The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
Sergiusz, zeroneet, Atomic Parakeet 1, Anna777, HeraclitusTheObscu
5,830 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
2 members (Adamcsc, akemner), 62 guests, and 19 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Holy Saturday from Kirkland Lake
Holy Saturday from Kirkland Lake
by Veronica.H, April 24
Byzantine Catholic Outreach of Iowa
Exterior of Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Parish
Church of St Cyril of Turau & All Patron Saints of Belarus
Byzantine Nebraska
Byzantine Nebraska
by orthodoxsinner2, December 11
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics35,141
Posts414,752
Members5,830
Most Online3,380
Dec 29th, 2019
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 9
E
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
E
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 9
I'm new to this forum and quite unfamiliar with Eastern Catholicism. I've done some reading, but have never been able to actually attend a Byzantine liturgy. The closest one is over three hours away.

My question is, can any married man (assuming he's otherwise qualified) become a priest?

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,390
W
Member
Offline
Member
W
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,390
No.

He must meet very strict qualifications to enter seminary, have a history of active participation in parish life (such as serving on the parish council), have a degree, have the support of his bishop (some of whom do not look fondly on those who converted or came from a different rite, and some of whom are hesitant to ordain any married man, much less someone not a cradle EC.) He must be of a certain age, have a degree, be married for a certain length of time. His wife will also be considered and must give her full consent. Experiences differ depending on the sui iuris and the hierarch involved. A person who was once a Latin Catholic will most likely face even greater scrutiny than the average candidate to determine if he is attempting to circumvent his own church's traditions. However, for a glimpse, here [byzcathsem.org] are the requirements to become a deacon through SS. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary. Of course, becoming a priest is even more difficult than those requirements for a deacon. There must be a recognized need for the priest. The most difficult part to overcome is the entirely subjective support of the bishop/metropolitan.

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,663
Likes: 12
John
Member
Offline
John
Member
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,663
Likes: 12
Everyman,

Welcome to the Forum! We are happy you have joined our internet community.

It is possible for a married man to become a Byzantine Catholic priest. Right now it is still the exception rather than the rule (even among cradle Byzantine Catholic men), so while it is possible it is also a bit like the camel going through the eye of a needle. If you believe that you are called to serve the Church as a priest you should contact the vocations director for your local Byzantine Catholic diocese (eparchy).

There are a few questions that I know that the vocation directors place before every man who expresses an interest in serving as a Byzantine Catholic deacon or priest.

-Do you have a vocation from the Lord to be Byzantine Catholic?

-If you do not live in an area with a Byzantine Catholic parish would you be willing to relocate on your own just to live your life as a layman in a Byzantine Catholic parish? [This is before even thinking about a vocation of service as an ordained deacon or priest.]

-Would you be willing to spend five or more years living the Byzantine life of fasts and feasts so that you can learn enough to be able to discern a vocation to serve as a deacon or priest?

Remember all vocations � be they to marriage or the religious life � can require a long time to discern.

Hope this helps!

Admin biggrin

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
F
Member
Offline
Member
F
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
At the risk of being a wet blanket (I've been called worse things!) you should be aware of some fundamental considerations:

Simply joining yourself to an Eastern Catholic Church is already a special vocation - and, oddly enough, this can be particularly difficult for a Roman Catholic, for reasons I won't go into at the moment. So before any of our bishops would take the discussion further, he would want to be sure from your own experience that you genuinely have this vocation to one or another of the Byzantine Catholic Churches.

The desire of a married Roman Catholic layman in good standing to be ordained to the priesthood is understandable, and we can sympathize with it. But that does not mean that we can actively support it - the record urges us to be slow and cautious in such cases.

For obvious reasons, Rome itself and the Roman Catholic bishops in the USA, are not anxious to see a procession of married men seeking ordination and marching off to this or that Eastern Catholic Church for the purpose.

