Eastern Catholic Married Priesthood


#1

While this might fit better in the Eastern Catholicism section, I’m posting this here because my target audience is Western Catholics in particular.

I am merely wondering how Western Catholics perceive the concept of the married priesthood in the Eastern rites, since it has been an Eastern tradition, well…for a long time. :stuck_out_tongue: While the married priesthood had ceased to exist in some places for a while - particularly in North America - the bishops have of late changed their policies and are gradually coming around to ordain more and more married men. When I was young, my pastor was a married priest, but he was the only one I was aware of at the time. Today, probably half the priests I know are married (in Canada).

To elaborate on my initial statement, I am wondering: Do Western Catholics find this inappropriate? Appropriate? Is it merely a matter of education and knowledge of the Eastern Tradition, or is there more going here that even a rooted knowledge can accept? I’d like to know what you think.

Thanks!


#2

How do I personally perceive it? I see it as an accommodation to human weakness and not the ideal. The priest as an alter Christus needs to be molded as completely as possible to the image of Christ. The Easterners mark this as out of the ordinary hence the celibate Episcopate (the bishop containing the fullness of the priesthood) and the absence of daily Divine Liturgy (priests must abstain from the use of marriage before celebrating the Divine Liturgy). It is a normal dispensation in the Eastern Churches, but a dispensation nonetheless, not the rule nor the ideal.

That having been said I worship in an Anglican Ordinariate parish, and our pastor is married, I have no problem with it, it doesn’t freak me out, but I make a mental note that this is a dispensation from the rule, and the ideal is and ought always to be a celibate priesthood. I don’t foresee nor would I recommend that the Church do away with clerical celibacy.


#3

[quote="Verden_Leafglow, post:1, topic:288740"]
While this might fit better in the Eastern Catholicism section, I'm posting this here because my target audience is Western Catholics in particular.

I am merely wondering how Western Catholics perceive the concept of the married priesthood in the Eastern rites, since it has been an Eastern tradition, well...for a long time. :P While the married priesthood had ceased to exist in some places for a while - particularly in North America - the bishops have of late changed their policies and are gradually coming around to ordain more and more married men. When I was young, my pastor was a married priest, but he was the only one I was aware of at the time. Today, probably half the priests I know are married (in Canada).

To elaborate on my initial statement, I am wondering: Do Western Catholics find this inappropriate? Appropriate? Is it merely a matter of education and knowledge of the Eastern Tradition, or is there more going here that even a rooted knowledge can accept? I'd like to know what you think.

Thanks!

[/quote]

Most Catholics I know, including myself, who are in any way familiar with Eastern Catholicism, have no opinion on the matter, they just accept it for what it is.

When I was young, my Mother dated a man who was, as she called it, "Greek Catholic". She said to me "Their priests can be married, you know". Ok, that is what they do, perfectly fine. I do not know one single Latin Catholic who objects to a married Eastern Catholic priesthood. It's just what they do. Some people, upon first hearing about it, are a bit surprised, but I've never heard anyone object once the tradition has been explained, although some think they can be married after ordination.


#4

I think it’s great. I would actually prefer a married priest at this particular time in the church. I actually considered leaving Rome and becoming orthodox for that reason. As a woman, I think perhaps they would be more understanding of women, their problems, etc, easier for me to talk to. Maybe easier for fathers to relate to also if they had children, more familiar with families’ problems. imho After all, St. Peter himself was married. Where are todays John Vianney’s in this celibate clergy? At a local church the priest gives recipes instead of a decent teaching sermon. So, if he had a wife…


#5

I think it odd that with all the talk of "delatinizing" the Eastern churches they are not permitted to revert to married clergy which is most natural for them.


#6

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:3, topic:288740"]
Most Catholics I know, including myself, who are in any way familiar with Eastern Catholicism, have no opinion on the matter, they just accept it for what it is.

When I was young, my Mother dated a man who was, as she called it, "Greek Catholic". She said to me "Their priests can be married, you know". Ok, that is what they do, perfectly fine. I do not know one single Latin Catholic who objects to a married Eastern Catholic priesthood. It's just what they do. Some people, upon first hearing about it, are a bit surprised, but I've never heard anyone object once the tradition has been explained, although some think they can be married after ordination.

[/quote]

I think this is generally my own experience as well. What puzzles me is the seeming conflict within the Catholic hierarchy...where some want to restore the tradition, and others want it gone. Hmmm...


#7

[quote="Cruikshank_s, post:2, topic:288740"]
How do I personally perceive it? I see it as an accommodation to human weakness and not the ideal. The priest as an alter Christus needs to be molded as completely as possible to the image of Christ. The Easterners mark this as out of the ordinary hence the celibate Episcopate (the bishop containing the fullness of the priesthood) and the absence of daily Divine Liturgy (priests must abstain from the use of marriage before celebrating the Divine Liturgy). It is a normal dispensation in the Eastern Churches, but a dispensation nonetheless, not the rule nor the ideal.

That having been said I worship in an Anglican Ordinariate parish, and our pastor is married, I have no problem with it, it doesn't freak me out, but I make a mental note that this is a dispensation from the rule, and the ideal is and ought always to be a celibate priesthood. I don't foresee nor would I recommend that the Church do away with clerical celibacy.

[/quote]

It is not a dispensation in the Eastern Churches that have a married clergy. It is the tradition and at one time was the norm until Rome mucked it up for us.

It was out of the ordinary to have a celibate priest in the secular priesthood.


#8

My personal opinion is that the Priests are there to minister to the people and for preaching the Gospel. A priest is called to marry the Church.


