Paynter is now Catholic priest
October 15, 2004
Paynter is now Catholic priest

Sunday, October 10, 2004, was a memorable day for Roman Catholics in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It was the first time that Vincentians witnessed the ordination of a former Anglican minister to the Roman Catholic Church. Vincentian Lamont Phillips of Layou, former Anglican canon of St. George’s Cathedral, Leslie Lett and Christopher Tuckwell of Georgetown relinquished their vows as Anglican clerics and became Roman Catholic priests. {{more}}They all turned up to the ceremony in a show of support for their brother in the cloth.

Richard Ambrose Leslie Irenaeus Paynter formally renounced his vows as an Anglican and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on 10th October, 2004, by Bishop Rivas. In 1977, he had been ordained an Anglican priest by Archbishop Cuthbert Woodroofe. Paynter was rector of St. Paul’s for over 18 years until he resigned from St. Paul’s in October 2002 to become a Roman Catholic priest.

Most people believe that Catholic priests cannot marry and must be celibate. The following, however, is worthy of note: “Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, there have always been married and celibate priests. In the Western (or Latin) church, Catholic priests are required to live a life of celibacy for the sake of the service of the Gospel. In the early church, celibacy was not required – Peter, the first Pope was a married man, and so were many other bishops and priests. In the Eastern Catholic Church, and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, which have valid Catholic orders recognised by Rome, celibacy is optional. Deacons and priests must marry before ordination, and bishops are chosen from among the monks. All orthodox parish priests must be married men.

“Eastern churches, in union with Rome, e.g. Ukrainian Catholic, etc., have both married deacons and priests. Under Pope Gregory VII (1173 – 85), celibacy became mandatory for all the Catholic clergy in the west, although it had been imposed with varying degrees of success from the fourth century. In 1971, at the World Synod of Bishops, celibacy was re-affirmed as a requirement for the clergy, but the Synod also affirmed the legitimacy of the Pope to grant exceptions for the ordination of married ministers of other denominations in extraordinary circumstances for entering into full communion with Rome and configuring the priestly ministry as priests of the Catholic Church. In 1980, Pope John Paul authorised ‘Pastoral Provisions’ grant-ing dispensation from the obligation of celibacy for a limited number of Anglican priests who enter into full communion with Rome. In Latin American countries, because of the acute shortage of priests, quite a number of married men have been ordained priests.”