|German Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner ordained Harm Klueting, a Lutheran convert, in Cologne yesterday. (Michael Kasiske/Dapd/Pek/Ap)|
BERLIN — In a rare move that needed the pope’s approval, a Lutheran convert was ordained yesterday as a Catholic priest in Germany and is being allowed to remain married to his wife, who has already become a nun.
Harm Klueting, 61, was ordained by Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner in a private ceremony at the city’s seminary, the Cologne archdiocese said.
Pope Benedict XVI gave Klueting special permission to remain married to his wife, Edeltraut, who became a Catholic Carmelite nun in 2004.
The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s chief spokesman, said the exception is rare but there have been similar cases.
Klueting and his wife were Lutherans when they married in 1977 and both served as Lutheran clerics before converting to Catholicism several years ago. They have two grown children.
The Cologne archdiocese said in a statement that the couple would not have to take the traditional vow of celibacy as long as they remain married, a highly unusual move since celibacy is normally a key requirement for Catholic priests.
Klueting and his family could not be reached for comment, and it was not clear whether they still lived together as a couple.
Klueting is a professor of historical theology at the University of Cologne.