What is the procedure one must follow to become a member of the Melkite Catholic Church? I really feel blessed to be able to attend such a wonderful church in Atlanta. Thank you so much for your help.
Bishop John’s Answer:
Please realize that there really is no need to obtain a “change of rite” in order to be a full-time parishioner. The beauty of all the Traditions of the Eastern and Latin Catholic Churches are a common patrimony and heritage belonging equally to all Catholics. Should there be some need in the future to obtain a canonical transfer, the procedure is facilitated by the parish priest who could help you with the details. Basically it involves a formal petition on your part. This is forwarded to the Melkite Bishop. The Chancery then seeks the opinion/consent of the Latin Bishop. If both Bishops are in agreement, the “transfer” is granted, signed by the petitioner in the presence of witnesses and entered into the registry of the Melkite parish.
Are children who are chrismated in a Byzantine church officially byzantine? My kids were baptized in the Roman church. We have been attending the Byzantine church for some time now and they have now been chrismated in the Byzantine church. My question is this, are they now officially Byzantine Catholics?
Bishop John’s Answer:
Even though you do not say this, I am assuming from your question that you are a Latin Rite Catholic. Then your children are also Roman Rite Catholics.
According to Canon Law, a person remains a member of his church sui jurid, unless he/she obtains a transfer of membership. Although you may practice your Catholic faith in any Catholic church, receiving the sacraments (Baptism & Christmation) in the Byzantine Church does not automatically make you Byzantine.
Should you desire such, you must petition the Bishop of your Byzantine Church as well as the Latin Rite Bishop, explaining your request. This would be done through your local Byzantine Pastor. If a transfer by the parents is obtained, children under 14 receive the same transfer. After the age of 14, they have to apply for the transfer on their own.
May God bless you and your family.