And after 1980, the Vatican allowed Protestant clergy who converted to Catholicism to remain married to their wives.
But Murphy isn't necessarily a supporter of married Catholic priests -- the issue could cause resentment within the ranks of a majority celibate priesthood, he said, even though it might help bolster the priest shortage in the country.
She still gushes about their first online conversations.
They were engaged after five weeks, and married about five months later.
During that time, he explored a Catholic online dating site.
That's where he met his wife, a devotee to Our Lady of Lourdes who had once considered becoming a nun.
When Murphy was struggling with whether or not to leave the priesthood, he weighed having a family with the risk of losing his priestly calling.
"I resolved this dilemma by recognizing that my journey into ordained ministry was a necessary and enriching part of my spiritual formation," he said, "but there was more I was called to experience and explore in my life." He ultimately resigned his post in Oakland, taking time to meditate on his life.
That controversy returned this year after an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles admitted he had fathered two children -- about the same time the Vatican released guidelines for accepting married priests from Episcopal churches in the Catholic priesthood.Nationwide, about 80 Protestant clergy have left to become Catholic priests, according to research from Catholic University in Washington.Some Eastern Rite Catholic churches, which are loyal to Rome, ordain married men.He wanted a family, but his vows of celibacy prevented that."I got ordained at 37 in 2001, and I had been in a couple of relationships before that, so the whole celibacy issue was a question for me -- even on the day of my ordination," he said.