Married priest assigned to Milwaukee

July 26, 2008 at 4:05 PM   |   Comments

MILWAUKEE, July 26 (UPI) -- A married Roman Catholic priest with children will join the Milwaukee Archdiocese for the first time in its history, church officials say.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan wrote in a letter to his priests that he was "impressed" by the Rev. Michael Scheip and was willing to let the married priest join the archdiocese, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday.

"He comes with a genuine desire to be of service to the church here in Milwaukee," Dolan wrote.

Scheip, 50, is coming from the Diocese of Venice, Fla., along with his wife of 24 years and will serve at Dolan's parish in Milwaukee.

In his letter, Dolan also answered any potential questions from the 10-county archdiocese regarding how important celibacy is among Catholic priests.

"Although it is highly valued, Pope Paul VI states that celibacy 'is not, of course, required by the nature of the priesthood itself. This is clear from the practice of the early church and the traditions of the Eastern rite churches,'" he said.

The Journal Sentinel said since the late Pope John Paul II created a marriage exemption in 1980, nearly 100 married priests have been ordained nationwide.

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