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Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Orthodox-Catholic

by Catherine Frakas 14 May 2002

Orthodox-Catholic QUESTION from Raphael Smith OFM Cap on November 20, 2002 dear sir
I have some questions concerning validity of priesthood. In the Orthodox Church, when a Roman Catholic priest becomes an orthodox priest, he will not be Re-Ordained. This is because of the Orthodox Church viewed the priesthood of the Roman Catholic as valid (from a valid Apostolic Succession). The Orthodox bishop will only vest him with an Orthodox vestment, I saw this with 5 Roman Catholic priests my friends who became a Greek Orthodox priests. This is also the same norm for the sacrament of Baptism where a Roman Catholic person will never be re-baptized in the Orthodox Church, only chrismated. In some non canonical orthodox church (an Orthodox version of SSPX, hahaha) they required to public statement concerning the Orthodox faith which is they do not believe in filioque etc, but this not happened in the canonical jurisdiction. I from what I know the Orthodox Church viewed the Eucharist, Priesthood, and other sacrament of the Roman Catholic Church as Valid. Now my questions :
1) If an Orthodox clergy become an Roman Catholic (clergy) Can he remain as a priest? Or he has to go trough seminary process again?
2) Will he be re-ordained? Canonically speaking, how is the reception ceremony?

3) What is the norm for priesthood is he becoming Eastern Catholic priest or Western Latin priest? in the case of western priest can he enters a religious order or congregation? Or must he become a diocesan priest? in our Church there is no orders like in the RC.
4) In the document Vatican Council II: Orientalium Ecclesiarum (25), it stated that Eastern clerics, seeing that a valid priesthood is preserved among them, are permitted to exercise the Orders they possess on joining the unity of the Catholic Church, in accordance with the regulations established by the competent authority. What are the regulations? And who is the authority? How is the norm here? What are the steps of process in changing, of an Orthodox priest who want to become a Roman Catholic priest (also regarding canonically process)? Is it the same in every diocese?
6) How about Orthodox married clergy? will he be accepted as a Roman Catholic priest? Do the eastern Catholic have married clergy. It just remind me about the mass exodus of Eastern Catholics in America to the Orthodox Church (now OCA)a century a go, because of this issue, the everlasting batle between Archbishop Ireland of St. Paul MI and St. Alexis Toth.
Quite frankly I am pleased with the recent effort concerning dialogue Catholic and Orthodox, it is my prayer that one day the two sisters will be united with one shepherd, Lord Jesus Christ. As St. Peter for the Catholic and St. Andrew for the Orthodox, both of them are blood brothers, holy siblings, let us pray for the unity of the churches.
If I may suggest to you to stop refering to the Orthodox Church as Schismatic, Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras lifted the bull of Excomuniation for both Churches. From what I know, our Church with the Document Dominus Iesus, by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, stated that they are particular TRUE church NOT SCHISMATIC, and regarded as EQUAL CHURCH, Sister Church, this term only apply to the Orthodox and not to the Protestant, I think as a good Catholic we should follow the Holy Father example calling them Sister Church instead of Schismatic. With this The Orthodox Church also stopped calling us as Heretic, but Sister Church, you can visit the official website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for this.
Again thank you for taking your time to answer my questioned, may God bless you and keep you.
In Jesus and Mary
Br. Raphael Smith OFM Cap
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on November 23, 2002 Dear Br. Smith,
I am sorry but I am not an expert in this area, and therefore could not provide a sufficient answer. I invite you to submit your question to our faith forum, it is less specialized than my Liturgy forum. I am certain that the host of the faith forum would be able to provide a better answer.
Thank you,
Mr. Slavek
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