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#320116 04/27/09 11:54 AM
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My friend who is a Roman Catholic expressed unease when I told her that eastern Catholic priests are typically allowed to be married if they are in that state before ordination. She said that she thinks the Latin model is better, and one only need to look at the stress on Protestant pastors who have families to show that it is hard if not impossible to balance the two roles. I told her that I had read that the role of the celibate priest in the Roman church is seen in the monks in the eastern church, but not having studied the theology enough behind this, that was all I could really tell her. Can anyone on here with some knowledge on this topic speak to the theological, social, and practical reasons behind why we allow married clergy and how to broach this topic with our Latin brothers?

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I don't know if I can speak to those things but I can say there are some Roman Catholic priests that are married.

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It always nonplusses me when many Roman Catholics who accepted the wholesale rewriting of their services and, locally, changes in teachings get all bent out of shape about celibacy, which is not a matter of doctrine or morals other than obedience. (A truism: people react strongly and often strangely when it's about sex.)

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She said that she thinks the Latin model is better.


She's entitled to her opinion but it's only opinion says Rome.

All I can add is I think the Latin discipline developed for legal/historical reasons in the West possibly to do with not having church positions and land become hereditary. (But in the East they're not either.)

To be fair: some claim celibacy is the older rule and an early church council relaxed that to allow the Eastern discipline. Then again St Peter was married.

Almost all catholic, apostolic churches allow, at least sometimes, ordaining the married but not the Protestant practice of marrying the ordained, and they normally don't allow widower clergy to remarry or married bishops. (Exceptions: the Assyrian, commonly called Nestorian, Church historically and the Polish National Catholic Church, not in Poland or RC but a small immigrant schism from Rome in America starting in the 1890s.)

And yes, in her church today there are some ex-Anglican priests and ex-Lutheran and ex-Methodist ministers who are RC priests, married and living as husbands with their wives. They got a dispensation to do so. There are also married deacons. Neither are prominent in RC culture but they exist.

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A few thoughts . . .

The question isn't "why we allow married clergy" but why the West stopped allowing them . . .

While there may have been much early celibacy, if memory serves, there is at least one reference to choosing men only married once as presbyters in the Epistles.

There are more married Roman Catholic than Eastern Catholic priests in the U.S.

I believe that the overwhelming majority of both Eastern and Latin deacons in the U.S. are married.

hawk

dochawk #323724 06/01/09 12:06 AM
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Does anyone know if the Ruthenian Church here in the States (of which I am a part of) has ordained any married priests yet? I know the Ukrainian Church is very open to this but my sense in talking to other parishioners is that the Ruthenians are more hesitant on this point.

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Originally Posted by Theodore N.
Does anyone know if the Ruthenian Church here in the States (of which I am a part of) has ordained any married priests yet? I know the Ukrainian Church is very open to this but my sense in talking to other parishioners is that the Ruthenians are more hesitant on this point.


A quick usage of the site's search function should yield you a wealth of threads and posts on this subject! The allowance of married clergy varies from Bishop to Bishop and from sui juris to sui juris.

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Theodore,

As memory serves, Vladyka John (Kudrick) has done so. I do not believe that such has happened yet in the Archeparchy or either of the other 2 eparchies.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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She said that she thinks the Latin model is better, and one only need to look at the stress on Protestant pastors who have families to show that it is hard if not impossible to balance the two roles.


Theodore N.:

If your friend brings up the topic again, tell her she should compare the role of a small business funeral director. I will have worked in my profession for 43 years on July 1, 2009--by the grace of God.

I have been "on call" 24/7/51 weeks of the year for the bulk of that time. I hae been required to be within 2 miles of the funeral home at all times during this "on call" time. I hvae had to be able to be at the funeral home within five minutes of a call to my home requiring my professional skills--no excuses and no exceptions--in a suit. I have interviewed potential apprentices and told them we have one paid holiday. It's called "Christmas Maybe." I worked more Christmass Eves than I care to count until just prior to Midnight Mass and even gone out after that to work the rest of the night. I have worked 16 hours a day and gone out during the following night. My longest period of doing this was 58 straight days, averaging 80 hours in a week. I have been under stress from people who took out their anger over death on me; over regulatory inspectors; over employee issues; and over all other kinds of things.

Much of all this has affected my family greatly. But they have understood that this is what my profession requires and have accepted it. They know that I have done this for love of them and to provide them with a roof, three squares, and the other things necessary to live.

So with the logic of a stressful job being something that affects a family poorly, no one should be a funeral director either. We should all be celibate, too.

The key to everything--no matter who it is or what he does for a living--is faith. If you have your relationship with Christ in line, your family relationships will be in line, your work relationships will be in line, and your relationships with every other person who crosses your path will be in line.

