July 18th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Father and son join Catholic priesthood – together

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) -  The Revs. Chuck Hough IV and Chuck Hough III have more in common than just their names. The two have become a rarity in the Catholic Church - a father and son who became ordained Catholic priests at the same time.

Both men are both former Episcopal priests, each with a wife and children.

The younger Hough grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with his father as a leader in the Episcopal Church and ended up following in his footsteps, joining the church when he was 25.

The elder Hough had been an Episcopal priest for 31 years before both he and his son decided in 2011 to join the Catholic Church. First they became members of the Catholic Church, then applied to join as priests through the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a group to help Anglicans join the Catholic communion while maintaining some hallmarks of the Anglican tradition.

“We felt that something was missing for years and years,” the father said.

The uniqueness of a dad and son joining a church that requires priests to remain celibate and unmarried is not lost on the Houghs, who were formally ordained as Catholic priests June 30 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Keller, Texas.

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“We may be the only two that have been ordained together, certainly in U.S. Catholic history,” said the 57-year old father. “The father and son priests in Catholic Church history usually have been a widower who was later followed by his son.”

The Houghs have long been advocates of a closer relationship between the Catholic and Anglican churches.

The elder Hough said he grew up in an Anglo-Catholic diocese in Dallas and raised his son in a similar vein. During their time as Episcopal priests, both men said they identified as members of the Oxford Movement - Anglicans who view their church as one of three branches of the Catholic Church.

One of the most notable theologians in this movement was John Henry Newman, a man who the Houghs said inspired them while they were Anglican priests. Newman, an Oxford professor in the 1880s, had long advocated for the unification of the Catholic and Anglican faiths. After publishing his final salvo in the Oxford Movement, Tract 90, Newman ended up converting to Catholicism and would later become a cardinal within the church.

During their Oxford Movement work, the Houghs said they began to believe that joining the Catholic Church was really what they wanted.

“I came to recognize fully that reunion from the Holy See was the pearl of great prize for us,” the elder Hough said. “It became the most important thing for us."

Both men said their conversions mark a success in the church’s goal of allowing married Episcopal priests to join the Catholic priesthood, one laid out by Pope John Paul II in 1981. In particular, the younger Hough, who is 30, sees their conversion as a model for future conversions.

“This is not a new issue for the local diocese here in Fort Worth,” he said.

But allowing married priests into the priesthood comes with specific issues that unwed Catholic priests don’t face. While all priests need health insurance, a stipend and housing, married priests require a Catholic diocese to provide these benefits for an entire family.

The younger Hough, who has two small children, said the increase in benefits wasn’t an issue for the Fort Worth Diocese.

“From the day I resigned until now and into the future, we have been fully taken care of by the Catholic Church,” he said. “Housing, health insurance, everything was provided so that we can pursue the calling.”

And in pursuit of this calling, the Houghs have become incredibly close - their relationship clear in the way they speak about each other.

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“I have come to recognize my son's terrific gifts, and I celebrate those gifts,” the father said. “This is just the frosting on the cake.”

The younger Hough said, “Like father, like son. If God gives me the grace to be like my father, I will be a blessed man.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Anglican • Catholic Church • Christianity • Episcopal

soundoff (582 Responses)
  1. Nada

    Perhaps their church will provide some science classes to them. And then maybe they could read some Sam Harris, RIchard Dawkins, or Christopher Hitchens. And then maybe they could wake up ... and GET REAL.

    July 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  2. YeahItsMe72

    Well hopefully they will discover science some day so they can become contributing members to society.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  3. PAUL



    July 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  4. kittylitter

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    July 24, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • PAUL



      July 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  5. j

    will they be dating young boys???

    July 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • mydogbill

      We see all over the world evil searches for control and a place to hide, see jerry sandusky

      July 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Marcos


      July 24, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  6. WillieLove

    Get out of Satan's church before it's to late! you are free in the Bible. Salvation is free and all one has to do ask Christ. Tradition cannot save you or rites.

    July 23, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • AB

      Have you read any of your salvation history? Who do you think put the canon of Bible together? The Catholic Church!

      July 23, 2012 at 4:01 am |
    • sam stone

      willie: free people do not need salvation.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:16 am |
    • gerald

      To which of the 30,000 denominations that didn't exist before 1600 that supposedly all have the truth but have conflicting doctrines, should we run to?

      July 23, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • chief

      and there arent thousands of offshoots of the catholic church which vary from all the rites flavors all over africa to russia and all the voodoo styles of cath throughout south america and asia...... at least be real about it

      July 23, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • gerald

      You are so stupid chief you don't even read your post and your reading and comprehension is very low. Did I say there were not offshoots from the CC? That is exactly my point. They are all OFFSHOOTS FROM THE ROOT! Of course an illegitimate child of a swinging mom wouldn't get that. By the way rites and flavors are not apart from Catholicism as long as they are united with the Pope. Man you are really sad.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • mydogbill

      Woe to those who hate their brother.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald.... yes you have said there arent offshoots of the rcc..... you make fun that there are 30,000 protestant spinoffs and the tue church has one base and theology...... perhaps you should take your head out of your rear and breath.... some fresh air might make you think clearer.... but first you have to be alone....

