Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Stockton priest steps down to become a dad

Fr. Dean McFalls, 58, who had been a priest for 18 years, left that role abruptly last Sunday, following the birth of his son, Gabriel, on Saturday. Rev. McFalls has not publicly identified the mother of his child, although several news sources say she is one of his parishioners. He had been pastor of St. Mary's in Stockton, California, and also a chaplain with the city's police department. He has relinquished both positions, having been placed on a personal leave of absence from active ministry and suspended a divinis.

McFalls issued a public statement to his community, apologizing for any grief or hurt his actions had caused. He told them that "a child will soon be born, and I am the baby's father...I assume full responsibility for my actions and will do all that I can so that my child receives the care and love that he deserves. Once he was conceived, I had no other option, as a Christian and a priest, than to do everything possible that he might have life, and have it to the full." To the press, he added that , "what I did not want was to make the child or mother suffer for my sins. I don't want this child growing up in the shadows. The last thing you want is for an innocent child to suffer or go in exile or be terminated because of my mistakes. I am a pro-life priest in a pro-life church."

Apart from his public statement about his change of status, Fr. McFalls also had a few words for the Church which he served, saying that the time has come for a married priesthood. "If the situation in the Catholic Church were different, I would be a better man...More stable, more effective in the long run as a human being." He said he hopes to return to priestly ministry some day. "I look forward to the day when a married man can be a priest without having to come through the back door," McFalls said.

No comments: