The fear some have about a reunited East-West Church is that the Latin Church told Eastern Catholics that they couldn't have married priests in the New World and a reunited Church breaks the protection of synodality found in the Orthodox Church that would stop this from happening to us. The Greek Catholics had no recourse when they fought to keep married priests and left in two large waves (the first to the Russians/Metropolia/OCA and the second to the Ecumenical Patriarchate/Carpatho-Russian Diocese). The married clergy ban was a capricious decision, but nothing in the way the Roman Curia operates right now would stop something like this from happening again.
(AOB) - The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation voted in early June to encourage the “lifting of the restrictions regarding the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic Churches of North America.”
“This action would affirm the ancient and legitimate Eastern Christian tradition, and would assure the Orthodox that, in the event of the restoration of full communion between the two Churches, the traditions of the Orthodox Church would not be questioned,” the consultation said in a statement released June 6.
“We are convinced that this action would enhance the spiritual lives of Eastern Catholics and would encourage the restoration of unity between Catholic and Orthodox Christians,” the statement said.
The Theological Consultation agreed to the statement at its 86th meeting, June 2-4, at the Saint Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in Contoocook, New Hampshire. The meeting was hosted by the Orthodox co-chair, Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston; the Catholic co-chair is Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis.
The Theological Consultation issued the statement on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the promulgation of the 1929 decree Cum data fuerit from the Vatican Oriental Congregation, which oversees the Eastern Catholic churches.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Eastern Catholic immigrants to North America from Eastern Europe and the Middle East brought with them the tradition of a married priesthood. This Oriental Congregation decree effectively limited future ordinations to celibates, and resulted in divisions in Eastern Catholic communities and even families over this issue.
The agreed statement cites two documents of the Second Vatican Council which call for Eastern Catholics to return to their authentic ancestral traditions, and exhorts those men who have received both the sacraments of priestly ordination and marriage “to persevere in their holy vocation.” Consequently, the Consultation “encourages the lifting of the restrictions regarding the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic Churches of North America.
At this meeting the Consultation also continued its study of the relationship between the clergy and laity in the two Churches. The members also examined the December 2013 statement by the Patriarchate of Moscow on primacy in the Church and the response by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Consultation also reviewed the recent meeting between Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem.
The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation was founded in 1965 and is sponsored by the Committee for Ecumenical Relations of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, the USCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Its agreed statements are available at the USCCB site here and the Assembly of Bishops site here.
The full statement is here.