Can a married man become a priest in one of the Eastern Catholic Churches in America?
To clarify, a married man who is a member of one of the Eastern Catholic Churches that ordains married men can become a priest in his church.
Can one change rites and become a priest? Can he celebrate mass in the latin rite?
A change of ritual Churches for the sole reason to be ordained as a married man would not be allowed. I believe that any married man would be looked at very carefully if he switched Churches before he would be accepted as a candidate for ordination.
It would be up to a Latin bishop (after the approval came from Rome to allow him to be bi-ritual) to grant him faculties to celebrate the Mass.
The Eastern Catholic Churches are not a workaround for a married man in the Latin Church to get ordained and then serve in the Latin Church.
I thought that Eastern Churches went by country? In that an Eastern Catholic Priest in the US cannot be married, but in Greece or Rome for example they can.
Eastern Catholic Churches were formerly not allowed to ordain married men in the Americas and Australia, but that ban was nullified with the promulgation of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in 1990 and was loopholed for years before that by sending men back to Europe/Middle East to be ordained and incardinated then permanently loaned back to the US by the bishops there.
Fr. Deacon Lance
I know several married Eastern Catholic priests in my city alone.
A change of particular ritual Church (referred to as a “change of Rite” in the old code) must occur for beneficial spiritual reasons. A change to simply circumvent Latin canon law would not be acceptable to any bishop, Latin or Eastern, and both must eventually consent to the decision.
Some particular Eastern Catholic churches have been more active in ordaining married men to the priesthood in the US than others. Actually the “ban” ended with the sunset of Cum Data Fuerit in the late 1950s, but there was residual pressure from Latin clergy as well as some latinized Greek Catholic clergy well into the late 1970s. In the late 1980s the Ukrainian and Melkite Greek Catholic Churches began to quietly ordain married men to the priesthood again in North America, and were openly doing so by the 1990s.
As has been mentioned, the importing of priests especially in the Melkite and Ukrainian churches continued to bring a stream of married clergy into those particular Churches from the 1960s onward, especially when political circumstances caused a great number of clergy to be refugees from their original eparchies.
Any Eastern Catholic priest in good standing can receive faculties from a Latin bishop to celebrate Mass in the Latin rite (first obtaining the blessing of his own bishop to do so). In some cases, like military or prison chaplaincy, bi-ritual faculties are actually required to conduct the ministry.