Well, at least he kept some of the holy commandments. Thou shalt not use contraception... Far from being celibate, Roman Catholic priest Father Ian Hellyer is married with nine children.
The times they are a-changing, but not so fast. Turns out, 45-year-old Father Hellyer used to be an Anglican priest living in Devon, England. This time last year he had a change of heart. He didn't decide to leave the Church altogether; it wasn't a crisis of faith so much as which faith.
"I felt like a fish out of water," he explains. "The Church of England was changing its mind about everything all the time."
The irony can't be lost on him. A year later he switcherooed and became a Roman Catholic priest, after the Vatican changed a policy allowing married Anglican priests to convert to Catholicism.
But isn't that having your cake and eating it, so to speak? "Celibacy isn't a core issue in the way, for example, that the bodily resurrection or the virgin birth are core issues – and these were the sorts of things I felt Anglicans were sometimes unclear about," Father Hellyer explains.
When asked if his example might prompt the Vatican to rethink its rules on celibacy, Hellyer remains mum. "I'm happy to be a good witness of how the married priesthood could work, but I don't have a sense that raising it as an issue is my calling in the church. I'm happy to trust the pope to take the decision."
Would you have more faith in a priest if he was married?
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