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Biritualism and Missions #309884
01/18/09 07:41 PM
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Many interesting points came up in the discussion regarding the new Bishop of Knoxville. To preserve the newsworthy focus of that part of the Forum, and before having the thread closed, I thought perhaps the discussion could be continued here on some of the points raised.

Is biritualism a solution for missions and outreach? I think no for many reasons. Ung quite succintcly stated:

Quote
Fr. Dn. Diak,

I ask this question because I see a direct correlation between the use of Bi-Ritual priests and the reluctance to ordain married men to the presbyterate in the "Sui Juris Metropolitan Byzantine Church in America".
X.P.! C.E.!

Ung


I think this raises many dimensions that need to be seriously considered. As I mentioned, Metropolitan Andrey and Patriarch Josyp of blessed memory were both very hesitant towards biritualism, and only resorted in extreme cases. I confess I am in agreement with their sentiments and reasons for doing so. The development of the church in the diaspora has borne both of them out to be prophetic in this regard.

First of all there is Ung's observation, which is indeed very pertinent. In the UGCC, which to a much lesser extent embraces and makes use of biritualism, we do have a much higher percentage of married parochial clergy - in my own Eparchy about 2/3 now.

Certainly that is not the only consideration, and even a very minor factor in the restoration of married parochial clergy, but it is there. While it is a great convienience for the Eparchy - they do not have to pay full benefits, housing, insurance, retirement, etc. as those are borne by the Latin diocese, does that convienience become an "easy way out" financially and materially for parochial clergy? Does bi-ritualism become a "crutch" as Metropolitan Andrey once put it, that can never be done without?

And there are the spiritual concerns. As discussed on the previous thread, there is a spiritual and liturgical ethos that one needs to immerse himself into to be a faithful celebrant of the Mysteries. The documents from Rome even allude to this in the restoration of the authentic spiritual and liturgical riches of our various particular traditions.

Quote
And let me just qualify something - I think that there is GREAT benefit in having Latin clergy with bi-ritual faculties. I think that by celebrating our joint liturgical traditions periodically, both East and West can draw closer together. It also helps an individual priest to approach his faith in a more "catholic" manner.


Here I have to differ in opinion with Fr. Deacon to some extent. It is difficult for any clergy to have a "dual personality" spiritually and liturgically. Fr. Alexander Schmemann, in his criticisms of the Western Rite, alludes to this as well.

I think that the example Didache gave of offering services for the Eastern Catholics to have services for the Latins, use their churches and facilities, opportunities for sharing and experiencing Eastern traditions, etc. is far different than actively advocating bi-ritualism. I think that the necessity for bi-ritualism has to be well established on a case-by-case basis and its use carefully regulated.

Even formation becomes an issue - the catechetical formation of the mission/parish by someone who is not immersed in the spiritual and liturgical tradition of that particular Church becomes extremely problematic.

As Eastern Christians we do indeed believe in lex orandi, lex credenti . The most effective vehicle of catechesis therefore is indeed that as St. Cyril of Jerusalem taught, the Liturgy itself. This again points back to the shepherd of the community out of necessity having been immersed and formed in the riches of that particular ritual Church, and not simply having watched another priest celebrate Liturgy a few times and then "go at it".

Not only do I not think that bi-ritualism is of great benefit, I believe that often it can actually be a hindrance to the growth and development of Eastern Catholic outreach and missions. I have seen this myself firsthand.

Sharing our respective spiritual and liturgical riches, yes, indeed, at every opportunity. But there are practical and spiritual aspects that have to be taken into consideration as well.

And there are the simple logistical concerns - you have essentially a "part time" priest who is not materially involved in the longer term vision and plans of your parish/mission, your Eparchy, and so on. The Latin bishop can pull the plug at any time - which has itself already happened in several places - and I have been through that experience as well.

All that in consideration, now add the stark fact that a number of communities would simply not exist without the biritualist. The "crutch" has become a permanent fixture in far too many places, with a very minimalized liturgical, spiritual, and catechetical identity.

We simply can't do away with this practice since in fact many places now rely on basic ministerial service from these men - and they should be commended and prayed for, as they often do this at great sacrifice to themselves, adding on extra services when they often have a full plate in their respective Latin ministries. Sometimes Liturgies have to be cancelled or their times changed.

