Cardinal Sandri: "Eastern Catholics should embrace celibacy"

“You are not immune to the same corrosive effect on morals and family life as are your fellow Latin Catholics,” Cardinal Sandri said.

All the churches are hurting for clergy, he said. Even those that have a relatively high proportion of clergy to faithful are stretched by the great distances those priests must travel to minister to the faithful.

The cardinal urged care in helping young people discern their vocation, “maintaining formation programs, integrating immigrant priests (and) embracing celibacy in respect of the ecclesial context” of the United States where mandatory celibacy is the general rule for priests.

Remarkable that in the same article the Cardinal says:

“You, dear Eastern bishops, as representatives of the diverse Eastern churches in the Catholic Church, are living symbols of the apostles who set out in all directions from Jerusalem to establish Christian communities. Like them you have encountered opposition, indifference and ignorance along the way,”

Oh wow, seems nobody learned anything from Ea Semper :frowning:

What a shocking and appalling statement by the cardinal. So the “ecclesial context” of the United States is supposed to trump centuries of Eastern church tradition? And he apparently thinks that marriage is that which “has a corrosive effect on morals?”

There are other threads similar to this one going on right now. One is dedicated to Fr. Tom Loya’s response to the whole matter.

That being said, despite what a few others have said, I still find the Cardinal’s comment rather sad. On the one hand I agree that “radical celibacy” (as Fr. Maximos Davies calls it) as a vocation ought to be encouraged. But in keeping with the Eastern/Byzantine tradition, I believe it ought to be encouraged within a monastic context. By and large parish clergy in the Byzantine tradition have always been married (prior to ordination of course). Some, of course, have freely chosen celibacy, but historically it was never mandatory until the diaspora came about.

So my own personal attitude: encourage “radical celibacy” as a monastic vocation. Among married persons (whether clergy or lay) encourage marital chastity, as is appropriate for all the married Christian faithful.

I agree.

In particular, the churches should strongly encourage the monastic vocation. Each bishop should try to establish monastic houses under his own omophorion.

Oh dear…

Is outrage!!!

Since celibicy is not a matter of faith or morals, therefor the Eastern Church should the same right as the Western Church to decide on celibicy. :signofcross: :gopray:

I think your quotes (accurate for sure) are somewhat oblique…context to whole story-wise…like here is the title/headline of the article:

Eastern Catholics have much to offer US church, cardinal tells bishops/QUOTE]

[quote]Eastern Catholics “are a bridge” supporting Catholics in their homelands with prayers, advocacy and financial support while at the same time enriching the United States with their cultural and religious identity, Cardinal Sandri told

U.S. bishops from the Chaldean, Ruthenian, Maronite, Ukrainian, Armenian, Melkite, Syriac and Romanian Catholic churches.

He is the Cardinal for Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches…I don’t agree with telling the Eastern Catholic Rites how to do much of anything…I prefer admiring and learning about their liturgies and their spirituality…but I ain’t a “Cardinal or a Prefect”…he is and he has a “dog in the fight”…I don’t…opinion, yes…but opinions are like fannies…everyone has one and…

Pax Christi

Here are links to CAF threads where this matter have been discussed already.

As long as we are repeating:

  1. Those in attendance at the* ad limina *visit did not have any come away with the idea that there has been any change in policy. That policy is revealed in contemporary practice: many eastern churches in the US are ordaining married, some aren’t. All Byzantine churches have of late, and do so, presumably, as they see fit: no one has given any indication of any contemporary refusal or disciplinary response by Rome. This Cardinal’s remarks are not “Cum Data Fuerit”, and most certainly not “Ea Semper”. Apparently, things have been learned.

  2. We should have high esteem for celibate vocations; there is no reason that that would not in Eastern tradition, which includes both monastic and priestly celibate vocations.

  3. The broader context of the Cardinal’s message was the importance of celibacy in an age (and place) in which in which sexual mores and their effects on all aspects of life are manifestly the huge moral issues of our time. We can and should be in solidarity on this matter.

