Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Roman Cholij Changes Mind & Now Supports Married Eastern Priests: "This view represents a substantial development and change in my ecclesiological thinking since the time of writing my J.C.D. dissertation, subsequently published as 'Clerical Celibacy in East and West,' esp. pp. 179-192 [Footnote #53].

Credit: Byz _Guy

by Roman M.T. Cholij, published in Eastern Churches Journal, Summer 1997

In the article, Cholij breaks with his previous views and upholds the right of Eastern Churches to have a married clergy without papal interference. Previously, he had held to a view that Rome had the authority to approve or deny the Eastern tradition as it was considered to have been developed improperly while the Eastern Churches were in schism. Therefore, he had believed, Rome could either tolerate the Eastern tradition or legitimately forbid it. **Many who cite Cholij’s earlier writings on mandatory priestly celibacy are not aware of his change of views. **The reversal of his view can be seen here:

From pp. 49-50:

Thus the ecclesiological
suppositions of the times when the decrees prohibiting married
clergy were issued must be seen to have been defective. It should
also be stated that the constitutional rights of a Church sui iuris cannot
be removed by an administrative decree of a Congregation of the
Roman Curia. If a married clergy is such a right (which is what the
Eastern Churches do consider it to be, and which the Vatican Council
seems to implicitly affirm), as opposed to a privilege granted by Rome,
then there is serious objection to the lawfulness of any action which
restricts exercise of this right. 53

[53] This view represents a substantial development and change in my ecclesiological
thinking since the time of writing my J.C.D. dissertation, subsequently published
as Clerical Celibacy in East and West, esp. pp. 179-192. A similar view is
expressed in my article entitled “Celibacy, Married Clergy and the Oriental Code”
(see note 2). Since writing this early work I have also been fortunate to have had
the opportunity to do further studies: five years of research work in Eastern
Christian Studies at the University of Oxford under the tutorship and supervision
of Dr. Kallistos Ware of Pembroke College.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Pope Paul VI Admits NT Objections to Mandated Celibacy: "Jesus Himself did not make it a prerequisite in His choice of the Twelve, nor did the Apostles for those who presided over the first Christian communities" (Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, no. 5).

Source: http://www.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_24061967_sacerdotalis.html (24 June 2020)

Happy 53rd anniversary to this beautiful encyclical letter!

St. Paul VI, Sacerdotalis Celibatus, no. 5 (24 June 2020):


5. It may be said that today ecclesiastical celibacy has been examined more penetratingly than ever before and in all its aspects. It has been examined from the doctrinal, historical, sociological, psychological and pastoral point of view. The intentions prompting this examination have frequently been basically correct although reports may sometimes have distorted them.

Let us look openly at the principal objections against the law that links ecclesiastical celibacy with the priesthood.

The first seems to come from the most authoritative source, the New Testament which preserves the teaching of Christ and the Apostles. It does not openly demand celibacy of sacred ministers but proposes it rather as a free act of obedience to a special vocation or to a special spiritual gift. (2) Jesus Himself did not make it a prerequisite in His choice of the Twelve, nor did the Apostles for those who presided over the first Christian communities. (3)


(2) See Mt 19. 11-12.

(3) See 1 Tm 3. 2-5; Ti 1. 5-6.

St. Zachariah, married priest of the Old Testament who fathered St. John the Baptist after consecration as a priest, & husband of St. Elizabeth (a priest's wife), pray for us. St. John the Baptist, son of a #marriedpriest of the Old Covenant, pray for us.

St. Zachariah, married priest of the Old Testament who fathered St. John the Baptist after consecration as a priest, & husband of St. Elizabeth (a priest's wife), pray for us. St. John the Baptist, son of a #marriedpriest of the Old Covenant, pray for us.

History of married Catholic priests: Commenter "Joseph"

Source: https://catholicexchange.com/10-reasons-for-priestly-celibacy (24 June 2020) 

Comment by "Joseph":

The truth is a married priesthood is Scriptural and in the Apostolic Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church until the 10th century when celibacy was made compulsory. Please read and learn some of the history of clerical marriage which was optional from Apostolic times. There were several married popes who fathered children and grandchildren who later became priests, bishops and popes!

This history taken from Wikipedia is only partial.

Marriage and Celibacy in the Catholic Church
From the exhaustive research of
Clerical celibacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George T. Dennis SJ of Catholic University of America
Peter Fink SJ
Protestant historian Philip Schaff

Celibacy was voluntary, not imposed, in the early apostolic church:
Mt 19,12 Jesus….”some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

Some of the apostles were married as St. Peter, Simeon:
Mk 1, 30 and Lk 4,38 Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law of fever

Phillip, one of the first seven deacons ordained in Jerusalem, had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. Acts 21, 8-9.

St. Paul’s letters indicate bishops, presbyters, deacons were married with children:

St. Paul implies the apostles and brothers of the Lord were married and he was free to marry and have a wife (gunaika) with him on his journeys just as they did.
1 Cor 9.5 Do we not have the right to take along a sister (adelphe), a wife (gunaika), as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas (St. Peter)?

I Tim 3.1-2-4 Presiding elder (episcopos, ordained by imposition of hands, power from God) “must not be married more than once…having children….manage his own family. The literal Koine Greek of the New Testament reads, “the bishop (episkopon )….to be a husband of one wife (gunaikos)…”

Ti 1, 5-6 “….appoint presbyters (elders=priests=episcopoi) in every town on condition that a man be blameless, married only once….with believing children…” The literal Koine Greek of the New Testament is “ …the elders…(presbuterous) to be a husband of one wife (gunaikos)…”

In the third century, there is simply no clear evidence of a general tradition or practice, much less of an obligation, of priestly celibacy-continence before the beginning of the third century. There is no clear evidence that celibacy had apostolic origins. During the first three or four centuries no law was promulgated prohibiting clerical marriage. Celibacy was a matter of choice for bishops, priests and deacons. As Paul’s letters indicate, there was no obligation to celibacy after marriage, since they had children.