I could continue only too easily. But the first initiative must come from you, and it is already a large initiative. If you believe strongly that you have a vocation to join us, then YOU must move to some locality where there is a functioning Greek-Catholic parish that you believe you should join (and you must make certain that your wife and children are prepared to join our Church with you). This will require sacrifice and commitment on your part, but there is no way out of it. At the same time, you would do well to embark on the whole work of prayer (using our books for the purpose) and study (to gain a greater knowledge of our Church, our tradition and our joys and sorrows). I know that's quite a lot, and I'm not asking you to do it. I'm simply telling you that if you don't do that your chances of finding a benevolent bishop are close to zero.

By the way, how are your language skills?

Again, I could continue. But I've made enough of an effort to scare you away for the moment!

Fr Serge

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 79
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 79
Fr. Serge wrote:
Quote
- the record urges us to be slow and cautious in such cases.
Peace Father,

This is interesting. What problems have former Latins ordained into the Eastern Catholic priesthood caused?

Thanks!

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,390
W
Member
Offline
Member
W
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,390
Quote
Originally posted by Serge Keleher:
But that does not mean that we can actively support it - the record urges us to be slow and cautious in such cases.

For obvious reasons, Rome itself and the Roman Catholic bishops in the USA, are not anxious to see a procession of married men seeking ordination and marching off to this or that Eastern Catholic Church for the purpose.
I took Rome's response to be why Father admonished caution. It wasn't long ago at all that the Eastern Catholic Churches in the US (and other western lands) were forbidden from having married clergy. There is no clear statement from the Vatican abolishing that order. The current move to ordain married men comes through a round-a-bout interpretation of exhortations to return to the Eastern roots, which is not exactly solid theological footing. As we know, the Ruthenians just recently ordained their very first married man in --how long? a century at least? It was a much celebrated, but also quiet and low-key ordeal. It would not please the east or the west to implement this eastern tradition just to serve as a venue for Latin married men to circumvent their own church's rules concerning clerical celibacy. Everyone agrees that there are certain men who would be great choices despite their canonical enrollment once being Latin (or Protestant), but both sides are still testing the waters and every choice must be carefully and cautiously chosen to send the right message. That message is that the eastern churches are returning to their eastern traditions of allowing eastern married men to become eastern priests who minister at eastern parishes. For the foreseeable future at least, it appears that those men who will be ordained are most likely to be cradle Byzantines or to have a very long standing history within the church. However, by the time that a person became familiar with the church, entered it, served within it, and worked to meet all the other requirements for entering the seminary (degree, length of marriage, age, etc), it is possible that things will not be moving so slowly. Then again, they might.

Which is why, as Father mentioned, one must discern one's vocation to the eastern church separately from the priesthood. Would one leave the eastern church if one could not be ordained? If so, then it is just a desire to circumvent one's own church's rules. If not, then one should enter the church without the expectation of entering the priesthood as well. Moving cautiously is expected for all involved.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,881
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,881
We discussed this point not long ago about some who have transferred from the Latin Rite to the Byzantine having stamped on their documents not to be ordained. Incognitus cool reminded us though that it is the call of the bishop and not the desire of the potential candidate that should be determining who gets ordained.

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 59
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 59
What about a former Latin Rite Catholic becoming an Eastern Catholic deacon? Assuming one has a vocation to become Byzantine, and is willing to spend a considerable amount of time becoming "easternized" (5 yrs or more), is there an impediment to his becoming a deacon?

Joined: Aug 1998
Posts: 4,274
Likes: 14
Moderator
Member
Offline
Moderator
Member
Joined: Aug 1998
Posts: 4,274
Likes: 14
There is no imediment other than one must transfer from one sui iuirs church to another before ordination. In my class of deacons 7 were cradle Byzantines and 3 were former Latins including myself.

Fr. Deacon Lance


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,243
Likes: 14
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,243
Likes: 14
Dear Friends,

Yes, I have known former RC priests who have joined an EC Church who have continued to be literally hounded by the RC hierarchy, claiming these priests to be "their property" etc.

