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This is very sad news. Mgr Abrass is a fine scholar, though I know nothing of his reputation as a bishop.

One of the chief starting-points for the momentum behind the Zoghby Initiative was when Rome went over the heads of the Melkite Catholic Synod in order to force the retirement of Met Grégoire Haddad of Beirut in 1974. This led to a joint meeting with the synod of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, as a show of solidarity, and did a lot to strengthen the ties between the two churches.

While it may be, from what's been said above, that this is a rather more clear-cut scenario of a bishop needing to be removed, I think it's safe to say that the Melkite Church isn't nearly as interested in defending its independence and prerogatives as it was in decades past. It's very noteworthy that Rome didn't just remove a bishop, it also chose the temporary administrator for the diocese.

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Christ is in our midst!!

For me, this is a sad affair on the most important level--that of the man and that of his flock. The Enemy has taken down a bishop and scandalized the believers. All the rest, IMHO, is of secondary importance. How do we defend ourselves in the greater world in which we live when clergy fall, especially when we have put them on a pedestal for so long? How do we shore up the faint faith of many when they see this and assume that we stand for nothing if even the clergy do not live up to what we preach?

Let's step back and pray for Bishop Michel and his diocese. (Heavy sigh).

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Indeed. The autonomy of the Eastern Catholic Churches is an illusion. We are indeed Catholic in name only, and only are as Catholic insofar as we are "under" Rome. All this talk of equality is a lie. No wonder the Orthodox look down on Eastern Catholicism. They are removed enough from Rome's thumb to see the truth of it all.

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Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
Indeed. The autonomy of the Eastern Catholic Churches is an illusion. We are indeed Catholic in name only, and only are as Catholic insofar as we are "under" Rome. All this talk of equality is a lie. No wonder the Orthodox look down on Eastern Catholicism. They are removed enough from Rome's thumb to see the truth of it all.
Colin,

The Church always has issues that need to be addressed. But why are you so bitter? The Lord is good and life in Him is good!

John

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A bit of a minor correction.

No, Archbishop MICHEL [Abrass] is not a monk. He is a member of the Basilian Salvatorians who no longer consider themselves monastics.

A number of years ago (1950's ?) the Basilian Salvatorians petitioned and received an indult approving their reconstitution as "un ordre de religieux actifs" in the manner of a Latin religious order or like the Melkite Paulists. My understanding is, however, that both the Aleppian and Chouerite continue to consider themselves monastics.

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Annuario Pontificio still lists them as a monastic order.


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That may be what the Annuario states, however, I would make note of the statement by His Grace JOHN [Elya] the late Melkite Bishop of Newton, and himself a Basilian Salvatorian and which may be found on the Eparchy of Newton's website.

"The Salvatorian Religious take vows that are the equivalent of monastic vows, however, they are an active Order of priests involved in spiritual renewal and parish ministries."

Maybe there is something lost in translation, but I kind of believe that a Melkite bishop who is Salvatorian might understand his own community's status better than some "can't be bothered" Monsignore Sostituto sitting in the bowels of the Vatican Library. But, who am I to judge?

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Originally Posted by Protopappas76
"The Salvatorian Religious take vows that are the equivalent of monastic vows, however, they are an active Order of priests involved in spiritual renewal and parish ministries."
Do you consider members of the Order of Saint Benedict to be monastics?

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Originally Posted by Protopappas76
That may be what the Annuario states, however, I would make note of the statement by His Grace JOHN [Elya] the late Melkite Bishop of Newton, and himself a Basilian Salvatorian and which may be found on the Eparchy of Newton's website.

"The Salvatorian Religious take vows that are the equivalent of monastic vows, however, they are an active Order of priests involved in spiritual renewal and parish ministries."

Maybe there is something lost in translation, but I kind of believe that a Melkite bishop who is Salvatorian might understand his own community's status better than some "can't be bothered" Monsignore Sostituto sitting in the bowels of the Vatican Library. But, who am I to judge?

I guess the first thing I would ask is how were they received? If it was according to archieraticon, I would say they are monks. They may not live like monks and be active in parish ministry but that is not unusual. In my area, many Benedictines are pastors of parishes. Even among the Orthodox their are monks serving parishes and widower priests often take monastic tonsure so while not the ideal it is not unusual.


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Again, the Salvatorians themselves state that they are not monks. the former Salvatorian provincial and later Bishop of the Melkite eparchy JOHN repeatedly stated and even wrote that the Salvatorians were not monks, and the same is stated on the Newton eparchial website.

