Skip to comments.Former Anglican priest ordained Catholic priest in San Francisco
Posted on 12/30/2003 6:16:50 AM PST by NYer
SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- Archbishop William J. Levada of San Francisco ordained Father James Livingstone, a married former Anglican priest, to the Catholic priesthood Dec. 20. "He is the first such married man to be ordained a priest for the archdiocese," the archbishop said. Father Livingstone was ordained in the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1975, and has served in teaching, prison ministry and parish ministry. He was a pastor of U.S. Episcopal congregations in New Hampshire and South Carolina before he moved to San Mateo, Calif., in 1990. He headed an Episcopal congregation there until he made his profession of faith as a Roman Catholic. "Since 1998, when he first petitioned me to consider him for Catholic ordination, he has been patiently pursuing a review of Catholic theology and practice with private tutors," Archbishop Levada wrote Dec. 5 in a column announcing the ordination in his archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic San Francisco.
Former Anglican minister to be ordained a priest
Later this month I will ordain Rev. James Livingstone, a married former Anglican minister, as a Roman Catholic Priest. He is the first such married man to be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Since 1998, when he first petitioned me to consider him for Catholic ordination, he has been patiently pursuing a review of Catholic theology and practice with private tutors; he has also become involved in lay ministryand more recently as a deaconat St. Catherine parish in Burlingame. For the past couple of years he as taught religion full-time at Archbishop Riordan High School. The 1981 decision by the Holy See to make an exception to the general rule of calling only celibate men to priesthood surprised many in the Church. It was made at the petition of the Bishops of the United States in order to accommodate individual clergymen of the Episcopal Church who had reached a decision of conscience that they could no longer remain members of the Church to which they had committed themselves when they were ordained to priesthood in the Episcopal Church. The reasons for this decision are often unique to the individual who makes the request; in every case it involved a conviction that one or other decision of the Episcopal Church raised a new obstacle to their profession of a Christian faith that is Catholic, and in accord with the Apostolic Tradition.
While this Pastoral Provision was adopted initially for use in the United States, it has since also been extended to England, and I suppose to other countries where the bishops have requested it. It has also been used, even more exceptionally and rarely, in favor of married clergy of other Protestant denominations.
The Episcopal Church in the United States is part of a world-wide Anglican Communion. It is called an autonomous province in the Communion, which means that decisions about articles of faith, ritual, or morality are made nationally; the Archbishop of Canterbury, titular head of the Anglican Communion, has no authority or jurisdiction in the United States. Before the American Revolution, the Church of England (Anglican) sent missionaries to the colonies, but by policy of the Crown, no bishops, or independent dioceses, were allowed. After independence here, the Anglicans established an autonomous church in the new Republic, and finally convinced the English authorities to ordain three priests as bishops for service in the United States. The pattern of autonomous provinces corresponding to new nationsoften former British colonieshas continued to develop according to the pattern begun by the Episcopal Church here, taking into account the different situations.
The Anglican Communion has always had many adherents who consider themselves Catholic. Although its evangelical wing proudly honors the Reformation roots of Anglicanism by favoring the title Protestant (as did the Episcopal Church here until recent decades), many others, especially Anglo-Catholics, rejected both the title and meaning of Protestant. We have only to recall Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th-century Anglican cleric who became a celebrated Catholic, to recognize who deep the sense of a faith that is Catholic runs in many Anglicans. The Second Vatican Council, in its Decree on Ecumenism, recognized this aspect. No. 13 of the Decree says, Other divisions arose in the West [stemming] from events which are commonly referred to as the Reformation. As a result, many communions, national or confessional, were separated from the Roman See. Among those in which Catholic traditions and institutions in part continue to exist, the Anglican communion occupies a special place.
