Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to CCCB President on giving cura animarum ordinaria to married Catholic priests who had formerly been Protestant ministers, 23 November 2015.
Congregazione per la dottrina della fedeProt. N. 66/77–53109
November 23, 2015
Most Rev. Douglas Crosby, O.M.I.
Bishop of Hamilton
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
700 King Street West Hamilton, Ontario L8P 1C7
As you are aware, this Dicastery has recently undertaken a review of its policy restricting cura animarum ordinarium as regards former Protestant ministers who receive a dispensation from the obligation of clerical celibacy so as to be ordained Catholic priests. Partially, this policy has meant that such clergy have not been appointed as Pastors of parishes unless the Bishop has requested and received a specific derogation from the Holy See.
Having reviewed the reasons for enacting the policy in the early l980's in the light of the now 30-year experience of the Church with such married clergy, and taking account of the results of a consultation of Bishops with a direct experience with these situations, the Cardinal and Bishop Members of the Congregation have decided to rescind the policy restricting cura animarum ordinaria for married former-Protestant clergy. In the future, the decision to appoint a married Catholic priest to the office of Pastor is left to the prudential judgement of that priest's Bishop or Ordinary.
In an audience granted to me on October 31, 201 5, Pope Francis confirmed this decision of the Cardinal and Bishop Members of the Congregation.
I bring this matter to your attention in your ongoing role as Delegate for cases of Protestant clergy in Canada seeking ordination in the Catholic Church. Indeed, I am grateful for your service assisting your brother Bishops in the identification, evaluation, and formation of these candidates for Catholic priesthood. I would also ask you to bring this decision to the attention to the Bishops in Canada.
With prayerful best wishes, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Gerhard Card. Müller
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to CCCB President on giving cura animarum ordinaria to married Catholic priests who had formerly been Protestant ministers, 23 November 2015, Prot. no. 66/77-53019.