Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Spanish Catholic Church ordains married priest

MADRID, Spain - A former Anglican cleric who is married has been ordained a Catholic priest — a first for the church in Spain.

Zimbabwe-born Evans David Gliwitzki, 64, was ordained in the town of La Laguna on the island of Tenerife by Bishop Felipe Fernandez, the bishop’s office said Monday on its Web site.

The office said the ordination had the full support of the late Pope John Paul II and Spain’s Roman Catholic Church. It said it was an exceptional case and did not in any way signal a departure from the Catholic Church’s insistence that its priests be celibate.

The diocese said that Gliwitzki — who has two daughters, ages 30 and 40 — would remain married after the ordination. His wife and daughters attended the ceremony.

“With this ordination, my husband has come back to what was always his home,” his wife, Patricia, was quoted as saying in the statement.

A first for Spain
There are several married priest but this is the first time for the Catholic Church in Spain.

In 1980, Pope John Paul allowed married Episcopal clergy to join the Catholic Church and serve as priests. After the Church of England decided to ordain women as priests in the early 1990s, several Anglican priests in Britain opposed to that move converted to Catholicism and the church modified its celibacy rule to admit the married clergymen.

Gliwitzki was ordained in the Anglican church in 1984. He converted to Catholicism several years ago. About 2½ years ago, Spain’s Bishop’s Conference began the process for his ordination.

His first posting will be in a town in the south of Tenerife island, located off the northwest coast of Africa.

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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