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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Anglicans and the Eastern churches

by Phil Lawler

Secular journalists, hearing the news about the Pope's dramatic invitation to Anglicans, immediately fastened on the question of celibacy. If married Anglican priests can be admitted to the Catholic priesthood, will the issue of priestly celibacy in the Roman Church be re-opened for discussion? Probably not.

The opening for married priests will occur only within a clearly defined structure, created for those who are preserving the Anglican tradition within the Catholic Church. If you are a married Catholic from any other background who wants to be ordained, you'd have to absorb that entire Anglican tradition first-- and demonstrate your bona fides in doing so, no doubt-- before you could be considered for the priesthood. Will some men take that circuitous route? Perhaps. Many? I doubt it.

For the rest of us, Catholics outside the Anglican tradition, the same rules will continue to apply, for the same reasons.

But the Pope's opening to Anglicans may bring a change in practice for Catholics from other traditions: specifically, those of the Eastern churches. Most Eastern Catholic churches admit married men to the priesthood (although a single man, once ordained to the priesthood, cannot marry). Their traditions, like the Anglican tradition, allows for married priests.

When they first began establishing parishes in the US, however, the Eastern Catholic churches found that their married priests were causing consternation among their American Catholic neighbors. So for decades, the Eastern churches have agreed not to ordain married men in this country. (There have been a few exceptions to that rule, and married priests have continued to arrive in the US from other countries.)

If the Pope's new apostolic constitution brings a large number of married Anglican priests into the Catholic fold, it will no longer be a novelty-- or a cause for raised eyebrows-- to encounter a married Catholic priest. So the reason for the old agreement with the Eastern Catholic churches will no longer exist. It's only a matter of time, it would seem, before the Eastern churches begin ordaining married men in the US, just as they do in their homelands.  This is the whole article.  Read the original here. 

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.