Friday, April 27, 2007

Didn't realize I hadn't posted for awhile

Because I've been pretty busy. Lots of projects, main thing is I'm moving -- the house at St. Mary is ready for me to move in, so I've been packing and getting ready. Tomorrow we move.

Oh, and by the way; no homily this weekend; we have a visiting priest preaching on Eucharistic adoration at all Masses.


Anonymous said...

Father, your move this weekend (so glad the rectory is all ready for you in time!)is a reminder that whereas you were originally pastor of one parish, you are now pastor of two, with possibly a third eventually to be assigned. It seems to illustrate the alarmingly urgent need for more priests!
In thinking about this troubling situation I had an idea. This is a hoot, but at least it's a useful loophole kind of hoot that could snare candidates who may be reluctant because of the celibacy mandate!
Many Latin Rite Catholics (well, most of them, I believe) are oblivious to the fact that there are lots of other Roman Catholic Rites within the church which are valid and equal to the Latin Rite. One which is the Byzantine Rite. Married men of this Rite are welcome to enter the seminary and train to become priests (however, they may never become bishops so this loophole is not for the ecclesially ambitious. . .)and in fact to actually become real priests - married priests! This is ok with the Vatican. The celibacy rules with which Latin Rite Caths are familiar do not apply to Byzantine Rite Roman Catholics, who mainly follow the rubrics of the Eastern Orthodox Church though they (Byz Caths) are nevertheless in full communion with Rome. It is some kind of mysterious and delightful anomaly
that this can happen.
Perhaps some men who consider entering the priesthood don't wish to function solely as Byz priests. That's okay too! They can apply for BI-RITUAL STATUS and function as Latin Rite priests!
There. I have solved the celibacy dilemma. However, it is so easy & simple I'm sure others have thought of it already and found some reason why it wouldn't work. (But. . .would it?)
The ByzCath half of the church is fully endorsed by our current pope as well as his predecessor. They (the ByzCaths) have a wonderful website your readers might enjoy visiting. I think the address is just a straightforward - if that doesn't work, a googling will unearth them.
-Annie at midnight, laffing up her sleeve (a laff, BTW, is half laugh and half guffaw.)

Matt said...

It's not really a "loophole"--the Eastern Rites for the most part allow married men to be ordained. However, you cannot just stroll up to your local Byzantine patriarch and ask to go to seminary.

First, you would have to officially change rites.

Second, patriarchs aren't dumb; they're going to figure out that you switched rites just to avoid the celibacy requirement, and NOT because you feel a call to be a priest specifically to Eastern Rite Catholics. That is an Eastern Rite priest's charism, you could say. So you would probably have to be a member in good standing within the rite for many, many years, in order to give substance to the idea that you feel a call to priesthood within that particular Rite, and not just a call to be a married priest. Patriarchs have had more than their fair share of men trying to pull the same trick for the past couple of decades. How well is a priest going to celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysotom if he really is more of a "Lifeteen Mass kinda guy" and just became Eastern Rite so he could be married??

Third, most Eastern Rites require married men to study overseas in the "home" country of the rite and to be ordained there, and then come back to the US for their ministry. This is due to some old pissiness on the side of the Latin Rite priests who didn't like the idea of ordained married priests. Therefore, the man and his family would have to live aboard for six or eight years. Some Rites, like the Melkites, do ordained married men within the US, but only after that man has been a deacon for a good long time.

So as you can see, there is no easy way to cheat God out of a full dedication of your chastity if you are Latin Rite. You are talking probably a 20yr period within an Eastern Rite before you could be ordained as a married man. This obviously skips over the fact that marriage is not a "solution" to the priest shortage; the failure of marriage is the CAUSE of the priest shortage, as a certain Bavarian cardinal who now wears a white hat noted years ago.

Matt said...

Oh, and I should also note that I attended an Orthodox church for a year and several Eastern Rite churches when I was searching for the Church. I've seen the struggles and downsides to a married priesthood. Your wife has to have a call to be the wife of a priest. The Church always, always, ALWAYS comes before her or the children. Should the priest go to lil Timmy's soccer game or the parishioner dying in the hospital? Take your wife to a romantic dinner or do that wedding for the faithful member's daughter? There is also the interesting thought process of the laity, in which "We can't get ahold of the priest, so who's the next best thing...his wife!" Not to mention the strain on your kids to be 100% perfect 100% of the time because they are "priest kids." Not to mention the low salary, which is often the most a tiny Eastern Rite parish can afford, and the snide remarks of certain troublemakers in the laity ("Father, that's a nice new dress your wife has--I'm sooo glad my tithe bought it for her!")