#9

[quote="1van28146, post:8, topic:288740"]
My personal opinion is that the Priests are there to minister to the people and for preaching the Gospel. A priest is called to marry the Church.

[/quote]

Is your meaning here of "marry the Church" equivalent to celibacy? If so, I'm curious how you figure that a married priest wouldn't be able to minister the people and preach the Gospel.


#10

One of the most beautiful things of the Roman Catholic Church is their priests committment to God through the vow of celibacy.

Actions speak louder than words.


#11

No where in the theology of the priesthood nor in any of the language used in the Ordination rites will you find marriage language.

Personally speaking that sort of language turns me off of it.

I believe that the marriage language is used so that those who are not called to live Chastity for the Kingdom and be celibate for life (two different things) can form some sort of understanding.


#12

[quote="pollycarp, post:4, topic:288740"]
I think it's great. I would actually prefer a married priest at this particular time in the church. I actually considered leaving Rome and becoming orthodox for that reason. As a woman, I think perhaps they would be more understanding of women, their problems, etc, easier for me to talk to. Maybe easier for fathers to relate to also if they had children, more familiar with families' problems. imho After all, St. Peter himself was married. Where are todays John Vianney's in this celibate clergy? At a local church the priest gives recipes instead of a decent teaching sermon. So, if he had a wife...

[/quote]

They wouldn't have time to talk to you their wife would be chewing their ear off.


#13

[quote="thebookofesther, post:10, topic:288740"]
One of the most beautiful things of the Roman Catholic Church is their priests committment to God through the vow of celibacy.

Actions speak louder than words.

[/quote]

So you are saying that a married priest is some how less?

A secular priest makes no vows. They make promises.

A religious priest makes vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty.

There is no "vow of celibacy".


#14

[quote="CB_Catholic, post:3, topic:288740"]
Most Catholics I know, including myself, who are in any way familiar with Eastern Catholicism, have no opinion on the matter, they just accept it for what it is.

When I was young, my Mother dated a man who was, as she called it, "Greek Catholic". She said to me "Their priests can be married, you know". Ok, that is what they do, perfectly fine. I do not know one single Latin Catholic who objects to a married Eastern Catholic priesthood. It's just what they do. Some people, upon first hearing about it, are a bit surprised, but I've never heard anyone object once the tradition has been explained, although some think they can be married after ordination.

[/quote]

You found one. Well two, I'm sure good ole' St. Paul would object (1 Corinthians 7).


#15

[quote="ByzCath, post:13, topic:288740"]
So you are saying that a married priest is some how less?

A secular priest makes no vows. They make promises.

A religious priest makes vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty.

There is no "vow of celibacy".

[/quote]

"But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:32-35 NASB)


#16

We are not a Bible only Church. We have tradition. The tradition for the whole Church until the fourth century was a married secular priesthood. In the fourth century the Latin Church changed this but the rest of the Church kept the married priesthood.

They are different and there are different challenges with each one but both are beneficial.

Also what you are doing here is called proof texting. You take an opinion and then find scripture to support your opinion. The Church does not use this scripture in this manner. I could dig through scripture and find where Paul speaks about priests being only married to one wife. I could point out the fact that we know Peter was married. I can point out other things but that would also be proof texting and would not prove anything except that I can find scripture to support my opinion just as easily as you can find it to support yours.


#17

ByzCath - On another note to support what you’re saying, the quote BookOfEsther gave doesn’t even specify whether whoever St. Paul is talking to is a priest or not. On a plain reading of the text, one ought to believe that we should all be celibate, and that the human race should die out as a consequence…


#18

[quote="Verden_Leafglow, post:17, topic:288740"]
ByzCath - On another note to support what you're saying, the quote BookOfEsther gave doesn't even specify whether whoever St. Paul is talking to is a priest or not. On a plain reading of the text, one ought to believe that we should all be celibate, and that the human race should die out as a consequence...

[/quote]

That is the problem with most who proof text. They fail to read their selected scripture in context with the rest of the section it is found in or to actually learn what the author's theology is. Also it is generally done by protestants who are Sola Scriptura and therefore do not have a tradition to look at either.

Paul's belief is that living a chaste single life is higher than everything else. He said that let those who are weaker marry.

He does not give either as a qualification for priesthood.

In the letter to Titus he does say that an "elder" which the RSV-2CE translates as "bishop" should only be the husband of one wife.

So we can see that the tradition of the early Church was at least some married clergy. The Church did not disallow married bishops until later and then the Latin Church added priests. Bishops being celibate was decided at an ecumenical council. The secular priesthood in the Latin Church being celibate was decided at a local council and not binding upon the whole Church. It is a matter of discipline (law) only and therefore can and has been dispensed in the Latin Church but no such dispensation is need for the Eastern Catholic Churches which have this tradition as it is spelled out in canon law for them.


#19

Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are one, they compliment not take away from each other. Why do you disregard St. Paul’s opinion? How would something like this even be worthy enough to make it into the Bible? Why do you aslo disregard the words of the pope, past popes, some saints, other saints, and our College of Cardinals. Are they all proof-texting? It was changed, because it was made for the better and most rites would tend to agree elevating the majority of their bishops from those celibate of your monastic orders.

“For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.” (Matthew 19:12 DR)

There is nowhere in Scripture or anywhere that states there are benefits to being married and a priest. There is however the words of Jesus which state if you are able to give up your self for me, then do so for my honor. Which compliment Paul’s writings in Corinthians.


#20

I ask you the same. Why do you disregard St Paul’s command that a bishop should only have one wife?

To have it your way separates Scripture and Tradition when it is the ongoing Tradition of the Church to allow for married secular clergy.

Until you can clear up those two things there is nothing more you can say on this.


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