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Embracing Celibacy follow-up #381085 06/06/12 01:31 AM
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Paul B Offline OP
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Glory to Jesus Christ!

Now that everyone has calmed down it's time to offer some follow-up to the unfortunate and insensitive comment of Cardinal Sandri's prior to the North American bishops ad limina visit with the Holy Father.

I had an occasion at the clergy conference to ask about the ramifications of this perceived instruction. Metropolitan William was kind enough to engage the subject of the potential to accept married seminarians for future ordination to the priesthood. I pray that I do justice in accurately relaying his 'feel' for this subject. His comments weren't offered in confidence so I believe I'm justified with this posting. Besides, there was much damage done to my beloved Byzantine Catholic Church and I want to set the record straight.

The Metropolitan is of the opinion that nothing has changed, that we may proceed with caution. He said that it was reported that some eparchies has soured relations by ordaining priests with a inappropriate training, that is, the program was lacking, even abusive of the dignity and preparation which the Churches in America have come to expect. I have no details of this perception and did not feel that they had to be explained.

So, the policy has unchanged, our Particular Law is unchanged. This is all the detail which I will provide in this forum, so please don't ask me for more --there is no more.

I hope that our seminary will begin, if it hasn't already, to make preparations for married seminarians. For you forum members who are Byzantine Catholic I suggest that you earmark increased seminary donations for such preparations and execution. For instance, family housing while in Pittsburgh and local family contacts to show them around and provide babysitting or other assistance, or part time employment for seminarian/spouse.

For anyone who reponds with scepticm and criticism, I have nothing further to say. I request the prayers of all for the Metropolitan, the Seminary Rector, professors, and Board, and for the courage and gift of fortitude for any prospective married/engaged seminarian.

Christ is amongst us!
Father Deacon Paul

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: Paul B] #381090 06/06/12 02:03 AM
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The Metropolitan is of the opinion that nothing has changed, that we may proceed with caution.

How very . . . cautious of him.

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He said that it was reported that some eparchies has soured relations by ordaining priests with a inappropriate training, that is, the program was lacking, even abusive of the dignity and preparation which the Churches in America have come to expect. I have no details of this perception and did not feel that they had to be explained.

Classic. A million reasons why NOT to do something, combined with a failure to address the reasons given for not moving ahead. An object at rest tends to remain at rest.

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For anyone who reponds with scepticm and criticism, I have nothing further to say. I request the prayers of all for the Metropolitan, the Seminary Rector, professors, and Board, and for the courage and gift of fortitude for any prospective married/engaged seminarian.

I will pray that they will find courage.

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: Paul B] #381094 06/06/12 02:58 AM
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If Archbishop Skurla says he will proceed with caution, let him. If there are no married seminarians at the seminary within a year, then he is not being truthful. Somehow I don't think that he will be a different man than he was in Passaic or Van Nuys.

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: StuartK] #381098 06/06/12 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by StuartK

I will pray that they all grow a pair. At least one, which they can share.


I don't know the men or much care about the topic, but it has not been my experience that pairs are things successfully shared. Sometimes one man's fortitude bolsters another's, but as often a weaker man will let it excuse his inaction; that some other may fulfil the demands of his office. It is the curse of our time.

Again I am not commenting on the particular situation at hand. This is only a general reflection on pairs, and the sharing thereof.

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: StuartK] #381105 06/06/12 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
I will pray that they will find courage.


Amen! We should all do so!

Originally Posted by Jason D
If Archbishop Skurla says he will proceed with caution, let him. If there are no married seminarians at the seminary within a year, then he is not being truthful.


Who will be stepping forward first with the courage, the vocational calling and a willing bride or bride to be to make this request of the Archbishop?

If that were to happen tomorrow, what would this couple likely be told about the realities of venturing into such a life and calling in a church which hasn't really had to support a married priesthood in decades, especially if they desire to be blessed with children?

Who among us Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholics have actually been in a parish served by a married priest, and understand from witness and experience the realities under which they and their wives have undertaken this commitment in the current day and age?

Perhaps as Fr Deacon Paul suggests very directly in mentioning financial support, we should first ask how we can make this decision an easier and potentially joyful one before we condemn the Archbishop to failure.

Last edited by Curious Joe; 06/06/12 04:26 AM.
Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: Curious Joe] #381110 06/06/12 05:14 AM
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It would be helpful if Metropolitan William made such a statement publicly, maybe distributing a statement to the parishes, so as to leave no doubt for any prospective married seminarians that they have the full support and sanction of the Metropolitan and the archepatchy.

