Ron Eberley is a 66 year old father of five who at 52 began his studies for the Roman Catholic priesthood. He had been a constable in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 22 years and upon retirement from the force worked in real estate. All his life he had been a devout Catholic, active in more than a dozen Catholic parishes in western Canada. When his wife Irene died in 1987, Ron felt the call to become a priest and entered a seminary for older men in Seattle, anticipating 10 to 15 years of priestly ministry. He had felt after Irene's death that he would never remarry and that he could accept the obligation of celibacy. But four years into his seminary training he met Jan, who was studying to become a pastoral minister, and they fell in love. Ron had to leave the seminary programme, but he continued and completed his theological studies. For over a decade, Ron and Jan have worked together in parish ministry, but Ron has never given up the hope to become a married priest. There is a provision in Canon Law whereby the Church can grant a dispensation to a married man to receive the Sacrament of Orders.
Numerous Protestant clergymen have been allowed to become priests and remain married on this basis. But Ron discovered that when a life-long Catholic seeks this dispensation all lines of communication to Rome through his local bishop are closed. In light of the critical shortage of priests this closure is scandalous. This book is a challenge to the church officials and a plea on behalf of the people of God for qualified married priests irrespective of gender.
Ron Eberley and his wife, Jan, live in Spokane, Washington.