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Catholic-Orthodox commission urges allowing married priests for Eastern Catholic churches in America

Catholic World News - June 06, 2014

A joint Catholic-Orthodox theological commission has called for an end to the ban on ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic churches in North America.

While the Eastern Catholic churches have traditionally accepted married men into the priesthood, in the US and Canada those Eastern churches have lived under a prohibition against the ordination of married men. The North American Orthodox/Catholic Theological Consultation, in a statement released June 6, called for the “lifting of the restrictions regarding the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic Churches of North America.”

By allowing the Eastern Catholic churches to adhere to their own tradition, the joint statement said, the Catholic Church could “assure the Orthodox that, in the event of the restoration of full communion between the two Churches, the traditions of the Orthodox Church would not be questioned.” The result would be a boost for the prospects of restored unity among the Eastern and Western churches, the commission argued.

In a few cases, Eastern Catholic churches in the US have ordained married men to the priesthood despite the general ban. In other cases, American married men have traveled to the Middle East, been ordained to the priesthood there, and later returned to work in American parishes.

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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jun. 08, 2014 8:30 AM ET USA

    Anything that will hasten an end to the heart sickening scandal of separation from the Orthodox is welcome. But it seems there may other more substantial problems than the question of celibacy. What's to be done, for example, about Orthodox recognition of invalid second marriages like that of Alexander Solzhenitsyn? This deals with dogma and is not an alterable discipline as is celibacy.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Jun. 06, 2014 9:42 PM ET USA

    Praise be! If only the Roman Catholic Church would make celibacy optional. One can only wonder at the great numbers of married deacons,having the option,would not have gone into the priesthood. Those desiring celibacy could enter an order.

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