I'm not downplaying the positive sides of a married priesthood (the witness of a loving marriage, greater identity with the problems of the laity) but merely stressing that it's not a cure-all. It has its own unique problems and benefits, just like celibacy.

I am not making an armchair observation, btw; I'm entering seminary for the Latin Rite this fall, so you can bet I am fairly certain that celibacy is a good idea... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Matt, your comments are interesting and I don't know enough about the process to contest anything you say, except for one remark. When you mention "cheating God out of your chastity", I must remind you that celibacy and chastity are
not interchangeable. Married couples who are faithful to their marriage vows are also chaste. (You probably meant to say virginity, but chastity slipped out. Chastity is about fidelity rather than anatomy.)
Your remarks about the priest's wife prompt me to suggest a wonderfully warm and funny author who is one (priest's wife). Her name is Frederica Matthewes-Green. She has written several books on the topic, and though Orthodox, eveything she has to say could be said by a Byz Cath as well. She makes some hilarious observations, and so did you when you described the parishioner concerned that his contribution had gone for a new dress.
The Orthodox/ByzCath liturgies
are so beautiful, worshipful, and transcendent that the Latin Rite would do well to exchange their Lifeteen Masses for them. I see no prob being bi-ritual and am happy to attend Byz liturgies myself whenever the opportunity is available. But after what you said I don't think I'd ever want to be a priest's wife! Good thing, too, since I'm already happy being somebody else's wife!
I respect what you said but do not really think it would take 20 yrs to go thru the process. As to cheating God, I don't agree. Even though there are liturgical differences and this odd difference about celibacy, the Byz rite is 100% fully Roman Catholic, so where is the cheat?
Hope Father is coming along well with moving day!

Matt said...

You are right, I meant to write "cheating God out of your celibacy." This is what it seems (to me) to be happening if someone who was Latin Rite became Eastern Rite solely in order to be a married priest. He would be sidestepping a venerable tradition of his own Rite for selfish reasons. It would be another matter if a Latin Rite man became Eastern Rite because of the Divine Liturgy, or the Eastern spirituality, and then discerned a vocation to priesthood. In this case, being a married priest is one aspect of a larger tradition in which he feels at home.

The "cheating God" aspect is in the intent. I guess it's the same difference between marrying a woman solely for her money, versus marrying a woman you madly love who happens to have money.

I was basing the 20yrs figure on the assumption that the Patriarch would want to make sure it was the Rite you were converting for, and not the married priesthood. So I figured 8-10 years of service within the Rite as laity or a deacon, 4-6 years for minor seminary, and then 4 years for theology. Minor seminary might not be needed depending on undergraduate degrees already earned. The first figure could be shorter in practice as well, but my observation of Latin Rite bishops dealing with ex-Anglican priest converts is that they tend to take it slow and make sure the conversion is built on a solid foundation.

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

Blessings on your move.

So, do you think the visiting priest would hand you a copy of his homily, to be posted here? I'm sure you have quite a few readers who would enjoy it (I know I would!)

Anonymous said...


Who is this visiting priest, and would he be willing to make a visit 10-15 miles north of you to give this homily???


CourageMan said...

I've written here before about one upside of a celibate clergy. (WARNING: Link deals with rough suibject matter, but the language is as clean as possible.) I don't think a married clergy would make things easier, for the reasons Matt describes. And we would lose some important countercultural witness that priestly celibacy gives the world now.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

It's ok Father. Sometimes I think it is good to let go to remind ourselves we mustn't become too attached to anything - even good things.

Mortification: A sadly, long forgotten concept rarely talked about from most pulpits. Mortify one small, even good apetite, and it becomes a practice field for saying "no" to the biggies.

beez said...

As someone with an application pending to the seminary in my own diocese, I have to answer the question of priestly celibacy as a hinderence to vocations. IT'S NOT!

I'm 42, and I resisted the call of the priesthood when I was 20 out of downright selfishness and an overwhelming lack of understanding of the Church, her teachings and the Faith in general. I was poorly (if at all) catechized in the 1970s.

When I was asked about celibacy by the vocations director, "How do you feel about it?" I answered that I thought it was a tough life, but a sign of a great grace from God. The celibate priesthood is such a symbol of Christ's love for His Church. Like Christ, the priest puts the Church, the bride of Christ, before anything else.

I am not even slightly worried about celibacy and, while I would be lying if I said I have been celibate all of my life, I have lived a life of chaste celibacy for many years already. That isn't what kept me from pursuing my vocation.

Fear, ego and selfishness did.

Anonymous said...

I just want to wish you happines and many blessings in your new home : )