"Married clergy is not why we have so many young priests…"

The Eastern church’s new young archbishop sat down for a chat with CNS this week.

And he had some interesting things to say about his church and vocations:

The new head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, its youngest bishop, said he believes the other bishops elected him to promote unity within the church and with other Christians.

The 40-year-old Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, visiting Rome to meet Pope Benedict XVI, told Catholic News Service he believes he was elected “despite my age.”

Ukrainian bishops from around the world, who met in a synod in late March to elect a new major archbishop for their church, were looking for a leader who could “unite the church in Ukraine and outside Ukraine,” who could “promote the unity of Christians in Ukraine and establish some sort of dialogue with the new Ukrainian government,” he told CNS March 30 at the Ukrainian church office in Rome.

Archbishop Shevchuk said the suffering — including imprisonment and martyrdom — endured by Ukrainian Catholics under the Soviet regime from 1946 to 1989 “was a sacrifice for communion with the See of Peter” and the Catholic Church…

…Archbishop Shevchuk also said his age is not really so shocking when one considers the fact that the average age of his priests is about 35.

“In our tradition, we do have a married clergy, but a married clergy is not the main reason we have so many young priests,” he said.

The large number of priests in their 30s and 40s today is the result of young people looking for strong values when communism fell apart 20 years ago and finding those values in the church, the archbishop said.

Religious orders, which accept only candidates willing to embrace celibacy, were just as full as the seminaries, which accept married men, he said.

“The possibility of being a married priest is not the main cause of an increase or decrease in vocations to the priesthood because this vocation comes from God,” he said.

There’s much more.  Read the rest.


  1. “The possibility of being a married priest is not the main cause of an increase or decrease in vocations to the priesthood”

    It’s not the MAIN cause but it’s a very important one, among others

  2. No, married preist is not the answer. If it were, the protestant relgions would have huge numbers of ministers and they do not.

    The seminaries flourishing at this point as well as the vocations to religious are ones that have embraced what Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been preaching for the last 50 years. Most of those coming in are very conservative and we are going to see this swing also in the USCCB each and every year as the seamless garment folks age and go away. That day will not come soon enough for both the Church in America or our country with its culture of death.

  3. Jim Dotter says:

    The No. 1 priority for each head of a church is evangelization, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in today’s world,

    to quote the vernacular: ’nuff said!

  4. May God sustain the ministry of the new major archbishop!

    The archbishop is supporting (as must be protected in the tradition of the Eastern Church) the availability of priesthood to married men. He states “this vocation comes from God” and in the wisdom of the Church there is the recognition that this vocation is given to the married and unmarried!

  5. It might be part of the Eastern Church, but it will not become open in the Roman Catholic Church for a very long time if ever. And we can all offer our thanks to God and to the growing number of orthodox priests and Bishops who are ushering in a new springtime in the church.

  6. On the other hand, Greta, the Eastern Church maintains an ancient understanding that was once common in the entire Church.

    The Eastern Church has always had the greatest esteem for celibacy. At the same time, the Church only expects this discipline of monks. In this way, the monastic discipline of celibacy is not required for the average parish priest.

    The Eastern Church’s practice is increasingly seen as representing a very common sense approach by the faithful of the Western (Latin rite) Church (sensus fidelium) and Latin bishops around the world.

  7. Only the Apostles of Jesus Christ were given the power by Jesus to establish His church. All other churches are an off-shoot of it.

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