There have been Vatican decrees that have said ordaining married men in the diaspora is canonically illegal. For example, the 1921 decree cum data fuerit. This decree was originally directed to the Greek Catholics in the US, but has been applied universally to all Eastern and Oriental Churches sui juris to prevent the ordination of married men to the priesthood in all of the diaspora. Another example is in 2008 when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith reaffirmed the norm of binding celibacy of Eastern Priests outside of 'Patriarchal Territories' (Source - Italian).
So technically, every Eastern Bishop who ordains a married man to the priesthood in the diaspora (without a dispensation from the Vatican) is being disobedient due to the decrees stated above.
Before I continue though, I would like to add that in one of the Australian Catholic Bishop's Conferences (ACBC) all Bishops voted 'Yes' for Rome to remove the official restriction on Eastern Bishops ordaining married men. The only Bishop to vote 'No' was Bishop Leonard Faulkner.
This makes me wonder why these certain Bishops are willing to favour removing the restrictions on married Priests in the ACBC, but not extend the same feelings in private.
There are some reason I can think of that would make Latin Bishops put pressure on Eastern Bishops regarding married priests. These reasons are:
- The current political climate with the whole pedophilia scandal.
- The possible conversion of Latin rite parishoners to become Eastern Priests simply because they can get married.
Eastern Bishops are aware of the political climate regarding Married Priests. But why should we worry about it anyway? Why should this be a problem? Why is there pressure?
Also, if the Latin Bishops think that our Bishops will just ordain any man who approaches us from the Latin-Rite to become a married Priest then they think we are stupid. I am sure that any Latin-Rite man who approaches one of our Bishops would have to go through a rigorous process of why he is changing rites in the first place. I assume we would also need to get permission of the Local Latin Bishop for him to change rites (only if this permission wasn't given so liberally in the opposite direction).
I believe it is a massive impeachment on our rights as sui iuris Churches that there is pressure on our Bishops to go against their Eastern Traditions. Latin Bishops have no (or should have no) juristiction over Eastern Eparchies. And while we thank the Latin Church for all it has done for us in the past, our tradition of having married priests should not change simply because we are in a Latin-majority country. This, I believe is a type of bullying that as Easterners we should not have to put up with. Infact, we should not have to face in the first place.
I would like to also mention that the Synod of the Middle Eastern Bishops which took place in 2010 asked for further synodal control of areas outside of Patriarchal Territories. This would affect the extension of Synodal authority to all matters of particular law, including that of the ordination of married men to the priesthood and includes Patriarchs being able to appoint Bishops in the Diaspora. These requests were given to Rome without fulfillment.
There is sort of a 'work around' solution that has been used on occasion by several of the Byzantine Churches sui juris: that is, sending married men over to the Patriarchal territories to get ordained. And following this coming back to the diaspora so that the local Eparch can assign him as he sees fit.
Please pray for our Bishops. That they may preserve our traditions, spirituality and theology in the diaspora.
Through the prayers of the Birth-Giver of God Maryam, and Mor Ephrem. God Bless you.