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AFFIRMING AN INCLUSIVE PRIESTHOOD, ROOTED IN A REFORMED AND RENEWED CHURCH

Pat Callahan's Addendum

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 "I thought that those who read my letter to friends and family at the time of my 1984 resignation from clerical ministry in the July/August CORPUS REPORTS would enjoy the HAGAR cartoon that I included on the title page along with a personal message. I think humor has been essential to carrying me through many life challenges and was an important part of introducing my somewhat heavy treatise. I would also add a correction to a typo I made in submitting the text. I spent 15 years of active ministry as a priest of the Seattle Archdiocese with 7 as associate pastor and 8 as pastor of 2 large parishes....not 25. I hope sharing my story will prompt others to submit theirs to Tony Steger & Maxine Gilmeister at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For those who would like a digital copy of my "farewell address" send me an email request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Pat Callahan, Seattle

Friends,

In January of 1984 I sent out the attached letter/essay to a circle of family and friends announcing my decision to resign from clerical ministry in the Catholic Church and (lucky me) marry Julie.

Interesting that 33 years later so many of the issues around mandatory celibacy for priests, ordination of women, and priest shortage that I describe in this letter remain unresolved. In April,1995 60+ local clergy signed a statement calling for dialogue on these issues at a 2 day Conference with Archbishop Murphy at the Executel in Fife to discuss future needs for the Archdiocese.. .......and still no progress after 21 years.

My reflection is a reminder of the difficult struggle for so many of the 25,000 U.S. priests who have resigned in the last 40 years to discern their need to exit a priestly ministry that they loved in order to meet their own need to be "whole and holy".

It appears that after the ban on discussing a married priesthood under Pope JPII and Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis is open to dialogue and has encouraged bishops to bring the issue to him. It is a likely topic at the next Synod.

When I wrote the attached, so much of what lay ahead was mystery. Julie and I celebrated our marriage at St. John's Lutheran Church in the Fremont area of Seattle on April 28, 1984 surrounded by family and friends. My sweet Julie has more than fulfilled my expectations as a loving and VERY PATIENT spouse as I adjusted to married life. She is my biggest life blessing. I did not know then
that there would be the opportunity to continue working for Church reform through my involvement as Coordinator for our local group of 120 resigned priests these past 30 years, my 8 years on the CORPUS Board, and my helping launch our local chapter of CALL TO ACTION. Nor did I anticipate that hundreds of couples would be seeking me out to officiate their weddings and families would come to me to conduct Memorials for their loved ones.

This is an opportunity to THANK all who have been part of that journey.

Pat Callahan

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