So I was taking a look at a friend’s blog, Fear Not Little Flock, when I came upon a disturbing article.
The main issue is in reference to some comments made to the Eastern Catholic Bishops during their ad limina visit to Rome.
Now these comments did not come from our Holy Father, but they did come from Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Let me boil it down fast, so I can get to the meat. Basically, Sandri told them they should not be ordaining married men in the US.
What the heck? This has really rippled through the Eastern Church in America, and has just made everyone really uncomfortable. This is so out of form that I am actually shocked.
I suppose some background is important here so that you know what is going on. First, just in case you are unaware, the Roman Catholic Church is one of many Catholic Churches, all under our Holy Father. The other Churches are usually called Eastern Churches, and are as Catholic as Easter. You can go to their Divine Liturgy if you like, and you are with your Catholic brothers and sisters. In fact, I have never missed an opportunity to do so, and when I converted to the faith, I must admit I was very disappointed that I could not become either a Byzantine or Ukrainian Catholic, as the only Catholic Church in my area is Roman. (Just so you know, everybody sings at Divine Liturgy, it’s unbelievable) Of the many differences in the way we celebrate, one always seems to come up first. They can have married priests. They have had married priests since the apostles first preached the Gospel to them 2000 years ago. It is what they have always done, and nobody has a problem with that.
Now historically, what Church you belonged to really depended on where you lived. (FYI, it’s easy to confuse Rite, and Church. Churches aren’t Rites, they practice a Rite, or a variation thereof. For example, the Roman Church practices the Latin Rite) During the great immigration to America though, things got real confused, because here were these different ethic groups all getting together, and these Catholics really saw each others as foreign instead of brothers. So some wise guy thought up the idea that the Eastern Church folks should only have celibate priests in America to keep down the confusion. This was a bad, bad call. That’s like saying that Roman folks should stop saying the rosary because it might make Eastern Catholics uncomfortable. What a load of bull. In fact, many parishes made Eastern Catholics become Roman to go to parish schools. It was a real bad deal, stifling the growth and expression of our truest brothers and sisters.
Now fast forward to the present, and you see this nonsense repeating itself now. Here we are, trying to be ecumenical, creating dialogue with the Orthodox Church in hope to bring about unity. If I were the Orthodox Church, I would be watching this with baited breath. So this is what unity will feel like huh? Hmm.
Now I’m not making any comments here about the married priesthood. Romans don’t do it, Easterns do, end of story. Wait! That’s not the end of story! Rome does it too! Here we are creating this entire ordinariate for the Anglicans to come over, married priests and all, and they will be part of the Roman Church. So it’s cool for the new guys, but not for our brothers and sisters of 2000 years. Let’s be frank, I would put down money there are more married Roman Catholic priests in the US than Eastern ones.
The heart of the issue is respect. The 22 Eastern Churches have a right to the expression of the faith given to them by the apostles. This is not an issue of them denying the Trinity or the Immaculate Conception, this is an issue of them having the right to celebrate the same way they have for thousands of years. They are autonomous, and should be treated as such.
Check out the entire article here: That They May Be One
As for me: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.