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.

CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the big stories

“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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

“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. Eduardo Del Gomez Paco Tortilla y Queso

    Great, they can play doctor with the Pope's blessing.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wow...do you even know these guys? Why go negative?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  2. Degrin

    Now they can tag team some alterboys

    July 19, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • I Don't Get It

      "alter boys"? Would that be boys who have had a gender change operation?... or did you mean "altar" boys?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Jen

      Too easy to pick on them for this issue... they have huge problems, of which, this is only one... albeit a huge one. I wish that I had never been associated with being catholic.... huge mistake. Now I can actually think for myself instead of asking Rome what to do. Wake up smell the coffee.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:19 am |
  3. Jen

    WHY? That is the most STUPID move I have read about in years... while most intellegents are jumping a rat infested ship, these two book passage on the most horrible religion on the face of the earth.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Willowspring

      You have no idea what you are talking about. This is not unusual and could become more frequent. I'm not going to read the rest of the comments because I'm sure they are very caustic and I don't need that. Just remember, God works in His own way. I pity those who will take this opportunity to make ugly comments.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Jeremy

      Jen, you'd be surprised at the intelligence of many of the people who have chosen the cloth, and not just in the Catholic church. Since the article was about that however, I'll stick to the Catholic church. The political and diplomatic approach that John Paul II took to encourage resistance by the masses during the Cold War would not have been possible by someone with below average or even average intelligence. A second example I can think of right off the top of my head, and the last one I'll mention for now to avoid this post getting to long is Georges Lemaitre. He was a Catholic priest in Belgium who was also an astronomer and professor of physics. He was among the first if not the first to propose the idea of an expanding Universe that was critical to the development of the Big Bang Theory.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Jen

      OK Jeremy my "intelligent" friend what about Galileo and how the catholic church denied the FACT that the earth is not the center of the universe? How the present day church refuses to allow any contraception method what so ever? rhythm method... how fourth century is that? Married priests, where is that in the "good book". It is only because the CC is to damn cheap to support priests and families in the last 400 years. The CC is a crusty barnacle covered boat without a compass. AND YOU KNOW IT.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • Jen

      OK I will try this again... OK Jeremy my "intelligent" friend what about Galileo and how the catholic church denied the FACT that the earth is not the center of the universe? How the present day church refuses to allow any contraception method what so ever? rhythm method... how fourth century is that? Married priests, where is that in the "good book". It is only because the CC is to damn cheap to support priests and families in the last 400 years. The CC is a crusty barnacle covered boat without a compass. AND YOU KNOW IT.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • Jen

      Hey WillowSpring.... when you get your head out of the sand (or likely another place) you will realize, the earth is not flat, the earth is not the center of the universe and birth control is both acceptable and responsible. Or you can go on following a dead religion that is more concerned with how it was done centuries ago. Grow up, and move on, it is you that does not have a clue.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  4. PediPope

    Two new Child Rapist lured in by pedophilia and money.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Amy

      I can tell you, I grew up with these men, and they are not pedophiles, abusers or in this for "money". I am aghast at some of the crap you will people will say about others you dont know!

      July 19, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Fatheer Phile

      The family that prays together PLAYS together. Did they wonder what happened to little cousin Scotty, and little cousin Tim, and little cousin Billy and Douglas still won't come to Thanksgiving dinner...Hmmmmm.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  5. lweba

    If all Christians behaved as the Book says and if all Moslems behaved as the Book says, where would the world be? Unfortunately the world is full of HYPOCRITES! ! ! !

    July 19, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Even as a person of Faith I would serious doubt in your plan for the main reason that there are not set interpretations of the text of Faith.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  6. Roger

    Notice how CNN's Belief Blog comment sections aren't configured the same as it's regular system, where you have to log-in with a username? It's so the atheist haters can post 4000+ hate comments anonymously.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • OTOH


      How many names has @HeIsGod, La Chappie, Tinkerbell, currently ZebraChick, etc., etc., had on the main site????? Christians take full advantage of the open forum here too.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Keep your fairy tales to yourself...

