Father Josh: A married Catholic priest in a celibate world

State & Regional

In this Feb. 7, 2020, photo, Catholic Priest, husband and dad Joshua Whitfield plays with three of his four children Maggie, 9, Peter, 8, and Zoe-Catherine, 5, at their home in north Dallas. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski)

DALLAS (AP) — In a Catholic world where debates over clerical celibacy have flared from Brazil to the Vatican, Joshua Whitfield is that rarest of things: A married Catholic priest.

Whitfield is a former Episcopal priest who converted to Catholicism and was later, with special papal dispensation, ordained as a Catholic priest, becoming, as he says, “an ecclesiastical zoo exhibit.”

A father of four, Whitfield is beloved by parishioners of St. Rita Catholic Community in Dallas. He juggles two worlds: He celebrates Mass, he hears confession, he takes his son to karate. But at St. Rita, he’s just Father Josh.

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