The New York Times has discovered the existence of an Eastern Catholic Church with a married clergy. Today’s issue contains a good article on Father Yuriy Volevetskiy and his six children.

The Times is also correct in that the attitude of the Vatican is more of toleration of the Eastern (or Greek Catholic) churches rather than an acknowledgment of their equal status.

At the insistence of the Irish-American bishops, the Vatican would not allow Eastern Catholic Churches in the United States to have married clergy, a prohibition which may still be in effect, although the Eastern Churches have started to ignore it.

I have heard stories that in the 1950s Eastern Catholic children were not allowed to receive communion in Latin churches, and just a few years ago the Baltimore Archdiocese claimed that a school stared by a Eastern Catholic parish was not a Catholic school because it was not under the jurisdiction of the Latin archdiocese of Baltimore.

The Eastern Catholics, as the Times stated, are only about 2% of the entire Catholic church, and the general Latin attitude to them does not bode well for good relations with Orthodoxy.

The Greek Catholic priests wisely shied away from any discussion of celibacy, especially in relation to the sexual abuse scandals in the Church.

All in all, I do not think that celibacy is the source of the abuse. Male sexuality and pathological narcissism are the sources of the abuse, and human irresponsibility, male and female, is the source of the toleration of abuse. Anglican and Episcopal churches have seen sexual abuse committed by married priests, and have tolerated it just as Catholic bishops have.

Celibacy brings problems, but so does a married clergy, as any married Protestant pastor can explain. The wife must be a good example, and the teenagers must not be rebellious (hah!). And then what do you with divorced priests or priests who have done something wrong but their families must also suffer any penalties the bishop imposes?

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