One of the hardest things Ed Donaghy has ever done was leave his ministry as a Catholic priest. For months, he agonized over his conflicting desires to have a family and serve as a priest in the Sacramento Diocese.
In the end, Donaghy felt he had no choice. The priest, who served in Woodland, told his bishop he had to leave.
That was four decades ago.
"It would have been wonderful to be married and be a priest," said Donaghy, 73, now retired as an insurance agent. "I loved the work and would have continued."
Donaghy is one of more than 75 men in the Sacramento area who have left active ministry in the priesthood to marry. Many of them, say Donaghy and others, "would have returned in a minute if the rules changed."
That is not likely to happen soon.
But the possibility that someday Catholics may see married priests in the pulpit was raised last week. That's when Vatican officials announced an arrangement that welcomes Anglicans into the Catholic Church, including their married priests.
Vatican officials have said repeatedly over the years that celibacy will remain mandatory, but many observers say having married Anglican priests in the church is a "major move" toward the idea of married Catholic priests.
"It's significant," said Sister Chris Schenk, of FutureChurch, a Cleveland group studying the shortages of priests in the United States.
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