From Celibate Catholic Priest to Married Protestant Minister: Shepherding in Greener Pastures describes a previously unstudied population of celibate Catholic priests who left the priesthood and eventually became married Protestant ministers. Stephen Fichter alternates from narrative to descriptive as he follows the lives of three of his study participants before, during, and after their dual transition. The descriptive sections include a history of religiously motivated celibacy and a review of the four leading forerunners in the field of Catholic clergy research. This scholarly study is the first time that these transitional clerics have candidly explained their difficult journeys of discernment. Religion, love, loss, and commitment are all analyzed in the context of this unique group of men, and the profiles in this book are memorable not only for the richness of their content, but also-and maybe most importantly-for their humanity. Lessons can be drawn for all people, especially those who have ever suffered a mid-life crisis.
Stephen Joseph Fichter is the pastor at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Haworth, New Jersey, and research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.