Like father, like Father: Dad and son becoming Catholic priests

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by JIM DOUGLAS

WFAA

Posted on June 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM

KELLER, Texas -- A tall, young man dressed in black kneels before the altar at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Keller.

"Do you promise respect and obedience to your Ordinary?"

"I do," the young man responds.

It's rehearsal for the ordination ceremony to become a Catholic priest.

Or as they say in one family, like Father, like son.

"Go ahead."

"No, you go ahead," they talk over each other in comfortable, comedic banter.

"[I'm] Father Chuck Hough III," the older man says.

"And I will be father Chuck Hough IV," said the younger.

"Who is my son," his dad adds with a big laugh.

Talk about a proud father. Proud son, too.

Chuck Hough the third and fourth are Deacons from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

The Vatican has allowed married Episcopal priests to be ordained since 1981.

"But in 2009 [Pope] Benedict expanded the pastoral provision to allow groups of Anglicans with their clergy to come into the Catholic church and bring their heritage with them," Deacon Hough III explained. "That's what we're a part of."

A part of 60 Anglican priests who will become Catholic priests within the next year. And there's another large group behind them.

Six will be ordained Saturday morning at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

"It's very rare," they say together. "It might be the first time father and son have been ordained together in the same Mass."

They say the rift in the Episcopal church over gay and female priests and other issues did not drive them away, but only solidified their Catholic leanings and their longing to be unified with Rome.

"The unity issue for me was greater than the problems," said Deacon Hough IV.

But being a married priest presents challenges.

No birth control. And if their marital status should change, so do the rules.

If that happens, "We're celibate," they say. "We've both signed documents to that effect."

Catholic priests, they point out, marry the church.

In this case, "like father, like son." And, "like father, like Father."

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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