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Well, it depends on the bishop concerned. It is certainly no problem wanting to be a priest in any of the Eastern rites, if you're celibate. There's also no problem if you've joined any of the Eastern rites prior to marriage.

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I'm wondering, can the Eastern Catholic Churches who don't have a Bishop and are under the Latin ordinary (like the Russians) ordain a married man to the priesthood?

Last edited by Nelson Chase; 10/18/09 10:05 PM.
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Well, I can only speak from what happened in Australia. The late Fr. Peter Knowles OP was the chaplain for the Russians in Melbourne. He was however, biritual. It is unknown as to whether Bishop Prashko (Ukrainian) or Bishop Issam John (Melkite) was the covering bishop.

However, Fr. Lawrence Cross, who is married, was ordained by the Melkites in Jerusalem and is now the chaplain of the Russians. The ordination were not without issues (which I shall not divulge here), but it is possible if there is another constituent Eastern jurisdiction who extends pastoral care over churches that do not have a hierarchy. In the case of Australia now, the Russians are given pastoral care by the Melkites, even though their canonical ordinary remains the Latin bishop.

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Wonderful video clip of the last Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Empire, what will it take before all of us could unite in a liturgy like that where we all lay aside our differences and worship the living God, and like the Emperor confess our sins and ask for the pardon of all?
Stephanos I
If not now when?
If not us who?
God hasten the day.
(Thine own. of thine own, we offer unto thee, on behalf of all and for all.)

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Originally Posted by Nelson Chase
I'm wondering, can the Eastern Catholic Churches who don't have a Bishop and are under the Latin ordinary (like the Russians) ordain a married man to the priesthood?

Nelson,

It's problematic and there is no easy answer. As a general rule, it would require at least the consent of the Latin Ordinary (and whether such would be forthcoming is open to question) and might even end up in the hands of the Oriental Congregation (the issue is not formally addressed in the CCEO nor in what little reference the CEC makes to Latin oversight of Easterns w/o hierarchs).

The issue itself arises relatively infrequently. Remember that the only Churches that strictly fit the bill of being without a (any) hierarch are the Russians, Bielorusians, and Albanians.

Everyone else has a hierarch somewhere and acquiring a priest to provide pastoral care, whether it be a new parish or one that is pastorally vacant, would involve a request from the Latin Ordinary to his counterpart in the Old Country (or inserting a bi-ritual presbyter into the position). So, for those Churches, it's a non-issue.

As regards the 3 without hierarchs, the Albanians have no parishes or presence outside Albania (and barely any there), so it's a non-issue. The Bielorusians have a mission in the UK and, as I recollect, one in France and possibly one in Belgium. Any priestly needs involving either would likely result in channeling a request through the Apostolic Visitator for the Bielorusians (or, possibly, looking to the UGCC for assistace).

The Russians are the ultimate orphans.

As Collin notes, in Australia, the Melkite Eparchy has, formally or informally, extended itself to afford episcopal oversight to the sole Russian congregation.

In the US, the Melkite Eparchy: formally exercises a spiritual omophor over 1 of the 4 Russian parishes (see my comments in the News forum on the 'Odds & Ends' thread); informally does likewise over a 2nd; and, a 3rd is served by a priest of the Melkite Eparchy (albeit I don't know that there is either a formal or informal exercise of omophor involved in that instance - I believe Father may be 'on loan' to the Latin Archdiocese for purposes of serving the parish).

The Romanian Eparchy exercises (either a formal or informal, I've not seen anything definitive) a spiritual omophor over the 4th parish.

In 2 of the 4 cases, the priests involved are married, but both were serving as such before they took responsibility for the Russian parishes involved, so the question never arose.

The situation has also not arisen among the Russian parishes in South America, as far as I know, and I really have no idea as to whether any of the Byzantine hierarchs there (Melkite or Ukrainian) exercise any omophor with respect to those parishes (Philippe may know something of the situation in Brazil?).

As regards Europe, where there are a few scattered Russian parishes, I haven't ever heard the question raised nor am I aware that any Byzantine hierarchs are involved with oversight of them (Father Serge might be able to speak to that point).

Is that a sufficient non-answer biggrin ?

Seriously, though, in the US - as a practical matter, given the current relationships - it seems likely that the question would be left to the discretion of the Byzantine hierarch involved with the parish. Elsewhere, it's a coin toss.

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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It should also be noted that it is not uncommon for the Latin side to place a no-holy-orders caveat on a change of ritual church. This is very much a bishop to bishop thing, but I know bishops who will do it. I also know bishops who will refuse the change request entirely, those that will ignore it for as long as they can, and those that just "rubber stamp" them.

