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Haworth Pastor Discusses Priests' Splits From Church In New Book

Rev. Stephen Fichter will speak about his new book at Haworth Public Library.
Rev. Stephen Fichter will speak about his new book at Haworth Public Library. Photo Credit: Courtesy Sacred Heart Church

HAWORTH, N.J. — A Catholic priest in Haworth is sharing his studies on leaders who have left the faith and overcome religious transitions in a new book.

The Rev. Stephen Fichter, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, spoke to former Catholic priests who left the priesthood for a variety of reasons for "From Celibate Catholic Priest to Married Protestant Minister: Shepherding In Greener Pastures.”

“Before I wrote this book, no one knew how many there were,” said . “As it turns out, there are about 430 -- even up to 500 in the U.S.”

Several who couldn't return as priests wanted to get back into ministry, so they reached out to Protestant churches, he said.

Fichter will be discussing his book, based on a 2008 dissertation that he wrote at Rutgers University, in the meeting room of the Haworth Public Library from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

"This is not an autobiography," said Fichter, who has a doctorate degree in sociology and works with CARA at Georgetown University, the research institute for the Catholic world. "It discusses what can we learn from these men’s transitions, much like a divorce plus a midlife career change.”

Three of the 132 former priests interviewed by Fichter share their stories in narrative form, while providing historical perspective.

Many of them faced trauma. Some felt they disappointed other priests and their congregation.

Each is making his way in the aftermath.

“It may be fascinating to all people who are either Catholic or Protestant who want to understand their ministers and those who have made life changes,” Fisher said.

MORE INFO: http://haworth.bccls.org

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