[quote="mardukm, post:14, topic:277654"]
I think it is incorrect to style the issue as "married priest vs. celibate priest." The priesthood is the same, and the married or celibate state is not of the esse of the priesthood.
I would agree. Recently, Sandro Magister pointed out, however, that while the West has developed a "theology of priestly celibacy" it has failed to do the same for married priests.
Benedict XVI, in fact, attributes a radically theological and theocentric foundation to the "celibacy that applies to the bishops of the whole Church, Eastern and Western, and, according to a tradition that dates back to close to the time of the apostles, to priests in general in the Latin Church."
There are, however, some who see an unresolved contradiction in this last description of the state of affairs.
It is true, in fact, that the bishops of both the Latin and Eastern rites, both Catholic and Orthodox, are all celibate, without exception, and the overwhelming majority of priests of the Latin rite are also celibate.
But it is also true that many Catholic priests of the Eastern tradition are married, and in some areas the ordination of married men is practically the norm....
If celibate priests have a theological foundation for their free choice, recalled so insistently by the pope, a theological foundation of equal power is nowhere in sight for the married priesthood, although its full validity and dignity have been recognized by Vatican Council II and by the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches promulgated in 1990.
This is the unresolved contradiction.
I think the issue is really about the state of marriage "versus" the state of celibacy/virginity. I think the earlier Fathers of the CC and EOC understood it this way, which is why some EO in the late Middle Ages accused the Latins of contemning the state of marriage altogether.
I think this presentation of how Orthodox view priestly celibacy that is on the Vatican website is fair. It was written by Damaskinos Papandreou, Orthodox Metropolitan of Switzerland:
Putting the personal charism of celibacy into practice, the apostolic and patristic tradition regard as a personal gift from God. Those, therefore, who have chosen the celibate life have no right to pride themselves over the superiority of their spiritual combat: «If anyone can persevere in chastity in honour of the Lord’s flesh, let him do so without boasting about it. If he prides himself in this, he is lost; and if he tells anyone else about it except his own bishop, he is corrupt.» This personal charism is freely received and this spiritual combat is freely chosen. It cannot be imposed. It is not demanded by the nature of priesthood. The Church may require it for certain ministries. The Western Church requires it for those who are called to be priests and bishops. The Orthodox Church requires it, for pastoral reasons, for those who are called to be bishops.
Thus Orthodox tradition and practice honour and respect the celibacy of priests and praise their service in the body of the Church; at the same time, they honour and respect the married clergy since, they too, serve the same sacrament of the Church and salvation. The Orthodox Church thus accepts these two forms of service equally and leaves the choice of which it is to be to the individual member, in accordance with his own vocation and particular charisms. For pastoral reasons however, the Church has favoured the institution of celibacy for the order of bishops, and these are chosen exclusively from the celibate priesthood.
I think pundits from both sides are guilty of making either marriage or celibacy of the esse of the priesthood. I think we have enough examples from the RC on that point. On the Eastern side, IIRC, there is a Trullan canon that forbids the parting of a married priest and his wife EVEN IF BOTH agree to the decision. So much for freedom of conscience.:shrug:
Personally, I think that Trullan canon a good one. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 comes to mind:
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.