My experience as a married Catholic priest for 28 years brings to mind several thoughts, both practical and spiritual. First, the church must support new priests’ families financially. During my first years as a married Catholic priest, there were times when we could not pay the heating bill. When I was ordained, it was made quite clear to me that I should not look to the church as my main source of income but rather to a full-time job outside of the church. My parish duties have thus always been secondary.
Secondly, the new priests must be prepared for the spiritual struggles that come with the territory of being a married priest in the Catholic Church. It is difficult for children of priests to hear everyone call their father, “Father.” It is one of my regrets that I could never be a “normal Dad” who was able to attend school functions and sporting events. Priests’ wives often bear the brunt of this special status, for they must allow their husbands to be “priest” at a real cost to themselves and their children.