A former Lathrop priest who walked from the clergy after he revealed to his congregation that he had fathered a child is now making an impassioned plea to the Catholic Church to change its policies preventing the men of the cloth from marrying and having children.
And he’s asking for the public’s help in doing so.
Dean McFalls – who served as the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Lathrop until 2008 before transferring to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Stockton – resigned the priesthood in 2013 after announcing to his parishioners that he would be stepping away through a statement that was read during a Sunday mass.
“I assume full responsibility for my actions and will do all that I can do that my child receives the care and love that he deserves,” McFalls’ statement read at the time. “Once he was conceived, I had no other option, as a Christian and a priest, than to do everything possible that he might have life, and have it to the full.”
And now McFalls has launched a fundraiser on the popular crowdfunding site GoFundMe to try and raise $12,000 to further his work toward ending the Catholic Church’s long ban on married priests.
So far McFalls has raised just shy of $1,500 over seven days, and plans on relaunching his website – www.deanmcfalls.com – to help further what he now sees as his mission.
“In these troubled and disheartening times, I need your help to create this positive testimony for life in the Roman Catholic Church,” McFalls wrote in his introduction to the fundraiser. “The issues I address are critical. And though my appeal is based on lived experience and common sense, many Catholics misunderstand the call for change to the rule of celibacy.”
McFalls notes on the page for the fundraiser that he feels that “married life and caring for children” is “perfectly compatible” with ministry as a priest – calling it “blessed” and “wonderfully synergistic.”
McFalls believes that he can achieve these objectives by achieving a set of unique goals:
Prioritizing the “safety, well-being, and future of our children, witnessing publicly to inherit dignity and infinite value of every human life.”
Working towards the end of the ban on married Catholic priests.
Supporting, encouraging, and challenging priests who “have fathered children to do everything in their power for the benefit of those children and of the mothers involved.”
Reminding Catholics of “the respect and gratitude we owe all those priests who, after years (at times, decades) of service, have entered the vocation of marriage.”
McFalls ultimately married the woman that that welcomed his son into the world with and has remained in the community since leaving the priesthood – continuing his community advocacy with his new wife and remaining an advocate for families and the faithful in the same place where he began his ministry.
Part of his effort to change the church’s position is completing a manuscript for a book that will serve as his testimony and appeal.
For additional information, or to learn more about McFalls’ undertaking, visit www.gofundme.com and search for “Dean’s Appeal to the Church” – the first link showing McFalls with his young son.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 220.127.116.1144.