Saturday, June 07, 2014

Yes, there should be married Eastern Catholic priests in the West

From Ad Orientem: Orthodox-Catholic ecumenical group (no authority in either church) calls for married Eastern Rite Catholic priests in the West.

Mixed feeling on this one. ... I am delighted that some high-ranking people in their church seem to be coming around on this subject. But I am less sanguine about OUR clergy opining on this in any kind of official capacity. In the end, they are not Orthodox and we are not Catholic. Its an internal disciplinary issue of the Catholic Church for them to sort out, not us. I guess what I'm saying is, it's none of our business.
This story is perennial on the Eastern Christian Internet and unlikely to change, regrettably. Too many of our (your former) churchmen simply don't really care about the Christian East except as nostalgia for the wrong kind of ecumenism 50 years ago. If they took the Orthodox seriously, they wouldn't have invented the Novus Ordo.
I deeply sympathize with the Greek Rite Catholics who have lived with 2nd-class status in the Catholic Church pretty much for as long as they have existed.
True for the reason I just said plus Eastern Catholics of Greek (the Orthodox rite) and other rites are a tiny minority (2% of all Catholics). That reason, that bad attitude, is cultural, not based on our teachings as you probably remember. As you know, and as the New York Times reports, Eastern Catholics have married priests in their homelands (most Greek Catholics are Ukrainian); the controversy was about having them in the West, in the United States. The church understandably ruled in favor of the majority rite in the West, which it has the authority to do, but with a tragic result: people were hounded out of the church for a reason nothing to do with our teachings. Celibacy is not a hill I will die on.

Also, it doesn't follow from the bad treatment of Greek Catholics in the West that Orthodoxy is the answer: "only we have grace," etc. Because even when our churchmen are acting at their worst, Catholicism at heart includes the East. The Orthodox are anti-Western. They have their small equivalent Western Rites experiment to make a parallel claim to ours of universality, but their heart's obviously not in it: no equivalent of real national churches outside the majority rite, such as the Ukrainian, Melkite, Chaldean, and Maronite ones. Orthodoxy in practice is largely about going to extremes to deny the obvious, that they're really Catholic, so they end up sounding anti-Catholic. That and the problem of idolizing your country and government over the universality of the church (why Stalin banned the Greek Catholics - the Communists hated the Catholic Church because, unlike the Orthodox once they'd been literally beaten into submission, they couldn't control it).

So, for example, I cheer for Putin's Russia vs. the liberalized West, but we remember that Russianness (Byzantium) - their myth of being the Third Rome, pan-Slavism, etc. - isn't universality.

Being Catholic doesn't mean you have to believe the current state of the Greek Catholic churches is perfect.

Also, regrettably, despite Roman Rite refugees from the Novus Ordo boosting, even saving, some parishes, and some post-Soviet immigration from the Ukraine, the Greek Catholics are dying out in America, which makes it more likely that churchmen will ignore them.

1 comment:

  1. " ... the Greek Catholics are dying out in America ... "

    It is my most fervent prayer that you are wrong! My heart weeps at the thought.

    I am convinced (by both sheer population, and faith) that there are many hundreds of thousands - perhaps millisons - that have the call to be Eastern Catholic in America. We must just pray and fast that they will answer the call.


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