Letter to the Editor: On Widowed Priests and Marriage

Thank you for publishing the letter by Fr. Basil Papanikolaou- “A Different Kind of Abuse in the Greek Orthodox Church” that appeared in the Jan. 6 issue. I think it is terrible that a priest who served the church for so many years should be punished for the illogical rule about widowed priests not remarrying.

Is it better for a priest to live a lie so he can keep serving the church? Should he live in sin instead? He is trying to do the right thing by marrying and the church won’t allow it.

It hardly seems fair when the church does allow for laypeople to marry up to three times, as I understand it. Why should a widower priest not be allowed to marry again? Is he not a human being with feelings just because he was called to the priesthood? Of course, the church has its problems as it is, but keeping a widowed priest from marrying again just seems wrong.

When you hear about other abuses and these scandals that periodically become news, it is shocking. Marriage is a sacrament, and a priest trying to serve the church as he has for years should be encouraged, not driven out, in these difficult times. I hope there is a resolution to this issue for Fr. Papanikolaou and for the many priests, I am sure, who have suffered over the years because of this outdated, random rule.

Costas V. Perdikopoulos

San Diego, CA