In an interesting move, Pope Francis is allowing a married Maronite deacon to be ordained a priest in the United States.
The implications of this decision are limited since the majority of the Eastern churches (in and out of communion with Rome) allow for married presbyters. The Maronite tradition itself knows of married priests. Only in North and South America has this practice been disallowed.
Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, retired rector of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary, said it well: “This may be precedent setting…I won’t know the significance of it until I see the next 10 years.”
But with the rise in the number of married clergy in the Anglican Ordinariate and the non-Roman rites in communion with Rome, it will become harder to justify to the faithful the Roman Rite’s strict discipline of celibacy.
So taking a cue from Beggiani, only time will tell what this all means for the Church.