Trim: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-8520-9 • Hardback • July 2015 • $121.00 • (£93.00)
978-0-7391-8522-3 • Paperback • November 2016 • $54.99 • (£42.00)
978-0-7391-8521-6 • eBook • July 2015 • $49.00 • (£38.00)
Stephen Joseph Fichter is the pastor at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Haworth, New Jersey, and research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.
Part I. Becoming Shepherds
Chapter 1. "The best eight years of my life"
Chapter 2. Religiously Motivated Celibacy
Chapter 3. "God gives us a lot of choices in life"
Chapter 4. Societal and Personal Milestones
Chapter 5. "My unhappiness followed me"
Chapter 6. Paul VI and Max Weber
Part II. Crossing into New Fields
Chapter 7. "I have always felt a call to ministry"
Chapter 8. Just Changing Lanes?
Chapter 9. "I needed to fulfill myself more"
Chapter 10. Four Forerunners in the Field
Chapter 11. "I wanted to be with Dennis"
Chapter 12. Pastoral Provision and Secondary Socialization
Part III. Pastoring with Partners
Chapter 13. "I looked at him looking at me"
Chapter 14. Motivated by Head or Heart?
Chapter 15. "I'd do it all the same again"
Chapter 16. Vatican II Cohort and Period Effects
Chapter 17. "His dad was nicer before mine was"
Chapter 18. Long Term Effect of Parental Support
Conclusion: Valuable Lessons Learned
I found Fichter's From Celibate Catholic Priest to Married Protestant Minister a timely contribution to the on-going studies and debates about the nature and future of the Catholic, celibate priesthood. His research and his stories of life-changing decisions deserve the attention of his brother priests and the church's bishops.
— American Catholic Studies
Father Stephen Fichter's fascinating work explores the complicated factors that influence a man’s decision to make the transition from Catholic priesthood to Protestant ministry. These 'greener pastures shepherds' can shed light on many important topics, including celibacy, commitment, ministry, and sexuality. This groundbreaking study, which I highly recommend, is a refreshing read based not on opinions, but on facts, and the lived experiences of those who have made the transition.
— James Martin SJ, author of the New York Times bestseller Jesus: A Pilgrimage
Carrying on the legacy of his granduncle, the priest-sociologist Joseph Fichter, S.J., Stephen Fichter, also a priest-sociologist, has produced a rich portrait of priests who have left the Catholic priesthood to become married Protestant clergy. Using in-depth interviews with former priests and their spouses/partners, as well as survey data, Fichter takes the reader along the path that these transitioning priests follow—a kind of rite of passage—as they move from a celibate Catholic priesthood to being shepherds 'in greener pastures' where, as Protestant clergy, they can embrace both marriage and ministry. This move, however, comes at a price as they must also forego their Catholic identity—a difficult but necessary tradeoff. This is an important study that will be of interest to a wide audience—sociologists, students of occupational change, and especially to Catholic and Protestant clergy and denominational officials. I highly commend it.
— Jackson W. Carroll, Williams Professor Emeritus of Religion and Society, Duke Divinity School
Stephen Fichter, like his granduncle before him, Joseph Fichter, S.J., explores an emerging pattern among Catholic priests that is both sociologically fascinating and very policy relevant. While his predecessor studied married Catholic clergy who transitioned from the Episcopal Church, this book focuses upon Catholic priests who transition to become non-celibate Protestant ministers. The book is a 'must read' not only for anyone interested in the sociology of organized religion, but also for its insights into the process of role transitions.
— Helen Rose Ebaugh, University of Houston