Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Pastoral Provision Comes Home... Almost

It's made TV news here in Philadelphia that, today, our southern neighbor -- the diocese of Wilmington, which encompasses all of Delaware and five counties of Maryland -- ordained its first married cleric under the pastoral provision.

Three cheers for Salti.

Fr Leonard Klein, 60 and a father of three, was a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran church before converting to Catholicism. In a local context, it's noteworthy as this is the first time a pastoral provision ordination has been performed in the Philly media market. There's a former Episcopalian priest coming over with his congregation up in Scranton (straight north of here), but as we'll likely never see something of the kind green-lighted in this town, this is for all intents and purposes the closest the provision will ever come to the River City.
"People have been extremely friendly and supportive," said Klein, who has been serving as deacon at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brandywine Hundred. His wife of 36 years is Christa Klein, president of In Trust, a nonprofit that assists graduate schools in theology....

Klein said the exceptions to celibacy honor the training and interest of men genuinely drawn to Catholicism. But the ordinations are exceptions, he said. They should not be read as experiments with a married priesthood.

"The key thing in a successful vocation is listening for what God wants," said the Rev. Joseph Cocucci, director of priestly and religious vocations for the Diocese.

Klein said he's often asked how he decided to leave York, Pa., and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where he was ordained in 1972. He said it's because he grew weary of being a voice against liberalization while standing for traditional Lutheran doctrine and liturgy.

"I found myself asking more and more is this where I really belong?" said Klein, who has long felt a compatibility with Catholic teachings.

He said he was particularly loathe to having a struggle with fellow Lutherans over same-sex blessings. "Perennial conflict can be spirituality depleting," he said....

Klein said there have been jokes about the anomalies of being a married priest among a group of single men.

"People want to know where I will live because they know it's not in a rectory," Klein said.

Actually he's living with his wife and daughter, Renate, in a home in Brandywine Hundred.
Funny thing is, the TV reports have simply been saying "married priest" as if mandatory celibacy's on its way out the window. Nothing about the provision nor Klein's earlier background.

Hey, it's local TV news -- if you're looking for depth there, you haven't been paying attention.