Fr. Thomas Loya's Letter to Met. William

This letter appeared on another thread, and I thought it merited having its own thread. I find Fr. Tom’s courage in this situation to be quite refreshing, and very reminiscent of such luminaries as Archbishop Joseph Tawil and Archbishop Joseph Raya.

**Christ is Ascended!

Archbishop William,

I take this opportunity of your still being in Italy, and therefore, in or near Rome, to make a formal request to you. My request is actually meant for all of the Eastern Catholic Bishops from North America, but most particularly to you as the ranking prelate of my own Church, the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Metropolia of Pittsburgh.

The remarks by Cardinal Sandri in his homily to the Eastern Catholic bishops of America have filtered back and are reverberating through the clergy and laity of our Churches in America, as well as the Orthodox Churches. In a similar way that the Health and Human Services controversey in America finds the issue of contraception itself being expressive of a deeper and fundamental issue of religious liberty, so too the remarks by Cardinal Sandri for the Eastern Catholic Churches to “embrace celibacy in respect to ecclesial context” are reflective of a deeper and more fundamental attitude from Rome and the Latin Rite that simply can no longer go unanswered by the Eastern Catholic Churches.

In addition to being chillingly reminiscent of the demeaning attitude of the Latin Rite bishops toward the Eastern Catholic Churches during the beginning of the last century in America, the Cardinal’s remarks about celibacy seem to confirm what so many Eastern Catholics in America have suspected for too long: Rome and the Latin Rite see the Eastern Catholic Churches in America as essentially inconsequential, perhaps even in the way of ecumenism between Rome and the Orthodox Churches.

Essentially the Cardinal’s remarks send the message that the Latin Rite Church is the ‘real’ Church, superior to the Eastern Catholic Churches and therefore the Eastern Catholic Churches could be ordered to compromise themselves in deference to the Latin Rite Church, the ‘real’ Church. To us in America the Cardinal’s remarks reflected a paternalistic attitude toward the Eastern Catholic Churches in America. Rome seems to see our Churches in America as simply a diaspora having little value other than ethnic customs and the degree to which we can support our Churches in their homelands.

Archbishop William, my request to you, as the ranking prelate of my Church and especially, if it is still possible while you are in Italy at this time, to meet again with Cardinal Sandri, on behalf of your Church back in America, regarding his remarks and the reaction to his remarks reverberating through the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches in America at this time. Our Ruthenian Church in particular needs to establish a better and more consistent dialogue with Rome so as to present a more accurate picture of the real gift and evangelical power of the Eastern Catholic Churches in America. The Eastern Catholic Churches, and in particular the Ruthenian Church, are actually in a position to indeed supply what is lacking in the whole Church in America and to confront secular society with type of vocabulary and spirituality that we alone can bring to the war on secularism and moral relativism. It seems that Rome understands none of this about us.

For the good of the whole Church and for the good of souls, it is time for our Ruthenian Church in particular stop acting like co-dependent children of Rome. It does not really serve Rome, the whole Church or the people of God for the Ruthenian Church (or any Eastern Catholic Church) to assume a position of weakness and inferiority helplessly waiting for what to many of us is essentially a ‘phantom’ indivdivual or department in Rome, with so little understanding of our Churches, to singularly decide the fate of our Churches in America. Surely we should have more pride in our Church than this and more regard for the memory of our members who, during Communist oppression, shed their blood out of loyalty to the Pope of Rome.

Thank you for consideration of my request,
–Fr. Thomas J. Loya, STB.,MA.**

Bold words. It will be interesting to see how this is reacted to.

He’s my favorite priest :slight_smile:

Not to be a buzzkill – BUT… how do we know he wrote this letter, btw?

Good question…

He’s my favorite “Eastern Catholic” priest. :slight_smile:

It was posted over at the Byzantine Forum with the permission of Fr. Thomas.

I’ve admired Fr Loya for a long time. :thumbsup:

This is a phenomenal letter! I am looking into the veracity of authorship issue. But it certainly seems like his writing.
Fr. Deacon Joseph

I will only change one thing in this letter, the use of the word “pride” at the end of the letter. Pride is always a sin and never good. I do get what the good Father means.

I understand from the ByzCath forum that the Fr. gave permission for the broadcast of this letter addressed personally to the Met William. Some think that that is courageous. I don’t.

Fr. Loya in his comparison the Health and Human Services controversy in America comes close to getting the point, but veers off into another, strange direction. It’s been a century. How is it after all this time we have this visceral over-reaction: the chilling reminiscences, the demeaning attitude, …? And more "… the Cardinal’s remarks send the message that the Latin Rite Church is the ‘real’ Church, superior to the Eastern Catholic Churches.’ And “inconsequential”, “little value”, weak, inferior, helpless, … Huh? This, of course, is not what the Cardinal said; it is all a chosen interpretation.

I wish, I pray that we could get over our inferiority complex, take the chip off our shoulder, and show courage - the simplest courage just to be ourselves. That doesn’t require a thing from the Latins, and even less from the Orthodox. We can take note of progress when we don’t spend our time waiting upon, and weighing, every word said - however infrequently - about us or to us by others. Going forward as ourselves, not feeling victimized - that would show leadership. That would show courage.

