Yesterday brought a lovely story in El Tiempo Latino titled "Un sacerdote que rompe barreras y abre caminos". For those who don't read Spanish, the priest is Fr. Vidal Rivas. He was incardinated in the diocese of Zacatecoluca, El Salvador and working in the Washington, DC diocese when he was removed from ministry -- in his words "because of my revolutionary way of thinking and for having brought the message of Msgr. Romero to DC." This priest had done outstanding and recognized work commemorating Archbishop Romero and raising funds for disaster relief in his homeland.
Now he is going to be a priest in the Episcopal Church (Congratulations, evangelicos! By our intransigence, we have given you one of our finest men.) And he has just gotten married to a lovely Nicaraguan lady. Fr. Rivas was always an opponent of the celibacy regulations, pointing out that they really contradict the Bible. In this article he cites 1 Timothy 3:1-15 which outlines the requirements for bishops and deacons -- among which that they should be "married only once" and keep their children under control. So, yes, in the early church the leaders could be married.
In preparing this blog and researching Fr. Rivas, I discovered a new resource. The Diocese of Marquette (God love 'em) publishes the "Monitus" from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in their monthly "Diocesan Communicator". This is the advisory that warns against certain individual priests and religious organizations. In the issues that mentioned Fr. Rivas, I was saddened to see how many other Hispanic priests were on the advisory list. Our priest shortage is far more acute than that of the US church in general. Sometimes the Monitus will actually tell you why someone was removed from ministry.
Getting back to the article, I will end with the loving words of Fr. Rivas' new bride, Maria de los Angeles Perez. She says "some religions forget that priests are human." And she adds: "I have always admired him [Rivas] a lot but now I admire him even more because in addition to being my husband he is at the same time my great pastor and priest."