Although the design of the ecumenical movement envisions a goal of full, organic unity between the Anglican and Roman Catholic communions, and much energy and many resources have been devoted to a many-faceted dialogue to achieve this goal, all parties respect the individual decisions of conscience that may require some persons to short-circuit the slow path toward organic unity. For some Anglicans, these decisions have been exacerbated by decisions within the Anglican Communion, especially in the Episcopal Church, to adopt doctrines and practices that depart form the doctrines and practices of the common Catholic Christian tradition, such as the ordination of women as priests and bishops, the acceptance of abortion as legitimate, and more recently, the approval given to the ordination of practicing (non-celibate) homosexuals.
Because the Archbishop of Canterbury has no authority over the other national communities or autonomous provinces of the Anglican communion, some Anglicans find the variety of doctrinal positions, ritual diversity, and moral opinions adopted by the Episcopal Church, or permitted by her bishops without correction, to undermine the sense of a Catholic faith, rooted in the teachings of the Son of God, as written in the inspired Scriptures and handed on in the Apostolic Tradition. Hence they wrestle with their conscience, often in long years of discernment over Gods will for them.
The decision to allow married Anglican clergy to serve as priests in the Catholic Church respects not only the decision of their conscience that requires them to profess a fully Catholic faith in the Catholic Church. It also respects their call to ministry accepted in good faith, in their tradition that permitted a married priesthood. In this, their situation should not be compared to that of Catholic priests who committed themselves to a celibate priesthood, but later decided to leave that priestly ministry to marry. In providing this exception to individual married clergymen, the Holy Father and the Bishops wanted to make sure that everyone understood that celibacy remains the normal tradition for priests in the Western church. Among Eastern-rite Catholics (and clergy in the Orthodox Churches), celibacy is required only of bishops; many married men serve as priests.
I would estimate the number of former Anglican and Protestant married clergy who have been ordained Catholic priests since the pastoral provision took effect to be about 100. Over several years I prepared a former Presbyterian minister for ordination in Portland when I was Archbishop there. My successor of ten months, Archbishop (now Cardinal) Francis George had the good fortune of ordaining him after I was transferred to San Francisco eight years ago. His work is well received in the Archdiocese of Portland.
Rev. James Livingstone is a native of Canada, did his undergraduate and seminary studies in Toronto, and was ordained an Anglican priest for the Diocese of Nova Scotia in 1975. He has a diverse background: teaching, chaplain in youth and adult corrections ministry, and parish ministry. He served as pastor in churches in New Hampshire and South Carolina before moving to San Mateo in 1990, where he served as pastor until his Profession of faith as a Roman Catholic. During this time he became acquainted with several priests of our Archdiocese. When his wife Virginia decided to enter into full communion in the Catholic Church, he accompanied her through the RCIA program at St. Catherines parish. The Livingstones have an adult daughter.
May I express my personal hope that Father Livingstone will be welcomed by all of us in the Archdiocese of San Francisco when he is ordained a new priest for us on December 20! Archbishop William J. Levada December 1, 2003
An exclusively celibate priesthood has already been eliminated, thanks to priests like Fr. Livingstone, but nobody is seeking to eliminate from the priesthood those truly called to celibacy.
In fact, celibacy freely chosen would serve as a great witness.
CELIBACY ALREADY IS FREELY CHOSEN. EVERY SINGLE PRIEST EVER ORDAINED IN THE LATIN RITE RITE HAS FREELY CHOSEN CELIBACY If you have any evidence priests are being ordained against their will, produce it or shut-up.
BTW, is there any independent information available that can establish whether or not you are a Deacon? I can't believe you are a Catholic Deacon so obsessed are you with eliminating celibacy as a mandatory discipline and opposing the Pope.
It takes a great degree of humility for an Anglican priest of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion to submit to what the Rev. Livingstone has submitted to. This is a good sign for those whom he will serve.
