Is it possible for a married Roman Catholic such as myself to be ordained a priest in the Eastern Rite?
Bishop John’s Answer:
Thank you for your inquiry about the possibility of a Roman Catholic layman to be admitted to the priesthood in the Melkite Church. As it is well known, it is the tradition of the Eastern Churches, both Orthodox and Catholic, to admit married as well as celibate men to priestly ordination. However, it is not allowed, at the present time, to a Roman Catholic in the United States to seek priestly ordination in the Melkite Catholic Church. Besides, to serve a people you have to be part of them. You have to be a member of a Melkite Church for at least two years before being admitted to our Melkite Seminary or to our Diaconate Formation Program. Your seeking priestly ordination in a church should be for the sake of serving its people in their own style of worship (rite). That would be “false pretense,” so to speak, to seek entrance into another church only for the sake of being ordained.
As sister Catholic Churches of East and West, we belong to the same “union.” If there is a ban (a strike) against a practice in one church, the other churches should not provide the members of that church “to cross the strike line” and to break the rules of their church.
Consequently, it is not permissible for a Married Roman Catholic to seek priestly ordination in the Melkite Church. This is the rule at the present time. But we do not know what the future will hold. There are many way to serve the Lord. May God direct your step the the best track to serve Him and His people redeemed by His Precious Blood.