Vatican lifts married priests ban in US, Canada, and Australia

The Vatican has lifted the ban on the ordination of married men to priesthood in Eastern Catholic churches outside their traditional territories.

The lifting of the ban allows married men in Eastern Catholic churches to be ordained in the likes of the US, Canada and Australia.

Lifting the ban also does away with the provision that Eastern Catholic bishops need Vatican approval to ordain married men.

Some Eastern Catholic bishops have reportedly ignored Vatican approval and been discreetly ordaining married men for some time.

Melkite Bishop Nicholas Samra of Newton Massachusetts told CNS he was delighted with the lifting of the ban.

The Vatican decree was signed by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect for the Eastern Churches, on June 14, and was published later online in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official periodical through which Vatican laws and decisions are published.

The new provisions allow Eastern Catholic bishops outside their traditional territory the faculties to “allow pastoral service of Eastern married clergy” and “to ordain Eastern married candidates” in their eparchies or dioceses.

The local Latin-rite bishop however must be informed, in writing, of the Eastern Catholic Bishop’s intention, “in order to have his opinion and any relevant information.”

Ruthenian Bishop John Kudrick of Parma, Ohio, says he sees the end to imposed celibacy for Eastern priests in the diaspora as an acknowledgement of the Eastern churches’ “obligation to maintain their integrity” and “of the right of the various churches to equal responsibility of evangelization throughout the world.”

“The world needs the church in its fullness,” he said.

Kudrick said Eastern churches in the diaspora have a responsibility to minister to new immigrants, who are accustomed to married priests.


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