BUDAPEST: Hungary’s Catholic military bishop has resigned because he wants to marry a woman he met in the church’s renewal movement, the media reported on Friday.
Fifty-year-old Brigadier General Tamas Szabo has been preaching to Catholic soldiers, border guards and their families since 2001.
Bishop Tamás Szabó was ordained to the episcopate in 2002 and I guess the renewal movement didn’t go as intended.
At least, he’s trying to do it the right way! he didn’t just up and get married to some cultist!
I guess we’ll have to assume that the relationship has been platonic.
Okay – dumb question from a (waffling) Prod: is there a process for a Catholic (celibate Latin Rite) clergyman to be “unclergied,” legitimately return to private life, and get married w/o being cast into the fires of Gehenna? I’m not trying to legitimize the fact that this guy seems to have gotten romanticaly entangled while a bishop; just wondering if it is possible for a priest to decide to leave the priesthood, be morally and legally relieved of his vows, go – say – sell insurance for 10 years, fall in love, get married, etc.
Yes. A priest can be dispensed from his vows. He is still a priest, because a priest is “a priest forever, in the Order or Melchisidek”, but he is not allowed to engage in priestly ministry. The only exception is that he would be required to administer the Anointing of the Sick and hear the confession of a Catholic who was in danger of death, and there was no other priest available.
As I’m a Hungarian myself, I found the story no laughing matter… It’s pretty dispiriting, I think, because we’ve almost have gotten used to priests being discharged from their vows because of “romantic entanglements”, but not bishops… There are also rumors in the yellow press that the story has been going on for some time now, and the bishop only resigned because of pressure from Church authorities. But we’ll probably never know.
What was the most irksome in the whole affair was a theologian from a Catholic university in Budapest who claimed that diocesan priests didn’t make a vow of celibacy like regular clergy, so “this doesn’t mean that he has to remain a virgin”. It boggles the mind, especially as the Catholic Church in Hungary is quite orthodox otherwise and you would not expect her theologians to talk such nonsense. (Though it may also be of course that he was just too subtle and didn’t quite get to the point, so the journalists didn’t get what he meant and twisted his words.)
“(Though it may also be of course that he was just too subtle and didn’t quite get to the point, so the journalists didn’t get what he meant and twisted his words.)”
Or got his meaning and twisted it. You never know.