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Panel asks Vatican to end ban on Eastern Catholic married priests in North America

A group of Roman Catholic bishops and Orthodox Christians wants the Vatican to lift a ban on married priests for a small segment of the American church.

The committee wants the Vatican to allow ordination for married men in Eastern-rite Catholic churches in North America.

Eastern-rite Catholics accept the authority of the pope but have many of their own rituals and liturgy. There are more than a dozen Eastern Catholic church groups in North America, but their total numbers are small.

Eastern Catholic churches in the Middle East and Europe already ordain married men. But the Vatican banned the practice in America in the 1920s, after Latin-rite bishops complained it was confusing for parishioners.

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation issued its call to end the ban Friday.

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