If one googles the key words "priest wife," this article by an Orthodox source comes up as the first website. There are points that I can understand, but it is rather negative and depressing. Then, a few clicks down, it is the sad, scandalous story of Cutie who abandoned his vows to the celibate, Roman-rite priesthood to begin an affair with a single mother, not even bothering to ask his bishop for laicization before he began the 'romance.' In a later post, I might develop the positive aspects of being married to a Byzantine Catholic priest and hopefully Google will pick up my writing, but for now, I'll just share some reasons why I think my priest husband is a good and faithful servant.
1. He is obedient to our bishop. Of course, sometimes obedience means moving across the country with a four-month baby and a month-long pregnancy- not easy. In the Catholic Church, we do have a hierarchy; his obedience to our bishop is a reflection of his obedience to God. Much like a parent (who is not perfect) who asks the child to follow the rules for his or her own good, the bishop (who is not perfect, but worthy of respect) is a spiritual father for the priest.
2. He meets people where they are. We have a faithful parishioner who is a trucker. When he is unable to get to Divine Liturgy, my husband will call him and tell him the homily (short and sweet, I promise). Of course, this is a testimony to how minuscule our community is, but I still think it is great! He has done home Masses recently for Roman-rite Catholic visitors to our mission for their anniversaries. He does single-language Masses as well as bi-lingual Masses with a little 'Spanish lingo' throw in. It just depends on the congregation.
3. He supports himself and his family without Church funds. This is also a matter of opinion, but we prefer the money issue to be off the table. As a board-certified hospital chaplain, he doesn't need to pressure our little missions. This isn't to say that church communities shouldn't support their clergy, we just like this arrangement for us.
4. He is nice to kids. This isn't just because he is a dad himself! He has struck a nice balance between ignoring crying babies and admonishing an older child after the Liturgy to behave better. He invites all boys up to the altar and doesn't expect perfection, just reverence.
5. He is good with the elderly. Perhaps he has developed this skill because of his work at the hospital, but he always was respectful to his grandparents. As a priest, being a minister and servant to the elderly is only going to increase in importance as our population ages. I think that our older parishioners can feel the love and respect he has for them.
6. He has used his bi-ritual faculties to help in bigger parishes. My husband was quite busy during Advent, helping at parishes for their reconciliation services.
7. He is true to our tradition. Even if he does goofy things like joke & play soccer after church in the parking lot or 'low' things like scrub a donut tray, he always remembers our sacred traditions during the Divine Liturgy. I pray for God to protect him because he really is an example of a priest with a servant's heart.