John Cornelius will be ordained a Roman Catholic priest this weekend — and with the blessing of his wife they’re giving up their sex life.
Cornelius, a father of three, will become the first married Roman Catholic priest in New York — and Sharyl, his wife of 33-years, has agreed to the whole celibacy thing.
“We have decided to do that voluntarily,” Cornelius told WGRZ-TV. “I have always had friends that are Roman Catholic priests and I appreciate what they’ve given up to serve God and the priesthood.”
Cornelius, 64, is a former Episcopalian priest who converted three years ago to Catholicism. He said his old church had gotten too liberal for him.
“There was the ordination of the homosexual priest in New England,” he said. “Then it came time for women’s ordination. … It may have been okay for other people, but it was just too much for me.
“I needed someplace where there was order,” he added.
Cornelius had retired from the Episcopal priesthood after 20 years in 2010, and said there was a big void in his life.
John Hickey for New York Daily News
Deacon John Cornelius with his daughter (l.), Sarah, and wife, Sharyl.
“Not being able to celebrate mass, which is a very important part of my life, was very tough for me,” he said.
So Cornelius jumped at the chance after Pope Benedict issued a directive last year aimed at filling the depleted Catholic ranks with converted Episcopalian priests.
Here’s Cornelius with his wife and three daughters.
After his ordination, Cornelius will tend to a flock of other former Episcopalians at the Fellowship of Saint Alban in Henrietta, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester.
On a church web site, Cornelius admitted to flip-flopping on faith before.
The God father: John Cornelius, married dad of three, will become a Catholic priest this weekend.
“Born into the Baptist Church, I attended the Methodist and Presbyterian Church while growing up,” he wrote. “During that strange period known as the sixties,
I attended temple with a friend, messed around with Baha’i and Hare Krishna and looked into Catholicism.”