Oct. 13, 2010
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, which has a large community of Christians belonging to various Eastern churches from the Middle East, said he would not be opposed if those Eastern churches decided to ordain more married priests in North America.
Both Vigneron and Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto also said, however, that bishops from Eastern churches do not seem to have a consensus on such a move.
The comments came during a press conference today organized by the Catholic Near East Welfare Association and the Canadian Catholic media network “Salt and Light.”
Yesterday, Archbishop Antonios Aziz Mina, a Coptic prelate from Egypt, argued in favor of extending the practice of married priests in the Eastern churches during the Oct. 10-24 Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.
Read NCR's full coverage of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East: Index of stories from the Synod.
“Since the 1930s there has been a ban on the ordination of and the practice of the ministry by married priests outside the territories of the Patriarchy and the ‘Historically Eastern regions,’ Mina said.
“I think, in line with whatever the Holy Father decides, that the time has come to take this step in favor of the pastoral care of the Eastern faithful throughout the diaspora,” he said.
Asked what he thinks about that, Vigneron said he would be inclined to defer to what the bishops of the Eastern churches recommend.
“The question is what will help the bishops, priests and the members of the Eastern churches in the expansion,” Vigneron said, adding that some Eastern Catholics prefer the term “expansion” to “diaspora.”
“If it helps them, it would be fine,” Vigneron said, referring to the ordination of married priests for the Eastern churches. “If they feel it’s not helpful, I would pay most attention to that.”
Since the issue arose in the synod, Vigneron said he’s talked to several Eastern bishops about it, and “they don’t all have the same view.”
Asked directly if he would worry that more married priests in the Eastern churches might call into question the obligation of celibacy for Roman Catholic priests, Vigneron said, “I would not.”
Collins said that it’s a “complex issue” and that “there’s not a common view” among the Eastern bishops...
Read the full post by Mr. Allen at the NCR Blog.