Thursday, April 4, 2013

New regulations on clerical celibacy enacted

4 April 2013 (ACNS) - The Patriarchal See announced today that new regulations regarding clerical celibacy in the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church have been enacted. The document, entitled Sacerdotes Matrimonio Coniuncti, states that priests and bishops, once ordained, will no longer be allowed to marry. If they are validly married prior to ordination to the priesthood, then they may not marry again if they survive their spouse. Deacons and Minor Clerics continue to be able to marry with permission of their Bishops, provided the conditions, which have been increased, are met.

The document also renewed and expanded the requirement that the wives of married men seeking ordination must give their consent, and both the postulant and spouse must sign the specified oaths and further take the oaths while kneeling before the ordaining Bishop. Deacons and Minor Clerics who are given permission to marry must do likewise with their intended spouse. This is in recognition of the fact that it is essential for spouses to support the ministry of their husband, as the service of a cleric to the Church is his most sacred, important, and chief duty and responsibility. This is both for the good of the Church and the good of the marriage.

It was noted that this practice is similar (albeit with some differences) to that of many Eastern Rite and Orthodox Churches, as well as the new Anglican Ordinariate. Also, married men in the Roman Communion who seek ordination as permanent Deacons must have spousal permission and agree not to re-marry. While married clergy was once common in the Roman Rite, it was suppressed at the Second Lateran Council in 1145.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter 2013 Patriarchal Address

Venerable Brethren and Well-Beloved Sons, greetings and Apostolic Blessings on this Sunday of the Resurrection, in the year of our Lord 2013. What a glorious day Easter Sunday is each year. It is this day that we not simply commemorate but truly live and experience the triumph of Christ over the grave. Without the resurrection, there would be no hope of salvation for mankind. This past Friday, though, we experienced the Holy Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and the entire Passion of our Lord in a special way in some of the most beautiful and poignant liturgy in the Church. There can be no Easter without Good Friday. This has been said through the years many, many times; yet it seems always necessary to remind the people. It is necessary to remind the fallen world, the secularized world that does not know Christ or has turned a deaf ear and a blind eye. It is also necessary to remind the Christian clergy and faithful, for complacency is an all-to-easy destroyer of one’s faith. For this reason, it is indeed necessary not only to remind others, but to remind ourselves. As we have experienced the pain and suffering of our Lord in His Passion and the joys of His glorious Resurrection, let this cause us to resolve to examine ourselves and our faith daily throughout the year.

A few weeks ago, Pope Francis was enthroned in Rome. We join the world in celebrating this great joy and blessing. Of particular note is the emphasis of his pontificate on the poor, the forgotten, the oppressed, and the marginalized people of the world. This is of great importance to our Patriarchate, due to our special mandate of mission, service, and charity.

After celebrating the institution of the Holy Eucharist last Thursday, it is a good time to reaffirm that Christ’s Holy priesthood is a sacred obligation not to be taken lightly. It is not a mere job or hobby, but a state in life. Priests are married to the Church. All clerics have obligations that they must place above all else. All clerics owe obedience to Christ’s Church and to the hierarchy. It is only when the clergy places their clerical obligations above all else and humbly submit to the Church above their own desires that they may begin to serve the Lord in Christ-like humility. Our Lord’s entire ministry was built on His humble submission to the will of His Father.

For far too long, we have spoken in these addresses of the problems in the world surrounding the right to life, the sanctity of life, and the dignity of the human person. The world still faces the scourge of abortion, with over a million murders of unborn children taking place in the United States alone. How many unborn children are dying daily as the nation talks about equal rights issues? Who is standing up in the public arena for these innocent children who cannot speak for themselves? Are those who demand equal rights likewise demanding equal rights for unborn children? Until the world learns to respect life and the dignity of human persons, all other discussion of rights are meaningless. Every other right in the world necessarily has as its precondition the right to life, as the previous Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI so wisely pointed out.
As we enter into our commemoration of the time the Resurrected Lord spent on earth before the glorious Ascension, let us dedicate ourselves to both prayer and action in the fulfillment of our mandate of mission, service, and charity. Let this charity flow from the altar of our Lord. Let it then begin inside each of us and spread to the world.

Benedicat vos, omnipotens Deus. Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus. R. Amen.