2010-09-15 14:17:00

Metropolitan Hilarion: Russian Orthodox Church would approve cancelling Catholic celibacy

Moscow, September 15, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate supports the idea to cancel celibacy of the Catholic clergy.

"Mandatory celibacy of the clergy introduced by the Western Church in the 12th century was not known in the early Christian time. Eastern Churches have followed the ancient practice which allowed them to ordain married men. The Eastern Christianity has always criticized the Roman Catholic Church for this celibate practice," head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in an interview published Wednesday by NG-Religii paper.

According to him, "Orthodox believers think the problem of obligatory celibacy to be an internal matter of the Roman Catholic Church and they would only acclaim its cancellation, if it happens."

"We would rather consider such cancellation of celibacy the return to the age-old traditions of the ancient Church, than a break from the ancient traditions and a liberal deviation," he added.

Speaking of the relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Protestant Church, he noted that there were many Protestants "who shared more Orthodox and Catholic positions than that of their own church authorities."

"We know that such believers are pronounced "fundamentalists", "fanatics" and "separatists" in their own Churches just for the reason that they share views different from the officially declared standpoint and try to defend their positions. We are ready to cooperate with such Protestants on different projects including the project of the New Evangelization of Europe," Metropolitan said.