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I'm going to have to agree with Abouna Lawrence regarding the Salvatorians, although I think that the change in the formal status of the order was a couple of decades later than he suggests. I believe that it came about in the mid to late 70s, as memory serves me.

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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Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
I'm going to have to agree with Abouna Lawrence regarding the Salvatorians, although I think that the change in the formal status of the order was a couple of decades later than he suggests. I believe that it came about in the mid to late 70s, as memory serves me.

Is this semantics? What's the distinction or is it a real difference: a monk vs.a religious, eastern vs. western viewpoints? Consider this thread from 2009: Monasticism in the United States.

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In the Catholic context: all monastics are religious, but not all religious are monastics. Jesuits, for example, are canonically "religious" but they are not monastics.

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
I'm going to have to agree with Abouna Lawrence regarding the Salvatorians, although I think that the change in the formal status of the order was a couple of decades later than he suggests. I believe that it came about in the mid to late 70s, as memory serves me.

Is this semantics? What's the distinction or is it a real difference: a monk vs.a religious, eastern vs. western viewpoints? Consider this thread from 2009: Monasticism in the United States.

Deacon Tony,

I will readily concede that, in the 2009 thread that you linked, I spoke of the Basilian Salvatorians as 'monks' because they were still using that terminology, the status change already referenced notwithstanding. You have a point with regard to the semanticism of it but, as we both know, there is a decided difference between the monastic life as it was lived historically versus the life of religious orders, whether the latter have as their focus preaching, education, missioning, contemplativeness, or pastoral care. As I noted back then ...

Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
The Salvatorians, Aleppines, and Chouerites are all 'monastic' orders, as the term is typically used in EC Churches. As is the case with most such orders, other than the Ukrainian Studites and a few others, their monastic heritage - in its historical form has been compromised, particularly in the diaspora. (I'm less certain as to how things are in the "Old Country".)

In the early years of Melkite emigration to the US, their monastic celibacy made all 3 bodies a ready and convenient source for clergy to be dispatched to the mission territory. With parish congregations that were typically very poor, the prospects for funding priests who had wives and families was dismal at best. It's likely that the nearly universally celibate Melkite presbyteral presence worked to our advantage in that, despite the more pronounced "foreignness" of our peoples (non-European, dark-skinned, etc), the Latin hierarchy were seemingly less outwardly hostile to us than to our Slav brethren.

It didn't ward off the imposition of latinizations, but there were decidedly fewer instances of outright rejection and we were generally allowed to erect our parishes, etc. (It also helped that there wasn't a convenient "parallel" ethnic body to whose parish we could be directed, as was the case with the Slavs, often dismissed with the instruction that they could as easily attend national parishes of the Polish, Slovak, or Lithuanian Latins.)

The prospects for actually living a monastic life in the US were certainly enhanced for the Melkites in the US when Archbishop (later Cardinal) Cushing, of blessed memory, sponsored erection of a Salvatorian monastery in Methuen, MA. However, although a core of monks resided there, they soon broadened the scope of their existence by taking responsibility for non-monastic priestly formation.

Was it pre-planned that they would do so? I'm not sure, but the fact that those who came from the 'Old Country' to be the nucleus of the community were particularly well-educated - truly academicians - suggests that to have been the case. It satisfied a definite need, one that couldn't otherwise be met, as there was not yet any canonical jurisdiction for the Melkites in the US. Additionally, they were regularly called upon to supply clergy to meet needs across the country - particularly at so-called 'Salvatorian parishes', ones that had historically been pastorally served by their predecessors for the five decades prior. The prospects for monastic life to be sustained and flourish in these circumstances were poor at best, though I think they tried.

Honestly, I'm not certain where this thread is going or if it serves a valid purpose of inquiry. To be frank, as much as it would indeed be 'nice' to have more Eastern Catholic monastic foundations in the US, actually living an actual monastic life, it doesn't seem likely that such can happen soon - why? Because we lack enough 'secular' or 'eparchial' or 'patriarchal' clergy - however one wants to style them - to meet the pastoral needs of our peoples - and that is true across most all of the Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches in the diaspora. We are, in most instances, still importing presbyters from the 'Old Country' because we can't grow a sufficiently large crop here. Bottom line, it becomes tough to spare clergy to be pure monastics. So, to answer your question - in my opinion, at least in the US, for most of the Byzantine Churches, there is no perceptible difference between monastics and religious order clergy.

Many years,

Neil .


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