At the same time, there are RC's who become married "priests" in vagante jurisdictions and who can be accepted back to the RC Church much more easily, it would seem, than if they joined an EC Church.

That is made possible by the problem, up here at least, of RC priests leaving to get married and who then join a Protestant community as a pastor.

In fact, the United Church of Canada allows for this and accepts RC priests as pastors of their parishes after one year of regular membership at one of their parishes.

It's an embarrassment to the RC hierarchy here and to offset that, one would suppose, they've made the "return" of such more streamlined . . .

Of course, the problem of RC's coming to the EC Churches to be ordained as married priests isn't the only issue - the issue of RC's joining the EC's because they are "running away from" rather than "moving toward" is the main issue.

It is not that RC's aren't welcomed. But if the RC really does have a vocation to the EC Churches, as Fr. Keleher and the Revered Administrator, have so eloquently expounded, then that is fine.

But in far too many cases, EC's are experiencing RC's who come over because they don't like the Novus Ordo and feel the Byzantine Liturgy is "close enough" to the Tridentine - at least we don't "face the people" and the like.

Other RC's want to join us because they would love to be a married priest and cannot do so in the RC Church (unless they leave to join a vagante or Protestant group and then petition to come back . . . this method is NOT adviseable).

In either case, there is no real desire to become "Eastern" but "Roman Catholics of the Byzantine Rite."

And, truth be told, we already have enough of the latter in our parishes thanks to years of Latinization . . .

The EC Churches are not "better than the Novus Ordo," we're not a holding tank for those who wait for "Rome to come to its liturgical senses," and we're certainly not a place where married men can pursue priestly ministry where they cannot do so in the Latin Church.

It is NOT a good thing to have one foot in the West and another in the East. On another thread here, there were members of the Forum who described how they are doing just that - liturgically, they are Orthodox, but in terms of faith and the sacraments, they are Catholic.

As a couple of priests have already told me, this is not a spiritually healthy situation. One can be one or the other, Catholic or Orthodox (in or out of communion with Rome), but to be ecclesially in two places means to be fully in neither.

And this goes for those who want to join the EC Churches because they like the ritual and the rules, but who don't see how that process will affect their spiritual identity.

It does and it will.

Having said all that, I think the advice that the two revered individuals above give are excellent.

Alex

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,582
Likes: 1
O
Member
Offline
Member
O
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,582
Likes: 1
I had intended to stay off this thread - but I can't smile

I really have to congratulate you Alex - well said

Quote
It is NOT a good thing to have one foot in the West and another in the East. On another thread here, there were members of the Forum who described how they are doing just that - liturgically, they are Orthodox, but in terms of faith and the sacraments, they are Catholic.

As a couple of priests have already told me, this is not a spiritually healthy situation. One can be one or the other, Catholic or Orthodox (in or out of communion with Rome), but to be ecclesially in two places means to be fully in neither.

And this goes for those who want to join the EC Churches because they like the ritual and the rules, but who don't see how that process will affect their spiritual identity.

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 79
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 79
Orthodox Catholic wrote:
Quote
But in far too many cases, EC's are experiencing RC's who come over because they don't like the Novus Ordo and feel the Byzantine Liturgy is "close enough" to the Tridentine - at least we don't "face the people" and the like.
Alex,

Is this a problem more from the lack of knowledge of the incoming Latins regarding the Divine Liturgy and the theology behind it?

Given the frequent disdain expressed here towards the NO by Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, why wouldn't such Latin refugees be welcomed with open arms? That's of course assuming they (we) come with open hearts and minds towards the ways of our Eastern brethren. smile

Point taken though on the problems of married Latins changing trains solely for the purposes of becoming ordained. Yet, given what I've read here recently on the problems with vocations in the BCC and other Eastern Catholic Churches, is it not possible that some of these Latins are responding to a genuine call inspired by the Holy Spirit? (note, I exclude myself here from having such aspirations to the priesthood--I just want to learn Ukrainian)


Peace

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 9
E
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
E
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 9
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. You've given me much too consider, and I take it appreciatively.

