The Vatican announced that Harm Klueting, 61 a married father of two in Germany was ordained as a Catholic priest on Tuesday, a rare move by the church, which normally requires priests to be single and to take vows of chastity.
Klueting, a professor of theology at universities in Cologne and Switzerland, and his wife served as clerics in the Lutheran church before converting to Catholicism several years ago. Since then, Klueting's wife, whose name was not given, has become a nun in the Carmelite order.
Klueting was ordained by Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner during a private ceremony in Cologne in a so rare that it required the special permission of Pope Benedict XVI himself.
"This happens seldom but it's not unusual," diocese spokesman Christoph Heckeley told Reuters.
The Cologne archdiocese said in a statement that the new priest did not have to take a vow of celibacy.
Carmelite nuns typically lead strict, cloistered lifestyles, and it's not clear if Klueting and his wife live together.
Klueting is not the first married priest in the Catholic Church. A little known law enacted during the reign of Pope Pius XII in 1950s allows married clergy from other Christian faiths to be ordained priests.
The recent ordination of married men comes as the church is loosening its rules to make it easier for Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.
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