As former Protestant minister Scott Caton prepares for his ordination as a Catholic priest in 2011, his wife and six children are prayerfully offering their support. As a priest, he hopes to focus on reconciling men and women with God and to “break down” any misunderstandings between Protestants and Catholics.
“My wife and children have been incredibly supportive and I could not do this without their love and prayer,” Caton told the Diocese of Rochester, N.Y.
In 1980, the Vatican created a Pastoral Provision allowing married Lutheran, Anglican and Episcopal ministers to enter the priesthood after their conversion and theological-catechetical formation.
Caton has been married for 28 years and is a former Protestant minister. Twelve years ago, he converted to Catholicism, but recognized that God was calling him to more.
According to the Rochester diocese, Caton remarked that he has “always felt this tug, this inner true desire to continue with my vocation, in conjunction with my academic work.”
“The inward drive to become Catholic was related to my study of Scripture, theology, and the Church’s rich history, but also the beauty and the power of the Eucharist, and my need and desire for it. And as time went on, I increasingly felt the need to be a part of giving not only myself, but also the Eucharist, to people in the way that only a priest can do.”
Caton spoke with Bishop of Rochester Matthew H. Clark about his desire to become a priest and began undergoing preparations.
Bishop Clark expressed his excitement and pleasure at Caton's decision to become a priest saying, “Scott is a man of strong faith and keen intellect, with a wonderful personality. He’s a good man and will be a good priest.”
Caton also received permission to be ordained from both the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Pope Benedict.
He will be ordained a transitional deacon on June 5 by Bishop Clark.
Caton emphasized that he is excited to “reconcile women and men with God, to help bring people to their Creator, to closeness to God and closer to each other. And in some way, because of my background and my perspective, perhaps too I can help break down any walls of misunderstanding between Protestants and Catholics.”
According to the Office of Pastoral Provision, since 1983, over 70 married men have been ordained in the United States under this provision.