From Celibate Catholic Priest to Married Protestant Minister

From Celibate Catholic Priest to Married Protestant Minister : Shepherding in Greener Pastures

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From Celibate Catholic Priest to Married Protestant Minister: Shepherding in Greener Pastures describes a previously unstudied population of celibate Catholic priests who left the priesthood and eventually became married Protestant ministers. Stephen Fichter alternates from narrative to descriptive as he follows the lives of three of his study participants before, during, and after their dual transition. The descriptive sections include a history of religiously motivated celibacy and a review of the four leading forerunners in the field of Catholic clergy research. This scholarly study is the first time that these transitional clerics have candidly explained their difficult journeys of discernment. Religion, love, loss, and commitment are all analyzed in the context of this unique group of men, and the profiles in this book are memorable not only for the richness of their content, but also-and maybe most importantly-for their humanity. Lessons can be drawn for all people, especially those who have ever suffered a mid-life more

Product details

  • Hardback | 214 pages
  • 161 x 235 x 19mm | 458g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 4 black & white illustrations, 14 tables
  • 0739185209
  • 9780739185209
  • 1,716,359

About Rev. Stephen J. Fichter

Stephen Joseph Fichter is the pastor at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Haworth, New Jersey, and research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown more

Review quote

I found Fichter's From Celibate Catholic Priest to Married Protestant Minister a timely contribution to the on-going studies and debates about the nature and future of the Catholic, celibate priesthood. His research and his stories of life-changing decisions deserve the attention of his brother priests and the church's bishops. American Catholic Studies Father Stephen Fichter's fascinating work explores the complicated factors that influence a man's decision to make the transition from Catholic priesthood to Protestant ministry. These 'greener pastures shepherds' can shed light on many important topics, including celibacy, commitment, ministry, and sexuality. This groundbreaking study, which I highly recommend, is a refreshing read based not on opinions, but on facts, and the lived experiences of those who have made the transition. -- James Martin SJ, author of the New York Times bestseller Jesus: A Pilgrimage Carrying on the legacy of his granduncle, the priest-sociologist Joseph Fichter, S.J., Stephen Fichter, also a priest-sociologist, has produced a rich portrait of priests who have left the Catholic priesthood to become married Protestant clergy. Using in-depth interviews with former priests and their spouses/partners, as well as survey data, Fichter takes the reader along the path that these transitioning priests follow-a kind of rite of passage-as they move from a celibate Catholic priesthood to being shepherds 'in greener pastures' where, as Protestant clergy, they can embrace both marriage and ministry. This move, however, comes at a price as they must also forego their Catholic identity-a difficult but necessary tradeoff. This is an important study that will be of interest to a wide audience-sociologists, students of occupational change, and especially to Catholic and Protestant clergy and denominational officials. I highly commend it. -- Jackson W. Carroll, Williams Professor Emeritus of Religion and Society, Duke Divinity School Stephen Fichter, like his granduncle before him, Joseph Fichter, S.J., explores an emerging pattern among Catholic priests that is both sociologically fascinating and very policy relevant. While his predecessor studied married Catholic clergy who transitioned from the Episcopal Church, this book focuses upon Catholic priests who transition to become non-celibate Protestant ministers. The book is a 'must read' not only for anyone interested in the sociology of organized religion, but also for its insights into the process of role transitions. -- Helen Rose Ebaugh, University of Houstonshow more

Table of contents

Part I. Becoming Shepherds Chapter 1. "The best eight years of my life" Chapter 2. Religiously Motivated Celibacy Chapter 3. "God gives us a lot of choices in life" Chapter 4. Societal and Personal Milestones Chapter 5. "My unhappiness followed me" Chapter 6. Paul VI and Max Weber Part II. Crossing into New Fields Chapter 7. "I have always felt a call to ministry" Chapter 8. Just Changing Lanes? Chapter 9. "I needed to fulfill myself more" Chapter 10. Four Forerunners in the Field Chapter 11. "I wanted to be with Dennis" Chapter 12. Pastoral Provision and Secondary Socialization Part III. Pastoring with Partners Chapter 13. "I looked at him looking at me" Chapter 14. Motivated by Head or Heart? Chapter 15. "I'd do it all the same again" Chapter 16. Vatican II Cohort and Period Effects Chapter 17. "His dad was nicer before mine was" Chapter 18. Long Term Effect of Parental Support Conclusion: Valuable Lessons Learnedshow more

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