NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times
October 20, 2020
By Lloyd Kramer and Scott Chestnut
[An 18-minute film.]
A Priest Who Left the Church for Love: They wanted to marry. But he’d taken a vow of celibacy.
Terence Netter and Therese Franzese fell in love in New York City in the 1960s. She was an assistant to Rudolf Bing, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. He was an accomplished painter and Jesuit priest. They sought to marry and dreamed the Catholic Church would embrace a married priesthood.
There was reason for them to be hopeful. At the time there was a robust dialogue happening around optional celibacy for priests. And so they were deeply disappointed when in 1967, Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the rule of celibacy for priesthood. Netter left the ministry, and the couple built a life together. In the short documentary above, we see their love story unfold as they grew their faith in each other and in God.
Transcript: He was Jewish, and she was Roman Catholic, but we were brought up totally Roman Catholic. The whole family went to Mass on Sunday, including my father. But I took to it right from the beginning, and being an altar boy, it just came naturally. I was also always, even as a little boy, interested in art. But I wasn’t at all interested in becoming a priest until my last year at Georgetown Prep. And more and more, it became clear to me that I belonged in the Jesuits …
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