When you, and everyone else in the Catholic Caucus, publish your real names and e-mail addresses on Free Republic, so will I.
and you have the duty to obey Canon Law # 275 SINCE ALL CLERICS ARE WORKING FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, NAMELY BUILIDING UP OF THE BODY OF CHRIST, THEY ARE TO BE UNITED WITH ONE ANOTHER IN THE BOND OF BROTHERHOOD AND PRAYER. THEY ARE TO SEEK TO COOPERATE WITH ONE ANOTHER IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISONS OF PARTICULAR LAW.
Does your repeated public opposition to the Pope on the matter of Priestly Celibacy show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff?
Does you repeated public opposition to the entire Living Magisterium as codified in Canon Law, the Catholic Catechism and the pertinent sections of the Documents of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in the matter of the mandatory discipline of Priestly Celibacy illustrate you, as a Christian Deacon, are building up the Body of Christ united in brotherhood and prayer or does your behavior literally illustrate the precise opposite of what is required of you as a Christian Deacon?
You will not fulfill your own obligations and, in fact, you knowingly and willfully work in opposition to the duties you freely accepted and promised to fulfill yet you repeatedly and publicly demand the entire Latin Rite change its 2000 year old mandatory discipline to satisy your personal agenda - which just happens to coincide with the agenda of the execrable NCR and the rebarbative Feminists and their lackeys, the vow-breaking former priests.
You are having one heck of a Chrismastide, Ace.
It shows the same reverence that my opposition to his position on the death penalty and the war on Iraq shows.
Again, you are mixing fruit. Church discipline is the pope's domain. Civil responsibilities such as waging war and applying the death penalty are not. It's the same irreverance.
P.S. The pope is right about the DP too.
Or, do your promises have no merit?
It is a bit unseemly to witness those unwilling to fulfill obligations freely undertaken insist others who do faithfully fulfill their obligations change ancient Apostolic Mandatory Disciplines to satisfy your personal agenda - which just happens to match the agenda of others who are disobedient - the NCR, the Feminists, and the vow-breaking priests and nuns they dominate.
Just what sort of Bizarro world do you inhabit where it is ok for you as a Christian Deacon to violate Canon Law and to break promises you freely and willingly made?
What about the matter of integrity? How can you as a Christian Deacon (presuming you are a Deacon) fulfill your role as a Deacon while publicly breaking your promises and insisting others change to fit your personal desires? Have you no shame?
I have dealt with liberals who have no shame or integrity but they were smart enough not to pursue an arguement in which they were being revealed as a phony. They had more self-respect. It appears to me you have as much respect for yourself and your own integrity as you have respect for the promises you have made and are now breaking. You appear to have no shame.
Please prayerfully review Canon # 276 CLERICS HAVE A SPECIAL OBLIGATION TO SEEK HOLINESS IN THEIR LIVES, BECAUSE THEY ARE CONSECRATED TO GOD BY A NEW TITLE THROUGH THE RECEPTION OF ORDERS, AND ARE STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD IN THE SERVICE OF HIS PEOPLE. IN ORDER THAT THEY CAN PURSUE THIS PERFECTION: THEY ARE IN THE FIRST PLACE FAITHFULLY AND UNTIRINGLY TO FULFILL THE OBLIGATIONS OF THEIR PASTORAL MINISTRY...
You clearly are violating Canon Law and the promises you freely made. Please repent and cease the scandalous behavior.
|1599 In the Latin Church the sacrament of Holy Orders for the presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates who are ready to embrace celibacy freely and who publicly manifest their intention of staying celibate for the love of God's kingdom and the service of men.
|1580 In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and priests. This practice has long been considered legitimate; these priests exercise a fruitful ministry within their communities. Moreover, priestly celibacy is held in great honor in the Eastern Churches and many priests have freely chosen it for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In the East as in the West a man who has already received the sacrament of Holy Orders can no longer marry.
|1579 All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven." Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to "the affairs of the Lord," they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God.
As for those of sinkspur's ilk -deacons or not, these words are apt;
My sons, regard as enemies of the faith those who belittle the pope's authority or who try to minimize the obedience and respect due to his teachings and directives. [St. John Bosco]