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. scientificpoetry

    Clearly this is evidence that stupidity is genetic... passed down from one generation to the next...

    July 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Veritas

      That's no way to talk about Atheists!

      July 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  2. Indiana J

    I don't understand the atheist minority. Filled with cruel words, hostility, and bitterness. Trying to poke fun at other peoples faith. Go ahead insult me too. Your not the first and won't be the last. Congrats to the new priests!

    July 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Happy Jack

      What do you believe and why?

      July 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Frank

      You poor perseuted Christian majority. How pathetic.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Heaven Sent

      Perhaps if atheists were not subjected to the pompousness and preaching of believers, they would not be as cynical

      July 19, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  3. Ryon

    This is pure catholic church hypocrisy. If priests are not allowed marry, why take in a married man who can stay married when the rest of the priests cannot get married.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Because their cult is dying, at least in the developed nations, and they need all the shamans they can get to replace those who have died or who are being sent to jail?

      July 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  4. michelle

    Great! ORDAIN WOMEN, TOO! Afterall, to quote Soujourner Truth: Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him…."

    July 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  5. Ish

    If you do not know God, you do not know yourself.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • time warp

      You just said a lot of nothing!

      July 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • JWT

      Which god ?

      July 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      ish: what does that mean?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  6. Ted

    Ignorance is hereditary? Who knew?

    July 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  7. DJ

    Sad there are such sick minded mentally. ill people making such disgusting coments. This is a great story of a father and son committed to Christ and His one true church. Most priest are dedicated to the church and Christ. It is a very tough but rewarding life to sacrafice everything for the church and the faithful they serve.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • OOO

      What do you mean, one true church? Convince me.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      the one true church is the church of Lilith except her as your personal savior and not only be free from God and Sin but get a complimentary riding crop for you and that some one or ones special

      July 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Fact Lilith never ate the apple, so there is no curse of sin so shes still perfect by excepting her as mother you get into heaven with out contest, we call it a back door all the cool people use the back door to the party ♥.. its a loop whole♥

      so join Lilith family to day and say good by to Sin once and for all,.. We have free Hates♥♥♥♥

      so come and drink of the cup of love and fill your self till morning♥

      ♥♥after all the quickest way to heaven is to climb the statue of the devil♥♥

      July 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Sam Yaza


      July 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      last bit of proselytizing

      July 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  8. Laura

    Pathetic. An example of the wider net they are willing to cast. Power will make just that level of change needed to retain itself.

    July 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • JustWho

      Poor Laura. Senile already.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  9. Happy

    Happy for you guys, Congrats!

    July 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  10. reasonablebe

    interesting method of avoiding the celibacy requirement. maybe that is the key to catholic church recruitment for priesthood.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  11. Sahel

    Don't waste your time on fake religion ( Christianity). any body witt a brain knows that. My advice is research for yourself. Don't be idiots and just follow what people say.am there is true religion out there.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Yalo

      you're an ignorant idiot.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      All religion is fake.

      July 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Kalessin

      @0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls- are we making a statement of fact or opinion?

      And if they are fake..what is fact?

      July 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  12. Realist

    More children to worry about now.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  13. PraiseTheLard

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

    July 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  14. bob

    So thats how it is in their family

    July 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • lol

      You know what they say. The family that plays together, stays together.

      I just feel bad for all the little boys...

      July 18, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  15. DeFace

    How did this become a story worthy of Print?

    July 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  16. Muchadoaboutnothing

    Dad: Catholic boys are cuter. Son: I know, right. Let's get busy!

    July 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  17. Lol

    Maybe somebody should let them know that the Bible is a bunch of tall tales, and that Jesus didn't really come back to life.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  18. Steve

    why don't you date youself, probably no ones else wants to. Please dont procreate.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  19. Phil

    Don't let the son go down on me.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  20. Yeah Right

    So does this mean they want to date each other?

    July 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
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About this blog

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.