Father Daniel McFalls, 58, recently stunned parishioners when he admitted to fathering a congregant’s baby. But in the wake of his son’s birth, the suspended priest has another message sure to send shock waves through Catholic leadership: McFalls wants the church to allow priests to marry.
As for his son, who was born on Saturday, the embattled faith leader expressed joy, despite the pains related to stepping down, in an interview with The New York Daily News.
“When that little baby was born at 5:22 a.m., it was the happiest moment of my life, along with my ordination,” McFalls said. ”Nothing on earth equals the joy I feel when I see his little face. When you hold a baby, you know that child contains the whole universe. You see the eyes of God looking back at you saying, ‘Where do you stand?’”
McFalls voluntarily quit his post at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Stockton, Calif., last week after revealing that he had fathered a child with an unnamed woman in his congregation. He described his lover as a highly discreet church member and said that he was forced into a position of either caring for his child or caring for the people at the church.
Church members received a letter from the priest in which he revealed the stunning news.
“A child will soon be born, and I am the baby’s father. I know this comes as a shock to you and, to many, a disappointment,” he said. “I assume full responsibility for my actions and will do all that I can so that my child receives the care and love that he deserves.”
Rather than shy away from the relationship, he told the Daily News that he hopes to marry the woman and that he cares for her deeply.
McFalls also said he’s hopeful that his situation will help the Catholic church take a second look at its policies surrounding celibacy.
“I know I’m not worthy to be speaking publicly about this because I’m a sinner, but I hope this might help the Catholic church to look more deeply at the possibility of finding some way to open the door to a married priesthood,” he told the newspaper.
He also highlighted his struggles in becoming a priest at 40 and in maintaining celibacy — something he had hoped he’d be able to maintain. While he failed in that task, McFalls is open and honest about his sins.
Mistakes aside, he also went on to say that he knows he was called by God to be a priest and that there are many who may be called to be both married and men of the cloth — something the Catholic church’s current doctrine disallows except under certain circumstances, like if a man was married beforehand.
While some parishioners came to his defense after the church placed him on leave, others have spoken out against him. Critics have accused him of being flirtatious, but supporters believe his good intentions have simply been misconstrued.
“I’ve had a rough couple of years, and he has been over to my home many times just with a call to say prayers with my family and children,” congregant Terri Lomeli told KTXL-TV.
(H/T: Mail Online)
Featured image via KTXL