The NY Times Discovers Greek Rite Catholics…(because their clergy are not celibate)

March 23, 2010

H/T Ad Orientem

RUDNO, Ukraine — Let the rest of Europe be convulsed by debates over whether the celibacy of Roman Catholic priests is causing sex abuse scandals like the one now unfolding in Germany. Here in western Ukraine, many Catholic priests are married, fruitful and multiplying — with the Vatican’s blessing.

The many feet scampering around the Volovetskiy home are testament to that.

The family’s six children range from Pavlina, 21, to Taras, 9. In the middle is Roman, 16, who wants to be a Catholic priest when he grows up. Just like his father.

Dad is the Rev. Yuriy Volovetskiy, who leads a small parish here and whose wife, Vera, teaches religious school. The Volovetskiys serve in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which believes that celibate priests are not necessarily better priests.

Ukrainian Greek Catholics represent a branch of Catholicism that is distinct from the far more prevalent Roman Catholic one. The Ukrainian church is loyal to the pope in Rome, and its leader is a cardinal and major archbishop.

But it conducts services that resemble those in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. In religious terms, it follows the Eastern Rite, not the Latin one that is customary in Roman Catholicism.
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Historically, the Vatican appears to have tolerated the traditions and attitude toward celibacy of the so-called Eastern Rite Catholics in order to retain a foothold in regions where Orthodox Christianity has dominated. But this exception suggests that the Vatican view on celibacy is not as rigid or monolithic as it might otherwise appear.

Read the rest here (includes many pictures of the priest’s family and parish).

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His Broken Body by Laurent Cleenewerck

March 16, 2010

H/T In Communion:

His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism Between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches

by Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck

Euclid University Consortium Press; 438 pages, $33.50. Kindle: $9.50.

Not often is a book published which has the potential to serve as a catalyst for history-making events. His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches may have that potential. Certainly it will make a book that will greatly help any Christian who is saddened by the disunity of those claiming ancient and apostolic Christian roots.

His Broken Body tells both sides of the story in a comprehensive manner. New light is shed on a multiplicity of concurrent, and competing, early church viewpoints and practices such as Eucharistic vs. universal ecclesiology and Petrine succession not only in the bishop of Rome, but in every bishop. There is also the fascinating concept of the Church as Hologram.

For many readers, seeing this material for the first time will be an epiphany. It was for me. I know of no other single source that addresses so much in one volume. I’ve had to dig for years through both Roman Catholic and Orthodox resources to gain even a small portion of what is made available in His Broken Body. Both uncritical ecumenists and unyielding traditionalists will likely be surprised to find controversial topics addressed in such a balanced, truthful and faithful way.

Fr. Laurent’s style is almost conversational, yet rigorous: outstanding both in its directness and charity, sticking to the point like a laser, irenic in its approach. It’s an example of  “speaking the truth in love.”

Fr. Laurent helps us understand the Church as it understood itself during the first millennium, with all its glory (and shame), in unity (and schism), replete with concurrent differences and agreements.

Not everyone will agree with Fr. Laurent’s conclusions and perspectives, but his analysis will be hard to fault and his obvious desire to move in a forward direction with concrete steps is worthy of admiration and emulation.

– Darrin Roush

Book website. More at Google Books. Fr. Cleenewerck is pastor of St. Innocent Orthodox Church in Eureka, California, and founder of Orthodox Answers. Purchase book or PDF file here.


Zenit: Clerical Celibacy to Remain Normative and Extended to the Entire Church

March 10, 2010

H/T Ad Orientem

From an interview with Father Laurent Touze, published in the highly respected Catholic news agency Zenit (emphasis added).

ZENIT: With this measure, do you think that one day, celibacy might become voluntary also for priests of the Latin rite?

Father Touze: No, because the Church is understanding more and more the relation between priesthood, episcopate and celibacy. It is something that could be likened to the revelation of a dogma, though it isn’t so at this time; one tends increasingly to understand that a practice must be promoted among all priests and also among Eastern Catholic priests which is truly similar to the one lived in the first centuries.

Read the rest here.

A TV news interview with Fr. Laurent Touze, from this conference, discussing celibacy:

For a little of the history of the tension between East and West re: married priests see:

Can East & West Co-Exist With Married Priests?