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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Wissan Akiki is a member of an Eastern Rite Church.

Last week the Catholic Church ordained a married man into the priesthood. The ordination gained public attention, but there was a good reason or it. Wissam Akiki is a member of a rite of the Catholic Church which allows priests to marry.

Akiki with his wife following ordination. Image credit: Religion News Service

Akiki with his wife following ordination. Image credit: Religion News Service

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Wissam Akiki, priest, married, USA, first time, Vatican, Pope Francis, priests, deacon


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On Thursday, Feb. 27, Wissam Akiki became the first married man to be ordained as a Catholic priest in the United States with the permission of the Pope.

Akiki has been married for about 10 years to Manal Kassab, and the couple has an eight-year-old daughter. Akiki has been a deacon at St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral in St. Louis since 2009 and worked for the bishop there.

Please pray for vocations.


Akiki was able to receive special permission to be ordained because he is a member of an eastern rite of the Church which is in full communion with Rome, but also permits married men to become priests. However, when similar requests have been made in the past, Rome has always said no.

This is the first time a Pope has given the go-ahead to a married man wishing to become a priest.

Even the Maronite Church tends to be fairly conservative about ordaining married men into the priesthood. In fact, it was widely expected the Maronite Church and the Vatican would both reject the request for Akiki to become a priest.

Throughout much of the world, outside of the U.S. Eastern Rite priests are commonly married men, however it's been unprecedented in the U.S. at least since the 1920s.

Akiki's ordination may be the first time a married man has been ordained as a married priest in the United States with the blessing of both the Maronite Church and the Vatican.

Despite the momentous occasion, this should not be interpreted as a change in stance on the issue of married clergy in the Catholic Church. The answer to that question, one established by Church law, remains "no" and will likely remain so for a very long time to come, if not forever.

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