Just spent a few minutes looking for the full text of the homily, but didn’t find it. I wonder if anyone here has a link.

There are two forms of the news service stories: a short one that does not have anything about celibacy and a longer one that does. Both, interestingly go under the headline, “Eastern Catholics have much to offer US church”. It is interesting that the Cardinal also specifically lauded the churches for their fidelity in the face of persecution.

Indeed!

DVDJS,
A century is a long time to us. In the Church’s life, a century is very small. Yet it hasn’t even been a century since the last time the issue of celibacy being forced upon Eastern Catholic clergy was an issue. I’m well under 50 and I remember a group of married Eastern Catholic priests being suspended following their ordination by Bishop Isidore Boretsky in Canada. This was just about 20 years ago that this happened, and their crime? Being married. It seems to me that something is wrong when a True Sister Church must justify exercising her own proper traditions in the wake of having been told categorically by Pope and Council that they were to return to their proper traditions.

Fr. Tom’s letter was indeed courageous, in that he took a stand for our traditions in the face of enormous risk. Fr. Tom is a celibate. He has nothing to gain by this. Yet he chose to take a stand.

And as for a number of his phrasings, there are still those of us who have experienced first hand the tendency of some in the Roman Catholic Church to treat us as something of a “red-headed stepchild.” Do we need to get over it? Certainly! But that can be difficult when the reality which caused these feelings continues to show itself from time to time.

God bless!

Sorry I am not familiar with the case of the UGCC Canada, and cannot comment about the charges. I have spoken about “proper traditions” ojn the other, related thread.

Fr. Tom’s letter was indeed courageous, in that he took a stand for our traditions in the face of enormous risk. Fr. Tom is a celibate. He has nothing to gain by this. Yet he chose to take a stand.

I am not sure of the risk. I am also not at all sure of what and who *exactly * he was taking a stand against? His letter gives the strong impression that he did not have or read the whole text - or even the whole press accounts. And why the public call out of the new Metropolitan? Why not a letter to the Cardinal? Why not a discussion just among those who are in a position to act, rather than the gesture to those who can only react?

And as for a number of his phrasings, there are still those of us who have experienced first hand the tendency of some in the Roman Catholic Church to treat us as something of a “red-headed stepchild.” Do we need to get over it? Certainly! But that can be difficult when the reality which caused these feelings continues to show itself from time to time.

OK you find it difficult. All the more reason be deliberate about acting intentionally and dispassionately.

The Second Vatican Council, as well as numerous comments from the Pope in various venues, have encouraged (even commanded, as it were :eek:) the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome to recover their authentic heritage and traditions. This includes a married priesthood and diaconate.

There should be no question about this, even if it is “low on the priority list”. In fact, since it supposedly isn’t that big of a deal, then why make all the hub-bub about preventing it? And one can’t use the excuse “it will cause scandal”; it may have at one time (and may still offend some), but the fact is today I don’t know if it would cause anyone to blink an eye. There are many married priests in the Latin Church from conversions, and many have had exposure to married non-Catholic ministers (perhaps not a Catholic reason, but an influence nonetheless). Further more, many know today that priestly celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine.

The fact that it is still difficult for Eastern Sui iuiris Churches to practice their legitimate tradition, and the fact that it would seem many are still impeding it (intentionally or not) is saddening, to say the least.

Our authentic heritage and traditions. Very good. I think we, ourselves, are the best position to discern what that includes, what is essential and what is peripheral. Some seem to think that married clergy are a necessary part of our religious tradition. Or are they really more of cultural tradition? Like pyrohy? I am honestly not sure. I don’t see why people, who know this is just a matter of discipline, seem also to attach a dogmatic significance to it.

In fact, since it supposedly isn’t that big of a deal, then why make all the hub-bub about preventing it? And one can’t use the excuse “it will cause scandal”; it may have at one time (and may still offend some), but the fact is today I don’t know if it would cause anyone to blink an eye. There are many married priests in the Latin Church from conversions, and many have had exposure to married non-Catholic ministers (perhaps not a Catholic reason, but an influence nonetheless). Further more, many know today that priestly celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine.

Who is making the hub-bub? It’s really hard to call the few quoted words of the Cardinal a hub-bub. And there was no comment or excuses about the possible scandal of married priests that I could find in the remarks.

The fact that it is still difficult for Eastern Sui iuiris Churches to practice their legitimate tradition, and the fact that it would seem many are still impeding it (intentionally or not) is saddening, to say the least.

Who, exactly, is impeding it? Who are the “many” who are impeding it?

Are you talking about the RCs or ECs? You are right, it is not dogmatic. So why keep imposing it on us? :shrug:

Who is imposing what? I think it’s important to get that straight. I was talking about those who think that a married priesthood is an essential feature of our religious tradition.

Sure, it may not be. But also, why accept a change? Is a change necessary? And if so, shouldn’t that decision come from our own hierarchy and not from another sui juris? That’s the thing, the Eastern Churches never saw the necessity to impose celibacy on priests, why change now?

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