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Lech Lecha

I canonically transfered from the Roman Catholic Church to the Byzantine Catholic Church with out any problems. All I did was write a letter to the Bishop, give it to my Pastor to send to the Bishop. The Bishop exchanges letters with the local Roman Catholic Bishop to grant permission to the transfer. A letter was sent back to my pastor for me to sign in the company of two witnesses. Once the paperwork was signed I was a Byzantine Catholic. It was not difficult at all. I would make sure first that you are truely eastern in your spirtuality before you make the transfer.

Jesse venner

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When I did so back about 1995 it was also quite simple. I made the request through my Byzantine Catholic bishop similar to the way jvenner explained.

Still, as I was told, it was all up to the Bishops involved and could have gone differently if there were any objections. I have heard of similar problems as Byzantine TX describes.

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Originally Posted by DTBrown
When I did so back about 1995 it was also quite simple. I made the request through my Byzantine Catholic bishop similar to the way jvenner explained.

Still, as I was told, it was all up to the Bishops involved and could have gone differently if there were any objections. I have heard of similar problems as Byzantine TX describes.

To give you a local example of how diverse the responses can be:

If you are in Austin you stand almost zero chance of getting a change done - this is also to some degree true of Fort Worth (though I'm told you can wait it out for many many months or years). If you live in Dallas it is not a problem nor in Houston. In two cases I have first-hand knowledge of one family was denied a change completely and the other sat in holding while the Papal Nuncio got involved and punted it to Rome. Neither of these cases involved vocational aspirations.

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Wow! I have been away for a while, and I come back to much discussion. Thank you all for your insights, and please keep them coming.

I agree that change of rites just for a vocation is a poor reason for it, and I would not seriously consider such a thing. However, my attraction to the East is deeper than that. It calls me to look at the forest and not just the trees. There is a certain resonation between me and Ruthenian approach (I have much Northern European stock), and the attraction is divorced from the priesthood. I wouldn't say no, but there are many ways to serve His people.

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Well, then go for it. Its not too hard. However, bear in mind, that if vocations are far from your mind, no transfer of rite is necessary. Catholic is Catholic and there are no inhibitions whatsoever, stopping you from being a part of (and playing an active part in) a Ruthenian parish or any other Eastern Catholic community that you wish to join. A change of rite makes more sense if you're feeling and breathing the East, with its theological outlook, spirituality etc.

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Originally Posted by Collin Nunis
Well, then go for it. Its not too hard. However, bear in mind, that if vocations are far from your mind, no transfer of rite is necessary. ... A change of rite makes more sense if you're feeling and breathing the East, with its theological outlook, spirituality etc.

I'm not intending to pick on my brother, Collin, as he tempers his opening sentence with his closing one, but don't let anyone tell you that you should only bother with a transfer of canonical enrollment if you intend to either (1) take orders, (2) marry, or (3) raise children, in the Eastern Church.

If you find yourself truly drawn to the East - that its spirituality and theology and praxis speak to your soul and connect you with God in a way that you don't find elsewhere - transfer. We welcome and embrace those who worship with us, commune with us, socialize with us, and often are buried by us, and we consider them among our own - never differentiating.

But, from a personal standpoint, there is great joy in standing alongside or among others and being able to say 'this is my Church' (not 'this is where I go on Sunday'), 'These are my fellow parishioners' (not 'these folks are from the church that I go to on Sunday'), 'This is my Patriarch/Metropolitan/Bishop' (not 'this is Bishop Rudy' from the _______ Church'). If you love the East and that is where you are closest to God, the great joy is in belonging fully.

Many years,

Neil


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I'll echo Neil

Quote
But, from a personal standpoint, there is great joy in standing alongside or among others and being able to say 'this is my Church' (not 'this is where I go on Sunday'), 'These are my fellow parishioners' (not 'these folks are from the church that I go to on Sunday'), 'This is my Patriarch/Metropolitan/Bishop' (not 'this is Bishop Rudy' from the _______ Church'). If you love the East and that is where you are closest to God, the great joy is in belonging fully.

For me the move was hit by many problems - mainly due to ignorance frown

But when I finally did become a Ukrainian Greek Catholic , I knew I belonged , I was no longer a fish out of water , I had a home and a family .

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Neil is right and we'd all agree that we have arrived at the same point at the end. The only reason I said otherwise in the beginning is that, it doesn't matter what happens nonetheless - we worship in Spirit and truth, and we own that Spirit and truth, even if canon law dictates otherwise.

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The primary reason to change church of ritual enrollment is that it places one under the obligations and calendar of the receiving Church Sui Iuris.

Until one does that, one is still obligated to the holy days of one's church of enrollment. On is still obligated to the sunday observances of one's church of enrollment, as well.

For example, Romans have Jan 1 as a holy day of obligation; A Ruthenian parish observes Jan 6th, instead, but a roman in a ruthenian parish is still obliged to observe Jan 1.

Another example: The Ukrainian GCC has specified that, if one is working on sunday, saturday vespers fulfill one's obligation. For a roman, however, that is not the case, even if they are attending Ukrainian Vespers.

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