As it stands now, I can't imagine anyone having an idea what the stance of this church is, and how that ambiguousness could be anything but off-putting. It's almost as if by being opaque like this, the church can claim to be open to the institution without actually having to deal with the consequence of that openness.

Leadership and clarity are greatly needed.

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: Paul B] #381132 06/06/12 01:38 PM
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An interesting bit of information from Archimandrite Victor Pospishil, J.C.D., Sc. Eccl. Orient. L., "Compulsory Celibacy for the Eastern Catholics in the Americas," first published in Diakonia, issue 2 & 3, 1976, then reprinted in Toronto as a separate brochure:

"We must above all point to the dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church on the papacy, which was never disavowed in the least, and the practice consonant to it as evident in the actions of the popes and the Roman Curia, namely, that the Roman Pontiff is an absolute monarch, though he may not always behave as such, whose power is limited solely by divine law as he himself defines it. He is above the bishops even when they are assembled in an ecumenical council. It is therefore inaccurate and misleading to speak that a 'union' had been concluded between a specific Eastern Church and a certain pope. Union implies some degree of equality between these Churches. Whenever the pope is the party of the first part, the only correct term is submission.
It is naivete to mention the promises made by one pope at the time, e.g., of the Union of Brest (1596) and point to the fact that the Roman Curia blithely ignored them. The bishops of Brest submitted to Pope Clement VIII an Act of Reunion dated June 11, 1595, in which Article 9 expressly stipulated that 'Matrimonia sacerdotalia ut integra constent.' The pope accepted this condition in the Constitution, Magnus Dominus of December 23, 1595. However, what one pope has promised does not bind him, and even less his successors. The party of the second part, the specific Eastern Catholic Church, relinquishes at the time of 'union' or, more correctly, submission, any and all rights except those which are graciously granted by the pope in office."

"To put it crudely, I prefer to be robbed at gun point by an ordinary street mugger, than to be cheated by some "benevolent" despot who tries to convince me that he is defrauding me for my own good."-Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: RussianCath] #381134 06/06/12 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RussianCath
An interesting bit of information from Archimandrite Victor Pospishil, J.C.D., Sc. Eccl. Orient. L., "Compulsory Celibacy for the Eastern Catholics in the Americas," first published in Diakonia, issue 2 & 3, 1976, then reprinted in Toronto as a separate brochure:

"We must above all point to the dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church on the papacy, which was never disavowed in the least, and the practice consonant to it as evident in the actions of the popes and the Roman Curia, namely, that the Roman Pontiff is an absolute monarch, though he may not always behave as such, whose power is limited solely by divine law as he himself defines it. He is above the bishops even when they are assembled in an ecumenical council. It is therefore inaccurate and misleading to speak that a 'union' had been concluded between a specific Eastern Church and a certain pope. Union implies some degree of equality between these Churches. Whenever the pope is the party of the first part, the only correct term is submission.
It is naivete to mention the promises made by one pope at the time, e.g., of the Union of Brest (1596) and point to the fact that the Roman Curia blithely ignored them. The bishops of Brest submitted to Pope Clement VIII an Act of Reunion dated June 11, 1595, in which Article 9 expressly stipulated that 'Matrimonia sacerdotalia ut integra constent.' The pope accepted this condition in the Constitution, Magnus Dominus of December 23, 1595. However, what one pope has promised does not bind him, and even less his successors. The party of the second part, the specific Eastern Catholic Church, relinquishes at the time of 'union' or, more correctly, submission, any and all rights except those which are graciously granted by the pope in office."

"To put it crudely, I prefer to be robbed at gun point by an ordinary street mugger, than to be cheated by some "benevolent" despot who tries to convince me that he is defrauding me for my own good."-Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos


And the reality of 'submission' remains the MAIN obstacle between the Orthodox East and Rome. As I have said on oc.net, if either Rome or the Orthodox expect reunion to be upon the terms insisted by Lincoln and Grant in our Civil War - unconditional submission - it isn't going to happen. Following up on RussianCatholic's comment, history shows us that Grant was generous in the field at Appomattox but as President he could not restrain the carpetbaggers and Radical Reconstructionists. Religion is politics and politics is religion. We just have to try harder and pray more.

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: Paul B] #381139 06/06/12 02:31 PM
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Father Victor is technically correct: a literal reading of the canons does make the Pope an absolute monarch. Political reality tends to make him more of a constitutional one, though. His powers of compulsion are rather limited, and a bishop's conference or even an individual bishop has myriad ways of circumventing Papal directives if he so wishes. The Pope's power is really circumscribed by what he can convince the bishops to accept, which means he tends to "mediate within a consensus".

What's really rather amazing is the unwillingness of Eastern Catholic bishops to do what their Latin brethren do as a matter of course when confronted with a Papal instruction they do not like, but instead roll over and submit with supine obedience.

