Ukrainian Catholic leader: married priesthood not cause of vocation boom
April 01, 2011
Less than a week after his enthronement as head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said that the ordination of married men to the priesthood has not been the major contributing factor to the numerous young vocations in his Eastern Catholic church. The average age of a Ukrainian Catholic priest is 35.
“In our tradition, we do have a married clergy, but a married clergy is not the main reason we have so many young priests,” he said, noting that religious orders, which require a vow of consecrated chastity, also have numerous young vocations. “The possibility of being a married priest is not the main cause of an increase or decrease in vocations to the priesthood because this vocation comes from God.”
Days after he announced that he would ask Pope Benedict to raise the Eastern Catholic church to the dignity of a patriarchate, he added that “of course, our church is growing, is developing its structures ... but we are conscious that the decision about the patriarchate belongs to the Holy Father and we would never press him. We respect his freedom.”
“The No. 1 priority for each head of a church is evangelization, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in today's world.”
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