By the way, I offer my poor efforts for the greater honor and glory of God. Whatever I can do for one of His brethren, that I do for Him and I've offered all the stress and difficulty to Him.

So tell your friend that a priest can do whatever God gives him to do. God has blessed the Eastern Churches with many clerical treasures who have blessed the people they serve by their struggles and witness just as He has blessed the Latin Church with priests who are the same. With Him all is possible; without Him none of us can do anything. Just ask the many good priests who grace this forum.

In Christ,

BOB

theophan #323745 06/01/09 02:02 AM
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As a RC married permanent Deacon in the catholic church : Permanent Deacons are permitted to be married prior to ordination. After ordination they are not permitted to marry even if their wife dies. there are exceptions such as the deacon has young children to raise. This dispensation comes from Rome. If wife is living the permanent DEacon can not go on to Priesthood. Transitional Deacons are not married and they are on the way to priesthood./The issue of celebacy in the RC church is not as pronounced among our clergy as the news and some fallen away members make it out to be. Celebacy is a choice as is the call to orders--freely offered/freely accepted. the Church has bound its priesthood to those who are unmarried. The Holy Father has bound this with the authority given Peter--"what you bind on earth is bound in Heaven." It is the will of the Father forced on no one. Celebacy is a beautiful gift offered in the service of God by his chosen ministers-not given to all.-"I have chosen you". The committed clergy pray for those who abandon their chastity vows and promises made at ordination and encourage others to prayer also. Marrage also is a gifted sacrament but yet how many thousands upon thousands in the world choose the single life with neither envy or regrets about living the single life.?

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I doubt if the lady knows any better. There are many RCs who think RC and Catholic are interchangeable terms and they are the sum total of the Catholic Church. They just dont know anything much about their own Church, pass the basics, or for that matter other churches. What you have come out with to her is news and I suspect she is very unsure of what you are telling her.

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Sadly, Pavel, many of those who think RC="The Only True Catholics" also feel it right to latinize the Eastern Catholic Churches.

I was accused of having left the Catholic Faith by an officer of my K of C council for attending the Byzantine parish. (Due to children, wife's work schedule, and other issues, I don't make meetings. But my 3rd degree dues and insurance are both current.) Telling the retention committee member to ask his pastor about St. Nicholas resulted in an apology call from another officer of the council.

aramis #323757 06/01/09 09:14 AM
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I agree we see it in some of the comments on this forum and I have noted the same over at Catholic Answers.

How many times have had had people go on about having some Latin devotion or practice superimposed on to one, if not all the Eastern Churches. Clearly what ever we say to them does not register, as they keep on trying it.

Stand your ground. It's ignorance talking when they come out with this rubbish.

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James:

Christ is in our midst!!

I'm a member of the Latin Church and am familiar with the discipline you describe. That discipline--that once ordained, one cannot marry once becoming a widower is common to all the Apostolic Churches.

The issue over celibacy that always comes up is some Latin Christian making a comment to a member of the Eastern Churches in which their patrimony, including the fact of married clergy, is somehow made to seem less than the Latin Church's practice. The fact of the matter is that a married clergy has been the norm in the Eastern Churches for the past two millenia. And the fact is that there were married priests in the Latin Church at points in its history.

How we arrived at the present divergence in discipline is a matter that is always debated, but does not need to be a point of contention. What is, is. The argument that somehow a celibate Latin priest is more effective than a married Eastern priest is an insult to the dedicated members of the clergy who support a family as well as serve a larger faith family.

Did I say it was easy? Neither the celibate or married priest has it easy. BTW, who said life would be easy?

In Christ,

BOB

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theophan #323769 06/01/09 02:22 PM
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Apparently, there have been academic studies across Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox that have shown that celibate parish clergy have the most mental problems and addictions. Celibate monastics have a mental health that is far superior to the 'normal' non-religious population. Married parish clergy have a slightly healthier psychology than 'normal' married couples.

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Originally Posted by Theodore N.
Does anyone know if the Ruthenian Church here in the States (of which I am a part of) has ordained any married priests yet? I know the Ukrainian Church is very open to this but my sense in talking to other parishioners is that the Ruthenians are more hesitant on this point.


I don't believe that our Eparchy has ordained any married men to the priesthood, but our parish is getting a married priest from Slovakia at the end of the summer. His wife is from the area and the parish has long supported their efforts to move closer to her family. We need a priest, we have a parish in her hometown... sounds like a perfect match.

I have been wondering, though... perhaps this deserves its own thread. In the reality of Catholic parish life in the United States, where financial support of the Church is notoriously low, are there any parishes with married priests who have actually managed to support a priest and his family without the priest having to work full-time elsewhere? They have 3 young children and are expecting their 4th. I would love to see our parish give significant financial support to our new priest, but we're always on the brink of financial disaster as it is.


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