      Atheist haters?? In other words... Christians.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      If the goal is to have a forum where the main point is for conflict and clashes, then why would CNN want us to have a login.... even though other parts of the CNN website do have this feature.

      Face it, Atheist and the Faithful are their entertainment.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  7. Lori

    I was inspired by this article which portrayed the positive side of our society by the love that both father and son have for each other and their religion. I wish that people today were not so hateful and mean-spirited. There are many good people in the world. Thanks CNN for reminding me of this.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      made me sad to see christianity get two more cult members. would have been a better story if they'd started a charity or something useful instead of preaching the ignorance of religion.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • nottolate


      "made me sad to see christianity get two more cult members."

      Except the RCC ain't even authentic Christian. They're called Catholics for a reason you know.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So, you are the ultimate judge on who is a authentic Christian?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  8. Minnie

    I am not aroman catholic and never would be for many reasons but this is a horrible thing . The RCC should not allow some to be clergy it is hypocritical.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  9. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    The Crises in the contemporary Catholic Church:

    The inappropriate conduct of many priests, the emotional stress on the victims and the resultant billion dollars in lawsuits.

    The lack of talent in the priesthood.

    The lack of Vatican response to the historic Jesus movement.

    The Church's continuing cling to original sin and the resulting subsets of crazy ideas like limbo.

    The denial of priesthood to women.

    The restriction of priesthood to single men (unless you are former Episcopalian priests which rankles single celibate priests),

    The continued chain of Vatican "leadership" by old European white men.

    Uncontrolled “birth" control.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  10. Mario

    And I was going to say "In a related news, their wives became nuns on the same day"

    July 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  11. Angry Catholic...

    As a Catholic who feels called to the priesthood and to a family, I am angry about this. I am happy for the two priests and their families. I am glad they have found a home. That said, it is pretty clear celibacy isn't essential for the priesthood. Open the doors to married priests and the RCC's vocation crisis is solved. It is foolshness to do otherwise. Heck keep both ceilbate and married tracks open. The best of both worlds.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Plastic Is The Answer

      Oh no. An angry Catholic. It's the Inquisition!

      July 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • CatholiC

      @Angry Catholic...Ignorance isn't a good thing. If you truly new and understood Catholicism, you would know that in the First Century, Catholic Priests were allowed to be married...the church would provide for them, including giving them land to have a home and raise their families. When the Priest died, their family would inherit that land...something the Catholic Church did not want to keep losing...So, the way the Catholic Church resolved the issue of losing land was by no longer allowing Priests to be married. Please, stop the ignorance, educate yourself in your own religion, think, and the respond at an level.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • MTS

      I agree that if these two MARRIED men are allowed to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests, then why not ALL priests? It would bring into the Church SO many more men into the priesthood.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • Veritas

      Angry Catholic – You feel 'called to the priesthood' but also to a family?????????

      The Priesthood is a vocation. You ACCEPT the rules or you don't. Since you THINK you've got a vocation but you want to CHANGE the rules of entry.............You haven't got a vocation at all. Got it?

      July 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  12. JPX

    Wow, two dopes wasting their lives on stupidness. Pathetic.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • john

      do you know what else is pathetic? you for telling people what there wasting their time in. you and the all the atheists make me sick.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • Veritas

      Nothing to do with you ,is it? You're like one of those grumpy old men who kicks cats for pleasure......you know the ones whjo see a lottery winner and snivel......"Money doesn't bring you happines....." Just shut up!

      God Bless these two men. A father and son who BOTH won the lottery on the same day. Yaaaaaaay!

      July 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  13. T-Max73

    Apparently the father never educated his father about how to be a good father. Regardless, the RCC is a bigoted, hateful, misogynist, organization that corrupts the reasoning faculties of children.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Veritas

      What would you know? –
      YOU don't SEE anything when you're blinded by hate and bigotry. I am a Catholic and I LOVE it. I wouldn't change my love of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit for 5 consecutive lottery wins. Cope!