      July 24, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • gerald

      Chief, I think your mom abused you as a child. Admit it. Probably a repressed memory.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • chief

      gerald the ped defender.... gotta bring my mom into it .... just because i hate peds and think those that defend them are accomplices you go out of your way to attempt to get a rise out me, then again, i sure you would like that, but anyway, ... enough said you ped

      July 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • gerald

      You know why I am bringing your mommy in to this you lieing bas-tard coward.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • gerald

      Chief won't defend the honor of his own mother. What a coward.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald.... real catholic of you talking about a mans mom

      July 25, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  7. .


    July 23, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  8. verdoit

    Wow their family gatherings must be a hoot – their extended family and coworkers , with an inordinate number of "partners".

    July 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  9. PAUL

    I Know The Lord My God!!


    July 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  10. son of the morning star

    In Latin, they shall be called... Tagus Teamus. Alter boys beware!

    July 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • PAUL

      What A Friend We Have In Jesus!!


      July 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Veritas

      In English they shall be called direct descendants of St Peter and the Apostles and Faithful followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

      God Bless, son of. I wish you only good things in your life.

      July 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  11. anthrogirl

    I'm Catholic and I have yet to meet another lay parishioner who thinks priests shouldn't marry. Maybe this route will provide a premeditated way for Catholic priests to have their ministries AND families.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • gerald

      Well Jesus and Paul thought that at least some should not be married. Peter said to Jesus, with regard to divorce "then it is better not to marry". Jesus said "to some this has been given for the sake of the kingdom". Maybe your parish should start thinking more about the gift that has been given you by having a celibate priest, ie.. one who dedicates all he is to the parish.

      July 21, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Veritas

      Well said Gerald. Bless you.

      July 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      You may be Catholic but you and the lay Caholics that agree with you are uneducated in the ways of the Church and the reasons behind them. In 1994 His Holiness, John Paul II, wrote an Encyclical called Ordinatio Sacerdotalis which defined the policy which is binding on all Catholics. I suggest you read it.

      July 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • JohnnyC

      Pleased to meet you, then. They shouldn't marry. It is spiritual discipline and it will return in earnest. "Married priests" and all the other suggestions of modernism are little more than Masonic attempts to destroy the power of the Church Christ founded. Please do not be so easily deceived. Understand what the Church was prior to the 1960's and what it is returning to now. It is time for Catholics to become Catholic again.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • chief

      gerald comment makes a great deal of sense .... if i were someone who couldnt think for themselves and believed whatever the hurch told me to believe....

      July 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Rob

      @anthro girl

      Your priest must seriously have problems if the lay faithful of his congregation must think he needs to be married. I for one do not think priest should marry. Why, because I know many happy priest, who are in love with the church, and would willingly die for her. It's rough to choose between the church and faithful, and a married woman. Someone had to suffer in the relationship. They have to pick which one.

      July 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    But Satanism is SO good for people! Jesus is dead! Everyone BOW to LORD SATAN NOW!!!!

    July 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things. Proof provided by name thief above.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Veritas

      Eternal Father, I offer you the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son – our Lord Jesus Christ – in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. Amen.

      July 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!'

      July 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Boohincus

      Actually, and you need to get a clue about this because you sound pretty dim, the surest way to make sure that something DOESN'T happen is to pray for it. Got that? Now get a life.

      July 21, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Veritas

      Because of Original Sin, we are required to suffer in this life. Jesus told us that if we want to be like Him we must take up our cross daily , and follow Him. He also promised that any suffering we endure HERE will be rewarded a thousandfold in Heaven..............and that works for Catholics!

      My 7 year old nephew ws dying of Leukemia. As his end was near, the nuns helping my aunt were busy getting him washed and changed. Peter saidto them "Ah sisters, will you just sit down and let a man die in peace"

      At 7 years old, our Peter was more of a man than you! He went to Jesus smiling after a whole year of suffering in silence!

      July 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Veritas

      Sorry – my response is to the person who misuses the Holy name of Jesus.

      July 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Jason

      @Jesus... what's your point....that study has nothing to do with what the majority of Christians believe. There are many offshoots and denominations of Christianity, and unfortunately there are few that do not know their theology well. Any faith that negates medical care for their children for faith healing alone is a scam. It is only through God's will that a person lives or dies. Sometimes as humans, we try to project our own will through prayer. And when there are resources there to help a sick patient, relying on our own prayers without seeking medical attention is not always the smartest move. The person should receive medical care, and if that person receives any kind of prayer it is for a speedy recovery. To say all Christians believe that people should not receive medical care is a fallacy! Did you notice how few patients were in that study? 172 over a twenty year period. Hmmm...I wonder how many Christian kids recovered over that time period receiving medical attention and prayer?

      July 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  14. llɐq ʎʞɔnq

    There is a genetic component to mental illness. It runs in families.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • truth be told

      yours must be a doozie

      July 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.