CHARLOTTETOWN — For the first time in P.E.I., a married man has been ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.
Martin Carter, a former Anglican clergyman, was ordained Sunday in an evening mass at St. Dunstan’s Basilica in Charlottetown.
“Being an Anglican for 25 years, I thought I’d stay that way,” Carter told the Charlottetown Guardian following the ceremony.
“It was a bit of a struggle, but thanks to the grace of God, it went through.”
Carter, 63, said the Pope occasionally grants special permission for married men to become priests in cases where they’ve converted from other Christian churches.
“Not that there is anything wrong with marriage, it’s a status of life, but for the work of the church, the church becomes your bride in a sense,” he said.
“That’s a church law and there can be some exceptions.”
Carter said married men have been able to seek permission to be ordained for about 30 years.
About a dozen married men have been ordained in Canada in that time, and there’s about 100 cases in the United States, he said.
The exception doesn’t just apply to Anglican priests. Carter said he’s heard of instances where married Lutheran and Baptist priests became Roman Catholic priests.
However, the father of three grown children said it’s still rare, and he doesn’t expect there will be a rapid growth in the number of married Catholic priests.
In about a week, Carter is expected to begin working as an assisting priest in the parish of St. Piux X in Charlottetown.
He is leaving his job as a research assistant at Agriculture Canada to work full time for the church.