Eastern Priest Now Celebrates EF Mass?

A few years ago our former Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic (BRC) priest had to retire due to age. He was replaced by a new BRC priest. A late vocation in his 40’s who had been ordained a couple of years before.

In talking directly to this man when he arrived, he said he had went to seminary on his own dime. He then joined a now defunct religious society which ordained him a deacon in the Latin Rite. He then could not locate a bishop who would accept him into their diocese. He turned to the East and after a difficult year or two in the eparchy the local bishop asked the Holy See to change his rite in preparation to ordain him to the priesthood.

The Holy See said (I saw a copy of the letter he carries in his wallet which he personally handed me) that he would not become Byzantine Rite but that he would be granted faculties in both the East and West. OK, fairly fascinating but it didn’t really concern me.

In the past three years this priest has performed very poorly as a pastor. He seems pre-occupied with the EF Mass (his only friend seems to be an elderly priest who celebrates the local EF Mass.) He caters to the ex-patriot Latin Rite fundamentalists in our parish. * Even more importantly he clearly shoulders an emotional challenge as well which I know nothing about.*

I was shocked to learn this morning at Divine Liturgy that he now also celebrates the EF Mass in a neighboring city when the other priest needs a replacement. This is causing great tension in our parish. Our Eastern bishop clearly knows. Is this commonly allowed?

I’ve just about had it. The mantra from the eparchy to long-time, influential members of the parish is “there is no one else” (to send to our parish.) Are things really this bad?

Well, first of all it seems that he is canonically Latin. Which means he is at best on-loan to the Eastern bishop. So if he is celebrating the EF in another parish with he blessing of the Latin bishop, then that is fine and well because that bishop is his bishop (being canonically Latin).

The Eastern bishop can do well if he can recruit a truly Eastern priest. Is this the Ruthenian/BCC? I don’t know where the best source of seminarians are for them. Perhaps the bishop can ask other bishops for help to get a regular priest more dedicated to his own Church and Rite.

I’m sorry you’ve become so disappointed with your priest.

I agree with ConstantineTG that you have described a priest of the Latin Church who has faculties to also serve in the Byzantine Church. (Faculties in another Rite are granted to a Latin priest for a given length of time, and need to be renewed.) There are some, not many as I understand it, priests of an Eastern Catholic Church who also have faculties for the Roman Rite, our local Melkite priest is “bi-ritual” to the Roman Rite, but that isn’t what you have, according to your description.

Our parish has mostly if not always been served by priests of the Latin Church. For many years that was Jesuit priests. How often they also celebrated their own Roman Rite I don’t know. The priest we had before our present pastor I doubt had celebrated the Roman Rite in decades. Presently we are assigned a pastor of the Latin Church who has been granted facilities to serve the Byzantine Rite. I believe he frequently celebrates the Roman Rite. Some time ago he mentioned that he was preparing to be able to celebrate the EF but I haven’t had any reason to discuss it with him to know if he does celebrate both the EF and OF now. We have a second priest who often concelebrates with us. I don’t know if the request which has been made has been approved but he either also has faculties to serve the Byzantine Rite or soon will have. He celebrates the Roman Rite often, at least every Sunday. The priest serving the other Melkite parish north of us is a Dominican Friar. :slight_smile:

I encourage you to pray for your priest. If you are showing him the kind of negativity that you express here it may not be surprising if he “caters” to parishoners who maybe give him positive feedback. Do you have a deacon? You don’t mention one. Our old priest, who could have done services in his sleep he knew them so well, used to say he felt like a “one handed paper hanger” on the occasions when he served without a deacon. The Divine Liturgy is a liturgy for both deacon and priest serving. You don’t say what “performing very poorly as a pastor” means. Maybe you can work with the parish council to see how you can support him in being more effective as a pastor. I do really feel strongly about the importance of praying for all our priests, especially for those we feel we like the least. I’ve experienced wonderful changes in such circumstances.

I hope we are all praying for more qualified priestly vocations.

What parish?

Given that this priest has bi-ritual faculties (irrespective of the diocese in which he is technically incardinated), I wonder if there would be the same outcry if he were doing the Novus Ordo rather than the Usus Antiquior? :hmmm:

Hi Exorcist. Sorry to hear about your woes.

I think it would help if you clarify what exactly the problem is. Is it the fact that it’s the EF that he’s celebrating? Or the frequency? Or did the parishioners that it’s causing ‘great tension’ with simply not realize before that he is bi-ritual?