      July 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  14. joe

    The usual anti-Catholic Bigotry from CNN, Huffington Post, et. al. Once again, although it pains you to realize it, Catholics vote and why should we vote for the candidates recommended by CNN? Or, Huffington Post?

    July 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Felicitations

      Good point!

      July 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • packerbacker

      Or the Catholic church?

      July 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Veritas

      There's something special about Catholics:- Their loyalty; their intelligence and their honesty. Lovely post Joe!

      July 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  15. Reason

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.)
    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7 ..

    July 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Frank

      You forgot one:

      Atheists make up 99% of our prison population.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • time warp

      A little data from Texas:

      Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 1999
      Source: Peggy Fikac. "More prison inmates say they're Baptist than any other religion." Associated Press (The Abilene Reporter-News)
      Baptist 39,781 30.3%
      Unknown* 28,890 22.0%
      Catholic 23,637 18.0%
      Other 39,009 29.7%
      --– --- --
      Total 131,316 100.0%

      July 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      oh can i play

      ok i got 20 reasons

      ♥Christianity is based on fear
      ♥Christianity preys on the innocent
      ♥Christianity is based on dishonesty
      ♥Christianity is extremely egocentric
      ♥Christianity breeds arrogance, a chosen-people mentality
      ♥Christianity breeds authoritarianism
      ♥Christianity is cruel
      ♥Christianity is anti-intellectual, anti-scientific
      ♥Christianity has a morbid, unhealthy preoccupation with se.x
      ♥Christianity produces se.xual misery
      ♥Christianity has an exceedingly narrow, legalistic view of morality
      ♥Christianity encourages acceptance of real evils while focusing on imaginary evils
      ♥Christianity depreciates the natural world
      ♥Christianity models hierarchical, authoritarian organization
      ♥Christianity sanctions slavery
      ♥Christianity is misogynistic
      ♥Christianity is ho.mophobic
      ♥The Bible is not a reliable guide to Christ's teachings
      ♥The Bible is riddled with contradictions
      ♥Christianity borrowed its central myths and ceremonies from other ancient religions


      when you copy and past something please put the reference

      July 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      the only christian holiday is Thanksgiving and Patricks

      both of which are about genocide

      fact our founding fathers were not christian the were Deist

      one was even an anti christian


      seriously i used a christian site you sheep

      July 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Mello

      If there were no God, there would be no atheists.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Keep your fairy tales to yourself...

      "Atheists make up 99% of our prison population."

      Drivel perpetuated by Christians... Of course, 99% of prisoners are 'believers' who think they'll be 'forgiven' when they get out...

      July 19, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Atheist = Thinker

      "† Atheism is a religion "

      You lost all credibility with that first statement since, by definition, atheism can't be a religion... Back to the third grade for you, where you can learn what a dictionary is for...

      July 19, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • *facepalm*

      @Reason is stretching the extreme limits of Poe's law ... and seeing that it is still valid.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • lweba

      Now in place of ATHEISTS put the word CHRISTIANS

      July 19, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      You say: "PS! the USA is a † nation ... (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.)

      The USA is a + (size)>/i> nation. Yes, obesity is a big problem.

      Federal holidays, OK, which of these are Xtian?
      New Year's Day .................. nope
      Martin Luther King Jr. Day .... nope
      Presidents' Day .................... nope
      Memorial Day ........................ nope
      Columbus Day ....................... nope
      Veterans' Day ...................... nope
      Independence Day ............... nope
      Labor Day ............................. nope
      Thanksgiving ......................... no, not really, do you go to church on Thanksgiving or do you eat turkey and watch football?
      Christmas Day ...................... bing! bing! One out of 10! That proves it for sure!

