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Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: Mark R] #401973 12/07/13 02:40 AM
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Fr. John Morris Offline
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I assure that as a married Eastern Orthodox Priest, I have plenty to do all week. I visit the sick, counsel people, give food to the hungry and am on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If someone dies at 3 Am I get out of bed and go to the home or hospital to comfort the family. The big difference is that I only have about 200 people to take care of instead of over 1,000 like the local Catholic priests. Another difference is that I not only make personal sacrifices to minister to my flock, my wife and children have also made many personal sacrifices because their husband or dad is a priest.

Fr. John W. Morris



Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: Mark R] #401974 12/07/13 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark R
Maybe if Catholic parochial leadership did not foist expenses on parishoners without their input and have every diocese a mini Great Society the continuosly walked over parishoner would think about tithing. The Catholic laity are not suckers.
When my chums were Byzantine rite priests, they literally had nothing to do all week...they could manage a wife and career if they had to. So many priests with nothing to do treat their job as a "living" in the 18-19 cent. British sense. Of couse this would be impossible for Latin rite priests with their big assembly line parishes and hours of pointless meetings they have to attend...with the result that they have little in common and little empathy for the common man.


I prefer our Eastern Orthodox system. I have no authority over financial or other non spiritual matters in the parish. The people do. They have an annual meeting that approves the parish budget and elects a Parish Council that takes care of the financial and other temporal affairs of the parish between meetings of the people of the parish. That means that I do not have to worry about fixing the leaking roof, repairing the furnace, or raising the money and can devote my time to spiritual matters. I do not write the checks, pay the parish bills or have authority to spend any money that is not budgeted, without the approval of the Parish Council. The parish does give me a Pastor's Discretionary Fund to spend on charity.

Fr. John W. Morris

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: Fr. John Morris] #401985 12/07/13 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Fr. John Morris
I assure that as a married Eastern Orthodox Priest, I have plenty to do all week. I visit the sick, counsel people, give food to the hungry and am on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If someone dies at 3 Am I get out of bed and go to the home or hospital to comfort the family. The big difference is that I only have about 200 people to take care of instead of over 1,000 like the local Catholic priests. Another difference is that I not only make personal sacrifices to minister to my flock, my wife and children have also made many personal sacrifices because their husband or dad is a priest.

Fr. John W. Morris




And I can't tell you how many times the local hospitals called my father, and now my brother to come to the hospital because someone, or a family wanted a priest and they could not get a Roman Catholic priest to come in - so they would venture out, comfort the dying and the families - not sacramentally, but comfort them none the less.


Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: Fr. John Morris] #401986 12/07/13 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Fr. John Morris
Originally Posted by Mark R
Maybe if Catholic parochial leadership did not foist expenses on parishoners without their input and have every diocese a mini Great Society the continuosly walked over parishoner would think about tithing. The Catholic laity are not suckers.
When my chums were Byzantine rite priests, they literally had nothing to do all week...they could manage a wife and career if they had to. So many priests with nothing to do treat their job as a "living" in the 18-19 cent. British sense. Of couse this would be impossible for Latin rite priests with their big assembly line parishes and hours of pointless meetings they have to attend...with the result that they have little in common and little empathy for the common man.


I prefer our Eastern Orthodox system. I have no authority over financial or other non spiritual matters in the parish. The people do. They have an annual meeting that approves the parish budget and elects a Parish Council that takes care of the financial and other temporal affairs of the parish between meetings of the people of the parish. That means that I do not have to worry about fixing the leaking roof, repairing the furnace, or raising the money and can devote my time to spiritual matters. I do not write the checks, pay the parish bills or have authority to spend any money that is not budgeted, without the approval of the Parish Council. The parish does give me a Pastor's Discretionary Fund to spend on charity.

Fr. John W. Morris


And again from the PK point of view, while what Father says is accurate in Orthodox parishes, the good pastors work hard to ensure that material things of the parish are done the right way. It's still all about leadership, motivation and getting people to do the right thing in those matters as well.

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: Fr. John Morris] #401987 12/07/13 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Fr. John Morris
Originally Posted by Mark R
Maybe if Catholic parochial leadership did not foist expenses on parishoners without their input...The Catholic laity are not suckers...


I prefer our Eastern Orthodox system. I have no authority over financial or other non spiritual matters in the parish. The people do...



As an outsider, I think I prefer it too.

I suspect that Mark is on to something--in the Roman Catholic Church of the United States, the people really have no ownership of anything--their contributions build their parishes, but finally their bishop is legally the only stakeholder. (I am curious to know if the same legal rationale governs church property among Eastern Catholic Churches in this country.) This very real dispossession can be quite demoralizing.


Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: DMD] #401991 12/07/13 10:24 PM
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I will pray with anyone who asks for my prayers. I have been asked by people in the elevator as I rode up to visit one of my people to come with them to pray for a sick relative.
Catholic hospitals are much easier to work in because they understand the importance of religion. I have been put in a scrub suit and taken into the operating room at a Catholic hospital to pray for someone who was dying. I cannot imagine that happening in a non-Catholic hospital. Significantly enough, although it is supposed to be less religious, I find hospitals in the North even secular ones much more clergy friendly than hospitals in the South.

Fr. John W. Morris

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: Fr. John Morris] #401994 12/08/13 01:09 AM
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Bless Father!

When my father lay in an emergency ward in a hospital, having suffered a heart attack, the priest who ministered to him was a Ukrainian Orthodox priest who left giving confessions to come to the hospital.

At my father's funeral, there officiated one bishop and several Ukrainian Catholic priests.

The Ukrainian Orthodox priest who was with my father in his final moments came to pay his last respects.

When he approached our family in church, we all moved forward to reverence his hand with tears in our eyes - something we did not do with our bishop and the other priests . . .

Reverencing your right hand, I again implore your blessing - and thank God for your Ministry in the Vineyard of Christ!

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 12/08/13 01:10 AM.
Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: eastwardlean?] #401995 12/08/13 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by eastwardlean?
Originally Posted by Fr. John Morris
Originally Posted by Mark R
Maybe if Catholic parochial leadership did not foist expenses on parishoners without their input...The Catholic laity are not suckers...


I prefer our Eastern Orthodox system. I have no authority over financial or other non spiritual matters in the parish. The people do...



As an outsider, I think I prefer it too.

I suspect that Mark is on to something--in the Roman Catholic Church of the United States, the people really have no ownership of anything--their contributions build their parishes, but finally their bishop is legally the only stakeholder. (I am curious to know if the same legal rationale governs church property among Eastern Catholic Churches in this country.) This very real dispossession can be quite demoralizing.



I can only speak for the Antiochian Archdiocese. The title to the property is held by the local congregation which is incorporated in the state where they are located as a non-profit organization. I suspect that this goes back to the efforts of the Living Church a pro-Communist group that briefly took over the Moscow Patriarchate in the 1920s. They sent married "Bishop" to the US who went to court to seize the property of the local parishes. As result the Russian Bishops, who were over the Arabic speaking parish at that time, instructed each prish to have itself incorporated as a separate legal non-profit organization to protect the property from the pro-Soviet group. However, the constitution of the parish states that the parish cannot leave the Antiochian Archdiocese and take the property with them. If for some reason the parish dissolves, the property goes to the Archdiocese. The parish cannot sell property or borrow money without a vote of the people in a parish meeting in favor of the sale or loan and approval from the Metropolitan. So the Metropolitan does not actually own the property of the parish, but the parish cannot leave the Archdiocese or sell property, such as a rectory, or take out a mortgage without his approval. Actually, some banks have stricter requirements than the Archdiocese. In West Virginia, we borrowed money to make repairs on the Church and had to have three separate meetings and votes to authorize the loan. The Metropolitan cannot sell the property without approval of the members of the parish in a parish meeting. We have a parish meeting every January that elects the Parish Council and approves the budget submitted to it by the council. The council has responsibility over all financial and non-spiritual affairs of the parish. The council, however, has no authority over spiritual matters, which are under the Pastor subject, of course, to his Bishop. However, if the Parish Council has a conflict with the Pastor, they can write to the Bishop and ask him to transfer him, just as I can write the Bishop and ask for a transfer. The Bishop together with the Metropolitan makes the decision on whether or not to honor the request. Because at least 90% of our clergy are married with families, transfers take place during the summer when school is not in session. The movement is away from parish owned rectories towards housing allowances so that the priest can own his own home build up equity and not have to move when he retires.

Fr. John W. Morris

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: MikeF2009] #402034 12/09/13 03:53 AM
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Forgive a grouch, Fr. John. I was not implicating any priest, Orthodox or Catholic, in dereliction of duty. I was criticizing a system prevailing in the administration of the R. Catholic Church in the US which ties clergy up needlessly in meetings.
I live near Seattle where an early case involving the Living Church occured. The parishoners removed anything of value before the LC priest took possession :-).
My understanding is that a lot of Greek Catholic and subsequently Orthodox temples are owned by the parish because many were built by the parishoners own initiative before they had priests.

