holy Eucharist.
Yet the same strong call to serve God and God’s people that earlier drew him to be a minister sparked in him a desire to be a Catholic priest.
Next Spring, Caton’s long journey of preparation and study will come to fruition. The 49-year-old Caton, who is married and the father of six children, is scheduled to be ordained a priest by Bishop of Rochester Matthew H. Clark. As a further step along the way, he will be ordained a transitional deacon June 5, 2010, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Caton’s request for ordination as a Catholic priest was reviewed and approved by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and then by Pope Benedict XVI. This permission reflects a still-rare, but allowable, exception to the discipline of celibacy required by the Church of its priests in the Latin Rite.
"We are most excited and pleased at the prospect of having Scott as a priest of our diocese," Bishop Clark says. "Scott is a man of strong faith and keen intellect, with a wonderful personality. He’s a good man and will be a good priest."
"I have always felt this tug, this inner true desire to continue with my vocation, in conjunction with my academic work," Caton says. "I felt from at least a teenager called to ministerial work of some kind. The inward drive to become Catholic was related to my study of Scripture, theology, and the Church’s rich history, but also the beauty and the power of the Eucharist, and my need and desire for it. And as time went on, I increasingly felt the need to be a part of giving not only myself, but also the Eucharist, to people in the way that only a priest can do."
In the Roman Catholic Church, only a priest can celebrate the Mass and consecrate the Eucharist. Caton, a Spencerport native, is married to Bonnie Caton; the couple has been married almost 28 years. Their children – five daughters and a son – range in age from 26 to 7.
"My wife and children have been incredibly supportive and I could not do this without their love and prayer," Caton says. Caton is Professor of History at Roberts Wesleyan College, as well as Professor of History and Culture at Northeastern Seminary, an ecumenical seminary located on the Roberts Wesleyan campus. He is a founding faculty member of the seminary.
Caton holds a doctorate from the University of Rochester, a master’s degree from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and a bachelor’s degree from Roberts Wesleyan. He is a 1978 graduate of Spencerport High School. Besides Church history and historical theology, Caton’s areas of expertise include American history and British history and literature.
Caton’s preparation for ordination in the Church began several years ago and under the guidance of Bishop Clark and other diocesan officials once he expressed his desire to be ordained to the Bishop. Under Vatican guidelines, Protestant ministers who enter the Church as Catholics and wish to be ordained must first study in such areas as moral and sacramental theology, the Church’s canon law and related areas.
Caton has been serving at St. Joseph’s in Penfield (Rev. James Schwartz, pastor) prior to his ordination as a transitional deacon. As a deacon, he will serve at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rochester (Rev. Robert Kennedy, pastor) until his planned ordination to the priesthood next year.
"I want my ministry to be characterized by reconciliation," Caton says. "I want to be a priest who serves with focus and dedication to reconcile women and men with God, to help bring people to their Creator, to closeness to God and closer to each other. And in some way, because of my background and my perspective, perhaps too I can help break down any walls of misunderstanding between Protestants and Catholics."
This would be a wonderful story were it coming from a different diocese. Matthew Clark is right up there with Mahony and Hubbard, as a progressivist. Like the Albany Diocese, Rochester Catholics have had to endure so many innovative practices. My guess is that Bishop Clark would love to fill all of his churches with married priests and priestesses.
Times appear to be a’changing - and the church seems willing to change too.
I am not Catholic, and have a great deal of respect for the church; but I have to ask myself some basic questions. Has God changed his mind on this? Is there a Papal edict? Homosexuality used to be an ‘abombination’; now we must accept and embrace this. Now the church seems to have lifted the restriction on priests being married.
Where is the line that must not be crossed?
Nothing new. The church has been accepting transfers from the Episcopal church for a while.
No, He hasn't. Neither has the Church. There has been and always will be instances where it is acceptable for priests to be ordained while they are married. It's extremely rare, but in the eyes of the Church, they can still do their job.
Homosexuality used to be an abombination; now we must accept and embrace this.
Kindly direct me to where the magisterium of the Church has said "We must embrace homosexuality". You can't. Because it has never said this.
my town - saw this several days ago - will be interesting to hear everyones thoughts
I don’t really understand why this is acceptable in the eyes of the church. If he were widowed, that would be one thing.
Thx for the info. Glad to hear it, and I appreciate not being flamed for asking. Although I am not Catholic, I am Christian and believe the Bible - we are told that God is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever.
When a fundamental pillar of a faith is shaken, the result is seldom positive.
I see you are not Catholic. In Rochester, that may be a good thing ;-). This bishop is due to retire in about 3 more years. I hope and pray Pope Benedict XVI is still with us to appoint Clark’s successor. He will have to bring in a large clean up crew.
I hear you.
As I said on another thread these conversions never surprise me.
Jesus told us the tares would grow with the wheat, so when one tries to find God in history or in tradition it is never surprising to me.
