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Pope Permits Ordination for Married Men in Eastern Catholic Churches in US, Other Countries

Ramona August

Catholic News Service - published on 11/18/14

The modus operandi was that "it was better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission," he said.

"From a canonical point of view, the new legislation puts into universal law the possibility of (Eastern Catholic) married men being ordained throughout the world," Father Laschuk said, with the full faculty to ordain granted to each Eastern Catholic ordinary within his diocese.

Jesuit Father Brian Daley, a longtime member of the North American Catholic-Orthodox Theological Consultation, said he expects the new legislation will have a "very positive" impact on ecumenical relations. For many Eastern Catholics and Orthodox, he said, the ban "has been a wound and a source of resentment."

Consultation members had issued a statement June 6 urging an end to the ban, which was experienced as an injustice among Eastern Catholics. Among the Orthodox, the ban created mistrust toward the Catholic Church and a sense that their tradition would not be respected in the event of full communion between the two Churches, he explained.

"It’s really important that this has finally been cleared up. It is one more divisive issue that has been taken away," said Father Daley, a theology professor at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

"It’s good news for everybody in the Catholic Church, both East and West," he added. "Vatican II called for the Church to respect the ancient traditions of the Eastern Churches. It was true in principle but not in practice."

Father Laschuk said he also hopes the new legislation will create a culture in the Church in North America, in which married clergy are more welcome.

"Previously, there were cases where married priests were not treated fully as priests, as if they were somewhat less," he said. "I hope this will grant them greater respect, now that the Holy Father has approved it."

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