It is difficult to create a longer-term parochial sense of stability with this uncertainty as part of the picture. Indeed they are often put into places and situations where they admittedly do not have the formation, liturgical and catechetical background, etc. to give the community the full attention and pastoral guidance that these communities, parishes, missions, apostalates and outreaches need.

I think rather than promote such a thing as a "great benefit" biritualism has to be rather a "tolerated necessity". It is, as Metropolitan Andrey stated quite frankly to his Canadian diasporal clergy, "a much less than ideal situation".

What is the way out of this? A comprehensive mission activity movement by Greek Catholics and for Greek Catholics.
Fostering vocations is only one part - our missions need to know that there is value celebrating the Divine Praises and restoring the traditional cycle of services with or without a priest.

Our missions need to recapture the idea of the "village" not necessarily in terms of location or place, but of unity and singularity of purpose centered around our Churches and the beautiful liturgical and spiritual heritages of those particular Churches. There are many, many Orthodox missions that started either without priests at all or without frequent visitation by one. It is possible to do this without relying constantly on "the crutch".

I say all of these things not at all as any personal judgement on any biritualist, on the contrary, they have my respect and prayers for their well-being because of their sacrifice to assist sister Catholic particular Churches. Indeed some of my very best friends and confessors are biritual priests.
I say all of this rather looking at the future of mission and outreach in our Churches, and that realization of the integral whole of what our Greek Catholic missions should strive towards - truly Eastern Catholic communities, or just another place to go to Mass.

We have to be reflective of our past to go forward. A careful reflection on the past history of communities that have relied primarily on biritualists may indeed reveal they have as a whole not progressed and grown towards authentic, strong, Eastern Catholic parishes. Just a few very scattered thoughts based on many years of observations.

Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: Diak] #309899
01/18/09 10:36 PM
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What about bi-ritualism from the flip side? What if the priests who were invested, become primarily Byzantine (or Eastern) and were "on loan" to the Latin Church as needed? Wouldn't this take care of the majority of the problems, such as priests who are "part-time" and/or do not celebrate the full Liturgical Tradition?

Let the Eastern Churches take in Latin clergy who wish to practice as Easterners fully, while allowing the few who wish to continue serving Latins, as needed, to do so. Father Chrysostom Frank (among many other holy priests), for example, does this well.

Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: Michael_Thoma] #309926
01/19/09 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
What about bi-ritualism from the flip side? What if the priests who were invested, become primarily Byzantine (or Eastern) and were "on loan" to the Latin Church as needed? Wouldn't this take care of the majority of the problems, such as priests who are "part-time" and/or do not celebrate the full Liturgical Tradition?

Let the Eastern Churches take in Latin clergy who wish to practice as Easterners fully, while allowing the few who wish to continue serving Latins, as needed, to do so. Father Chrysostom Frank (among many other holy priests), for example, does this well.



I know of such a person, God bless him.

However, his Latin rite religious order needs him at a particular assignment because he does a very good job of it and because of the priest shortage. And, he is fully occupied with that assignment -- again, because of the priest shortage. So, anymore, he doesn't get much of an opportunity to serve the needs of the UGCC.

And with the priest shortage, I suspect his case is not unique.

So, I wonder if the answer for a Catholic man who wants to serve both Western and Eastern rites is to join one of the Eastern Rites, become a priest in it, and then also offer to serve as a bi-ritual priest for the Latins. But, I am just speculating; I don't *know* whether Catholic canon and tradition would allow that.

-- John


Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: harmon3110] #309928
01/19/09 07:38 AM
01/19/09 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by harmon3110
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
What about bi-ritualism from the flip side? What if the priests who were invested, become primarily Byzantine (or Eastern) and were "on loan" to the Latin Church as needed? Wouldn't this take care of the majority of the problems, such as priests who are "part-time" and/or do not celebrate the full Liturgical Tradition?

Let the Eastern Churches take in Latin clergy who wish to practice as Easterners fully, while allowing the few who wish to continue serving Latins, as needed, to do so. Father Chrysostom Frank (among many other holy priests), for example, does this well.


