BINGHAMTON, NY (ACROD) - It was both an honor and a blessing to have the privilege to travel to Rome to participate in The Chrysostom Seminar at Domus Australia in Rome on November 13th. The forum dealt with the issue of the ongoing obstacles of the ordination of married seminarians to the priesthood of the Eastern Catholic Church in North America.
I was invited to participate by Fr. Peter Galadza, a married Ukrainian Catholic priest and professor at the Sheptysky Institute for Eastern Christian Studies at St. Paul's University in Ottawa and Fr. Lawrence Cross, a married Russian Catholic priest at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. Other participants included Fr. Basilio Petra (a scholar in the issue of marriage and priesthood in the early church), of the Theology Faculty in Florence, Italy, and Fr. Thomas J. Loya, a Byzantine Catholic priest of the Tabor Life Institute in Chicago.
Themes of the Addresses
In his presentation, Fr. Cross insisted that the vocation of married priests in the Eastern churches could not be understood apart from an understanding of the sacramental vocation of married couples.
"Those who are called to the married priesthood are, in reality, called to a spiritual path that in the first place, is characterized by a conjugal, family form of life," he said, and priestly ordination builds on the vocation they have as married men.
Fr. Cross and other speakers at the conference urged participants to understand the dignity of the vocation of marriage in the way Blessed John Paul II did: as a sacramental expression of God's love and as a path to holiness made up of daily acts of self-giving and sacrifices made for the good of the other.
"Married life and family life are not in contradiction with the priestly ministry," Fr. Cross said. A married man who is ordained is called "to love more, to widen his capacity to love, and the boundaries of his family are widened, his paternity is widened as he acquires more sons and daughters; the community becomes his family."
Fr. Basilio Petra, a Latin Rite priest and expert in Eastern Christianity and professor of theology in Florence told the conference: "God does not give one person two competing calls."
"If the church teaches—as it does—that marriage is more than a natural institution aimed at procreation because it is "a sign and continuation of God's love in the world," then the vocations of marriage and priesthood "have an internal harmony," he said...
Complete article here.