The pulpits and classrooms are filled with unsaved people who think they are saved by tradition or church membership or profession.. they have an intellectual gospel, a works gospel or a family tradition gospel ..none of which save.
This man knew he was unsaved, and is seeking it in the Catholic priesthood. But Christ is not a respecter of persons.. If Christ intends to save Him he could be a ditch digger
In past, didn’t the church have several more levels of religious sanctity? In particular, I am thinking of Abbé, a title given to Franz Liszt, who made great contributions to religious music as well as secular music, but whose life was too immodest, to say the least, for any title that required self control.
Right now, especially, with the church offering its hand to Anglican clergy, many of whom are married and have children, it would not do them a disservice to have a special title, different from priest, but recognizable as a man of the cloth similar to a priest.
Christ intends to save EVERYONE, ditch digger, doctor, computer programmer, teacher, bus driver, brick layer, butcher, even lawyers! The man in this story is becoming a priest because he believes God is asking him to do so. In other words, he believes that he has a vocation to be a minister of the Church's sacraments. The Church does not believe, nor has it ever taught, that one must be a priest or nun to be saved.
And even the most traditional of Catholics understands that the rule of celibacy is just that - a rule - that can be changed at any time by the pope. Whether or not it is prudent to do so is an entirely separate question. The Eastern rites of the Catholic Church have always had married priests. It is only the Latin rite that generally does not. Celibacy is not a theological requirement for the priesthood.
For my part, I sincerely hope that the Church does not change the requirement for priests to be celibate. I believe it frees them from the responsibilities of family life so that they can more easily and fully serve the faithful. But if they do change the rule, then I will not be scandalized in the least.
I guess I had no idea.
So one might ask why He does not do it ... He is God you know..
My Catholic highschool had a married, formerly Episcopal, Roman Catholic priest in the mid 1980s.
He does offer salvation to everyone, without exception. Whether or not someone chooses to accept it is another story entirely.
If God desired every man to be saved, He could surely do it.. so the gospel is preached and salvation offered freely to either the salvation of damnation of the listener
What He could do and what He has chosen to do are two different things. God has chosen to offer salvation to everyone and to let each person decide whether or not they want accept it. That is to say, in addition to offering salvation, He has also offered freedom. No one is damned to hell by God. Anyone who ends up in hell has chosen hell in a free act of their will.
While offering salvation to everyone, God forces it on no one.
I take the scriptural view, that the Father elects, the Son saves.. (John 6)
Jesus saves all the Father gives Him
Practically there is the same outcome, some are saved and some are not.. I happen to believe salvation is all of the Lord..
But that is a different discussion
It may come as a surprise but the Catholic Church allows for married priests in the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches. Marriage is a sacrament, as is Holy Orders. In the East, the sacrament of marriage is still, for the most part, respected. Here in the west, however, more than 50% of all marriages (including Catholics), ends in divorce. That poses a major problem.
One of the best defenses of clerical celibacy comes, ironically enough, from an Eastern Catholic Patriarch. In 2005, speaking to the 11th General Synod Fathers, gathered for their eighth meeting at the Vatican, Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, who is Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites in Lebanon--a Catholic rite which allows for married priests--addressed the issue, which has been brought up by many, particularly in light of the U.S. sex abuse scandal, of commonly permitting married priests in the Roman rite.
Vatican City, Oct. 07, 2005 (CNA) - The Cardinal defended the practice of the celibate priesthood and discussed the beauty of the tradition, calling it the "most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church."
While pointing out that "the Maronite Church admits married priests" and that "half of our diocesan priests are married", the Cardinal Patriarch said that "it must be recognized that if admitting married men resolves one problem, it creates others just as serious."
"A married priest", he said, "has the duty to look after his wife and family, ensuring his children receive a good education and overseeing their entry into society. ... Another difficulty facing a married priest arises if he does not enjoy a good relationship with his parishioners; his bishop cannot transfer him because of the difficulty of transferring his whole family.
He noted that "married priests have perpetuated the faith among people whose difficult lives they shared, and without them this faith would no longer exist."
"On the other hand," he said, "celibacy is the most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church,"
Lamenting a culture which is all but outright opposed to purity, the Cardinal asked: "How can [celibacy] be conserved in an atmosphere laden with eroticism? Newspapers, Internet, billboards, shows, everything appears shameless and constantly offends the virtue of chastity."
Suggesting that there are no easy solutions to the problem of priest shortages in the Church--an oft brought up point during the Synod--he noted that, "Of course a priest, once ordained, can no longer get married. Sending priests to countries where they are lacking, taking them from a country that has many, is not the ideal solution if one bears in mind the question of tradition, customs and mentality. The problem remains."
In the instance of the Rochester Diocese, which is the topic of this thread, the Bishop is progressive and, IMHO, is using this as an opportunity to promote the elimination of priestly celibacy. The Catholic Church does not need any additional scandals brought about by priestly divorce.