Since 1980, the Vatican, has been converting and ordaining to the Catholic priesthood, married Protestant ministers and welcoming their families into the faith. (In one Maine parish, a priest who married was replaced by a married priest!) Sensing a terrible injustice and the lack of priests available for ministry especially for seniors, Louise got fired up and was motivated to nudge back into ministry, priests who resigned from the clerical priesthood to marry. With the support of the 21 canon laws that validated their priesthood and sacramental ministry, Louise provided these priests with an opportunity to minister again and she provided millions with the opportunity to be served.
Though CITI Ministries was initially developed with the idea of serving priest-less parishes, it was surprising to learn that those responding to Rent A Priest were Catholics who were not going to church (73.3% of the total American Catholic population–48 million). CITI’s “restoration of a married priesthood” is not necessarily an advocacy to place married priests back at the altar under the jurisdiction of today’s Vatican. We are restoring the dignity of married priests by acknowledging their existence and the ministry that Jesus called them to in the first place– feeding His sheep-wherever and however. Like Jesus, these are holy people whose ministry has no denominational boundaries. While the group may be exclusive, the work is Catholic, interfaith and ecumenical and the need is worldwide.
Ezekiel 37:1-10 speaks of the awakening of dry bones and breathing new life in them. This is what has happened to married priest couples whose ministry was oppressed by the institution, and who become affirmed today whenever they meet and minister to/with people in need. God’s people whose lives are touched by married priests also experience the new spirituality that is being breathed into their dry bones.