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I apologize in advance if I'm posting this in the wrong place and/or if this topic has been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere. If either is the case, please move/delete this post, mods.

I'm a mid-twenties cradle Latin Catholic who has flirted with Eastern Catholicism for several years now. Those feelings have intensified greatly over the past year -- to the point that I'm now praying about switching Church membership.

About three years ago I spent a summer at a Latin seminary discerning the priesthood on the suggestion of a priest friend. I'd never previously seriously considered the priesthood (I'd always strongly felt the desire to marry) and I finished that summer feeling at the least that I wasn't called to that order at that moment. With my desire to marry fully intact, I put away the question of the priesthood as well.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago (well into my current intense attraction to Eastern Christianity), and suddenly the idea of the priesthood popped into my head again, but with my new-found awareness that married men are traditionally (routinely?) ordained to the priesthood in the East, it felt, for the first time, like a real possibility for me.

So I have a few newbie questions. How does one discern the double vocation of marriage and the priesthood? How regularly are married men ordained in the Eastern Churches in the US? For someone like myself, who isn't even seriously dating anyone currently, much less down the road towards marriage, but who certainly desires to be married, what does the discernment process even look like? Any first or second-hand anecdotes along these lines?

For what it's worth, I'm in the process of setting up a meeting with the (I think unmarried) pastor of the Ruthenian parish near me. I'd love to go into that meeting a little less ignorant than I am now.

Thanks in advance!

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Christ is in our midst!!

Welcome to the forum.

There are several threads here dealing with this topic. You might start with some on the Church News section where there are a couple that deal with the ordination of men in the Ruthenian eparchy located in Phoenix. There is also a thread dealing with a Maronite ordination.

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MayorDaily,

Welcome to the Forum!

First you need to discern your vocation to be an Eastern Catholic. Men who become Eastern Catholic externally only to become married priests while still being Latin at their core probably will not be at peace serving in an Eastern Catholic Church. The best way to discern if you have a vocation to be an Eastern Catholic is to join an Eastern Catholic Church and become part of the parish community for a few years. If you find you can't part from it, then you've found a home and can continue your discernment to marriage and the priesthood. Even if you find you don't have a vocation to the priesthood, you'd might still have your vocation to be an Eastern Catholic.

Best wishes,
John

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Thank you both for your replies and thank you for welcoming me! Helps a lot.

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You can't be a Latin Catholic who changes rites to become a married priest. No one would allow this to happen. If you were born a Eastern Catholic then there would be limited barriers other than whether or not your Bishops ordains married priests. Being a Latin Catholic = impossible.

If you want to be a priest you will have to be celibate priest. Of course you could be a bi-ritual or change rites celibate priest. If you believe you have a vocation to be married and a vocation to ministry you could consider being a deacon. Remember you can't remarry as a deacon if something tragic were to happen to your wife.

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Ray, according to whom? Is there a publication on this somewhere, or a Statement? Do you speak for all rites, or one of them? This sounds more contrary than I mean to be, and I apologise: I'm actually looking for information. "No one" is, in this case, a great many people.

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TheDoors:

Christ is in our midst!!

For "No one," read "Rome." It's been common knowledge for sometime. In fact, a man who becomes Orthodox and returns to the Catholic Communion is sometimes not admited as a priest, but as a layman. In other developments, Rome is not eager to accept Orthodox priests into communion as priests because the "back channel" word is that they are considered too conservative.

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It might be a good idea to actually speak to some married EC priests to come to a better understanding of the challenges that married priesthood presents.

It would be wrong of anyone in the West to consider married priesthood to be a panacea for all kinds of "ills."

But I would listen to the Administrator and first test your vocation to the Eastern Catholic tradition.

I've known individuals, former RC's, Anglicans and Lutherans who felt drawn to Orthodoxy but whom, at the same time, wanted to maintaini their Western Rite heritage.

So it would be best to see if you really want to be a member of the Christian East first.

As for a vocation to the EC married priesthood - that presents itself with its own challenges at the outset!

Good luck and the Lord's blessing!

Alex

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Either way, for merely practical reasons it is a lot on ones plate. In celibate Roman priesthod, one spends an inordinate amount of times in pointless meetings and ones ministry has a conveyor belt aspect due to the large impersonality of a Roman parish. I do not know if married Eastern Catholic priests have secular employment, but most Orthodox do. At least they have the consolations of family life, and some help from the wife in parish catechisis and such. Personally, I find nothing wrong with a priest having a day job --especially since Catholics, with good reason, lack the spirit of giving to support a priest's family -- but not all jobs have set weekly hours that do not encroach upon ones free time unexpectatly.

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I think Mr. Administrator has some very sound and prudent advice here--your decision to join one of the Eastern Catholic Churches should not be rooted solely in a desire to become a married priest, but rather on a well-considered commitment to live the prayer life, liturgical life, fasting life, etc., of the Eastern Catholic community that you propose to join. A vocation to the priesthood would come later, and would theoretically come from your pastor, and be vetted by other hierarchs and spiritual fathers.

Prayer is the key. I would say find God's will through prayer and and through the experience of His providential love in your life. Neither marriage, nor priesthood, nor church affiliation are ever experienced in the abstract--these vocations are rooted in concrete circumstances in your life.

A couple of other things. I appreciate the fact that it is almost impossible to transition from Latin Catholic to married EC priest, but I know for a fact that it is not absolutely so. I also would caution against the generalization that celibate priests spend all their time in pointless meetings and treat their ministry like a conveyor belt. I know of too many saintly men, ascetics and men of prayer, who serve as celibate priests.

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There have been Presbyteras that have caused endless grief for their husbands and their priestly ministry - not just anyone can be a Presbytera.

And not just Presbyteras with a worldly outlook alone. I've known a few who even had degrees in theology and were the cause of rifts in parish life - so much so that their husbands were transferred, sometimes resulting in marital separation.

The grass is not greener on the other side.

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Yes: "I know of too many saintly men, ascetics and men of prayer, who serve as celibate priests." and

Yes: "There have been Presbyteras that have caused endless grief for their husbands and their priestly ministry - not just anyone can be a Presbytera."

Yes: "The grass is not greener on the other side."

We are all human. Take it one step at a time. Good luck and Godspeed.

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Originally Posted by theophan
TheDoors:

Christ is in our midst!!

For "No one," read "Rome." It's been common knowledge for sometime. In fact, a man who becomes Orthodox and returns to the Catholic Communion is sometimes not admited as a priest, but as a layman. In other developments, Rome is not eager to accept Orthodox priests into communion as priests because the "back channel" word is that they are considered too conservative.

Bob

He is, and always will be!

It is a stone on my heart that we are welcome to practice our sacred rites and traditions, but only when it does not offend the sensibilities of Rome. Either we are equal, and our rites are equally valid, or we are not. It seems to my young eyes that the conservative nature of the East is what is attracting many people, especially young people, to the Eastern Rites in the first place. Flowers are a wonderful gift and a blessing to the eyes, but they will not turn to fruit without strong roots. But I doubt very much I need to tell anyone here that...

So, what can we do but pray, fast, and love God? I think I need to pray for my poor bishop.


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