Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little Bomb in the Permanent Diaconate's Garage

A number of years ago, in order to counteract the "priest shortage", US Dioceses decided to ordain "permanent Deacons." These were generally married men who, unlike "transitional Deacons" would not be ordained to the priesthood.

They would simply assist with distribution of Communion, preaching, and a few other clerical functions.

Well. It was a good idea at the time.

Now comes Ed Peters, a Canon Lawyer, and he has a surprise....

The thesis of my Studia article (namely, that all clerics in the West, even those married, are canonically obligated to observe perfect and perpetual continence) has, for obvious reasons, provoked commentary...


More here.


Badger Catholic said...

Someone asked me at a young age(before 30) if I would become a per. deacon and I shook my head with a confused look on my face. I knew the continence tradition (but I didn't know of this canonical requirement). I thought most people probably didn't understand the deaconate at all.... and unfortunately I think some of those people might be deacons.

GOR said...

Well this has caused a minor kerfuffle in the Catholic blogosphere. Frankly I didn’t think that abstention from marital relations was an obligation on married permanent deacons, though married candidates are required to have the consent of their wives before embarking on diaconal training.

Additionally, it was known that they could not re-marry if their spouses pre-deceased them.
Some argue that the “permanent and perpetual continence” referred to in Canon 277 really intended chastity, not celibacy – so it depends on what is meant by ‘continence’. I suspect a clarification will be forthcoming from the appropriate Vatican Dicastery.

John Foust said...

So this continence does what, exactly?