DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     May 13, 1998     vol. 9, no. 93

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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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.


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May 13, 1998       volume 9, no. 93
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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