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NZ confused Catholic

Pope gives special permission for ex-Lutheran priest to remain married to Carmelite nun?

New Zealand’s national Catholic newspaper (#362 March 27 2011) reports that an ex-Lutheran has been ordained as a Catholic priest “and is being allowed to remain married to his wife, who is already a Carmelite nun“!

The mind boggles!

It is irritating when the secular media makes mistakes in reporting on religion. It is annoying when religious media makes mistakes about other religions. But it is IMO totally unacceptable when a denomination’s media does not even understand the basic teachings of its own denomination.

Harm Klueting, 61, was ordained by Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner in a private ceremony at the city’s seminary, the Cologne archdiocese said.

Pope Benedict XVI gave him special permission to remain married to his wife, Edeltraut Klueting, who became a Catholic Carmelite nun in 2004. They have two grown children.

“It doesn’t happen every day,” noted Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi.

Let’s just quickly clear some things up for the very confused NZ Catholic:

  • Roman Catholic teaching is that a valid marriage only ends at death. The couple does not need, and could not receive, the pope’s “special permission to remain married”.
  • I presume the pope dispensed Harm Klueting from the requirement of celibacy for ordination (Canon 1042).
  • And yes, a married man being ordained priest “doesn’t happen every day” in the Catholic Church – but it’s regular enough. Very regular in Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, and increasingly in the West.

ps. the story is all over the web and in secular news. That’s no excuse for NZ Catholic to repeat the nonsense.

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2 thoughts on “NZ confused Catholic”

  1. This is simply poor reporting. As a nearly retired journalist I feel somehow compelled to apologize to all those who read this story and were misinformed. When a journalist makes a big mistake like this all journalists get painted with the broad, broad brush of ineptitude.

    In most circumstances journalists don’t tell us what to think; they tell us what to think about. Example: Mother Theresa had the misfortune to die the same week that Princess Di died fleeing from paparazzi. Coverage of Theresa’s life and death would have been more inspiring to a hurt and broken world than Diana’s ever could be. However Diana’s life was glitzier, more exciting (in a way) and it was easier to report from London than from the slums of Calcutta. In other words, the Princes’s obit was easier to write than the nun’s.

    So… Carmelite? Must be a nun. Has to be. A married priest? That can’t be. Must have pulled some really big strings (and the Pope is the biggest string of all) in the Vatican to get that to happen. It’s just poor, lazy journalism. And I apologize for it.

    Another example: here in the States we have heard almost nothing further about the earthquake in Christchurch since the first tremor was felt in northern Japan. It is as if your hurt and suffering stopped the moment it started in Japan. And it might be easier to report from Tokyo than from Auckland.


    1. Thanks, Schley. I can assure you we are all very conscious of Japan’s suffering here also. Also, funerals from those who died in the Christchurch quake continue on into the sixth week after the quake, the central city is still out of bounds, and the rebuilding will take a very long time.

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