Media Watch

Celibacy by Default Rising Among Greek Orthodox

KATHIMERINI, Feb. 25 — The number of married priests in the Greek Orthodox Church is constantly decreasing, and there is the potential of having a “celibate clergy, as in the Catholic heresy,” Father Efstathios Kollas, director of the Pan-Hellenic Union of Priests, said in the Athenian English-language newspaper.

Father Kollas said the problem was not new in Greece. “Women have always been hesitant about marrying priests … Women who marry priests are usually older women, those who are afraid of being left on the shelf,” he said. He also attributed the problem to the fact that priests are obliged to wear cassocks, and to the “despotism” and “lack of accountability” within the Orthodox hierarchy.

“Dozens of our seminary students every year have trouble finding wives,” said Father Vasileios Voroudakis, director of the Athens Ecclesiastical Lyceum. As a result, according to the Greek newspaper, they opt for a vow of celibacy. Many seminarians have serious problems finding a woman before ordination. On the likelihood of a majority celibate clergy, Father Kollas said: “God save the Orthodox Church from such a terrible fate.”

Indigenous Pietà Sparks Controversy in Brazil

O ESTADA, Feb. 28 — A statue of the Virgin Mary holding a dead Brazilian Indian has sparked harsh debate between local Church officials and a Sao Paulo samba school which plans to carry the statue in a carnival parade, the Sao Paulo daily reported.

The statue is modeled after Michelangelo's Pieta, which shows Mary grieving over the dead body of her son. Paulo Fuhro, one of the designers, said his version symbolized the martyrdom of the native population of Brazil at the hands of European conquerors.

The Brazilian bishops want to prevent the display of the statue during carnival this year, the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese arrival in Brazil, and is ready to take legal action to ban it if necessary.

Said Fuhro: “They say we are denigrating the holy image, that we are violating the Constitution. But if need be, we will also take legal action to protect our freedom of expression.”