Saturday, March 11, 2017

Clerical marriage

High-ish ecumenical First Things has an article from I presume a Protestant-turned-Orthodox (of course for his well-being I hope he's not an ex-Catholic), something that was hip in religious circles a couple of decades ago: Of marriage and Orthodox priests. Are Catholics willing to pony up to pay to support priests' families? Probably not. The Orthodox are very small and often relatively poor in America; many of their priests are worker-priests holding secular jobs. Met a girl whose ethnic ROCOR priest father was a longtime high-school science teacher. You end up with part-time priests, possibly a lapse in ministry, basically with the workload of permanent deacons. Episcopal priests similarly have less demanding work for some reason. None of which means I object to ordaining the married on principle (longstanding custom, we made a horrible mistake many decades ago by banning it in America, causing many Byzantine Catholics to leave us, and everything that's not doctrine is negotiable), but let's be practical. And it doesn't attract vocations like you might think.

My first traditional Catholic Mass in person 31 years ago turned out to have been celebrated by a married priest, back when in America the Eastern rites were the only Catholics still allowed to be traditional: Fr. Joseph Panasiuk, a refugee from the Ukraine who had been pastor of his New Jersey parish since 1951. Eternal memory.


  1. I think it would be worth experimenting by ordaining some of our married deacons on a limited basis.

    1. There are the married ex-Anglican priests under the Pastoral Provision (more such in America than married Eastern-rite priests), much of but not only the American ordinariate; some are diocesan priests. But I understand many of the ordinariate ones here and in Britain are retired Anglican priests, older couples no longer raising kids and at least in some cases they get pensions from the Church of England, Episcopal Church, etc., so they're not representative of how a large number of married Roman Rite priests would function.


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