The priest, his flock and his wife


Written on 12:11 AM by Jack B.

Interesting article from the St.Petersburg Times about a married Catholic priest (former Episcopalian who converted) and how's he handling things. The most interesting person in the story for me is his wife - because she doesn't appear in the piece and doesn't do interviews.


Missing from the scene is the smiling bride from the wedding photo on the downstairs wall. Mary Scheip has yet to arrive from work. It will be another hour before she pulls into the driveway.
Visiting journalists will never see her, which is how she wants it. When 60 Minutes' Morley Safer did a piece on celibacy in 2002, Mary Scheip wouldn't give CBS interviewers the time of day. What you learn about her is sketchy. She works full time in human resources and runs a private consulting business. A recent photo is unavailable. And, no, you may not take a photo of the family together.

Scheip is aware his priesthood is experimental. He's uncomfortable playing the role of clerical reformer - and so is his wife."My wife always says, "I support this but I don't want to be out front,' " Scheip says. "There's not a whole lot of precedent for it and we want to respect that."

Isn't that refreshing? Someone who turns down 60 Minutes (for what was probably one of their usual hack jobs on the Catholic Church and celibacy) and doesn't want her face in the camera. She knows its not about her, its not even about her husband, the role of a priest (married or not) is about Jesus - and she's not going to play the media game.

Personally I wouldn't mind married priests. Not because I don't have a great regard for celibacy (I do) but because I think once you've made the decision that married non-catholics who convert can get an exemption and become a priest but life-long married lay Catholics or married deacons can't, you run into hypocrisy. It should either a rule applied to be or none.

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