Although, to be truthful, that's only the case when Rome insists on maintaining some vestigial latinization or suppression of an element of Eastern Tradition of which our bishops do not approve. When it comes to delatinization or restoration of an authentic Eastern custom, they know every bureaucratic and parliamentary trick in the book. That's why, in 1999, Cardinal Silvestrini had to meet with them in Boston and read the riot act. Father Robert Taft was tasked with delivering a rocket in the form of an essay on Church history, Liturgy in the Life of the Church . If the Vatican tomorrow commanded the Ruthenian bishops to begin ordaining married men, they'd find excuses enough to postpone action indefinitely.

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: Paul B] #381140 06/06/12 02:33 PM
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"To put it crudely, I prefer to be robbed at gun point by an ordinary street mugger, than to be cheated by some "benevolent" despot who tries to convince me that he is defrauding me for my own good."-Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos


Vladyka once put it more bluntly: "The Pope's word is no good. You would not buy a used car from a man under those conditions".

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: Paul B] #381143 06/06/12 02:58 PM
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Glory to Jesus Christ!
JJP (et al.),
Our Metropolitan Church has a flyer entitled,
"Ordained Ministry in the Byzantine Catholic Church as a Married Man in America":
Of relevance to this post is the following section:

"While the Eastern churches retained the tradition of married priesthood, the Holy See did not allow the ordination of married men to the priesthood in America through about the last seven decades of the 20th century. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council guided the Eastern Churches to return to their authentic traditions and the Norms of Particular Law of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Metropolitan Church currently include the following: "Concerning the admission of married men to the order of the Presbyterate, the special norms of the Apostolic See are to be observed, unless dispensations are granted by the same See in individual cases."

Even without considering whether this should be a matter of dispensations (which is in one sense a broader issue), I would ask whether our clergy are teaching us that these dispensations are a possibility. In other words, are these dispensations being sought of Rome? Is Rome denying them, if so? Why are they not being sought, if not? There are many factors in this issue, and I think it would be helpful to not put everything onto one person as we go through these issues.

In XC,
J. Andrew

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: j.a.deane] #381145 06/06/12 04:08 PM
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From the outside looking in, it appears to me that 'mixed signals' on this issue remain the norm as they have been since 1884 when Fr. Wolansky first arrived in Shenandoah, PA soon to be followed by Fr. Toth.

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: StuartK] #381148 06/06/12 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
"To put it crudely, I prefer to be robbed at gun point by an ordinary street mugger, than to be cheated by some "benevolent" despot who tries to convince me that he is defrauding me for my own good."-Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos


Vladyka once put it more bluntly: "The Pope's word is no good. You would not buy a used car from a man under those conditions".

LOL. Excellent quotes both.

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: j.a.deane] #381149 06/06/12 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by j.a.deane
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Even without considering whether this should be a matter of dispensations (which is in one sense a broader issue), I would ask whether our clergy are teaching us that these dispensations are a possibility. In other words, are these dispensations being sought of Rome? Is Rome denying them, if so? Why are they not being sought, if not? There are many factors in this issue, and I think it would be helpful to not put everything onto one person as we go through these issues.

In XC,
J. Andrew


Honestly, do the clergy even know the answers to these questions? The buck has to stop somewhere.

What are leaders for if not to lead?

Re: Embracing Celibacy follow-up [Re: Paul B] #381151 06/06/12 05:38 PM
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JJP,
Some have compared our existence as those who are not in communion with Rome, but in submission to her.
I think that I agree--there are a lot of old ways of submission that remind one of a spider web. I believe in the genuineness of that desire to move towards a model that is more one of communion vs. submission, with documents such as Orientale Lumen and the like, but there is so much history and entanglements that can't disappear in an instant. From 1729-1994 we had no infant communion--if I had evaluated things as a Presbyterian (from whence I hail prior to my reception into the Catholic Church) in 1993, it's quite likely that I would have waited on becoming Catholic to give the Orthodox Church more thought and pause. Perhaps some here feel the same way about the mixed messages about the married presbyterate in this country. I am not here to judge, but I think there is a lot of untangling still to do. For my part, I hope to help in whatever feeble ways that I might be able to do so.

With these questions of understanding who is stopping a more regular practice of ordaining married men, it doesn't seem that being unable to answer these questions of what is the rate limiting step(s) is a failure to lead. If our leaders pursue more dialogue and clarity and yes, also pursues to encourage vocations to ordain both monastic and married men, then I would argue we can't hold them at fault for not perfectly untangling things.

O Most Holy Theotokos, Save Us!


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