DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY May 13, 1998 vol. 9, no. 93
NEWS & VIEWS
VATICAN SAYS NO TO MARRIED EASTERN-RITE PRIESTS IN POLAND
POLAND (CWNews.com) - The Austrian Catholic news agency "Kathpress" reported on Friday that the apostolic nuncio to Poland, Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, wrote to both of the Ukrainian Catholic bishops in Poland, Ivan Martyniak and Teodor Maykovic asking them to remove legally married Eastern-rite Catholic priests from Poland.
Kathpress said the demand came from Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano. The move caused considerable commotion both in Poland and Ukraine. According to canon law for Churches of the Eastern Rite, the ordination of married men is allowed. However, the reported request from the Vatican says that the paragraph of the canon law governing the issue is valid only in traditionally Eastern-rite countries, but not in the countries where Eastern-rite Catholics have immigrated. If true, the directive would mean married Eastern-rite Catholic priests would be able to continue their pastoral work in Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia, but not in Poland.
The problem arises from the fact that the border between
Poland and Ukraine has changed a number of times over
several centuries, so it is a question of how to define the
traditional regions of Eastern-rite Catholics. Archbishop
Ljubomir Husar of Ukraine said the directive from the
Vatican is "absolutely strange" since the activities of
legally married and ordained Eastern-rite priests have been
questioned before. He also said the directive is surprising
since the Latin-rite in the neighboring Czech Republic
received permission for the ordination of married men when
Catholic Church had to exist underground until the fall of
Communism. After the end of Communism, a special
Eastern-rite diocese was erected so that these married
priests could continue their ministry under the canon law
for the Eastern rite.
Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
NEWS & VIEWS