Currently, I'm grappling with this fact: I originally went to college in order to become a minister. That was back in my Protestant days. I took most seminaries' advice and majored in one of the humanities, receiving a liberal arts degree (English Literature w/ a minor in Philosophy). But, then the unexpected happened: I became Catholic. And I'm married.

I pretty much gave up on the idea of being a pastor, but then someone told me I might be able to become a Byzantine priest. I've heard conflicting stories.

A couple things I have to consider: Just because I'm still interested in being a professional minister, does that mean I am discerning a calling into the Eastern Catholic Church or not? I constantly wonder if my desire to be a priest is the doorway by which the Lord may be calling me into Eastern Christianity. I certainly do not want to enter that fold by bad intentions, like the ones you've all named.

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 780
F
Administrator
Member
Offline
Administrator
Member
F
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 780
Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
[QB]It is NOT a good thing to have one foot in the West and another in the East. On another thread here, there were members of the Forum who described how they are doing just that - liturgically, they are Orthodox, but in terms of faith and the sacraments, they are Catholic.

As a couple of priests have already told me, this is not a spiritually healthy situation. One can be one or the other, Catholic or Orthodox (in or out of communion with Rome), but to be ecclesially in two places means to be fully in neither.
Hmmm...

My dear friend Alex,

I happen to have a foot in each place. As a bi-ritual deacon I am fed and nourished by both East and West. My spiritual father has helped me to find a place where there is a sense of balance that allows me to be "spiritually healthy" despite the apparent spiritual schizophrenia that might othrrwise seem to be present.

Fr. Deacon Edward (searching for the T-shirt that proclaims on the front "I'm schizophrenic!" and, on the back "And so am I!").

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 780
F
Administrator
Member
Offline
Administrator
Member
F
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 780
Quote
Originally posted by Everyman:
Currently, I'm grappling with this fact: I originally went to college in order to become a minister. That was back in my Protestant days. I took most seminaries' advice and majored in one of the humanities, receiving a liberal arts degree (English Literature w/ a minor in Philosophy). But, then the unexpected happened: I became Catholic. And I'm married.

I pretty much gave up on the idea of being a pastor, but then someone told me I might be able to become a Byzantine priest. I've heard conflicting stories.

A couple things I have to consider: Just because I'm still interested in being a professional minister, does that mean I am discerning a calling into the Eastern Catholic Church or not? I constantly wonder if my desire to be a priest is the doorway by which the Lord may be calling me into Eastern Christianity. I certainly do not want to enter that fold by bad intentions, like the ones you've all named.
This may or may not be a good basis for moving forward. My suggestion is to first discern where you are spiritually fed. Since you have never attended a Byzantine liturgy, I suspect that you do not have an attachement to the East or to the spiritual life of the East. Without experiencing that you cannot be at a point where you would discern a call to the ordained ministry. You don't say how long you've been Catholic, but I think that first you need to grow and understand the opportunities that are present for "professional ministry" where you are. One need not be ordained to serve in a professional capacity. If you do feel called to ordained ministry, consider the diaconate in the Latin Church. This is an area of service the very closely corresponds to the ministry that a Protestant minister would have performed.

If you think you are called to the East after having spent several years looking at the West then you will need to find an Eastern Church and get involved in the spiritual and communal life of that Church. After some period of time (usually about five years) if you find that is more appropriate for you, then a change of ritual Churches sui iuris might be in order. Once that is compelete, you can consider seeking ordination in the Eastern Church.

I hope this is helpful.

Fr. Deacon Edward

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4

Moderated by  Alice, Father Deacon Ed, theophan 

Link Copied to Clipboard
The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2022 (Forum 1998-2022). All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5