Sunday, November 16, 2014

Married and Catholic Priests

Well, yes indeed!  Many may know that Eastern Rite Catholic priests could be married - however, NOT in the United States!  There has been a "ban" in place since 1929 prohibiting Eastern Rite Catholic priests from serving in the United States.  The "ban" states: Greek-Ruthenian Catholic priests “who wish to go to the United States of North America and stay there, must be celibates.” (Article 12, last sentence).

It would appear this "ban" is virtually dead, according to word leaked and reported here and here.  However, there has been no official pronouncement that married, Eastern Rite priests can be priests in the United States.  Now, there have been some exceptions to this "ban," one such is now Fr. Akiki, who was ordained into the priesthood - with Pope Francis' approval - on February 28, 2014 (pictured here giving the Eucharist to his daughter on the day of his ordination).  According to this article, he is the first married Maronite to be ordained to the priesthood in the United States.  It seems strange that there are actually MORE married Catholic priests in the Latin Rite in the United States than there are in all the Eastern Rites, combined!

Another discussion of the subject of married Eastern Rite priests can be found here.

The Irish Central reports:
Does that mean we can soon expect the end of celibacy for Roman Catholic priests? The short answer is “no,” because even Pope Francis has dismissed this. But we tend to forget that we already have married Roman Catholic priests. Less than 100, true, the vast majority of them former Protestants who were married, then converted.Still, given the various crises enveloping Roman Catholicism these days, who knows what small open door will lead to a kind of reform that even Pope Francis could not envision?
So, are we on the doorstep of a married clergy in the Latin Rite of Catholicism?  Only time will tell.  It is the opinion and hope of this writer that the pope could, without scandal, allow for the complete abrogation of this ban on married Eastern Catholic priests and also, while he's at it, establish an order to which Latin Rite priests could belong to and be married and serve in diocese throughout the world - including the United States this time.  Call it an experiment, if you will, and see how it goes!  I would predict that there would be no shortage of candidates for the priesthood in that order! 


  1. The ban on married Eastern Rite priests in the United States is OVER!

    So the ban is not "virtually dead" - as I posted yesterday - it IS dead today!


  2. I understand some exceptions can be made but I agree that a celibate priesthood is a very good thing indeed. (Mat 19:12; 1 Cor 7:32-35)

  3. And I don't disagree with what you're saying Nathan. This is why I think a special order of married Latin Rite priests would also be a good thing. Let them serve under diocesan bishops, but belong to this special order. Are there benefits to the celibate priesthood? Certainly! And you point to some very good verses to drive that one home.

    I (having been married in the Ukrainian Catholic Church) also have a soft-spot for Eastern Rites - where the married clergy is part of their tradition, and until yesterday that tradition was all but forbidden in the USA. I think it is only right and fair that their traditions go where they go.


    1. Sounds good. Especially on your last point. I can agree.


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