I know of such a person, God bless him.

However, his Latin rite religious order needs him at a particular assignment because he does a very good job of it and because of the priest shortage. And, he is fully occupied with that assignment -- again, because of the priest shortage. So, anymore, he doesn't get much of an opportunity to serve the needs of the UGCC.

And with the priest shortage, I suspect his case is not unique.

So, I wonder if the answer for a Catholic man who wants to serve both Western and Eastern rites is to join one of the Eastern Rites, become a priest in it, and then also offer to serve as a bi-ritual priest for the Latins. But, I am just speculating; I don't *know* whether Catholic canon and tradition would allow that.

-- John



John,

That depends. I have heard that in recent years, all Eastern Catholic priests that are married and who petition Rome for faculties in the Latin-rite are being declined. Celibates are welcome, however.

It is really quite shameful, as if one sacrament annuls the otherer! (Unless of course you are a former Anglican or Lutheran minister...)

I would like to think that this is simply the decision of some uber-Latinista bureaucrat in the Curia and not offical Roman policy. For some married Eastern clergy, especially those who are here from other countries, it may be one of the few ways they can support themselves financially.

God bless,

Fr. Deacon Daniel

Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: Diak] #309933
01/19/09 08:45 AM
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Fr. Deacon Randy,

This is a great point of discussion and I am grateful that you have started it.

I do, however, take issue with your use of my quotation. In the context of your post, it appears that you are making me say that I advocate for the use of bi-ritual priests in the mission field when in fact I took exactly the OPPOSITE position in the previous thread. I'm sure that this was not deliberate, but I want to be clear what my position is.

I believe that we are in agreement here about the need to develop an organic pipeline of vocations, married or celibate, with those who are immersed fully in our tradition, without, as a matter of explicit or implicit policy, relying upon Latin priests with bi-ritual faculties to shepherd our flocks.

Perhaps it would be helpful to begin with a definition of "bi-ritualism," which is not a term I have ever seen used before (did you coin it?). I think it is a useful term in some respects.

I would define "bi-ritualism" as the practice by which clergy from other particular churches and ritual traditions are trained in the rubrics of an Eastern rite Church but while having only a passing familiarity with the that particular Church's common life, spirituality, theology and canons. In other words, "bi-ritualism" is the reduction of the common life of a Church to a "rite" in which one obtains particular "faculties" in order to celebrate, quite apart from any deep affinity or longstanding familiarity with the ethos, theology, spirituality and/or canonical patrimony of that particular Church.

"Bi-ritualism" becomes especially problematic when it becomes the policy of an Eastern Church with respect to "staffing" its missions and parishes, while denying men within its own flock the opportunity to pursue Holy Orders because of a Latinizing tendency to accept only celibates. (This denial may come in the form of an explicit "no" or the practice of the "wait and see" while snatching up celibate vocations - if they appear at all - from left and right.) It is not a strategy for growth and it risks reducing the priest to that of a sacramental dispensary, as opposed to a spiritual father of a faith community.

Is that a fair definition?

Now I think it is rarer to find a priest who is pursuing bi-ritual faculties simply because he wants to learn another rite or out of curiosity. Most of the priests that I know want to do this because of a natural affinity that they have developed for our traditions and out of a genuine desire to serve our communities. "Bi-ritualism" may exist, and I know of at least one case where it did, but in all the other cases that I have personally witnessed the Latin priests truly "fell in love" with the East and wanted to enter more deeply into our tradition and common life by obtaining bi-ritual faculties.

At the same time, it takes quite a bit of time for a Latin priest to enter into the full ethos of our common life as a Church. Problems may arise as it pertains to certain assumptions of their own Church that they may wish to apply in their pastoral service to our Churches. This is where formation must "transcend" the "rite," going beyond simply learning rubrics or tones.

I think we also have to make a distinction between bi-ritual priests who perhaps assist at our parishes or missions and those who serve as pastors of these bodies. The first, I believe, is not an issue whatsoever. I am sure that our priests would welcome such men to help aid them in the celebration, or even to "take a Sunday" when they are out sick or on vacation or retreat. The second, unless they have a longstanding immersion in our common life as a Church, is far more problematic and bishops should be very discerning and selective.

