This morning I read a post on one of the Catholic web sites about a priest (now deceased) here in the Archdiocese of Chicago. "A 60-year-old woman who claims that she and a Chicago priest lived as husband and wife from 1994 until his death in 2007 has sued the priest's estate over the provisions of the priest's will. According to the current pastor many parishioners at St. James at Sag Bridge Church knew that Father Edwin Bohula and the woman lived together in the woman's home."
This story reminded me of something that's been churning up in me for years. Back in the mid-1980s at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Altamonte Spring, FL—where I served as director of liturgy and music—a new priest was assigned to our parish. He was only the second Episcopal priest who, with his wife and children, were received into the Roman Catholic Church under a new "pastoral provision" crafted chiefly by then Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston. There was a lot of buzz in the parish about this and there needed to be much information and formation about the whole issue. I remember the first Mass that Father Larry Lossing celebrated at St. Mary Magdalen. I was seated at the organ waiting to accompany the memorial acclamation. What struck me when Father Lossing elevated the host and chalice was the glint of his wedding ring. I immediately looked out into the congregation into the faces of five particular couples whom I had grown to know and deeply respect over the years. What made these couples unique was the fact that each of the five men was a former Roman Catholic Priest who had left the priesthood and eventually were married. I know there are many who would argue with me about this, but the moment struck me as a deep injustice by the Church I love. My question is this: Why is the discussion about married Roman Catholic priests seemingly a closed issue while a "pastoral provision" allows for a married Episcopal priest to become a valid Roman Catholic priest? Am I missing something here?
Thanks for listening. And, even when I am confused by some of what goes on in this Church of saints and sinners, I still gotta sing, and still gotta pray.