Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wedding joy: Priest marries Divorcee in Anglican church

FOR years he stood on one side of the altar as couples said their marriage vows on the other.

But roles were almost reversed over the weekend when a Roman Catholic priest wed the woman he loved.

Sean Page (53) and Clarice Young (47) were married in a low-key ceremony in an Anglican church in front of four of her five children.

Speaking moments before his marriage to the two-time divorcee, Mr Page said: "This is a house of God, and that's all that matters."

Mr Page, from Castlerea, Co Roscommon, was at the centre of a scandal 11 years ago when he abandoned his parish at St Anne's, Sligo, to move in with a mother-of-seven.

But despite breaking his vow of celibacy Mr Page has remained, officially at least, a Catholic priest.

Outside the St John the Evangelist church, in Heywood, Manchester, Rev Matthew Carlisle (37) said Mr Page's previous vocation wasn't an issue.

Rev Carlisle told the Irish Independent he did not mean any disrespect to the Catholic Church.

"We work very closely with all the churches and in fact the local high school is one of the very few in the country that is jointly Roman Catholic and Church of England," he said.

"I went to a Catholic high school myself and I was welcomed there. We have a deep respect for each other in Heywood."

Ms Young told the Irish Independent, who had been invited to attend the wedding, she had been "hounded" by a tabloid newspaper before Saturday's ceremony.

"I don't really care about Sean's past and all the hoohah about it," she added.

"We're both very serious about our Christianity and we wanted to get married in a church. Sean is the best thing that has ever happened to me by a long way."

Meanwhile, Mr Page's priest status as a married Catholic priest may end soon after he wrote to the Bishop of Elphin Christopher Jones to ask that his position become "regularised".