Thursday, November 10, 2011

What do you mean "there are married Catholic priests?"

Hubby:  What do you mean there are "married Catholic priests" who have always been Catholic?  I thought you could only be married if you converted.

Me:  Nope.  There are married Catholic priests.  The Byzantine's are married.  And it's a small t tradition.  It can be reversed in the Latin Rite.

Hubby: Huh?  The Byzantine Church isn't Catholic.  They're...what's it called...

Me:  Orthodox?  No they're Catholic.  Not Orthodox.

Hubby:  What? Didn't they split from Rome?  Aren't they Orthodox?

Me:  No, they never "split from Rome."  They are Catholic.

Hubby:  You mean they follow the Pope?

Me:  Yep.  They follow the Pope.

Hubby:  But they're not Catholic?  *even more puzzled look on his face*

Me:  No, dear.  They are Catholic.

Hubby:  Then what are you?

Me:  Catholic.

Hubby:  You mean Roman Catholic.

Me:  Yes, but they are Roman Catholic too since they follow the Pope.

Hubby:  *even more confused* So what are you then?

Me:  You mean what's different?

Hubby:  *nods his head*

Me:  I'm a Latin Rite Catholic.  They follow the Byzantine Rite.

Hubby:  *extremely puzzled*  Okay how's that different from being Roman Catholic?

Me:  *chuckles*  The rite is how you worship.  We believe the same things, but our services are different and some of our traditions.

Hubby: *trying to make sense of it*  But doesn't mean that they are orthodox or something?

Me:  No, dear.  They follow the Pope, they didn't split off, and they are Catholics too.  The Latin Rite is the largest group so everyone thinks of them.  But the Eastern Rite is Catholic too.  It's culturally based.  The Latin is largely European.  And the Marronites, for example, are mostly Lebanese descent. Etc.

Hubby:  But I thought they were like Orthodox.  I'm confused.

Me:  No, they aren't orthodox.

Hubby:  So how does it work?  Did some of them leave and others not?

Me:  Basically.  They (historians) set a date, but there's no solid time when it splittered.  It happened over time.  We were all one Church with many bishops.  The Bishop of Rome (the Pope) was the head Bishop but the Orthodox wanted to their Bishops to rule their churches separately and have no one head Bishop.  The Eastern Catholics agreed that the Bishop of Rome is supreme and the Orthodox Bishops don't.  Understand?

Hubby:  I guess so.


  1. :) Sounds like he needs to read my blog a bit!

    or just 'assign' him a visit to an Eastern Catholic Mass

  2. Oh, I've had this conversation numerous times before. It came up when we visited an Orthodox church. It's come up at other times too. In this case I told him something along the lines of HB can be married and be a priest and that's how the conversation started.

    Hubby's of the opinion that I'll press HB into the priesthood too hard (he's the typical guy who wants the name passed on). I told him that I'm not pressing anything. That's up between HB and God. My job is just to bring it up like an option. You can be a firefighter, you can be a teacher, you can plumber, you can get married, or you can be a priest. I think it's left out of too many discussions so children don't even think about it. All the teens in my rel ed classes talked about "when they had kids" and totally dismissed the notion of religious life without a serious explanation. It really bothered me.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!