Friday, November 16, 2012

Fr. Peter Galadza: Interview - Optional Celibacy in the Eastern Catholic Church

Optional celibacy in the Eastern Catholic Church
SOURCE:  Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The problems facing married priests in the Eastern Catholic Church were at the heart of a seminar in Rome this week, sponsored by the Australian Catholic University and the Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at St Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. 

The Second Vatican Council’s decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches clearly reaffirmed the value of the Oriental rites with their distinct liturgical practises and traditions. Yet a Vatican document dating back to 1929 prohibited Eastern rite bishops from ordaining married men in the West or sending them from the East to Western countries where they were said to cause “confusion among the faithful”. While Roman or Latin rite bishops in some countries, such as Australia, formally welcome married priests to serve their Eastern rite communities, others still see it as a source of tension and division.

To find out more, Philippa Hitchen went along to the conference and spoke to Fr Peter Galadza, a married Ukrainian Greek Catholic prelate and professor of Oriental liturgy at the Sheptysky Institute in Ottawa…..

Listen: RealAudioMP3

“We organised this conference because frequently there’s this misconception that somehow a married priesthood is less than authentically Catholic. We understand that as we’re only one percent of the total population of Catholics throughout the world, this is not always going to be understood or covered. Nevertheless we know that throughout the centuries, married priests with their wives and children have suffered for their Catholic faith…..

In the case of the Ordinariate (for former Anglicans), a lot of people have told me it’s a kind of a transitional reality. But we are concerned……..that instead of being recognised as an integral part of our tradition, as is guaranteed by Vatican II, it will be just like the Anglicans, a temporary exemption and we don’t see ourselves as a temporary, alien, immigrant reality in North America…

Are we suggesting the Latin rite should do this? Absolutely not, in the same way as we don’t like them telling us how to do our Divine Liturgy, we certainly don’t want to tell the Latin rite what to do with regards to celibacy. But when it comes to our own tradition of optional celibacy, that has to be respected

I begin my speech with a word of profound gratitude to His Holiness for that exhortation (Ecclesia in Medio Oriente) – there’s a recognition, right after the very legitimate recognition of the consistent value of celibacy, he then says ‘I also turn with a word of encouragement to the married priests and their families that during this great time of difficultly they might be encouraged and upheld


  1. From my perspective as a laity, a married Catholic priest (predominantly eastern rite) is no less a priest than and unmarried priest. The difference is there is a higher calling for service in the Latin rite, hence the celibacy. In the Latin rite, nobody is forced to do anything, hence the candidate for priesthood is continually made aware that he will be serving his flock 24/7, which would rule out a married life. In fact, just before ordination, he will be an extended leave from the seminary to discern if the life of a Latin rite priest (24/7 service, celibacy, etc.) is acceptable to him.

    A 24/7 life of service will destroy a marriage

  2. Oh dear I don't think you've spent much time around Latin presbyteries lately. In my diocese with all the lay pastoral appointments, its a wonder that these poor 24/7 Latins have anything to do that could raise a sweat. Come off it friend. It's one of the easiest lives you could live. Don't kid yourself, the Latins have it easy.

    1. Justin, it is all the more reason that we should pray for our Priest and Bishops that they do not become protestant with their vows of service (no more reason to be celibate). Remember, without the Bishop and Priest, we will not the mass and the Eucharist (Priests and.Bishops needs us and we need them, this is part of the commandment of loving one another).

  3. re Justin - Its hard to decide whether you're deliberately being facetious or actually believe the nonsense you're claiming. No-one who has had to work closely with a priest, esp in administrative and pastoral areas could believe your evidently factless insinuation it is an "easy life". Certainly in my diocese, the Roman Rite priests priests are amongst the most hardworking and industrious men I know of (and I work in Law so know something about burning the candelight). It would be helpful in the future that you might actually have some constructive to say, rather than engaging in these assertions based it would seem far more on emotion than true evidence.

  4. Dear friends, I apologise for any offence caused. It was rather an unfair assertion. There are indeed examples of every sort of man, good and bad, industrious and lazy in every Church. Pace! In respect of the often heard insinuation however, that celibates are called upon to offer over and above the required degree of priestly service than those who are married is itself a facile, baseless, vapid and utterly reprehensible position, and one I heartily eschew, without reservation. In every and all respects this is false, and arises if not from ignorance then certainly from impertinence. I am a convert to Catholicism from Orthodoxy, and have known many married priests, who with their wives and families serve Christ and His Church faithfully, fearlessly and well. Enough of this idea that celibate priestly life is superior to and more dedicated to the service of Christ's Church than married priesthood. Behind this offensive and brutish assertion lies the Latin idea of the "praestans ritus latini", officially revoked at the Second Vatican Council. All priests are called to serve the Lord and His Church at all times and in whatever sphere of labour they may find themselves, regardless of wheather they are married, monastic or "celibate". You may find my words bold and impassioned; they are that, for the simple reason that I believe them to be true. As always, your brother in Christ. Justin

  5. Oops that should be "whether" not "wheather". I do hate making that foolish spelling mistake. СъБогомъ.


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