Third century records a number of third century married bishops in good standing and c414, clerical marriage was in vogue. Only after the third century bishops, priests, deacons were not to have intercourse ONLY before partaking of the Eucharist.

St. Hilary of Poitiers 315-68, Doctor of the Church, was a married bishop and had a daughter named Apra.

Popes of the fourth, fifth, sixth centuries:
--Father of Pope Damasus I 366-84 was a bishop.
--Pope Felix III 483-92 whose father was almost certainly a priest, was the great-great grandfather of Pope Gregory I the Great 590-604.
--Pope Hormisdas 514-23 was the father of Pope Silverius 536-37

Except for periods before celebrating the Divine Liturgy, conjugal relations, by priests and deacons married before ordination, were allowed. Celibacy and perpetual continence was mandated only for bishops.

In the tenth century, most priests were married, lived with their wives and raised families and ordination was not an impediment to marriage. Therefore, some priests did marry after ordination and most rural priests were married and many priests and bishops had wives and children.

It was at the Lateran Council (1123), Canon 3 forbid the clergy to live with women other than family relations. Canon 21 absolutely forbid marriage after ordination.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020

Ordaining Viri Probati (proven married men) to priesthood in Latin rite "would not contradict the Church’s tradition"; ordain family fathers "not only in remote areas but also in huge city parishes": Then-Fr. Gerhard Müller writing in 1992 as Professor of Dogmatics; Later served as CDF doctrine chief for Benedict XVI

Source: https://cathnews.co.nz/2019/10/31/cardinal-muller-married-priests/ (5 June 2020)


Writing in 1992, when he was professor of dogmatics at Munich University and had not yet become a bishop, Müller looked back to a trip he made to the Andes in Peru in 1988. “On the Feast of the Assumption (in 1988), we experienced expressions of a deeply felt Indian religiosity which in our eyes could be understood as an expression of genuine faith and trust in God,” he wrote.

In his “Reflections on a Seminar”, held in 1988 on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the 1968 Medellin General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, (CELAM) which were published in the Catholic Academy for Youth Issues – Akademie für Jugendfragen – Müller then advocated ordaining viri probati, that is, proven married men.

“Celibate priests are necessary for the priesthood. It must, however, be possible to ordain religiously proven and theologically educated family fathers, not only in remote areas but also in huge city parishes, so that basic pastoral and liturgical practices can continue to be celebrated,” Müller emphasised.

He explained: “A new concept of this kind would not contradict the Church’s tradition, as loyalty to tradition does not mean that the Church is only committed to past history but, on the contrary, far more to future history.”

He then warned: “If the Church insists on holding on to obligatory celibacy under all circumstances, it must state the reasons as to why both the spiritual meaning and the assets of celibacy are of such importance to the Church that it is even prepared to hazard a decisive deformation of its constitution on account of the lack of priests.”

These views on celibacy stand in strong contrast to views he expressed during the Amazon Synod.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

'Conservative' Primate of Australia (most senior clergy Down Under) Archbishop Anthony Fisher, O.P., Ph.D., Member of CDF, open to married priests; does not "absolutely exclude" Latin rite married priesthood in Australia; issues similar to other parts of world


Fisher acknowledged that “I am nervous about this, without saying that I absolutely exclude it.”


I think there are similar issues in Australia. A lot of people would say that, after more than 200 years in Australia, we still don’t have an indigenous presbyterate. In fact, we have only one indigenous priest in Australia, and he is an Anglican convert. There was another, but he has left the priesthood and he’s now a politician and important leader.

We have to ask why is that? What has gone wrong in a country that has 5 percent of its people with some aboriginal heritage, they’re not present in the priesthood? It’s enough a number that you think there should be some aboriginal priests now. We’ve had deacons, and still do, and we have nuns, but we have no priests.

One of the reasons that is given by some is that in traditional aboriginal societies, until you are married and have had a child, you could not lead, be respected as a leader. You prove your manhood by having a child. And so, for those cultures, it’s inconceivable to be a spiritual leader if you are celibate.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, J.C.D., of India (appointed cardinal by Benedict) on married priests: "It's open." "Following present canon law, there's a possibility" that Holy See can grant a "dispensation" to a married man to be ordained priest. Bishops need to petition Vatican.

Source: LifeSiteNews (25 Feb 2020) (accessed 25 May 2020)


The cardinal from South Asia stresses in this new interview with the National Catholic Reporter that the Pope was under many “pressures” and that there are “people who do not want any change,” while at the same time others “want overnight changes.” 

“He's got to carry everybody with him,” Gracias explains, also in light of the fact that the Pope seeks “synodality.” In order to take everybody along, the cardinal adds, “we go slower than we would like to go because of that.” 

Commenting on Querida Amazonia, Gracias calls it “very clever” that the Pope is “endorsing the final document.” 

“Therefore the final document remains a valid reference point,” he explains. With regard to the question of the married priests, that means for the prelate that “it's open.” 

“He's not excluded any part of the final document – he's not excluded any part of it,” he states.

Gracias also comes back in this new interview to a proposal he himself had made during last year's Amazon Synod. “I had suggested in my intervention that, following present canon law, there's a possibility,” that the Holy See can grant “a dispensation” in the case of a married man who wishes to become a priest. Accordingly, the cardinal had then suggested that Amazon bishops, or groups of them, could petition the Vatican to grant them such a dispensation. Since the Pope, in his recent exhortation, did not address this matter directly, this possibility still is “open,” also in light of the Pope's “endorsing the [final] document.