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: Mark R] #402043 12/09/13 12:06 PM
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"Ownership" of church property has been a source of great vexation among North American Eastern Christians since first arriving here in the 19th century.

Simply stated, as with Roman Catholic properties, the canonical, territorial Bishop should be the incorporator, sole trustee and title holder "in trust" (not personal capacity) for the people of God.

HOWEVER, the laws of most states had no provision for the incorporation of Eastern Christian parishes and at first there were no bishops, EC or EO, to so act nor any enabling state legislation. Hence, many Orthodox and Greek Catholic parishes incorporated under laws governing local congregationist religious entities where lay trustees incorporated and held property in trust. St. Michael's in Binhamton was incorporated in such a manner. (In some states, local Roman ordinaries allowed the incorporation of Greek Catholic parishes which were later canonically transferred to the new Greek Catholic eparchies. St. John's of Bridgeport (Arctic Street) was so incorporated.) St. Michael's has been Orthodox since the late 1930s while the original St. John's (now in Trumball, Ct.) remained Greek Catholic and three resulting Orthodox St. John's parishes exist in that area today. (That's a story for another day...)

For the Orthodox, two factors were complications. First, the former Greek Catholics now under one of several Russian groups had no intention of vesting parish title with any Bishop given their experiences with Rome and the Unia, and secondly the Russian Revolution and the vast immigration of displaced Greeks following World War One further muddled things. We still have not sorted things out a century later.

For the Greek Catholics, along with enforcing celibacy, Bishop Takach (and his Ukrainian Greek Catholic counterpart) were charged with properly regulating the legal status of their parishes and their respective dioceses. Churches were to reincorporate in the proper fashion. Resistance developed quickly in many communities. Poor immigrants who pledged their homes as collateral against parish mortgages resisted his efforts and coupled with the anti clerical mindset they developed under the Roman Rite Hungarians or Poles in Europe, many Ruthenian and Galician (now called Ukrainian) parishes were bitterly divided. Schism and litigation followed in many parishes. Dark days followed for all as communities and families were bitterly divided.

But, in the Orthodox model, even if the Bishop holds title, the role of the lay councils in managing and administering parish property is clear. Orthodox priests do not and will not possess the type of unitary financial power typically held by RCC priests.

In any of these models, in no event should a congregation believe or act as if the members have any personal property rights to the assets of a parish. All assets and properties, real and personal, are held in trust, and in the event of dissolution, remaining assets are to be dedicated to the underlying religious purposes of the parish, which means to their respective bishop and diocese to further the work of The Church, not the parish or any individuals.

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: MikeF2009] #402110 12/11/13 03:57 PM
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Well...looks like started a good topic, though got a bit off course. Thank you all, however. Pax tecum

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: DMD] #402172 12/15/13 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DMD

And I can't tell you how many times the local hospitals called my father, and now my brother to come to the hospital because someone, or a family wanted a priest and they could not get a Roman Catholic priest to come in - so they would venture out, comfort the dying and the families - not sacramentally, but comfort them none the less.


It was when our BC priest, assigned also to an RC parish, was the only one that would go to pray with a very ill woman, that the ball really started rolling for our school (and new church, hall, and so forth being built in the next year and a half).

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: DMD] #403575 02/23/14 03:34 PM
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In the Antiochian Archdiocese, the local parish holds title to the property. However, there is a provision on the parish constitution that prevents transfer to another diocese. Thus the parish must always remain under the Antiochian Archdiocese or its canonical successor. The constitution also has a "dissolution clause" that states that if the parish dissolves all property reverts to the Archdiocese.
I do not want responsibility for the financial affairs of the parish. I am quite content to let the laity worry about raising the money and keeping the building repaired. That lets me concentrate my ministry on spiritual matters.

Fr. John W. Morris

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: Mark R] #403578 02/23/14 03:49 PM
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In the average American Antiochian Orthodox parish, the Priest is full time. During the week a Priest is busy visiting the sick, attending meetings, and doing other pastoral duties. A Priest is on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If someone has an heart attack at 3 am I get out of bed and go to the hospital. Compared to Protestant clergy, we are grossly under paid. Our wives almost always have to work. But, in most modern American families, both the husband and wife have to work to support the family. The "Leave it to Beaver" days are long gone for most American families.

Re: Question About Married Priests [Re: Fr. John Morris] #403758 02/28/14 07:24 PM
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For what it's worth, our BCC friends can note that what Fr. John describes is also the norm within the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox diocese parishes as well.

Last edited by DMD; 02/28/14 07:58 PM.
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