Now with respect to the idea of a "dual personality" liturgically and spiritually, there is another possibility which Pope John Paul II alluded to on more than one occasion, namely that of "breathing with both lungs." I think ultimately one must "land" and be grounded in the common life of a particular Church, be it Latin, Byzantine, Maronite, etc etc. But should that preclude one from celebrating and serving within the common life of another particular Church? I do not think so.

I recall one of my favorite quotations from Fr. Thomas Merton, from his 'Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander":

Quote
If I unite in myself the thought and devotion of Eastern and Western Christendom, the Greek and Latin Fathers, the Russians and the Spanish mystics, I can prepare in myself the reunion of divided Christians. From that secret and unspoken unity in myself can eventually come a visible and manifest unity of all Christians. If we want to bring together what is divided, we cannot do so by imposing one division upon another. If we do this the union is not Christian. It is political and doomed to further conflict. We must contain all divided worlds in ourselves and transcend them in Christ.


So I stand by my observation that there is great benefit to having Latin priests with bi-ritual faculties for themselves and for us, but without the reductionism of a "biritualist" nature. (For instance, the new bishop of Knoxville ascends to his throne with more than a passing knowledge that there are Eastern Catholic churches...he knows their common life far more intimately which can only be of benefit to all Catholics.) Their service to our communities, properly discerned and formed, should be welcomed, but should NEVER replace the service or vocations of members within our own communities. That sort of "biritualist" policy" is the death nell for our Eastern communities.

God bless,

Fr. Deacon Daniel

Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: ebed melech] #309955
01/19/09 01:43 PM
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I find it odd that the Vatican on the one hand asserts the equality and desirability of the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome; and yet the Vatican will not allow married men to be ordained outside of the traditional homelands of the Eastern Church, in complete contradiction to the tradition of the Eastern Church.

I'm all for celibate priests; they serve a valuable witness: both in parishes and in monasteries.

But I'm also for re-establishing the praxis of the Church (the whole Church) of allowing married men to be ordained and serve as priests in parishes.

So, what does Rome really think of the Eastern Catholics? Are they (in Rome's eyes) just a curio piece and a difficulty in relations with the Orthodox? Or does Rome view than as a bridge to the East, as an alternative way to be Catholic?

Is Rome basically afraid of diversity?

Anyway: I have heard of more than one man who loved the Eastern Church and wanted to be married and a priest; and the Vatican wouldn't allow that to happen in the U.S.; and so he joined the Orthodox, got married, got ordained . . . and the Catholic Church lost another priest.

It's sad.

-- John

Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: harmon3110] #309958
01/19/09 02:00 PM
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Those hierarchs that want married presbyters have them. This has less to do Rome than with those who want to use Rome as an excuse not to have them.


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #309963
01/19/09 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Those hierarchs that want married presbyters have them. This has less to do Rome than with those who want to use Rome as an excuse not to have them.


Yes, this is true.

However, several weeks ago I found in one of the London papers a questionnaire that is given by the Papal Nuncio to experts who critique possible canidates for episcopal office:

Episcopal Questionnaire

One of the questions is interesting regarding this particular issue:

Quote
7- DISCIPLINE

Devotedness to the Holy Father, the Holy See and the Episcopal Hierarchy. Support for Priestly Celibacy and general and particular Laws of the Church. In particular: as to Liturgical and Clerical Discipline.


My question is whether or not this same questionnaire is utilized here in the States with respect to candidates for episcopal office in the Eastern Catholic Churches.

If so, then we have an interesting situation potentially.

It causes one to ask: is Rome screening out our candidates for episcopacy who perhaps take a very positive view of married priesthood within our tradition and would desire to see such a thing practiced fully here in the States?

Of course, I do not know the answer to this. But I think it is an interesting question.

Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: ebed melech] #309981
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I think bi-ritualism is a bad idea.
With rare exceptions,once latin always latin to the bone.

Last edited by indigo; 01/19/09 05:18 PM.
Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: indigo] #309996
01/19/09 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by indigo
I think bi-ritualism is a bad idea.
With rare exceptions,once latin always latin to the bone.