      The calendar, OK, which months are Xtian?
      January ..... nope (Januarius, Roman)
      February .... nope (Februus, Roman)
      March ......... nope (Mars, Roman)
      April ............ nope (aperire, Latin to open)
      May ............ nope (Maiesta, Roman)
      June ............ nope (Juno, Roman)
      July ............. nope (Julius Caesar, Roman)
      August ........ nope (Caesar Augustus, Roman)
      September ... nope (seven)
      October ....... nope (eight)
      November .... nope (nine)
      December .... nope (ten)

      OK, which days of the week are Xtian:
      Sunday ........ nope (Roman Sun day, get it?)
      Monday ........ nope (Norse, Moon day)
      Tuesday ....... nope (Norse, Tiu's day – son of Odin)
      Wednesday .. nope (Norse, Odin's day)
      Thursday ...... nope (Norse, Thor's day – yes the hammer guy from the Avengers)
      Friday ........... nope (Norse, Friya/Frigg's day – godess of love)
      Saturday ...... nope (Roman, Saturn's day)

      Gosh the calendar has 19 out of 19 named for PAGANS whooooo.

      Laws. How many laws are Xtian? Rather let me turn the question around. The Ten Commandments are quite famous. Besides kill, steal and lie, how many of these are currently law in the US?

      No other gods ........ nope (money perhaps is a required god)
      No graven idols ...... nope
      Name in vain ........... nope
      Holy Sabbath .......... nope (a holy day of spending money)
      Honor Mom & Dad ... nope (Thou shalt send thy mother a hallmark card and interflora flowers on Mom's day? Err no!)
      Adultery .................. nope
      Coveting .................. nope (Isn't coveting, aka keeping up with the Joneses, good for the economy?)

      So ... 3 out of 10? I think people could have come up with don't kill, steal or lie without stone tablets and a burning bush. (Actually, I think they did!)

      As for blue laws, well ya' got me there. They are the result of religious nutters interfering with my life. Please keep your religion to yourselves.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Curses – darn html tags. Reposted:

      The USA is a + (size) nation. Yes, obesity is a big problem.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • MTS

      I'm a devout Catholic who respects ALL religions...even those who claim to not believe in God. Your hate-filled and ignorant statements are sad...I'll pray for you.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I have to assume your comments are directed at me. I am delighted that you have accepted a gift of faith. It may surprise you, but I do respect faith. What bothers me most is willful ignorance.

      I'm confused, exactly which of my statements was hate filled? Refuting the idiotic assertions of the willfully ignorant is not hate speech.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  16. pUCKLES

    The catholic "church" is really the DEN OF SATAN and an ABOMINATION to the face of this earth. Nothin' but organized pedophilia.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm |

    This is really scary. I wonder if the father ever put the move son his son.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Redspotz

      Why, how offer are YOU in communion with your father?

      July 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  18. NativeUSA

    Look at all the liberal biggots coming out of the closet in this blog! Gee for every bad priest per thousand priests there are about 900 bad liberals per thousand liberals in that same accounting comparison, just look at any prison all liberals all the time.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • time warp

      O Kaaaaayyyy. If you say so.

      July 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • JPX

      Really? It seems to me that it's the republicans who are angry bullies intolerant of anyone who isn't a bloated, fat, hateful,white male. I feel for you.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • gerald

      JPX-the fact is that in discussions I have had, I have never gotten bent out of shape. So many times I have had liberals shouting and ranting and raving it isn't even funny. Many other conservatives tell me this as well and it is what I have observed. It's not repubs who are intollerant.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  19. Judy75201

    Creepy. Interesting, the reference to tradition.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  20. chedar888

    In Theravadin Buddhism. anyone can become a monk. You can be ordained once in your life and spend one week as monk in a monastery. Or many years following the precept of the monk (that includes trying to eradicate sensual pleasure). You can then disrobe as you want and be a layman. It is very honorable to be a monk for once in a lifetime. But you need to shape your head and follow all the precept of the monk eating twice a day. No meal after lunch.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6
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.