I get the impression that in your area there’s tension between Eastern Catholics and traditional (EF) Catholics – possibly relating to the fact that both are minorities.

BTW, about how large is your parish?

It’s a horribly odd situation. The parish at which the (retired) priest celebrates the EF Mass was astounded that the Eastern priest was asked to be the back-up – they said they could have done it themselves if he had just asked.

The retired priest is not a part of the parish, he is a retired prison chaplain. He’s a hyper-fundamentalist and has befriended the Eastern priest who is also a hyper-fundamentalist. This is not a question of canonical status. This is a question of focusing attending on celebrating the EF Mass rather than his own flock.

“Novus ordo”?

You mean the Ordinary Form of the Mass?

It’s the fact that he is a terrible pastor. Rather than buckle-down and do the job he is now spending time celebrating the EF Mass when there are PLENTY of priests who are able to do it locally.

His hyper Latin Rite fundamentalism (which should have ceased before he was ordained in the East, and was a factor in keeping him from being ordained in the West) is now being stoked by his new duty.

I’m no mind reader, but I would venture to say yes.

Thanks for that clarification. That didn’t come across as the reason, from your earlier posts.

Of course! This priest should be committed to the community he is primarily serving, and that is the Byzantine Rite community. It doesn’t matter what other Rite of Liturgy he is serving, if it is not the Rite of the parish where he is presently assigned to, then there should be an outcry.

And just to be clear, the outcry is because the priest seems to be more committed to something else. I know a priest who is biritual and he doesn’t abandon his main flock. So no complaints there.

He’s not living up to his vocation as a pastor, yet he can’t wait to spend time celebrating the EF Mass.

This situation is a powder keg…

It is more likely than not, given the facts presented, that the priest is serving as administrator of your parish and not as pastor. There is a very distinct difference.

How so? Is this priest running right after the Divine Liturgy is concluded to run elsewhere? Has your schedule of worship been limited or revised unreasonably to accommodate third party needs? Is this priest not regularly available for confessions, sick calls and other needs of the faithful?

Bi-ritual priests serve the other ritual church as an accomodation, irrespective of their own preference. That is, if this priest is indeed assigned to a Byzantine Catholic Eparchy, then his first responsibility is in fact to the bishop and people of that Eparchy. Any duty performed outside that Eparchy is secondary. That usually means that Mass or DL served in another jurisdition would be scheduled around the need of the priest’s assigned parish.

Only if he is truly neglecting the faithful of his assigned parish by putting other things first. If he is, the bishop can be petitioned.

That said, I believe you have received rather sound advice from a reliable BCC deacon elsewhere, and I’d encourage you to consider that advice. It was likely given with an insider’s perspective.

What part of “the job” is he not doing due to time spent elsewhere? Has your Parish Council clarified with him what needs doing that he isn’t doing?

… before he was ordained in the East, and was a factor in keeping him from being ordained in the West) .

I know Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ and his classmates of the Pontifical Oriental Institute were ordained directly to the Byzantine Rite but I’ve not heard of other circumstances when a man who is a Latin Church Catholic was ordained, as opposed to having been granted faculties, in a Rite other than the Roman Rite.

It is a mystery to me, but anyway, where he was ordained is irrelevant to the concerns of the parishioners of the other parish or your own parish since he has permission of the Latin bishop to celebrate Roman Rite Mass for them, and of your bishop to be your pastor (or administrator), or else he would not be allowed to do so.

In the Latin Church the diocese has a Vicor for Clergy to whom individuals or parish councils can address their grievances. I assume there is a similar person in the Eparchy who evaluates and responds to these concerns for the Bishop.

“Parish Council?” Are you serious? Honestly? The “parish council” at that parish…well, it provides minimal benefit to the parish.

Anyway, he takes care of NONE of the financial or operational details of the parish. He tried and failed. Laypeople do so because he cannot. They coached him for over a year and he still failed.

Simply planning anything is beyond him. Want a train-wreck? Have him at the head of anything, be it a visit from the bishop, a parish picnic or a after liturgy coffee social.

He was ordained a deacon. No Latin Rite bishop he “interviewed” (his words) with would accept him into their diocese with the intention of being ordained a priest.

It boggles my mind that both bishops approved this. Especially when there are other able and willing Latin Rite clergy right here.

He’s the PASTOR.

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