Skip to content

Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Urges Church To Lift Ban on Ordination of Married Priests in Eastern Catholic Churches in North America

By USCCB
6/7/2014 (3 years ago)
USCC Office of Media Relations (www.usccb.org)

Action would affirm Eastern Rite tradition. Would encourage restoration of unity between Catholic, Orthodox Christians. Would enhance spiritual lives of Eastern Catholics.

The North American Orthodox/Catholic Theological Consultation encourages the lifting of the restrictions regarding the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic Churches of North America. This action would affirm the ancient and legitimate Eastern Christian tradition, and would assure the Orthodox that, in the event of the restoration of full communion between the two Churches, the traditions of the Orthodox Church would not be questioned. We are convinced that this action would enhance the spiritual lives of Eastern Catholics and would encourage the restoration of unity between Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

WASHINGTON, DC (U.S.C.C.B.) - The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation voted in early June to encourage the "lifting of the restrictions regarding the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic Churches of North America."

"This action would affirm the ancient and legitimate Eastern Christian tradition, and would assure the Orthodox that, in the event of the restoration of full communion between the two Churches, the traditions of the Orthodox Church would not be questioned," the consultation said in a statement released June 6.

"We are convinced that this action would enhance the spiritual lives of Eastern Catholics and would encourage the restoration of unity between Catholic and Orthodox Christians," the statement said. 

The Theological Consultation agreed to the statement at its 86th meeting, June 2-4, at the Saint Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in Contoocook, New Hampshire. The meeting was hosted by the Orthodox co-chair, Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston; the Catholic co-chair is Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis. 

The Theological Consultation issued the statement on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the promulgation of the 1929 decree Cum data fuerit from the Vatican Oriental Congregation, which oversees the Eastern Catholic churches.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Eastern Catholic immigrants to North America from Eastern Europe and the Middle East brought with them the tradition of a married priesthood. This Oriental Congregation decree effectively limited future ordinations to celibates, and resulted in divisions in Eastern Catholic communities and even families over this issue. 

The agreed statement cites two documents of the Second Vatican Council which call for Eastern Catholics to return to their authentic ancestral traditions, and exhorts those men who have received both the sacraments of priestly ordination and marriage "to persevere in their holy vocation." Consequently, the Consultation "encourages the lifting of the restrictions regarding the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic Churches of North America. 

At this meeting the Consultation also continued its study of the relationship between the clergy and laity in the two Churches. The members also examined the December 2013 statement by the Patriarchate of Moscow on primacy in the Church and the response by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Consultation also reviewed the recent meeting between Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem.

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation was founded in 1965 and is sponsored by the Committee for Ecumenical Relations of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, the USCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The full statement follows.

*****

Statement of the North American Orthodox/Catholic Theological Consultation
On the Occasion of the Eighty-fifth Anniversary of the Promulgation of the decree Cum data fuerit

 
The year 2014 marks the eighty-fifth anniversary of the promulgation of the decree Cum data fuerit. In 1929, the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental [Eastern Catholic] Churches issued this document, which stated that "priests of the Greek-Ruthenian Rite who wish to go to the United States of North America [sic] and stay there must be celibates" (Article 12). This statement led to a general prohibition of the ordination of married Eastern Catholics to the priesthood in North America. This resulted in divisions in Eastern Catholic communities and even in families.

The Second Vatican Council spoke of the importance of preserving the legitimate traditions of the Eastern Churches. In the decree, Orientalium ecclesiarum, the Council emphasized the need to preserve the "legitimate liturgical rite and . established way of life" of Eastern Catholics. The Council continued, stating that Eastern Catholics "should attain to an even greater knowledge and a more exact use of [this rite and way of life] and if in their regard they have fallen short owing to contingencies of times and persons, they should take steps to return to their ancestral traditions" (par. 6).

Furthermore, the decree Presbyterorum ordinis states, "This holy synod, while it commends ecclesiastical celibacy, in no way intends to alter that different discipline which legitimately flourishes in the Eastern Churches. It permanently exhorts all those who have received the priesthood and marriage to persevere in their holy vocation" (sec. 16). Nevertheless, until recently, very few married Eastern Catholic men have been allowed to be ordained to the priesthood in North America.

With these things in mind, the North American Orthodox/Catholic Theological Consultation encourages the lifting of the restrictions regarding the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic Churches of North America.

This action would affirm the ancient and legitimate Eastern Christian tradition, and would assure the Orthodox that, in the event of the restoration of full communion between the two Churches, the traditions of the Orthodox Church would not be questioned. We are convinced that this action would enhance the spiritual lives of Eastern Catholics and would encourage the restoration of unity between Catholic and Orthodox Christians.


Comments


More U.S.

The FBI may investigate Planned Parenthood Watch

Image of It is hoped the FBI will investigate the criminal activities of Planned Parenthood.

An FBI request for un-redacted Planned Parenthood documents from the U.S. Senate could signal an investigation into whether the abortion ... continue reading


After Maria: Catholics helping to rebuild Puerto Rico Watch

Image of Caritas and other Christian charities are still working to rebuild Puerto Rico.

Seven weeks after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the majority of the island is still without power, and many residents are ... continue reading


Honoring our Veterans on Their Day by Living the Same Principles Watch

Image of

They gave their lives for a country who believed that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain ... continue reading


Fr. Randy Sly on Veterans Day: Live the Values Which Inspired Their Sacrifice Watch

Image of

Today marks the observance of Veterans Day in the United States of America. I am a Vietnam Veteran and this day means a lot to me. As a ... continue reading


A thank you prayer for our Catholic veterans, steadfast defenders of freedom and faith Watch

Image of May God bless all our veterans, by whose sacrifices we remain free.

It is a historical fact that Catholic armies have saved the world many times over. Whether turning back the tides of hostile Islamic ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.