Saturday, October 13, 2007
Meanwhile from Manizales, Colombia, comes this interesting story courtesy of La Patria (10/7/2007). Titled "Es papá, y dos veces sacerdote" ("A father and twice a priest") it tells the story of Bernardo Pino Ocampo (photo).
Fr. Ocampo was ordained to the priesthood in the Catholic Church in 1988 and served in a number of parishes and academic institutions. He was also spiritual director of the local Cursillo movement. He fell in love with a woman and they had a daughter.
In April of this year, having grown tired of living a double life, he left the Catholic priesthood and married the mother of his 7-year old daughter. In the article he says he knows of many other priests who have children, some by several different women. He says: “Soy uno de los que propongo celibato opcional. Soy sacerdote hasta la eternidad, pues el sacerdocio es divino. Me retiro del ejercicio público, pero sigo siendo sacerdote. Descubrí que puedo amar a mi esposa, a mi hija y a la Iglesia. Eso es posible” ("I am one of those who proposes optional celibacy. I am a priest forever, because the priesthood is divine. I have retired from public practice but I continue to be a priest. I found that I was able to love my wife, my daughter, and the Church. This is possible.")
This month, Fr. Ocampo was admitted to the priesthood of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Latin America along with another former Roman Catholic priest who has children, Helio de Jesús López Soto. This Church follows the Roman rite and most Catholic teachings but is not under the Vatican and it admits married men and women to the priesthood.
But Fr. Ocampo has unfinished business with his former employer. He has gone to court to claim the pension he believes he should receive from the Archdiocese of Manizales for his many years of service. The Church is denying him a pension saying that this is only granted to priests who retire while still in the Roman Catholic priesthood.
At the end of the article, La Patria publishes various comments from citizens about the Ocampo case. Most support his appeal for a pension and the option of a married priesthood. "Deberían pagarles porque están cumpliendo una labor, y más que se trata de las cosas de Dios." ("They should pay them because they are performing a job, and more because we're talking about works of God.") "Sí, deberían estar casados porque desde el principio la familia fue constituida por Dios; no dijo hombre y mujer sola, jamás. Según el Nuevo Testamento un sacerdote debe ser esposo de una sola mujer, con hijos bien criados." ("Yes, they should be married because the family was created by God from he beginning; He did not say man or woman alone. Never. According to the New Testament, a priest should be the husband of only one woman, with well brought-up children.")