I definitely disagree with this...some of the "most eastern" priests I have met have been bi-ritual...

My experiences have been, they found "the pearl" and did their best to dust it off and make it shine...now I have met bi-ritual priests where they have an "interest" in the East and want to help out, but they are truly "latin to the bone". The priest who had some of the greatest influence on me was bi-ritual...It wouldn't have surprised me if he became Orthodox as well, unfortunately he died at a young age...

Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: indigo] #310013
01/19/09 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by indigo
I think bi-ritualism is a bad idea.
With rare exceptions,once latin always latin to the bone.


I agree with the next poster. Some of the most Eastern-minded priests I have met came through Latin seminaries and started in Latin parishes. I can say, though, that I have heard that the widespread use of Latin clergy is a poor stop-gap to a real vocations problem.

Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: Byzantine TX] #310033
01/20/09 06:48 AM
01/20/09 06:48 AM
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But how would these Roman bishops react if, hypothetically, the "Sui Juris Metropolitan Byzantine Church of America" would suddenly proclaim that they would now return to the venerable tradition of ordaining married men to the priesthood. Would they accept the decision of a small "sui juris" Eastern Catholic jurisdiction wholeheartedly without making any negative comments? Would those Roman bishops still be open to loaning the said mentioned small "sui juris" Eastern Catholic jurisdiction their Roman Bi-Ritual priests who would then have contact with and serve at the altar along side married Eastern Catholic priests? What really would happen?

Ung

Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: Ung-Certez] #310036
01/20/09 08:09 AM
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Metropolitna Judson of blessed memory did just that in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1999:
http://www.post-gazette.com/regionstate/19991002byzantine4.asp

But before that announcement was made the Pittsburgh Latin Diocese had stopped allowing priests biritual faculties and limiting those that had them from serving in our parishes. At the moment only one priest in the Pittsburgh Diocese has biritual faculties.

Fr. Deacon Lance


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #310039
01/20/09 08:43 AM
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Fr. Dn., I'm specifically speaking about the Bi-Ritual priests on loan in Van Nuys, Parma and Passaic (in the So. States) eparchies. Would those Roman bishops in those southern States who are loaning the "Sui Juris Metropolitan Byzantine Church of America" their priests to serve as Bi-Ritual priests, would they still willingly loan out their Roman Bi-Ritual priests if all of sudden the Van Nuys, Parma and Passiac eparchies had home-grown married priests?

Ung

Last edited by Ung-Certez; 01/20/09 08:46 AM.
Re: Biritualism and Missions [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #310041
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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Metropolitna Judson of blessed memory did just that in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1999:
http://www.post-gazette.com/regionstate/19991002byzantine4.asp

But before that announcement was made the Pittsburgh Latin Diocese had stopped allowing priests biritual faculties and limiting those that had them from serving in our parishes. At the moment only one priest in the Pittsburgh Diocese has biritual faculties.

Fr. Deacon Lance


Fr. Deacon Lance,

Yes, it was a very courageous step on the part of the Metropolitan of blessed memory.

And yet, within the Metropolia of Pittsburgh and the sui juris Byzantine Catholic Church of America, what has become of that legacy? Apart from His Grace, Bishop John Kudrick of Parma, how many have embraced this heritage of married deacons being ordained to the presbyterate? How many candidates are "in the vocations pipeline" that are either married or intend to be?

If some BCC bishops have taken concrete steps to encourage vocations, I'm sure there would be great interest here in knowing who and when.

Even the Melkites, once on the forefront of Byzantine and Orthodox Catholic renewal, seem reticent to ordain married deacons to the priesthood now under Archbishop Cyril. If my information is incorrect here, I am open to being corrected.

It appears that the Ukrainians and the Romanians alone stand for a traditional, married presbyterate at the parish and mission levels.

Once we finally embrace our full heritage of a fully functioning, married parochial priesthood, we can actually begin thinking about other more pressing concerns, such as missionary expansion here in North America.

Let the Latins howl, for goodness sake (and certainly NOT all do on this issue). They certainly have enough pastoral planks in their own eyes to be concerned about, some of which are being addressed by the Benedictine reforms.

In ICXC,

Fr. Deacon Daniel

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