A former Episcopal has given up sex with his wife, permanently as part of his conversion to become a Catholic Priest.
John Cornelius who was an Episcopal priest for twenty years, quit two years ago over the church’s positive approach towards homosexuality. He told local TV station WGRZ: “”No one thing really drove me out of the church…there was the ordination of the homosexual priest in New England, …then it came time for women’s ordination…It may have been okay for other people, but it was just too much for me.”
Mr Cornelius became a Catholic shortly after but was not allowed to enter the priesthood because he is married.
A year ago, Pope Benedict XVI issued an order to allow married priests from the Episcopal and Anglican communions to become Catholic priests. Unusually, priests who are married before their conversion, may continue to have sex with their wives, but must become celibate if they separate or their wife dies.
”When they did that, I just jumped,” said Cornelius, who wasted no time in applying. ”It wasn’t easy. We had one dossier that went to Rome where they did research on us, and I had to go see the shrink, the psychologist, and other people. But even that only determined that you didn’t have really bad things in your background that prevents you from being a priest…and then there was 14 weeks of intense instruction over the internet which was taught by St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, Texas.”
Mr Cornelius, who became a Catholic priest on Saturday said that his decision to become celibate was voluntary. “I have always had friends that are Roman Catholic priests and I appreciate what they’ve given up to serve god and the priesthood,” he said. “I have such appreciation and affection for these guys, that it’s just part of my own spirituality to do this…out of respect for them really.”