  4. That solidarity has does not vitiate point #1. As Met Stephen of the UGCC simply noted: a third of his priests are married. Let’s avoid false either-or dilemmas.

  5. As to “our rights”: the matter is not simply about our rights, but is and has been about our rights as we interact with others. By being in communion with other churches, we are in a relationship with them. Any talk about assertion of rights has just as much place here as it does in a discussion of the relationship between a husband and wife - namely none. The right approach is to make the best effort to seek the best outcome for all, while prioritizing actions according to one’s responsibilities. Thus: we are happy to hold celibacy in high esteem; and will also do so as we also proceed to seek vocations that are help us advance the mission of our church.

  6. Everyone agrees that the issue of priestly celibacy is one of discipline, not dogma. So let’s act like it. An over-reaction that, in effect, hints at diminishing the esteem for celibate vocations works against our priests just as a criticism of married priests does.

  7. Finally a comment on leadership. Many people have a sense that a good cause is advanced by rapid action with a steadfast here-I-stand approach, and even an in-your-face approach to hierarchy or “lowerarchy”. Well, I suppose everyone has the fantasy of being an action-adventure hero, but in fact, this approach generally leads to disaster. (Not just in this context - how about eg Nikonian reforms.) Our leaders are piloting a tanker, not racing a Ferrari. So to get from point A to point B requires a deliberate, intentional path that is undertaken in the smallest steps, almost imperceptibly, to maintain equilibrium at each point in the path. A conservative approach is this matter is the measure of wise leadership; reactionary responses and ploys to precipitate or incite them are not.

Hope he gets de-cardinalized.

You mean natural right? Per the canon law it is a matter for approval of the Holy See (which approved the CCEO laws).

CCEO Canon 758 §3.
The particular law of each Church sui iuris or special norms established by the Apostolic See are to be followed in admitting married men to sacred orders.

Byzantine Metropolitan Church sui iuris of Pittsburgh, U.S.A. particular law (1999):

Canon 758 §3
§1. Married men, after completion of the formation prescribed by law, can be admitted to the order of deacon
§2. Concerning the admission of married men to the order of the presbyterate, the special norms issued by the Apostolic See are to be observed, unless dispensations are granted by the same See in individual cases.

“You are not immune to the same corrosive effect on morals and family life as are your fellow Latin Catholics,” Cardinal Sandri said.

Might that be at least in part why the East chooses its bishops exclusively from the ranks of monastic/unmarried clergy? Some would suggest if it’s mandated for bishops then it might at least be of benefit to other clergy.

[quote=Cardinal Sandri]The cardinal urged care in helping young people discern their vocation, “maintaining formation programs, integrating immigrant priests (and) embracing celibacy in respect of the ecclesial context” of the United States where mandatory celibacy is the general rule for priests.


I think if his eminence finds the Latin Rite lacking or needing in the United States, he should do something to reform the American Church; not transform the Eastern Rite into the Western Rite. Wow, simply amazing.

If the Eastern Rite would win over more members, it is still a win-win situation for the Catholic Church; after all they are still family.


:bowdown2::blush:When I was posting I wasn’t thinking about the different types of rights. My bad. If my momery is right, at least some of the Eastern Churchs only appoint Monks as Bishops, so they do not have to worry about a married Bishop who’s wife is still alive. :tiphat:

Sometimes I post before I think!:shrug:

Can someone please explain this to me?

embracing celibacy in respect of the ecclesial context" of the United States

There is a Holy See-approved history of almost all Catholic priests being unmarried in the USA since 1897. That is part of the Catholic “ecclesial context” in the USA.

All how did that become the history, at least as regards Eastern Catholics in those statistics?

That wasn’t the question I answered.

This is an interesting paper by Roman Cholij, Secretary of the Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainian Catholics in Great Britain, on Priestly celibacy in patristics and in the history of the Church.

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