Couple staying married as they become priest and nun

A married nun from Germany now has a priest for a husband. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

In Germany, a married couple is making headlines. For a few years, the wife of this couple has been serving as a Carmelite nun. The husband has recently taken vows as a priest. In order to take vows, the couple had to individually get dispensations from the Pope.

Making vows for Harm and Edeltraut Klueting

When they were first married in 1977, Harm and Edeltraut Kluting were Lutherans. The couple had two children and served the Lutheran church as clerics. The couple then became Catholic. They waited until their children were grown, and in 2004, Edeltraut received papal dispensation to take vows as a Carmelite nun and remain married to Harm. Now Harm has gotten his dispensation. That means he can become a Catholic priest. The couple is remaining married while serving in their respective church posts.

Other married Catholic priests

There is a specific image that comes to mind typically when the phrase “Catholic priest” comes about: a man serving in the church, unmarried and celibate. Pope Piux XII in 1950 made a ruling that allowed priests from other Christian denominations to convert to the Catholic religion, stay married and also become Catholic priests. Estimates are that between 5 percent and 10 percent of Catholic priests, especially in Eastern Bloc countries, are married and serving as priests with the full knowledge and approval of the church.

What about celibacy?

Being celibate and unmarried are traditional requirements in the Catholic church for nuns and priests. With a pope dispensation, though, the church makes exceptions for married couples. The declining number of men and women taking vows has raised questions about the celibacy requirement from inside and outside the Catholic church. Last year, a new conversion program was started by the catholic church to help Anglican priests and bishops convert to Roman Catholicism with ease. Married priests and female priests are not allowed in the Roman Catholic church without a papal dispensation, but some other Catholic sects allow them.

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The Star