The Father Walter Ciszek Time Line

1904 Born in Shenandoah, PA

1929 Pope Pius XI assigns to the Jesuits the “Russian Mission”

1937 Father Ciszek is ordained in Rome in the Byzantine Rite of Russian usage

1940 Entered the Soviet Union from eastern Poland

1941 Arrest by the NKVD security services

1947 Declared “deceased” by religious superiors in Rome

1963 During Vatican II, Father Ciszek was released from the Soviet Union

1963 Debriefed by the United States Government

1965-1966
Period of his most intense speaking tours around North America

1979 Hospitalized

1984 Died on December 8 in the Bronx at the John XXIII Center for Eastern Christian Studies on Belmont Avenue near Fordham University

1993 The ecumenical document referred to as “Balamand” is signed between the Catholic Church and various Orthodox churches, including the Moscow Patriarchate

1997 Ongoing conflicts unresolved by “Balamand”. See http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru/ve110771.htm

Note photo on the right in the window.

The sweet Myla, Honey-Bunny

Bishop John R. Sheets, SJ (1922-2003)

The Most Reverend John R. Sheets, SJ, STD, DD

The Most Reverend John R. Sheets, S.J., Auxiliary Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend in
Indiana, was an eminent Catholic theologian and author in the last half of the twentieth
century. He was particularly esteemed for his scholarly and insightful works in the areas
of Christian faith, morality and spirituality. “To Believe Is to Exist: Theological
Reflections for a Time of Crisis” illustrates the quality of his intellect and spiritual depth.
John Richard Sheets was born 21 September 1922 in Omaha, Nebraska, the second of
five children of Fred H. and Agnes O’Donnell Sheets. He grew up in the Catholic
community of Omaha and entered the Society of Jesus in 1940. His preparation for the
priesthood included studies for a bachelor’s degree at St. Louis University and a licentiate in theology at St. Mary’s College in Kansas. He was ordained a priest on 17 June 1953, and in 1957 he obtained a doctorate in theology from the Jesuit theologate in Innsbruck, Austria, where his teachers included Karl Rahner and Josef Jungmann.
After tertianship and final vows he joined the faculty of theology at Marquette
University. Along with Bernard Cooke, he founded the doctoral program in theology.
He served as novice master at St. Bonifacius, Minnesota, for one year, 1966-1967. The
following year, 1968, he was one of only two professors of theology at Marquette
University who refused to sign the protest against Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter
Humanae vitae. The other was William J. Kelly, S.J.
Father Sheets also taught theology at Creighton University, eventually holding the Chair
of the Theology Department there. Today, in memory of his pursuit of excellence in
study and ministry, graduate students in theology at Creighton enjoy the opportunity for
financial support through the Bishop John R. Sheets Scholarship for the Masters of Arts
in Theology. In 1974 he founded Creighton University’s Summer Program in Christian
Spirituality, which soon attracted students from across the nation. That same year he
visited Switzerland to collaborate with Hans Urs von Balthasar, the founder of
Communio: International Catholic Review.
Father Sheets’s scholarly career made him a frequent contributor to major spiritual
periodicals and the author of many books and articles on Christian faith. He was in
frequent demand as a retreat master and guest lecturer on theological topics. He was an
early opponent of the supposed ordination of women in the Catholic Church.
On 14 May 1991, Father Sheets was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Fort Wayne-South
Bend, and he was ordained Bishop on 25 June 1991. Bishop Sheets retired from his
pastoral responsibilities on 23 September 1997, and died in Milwaukee on 16 April 2003.
He had been a priest for fifty years and a bishop for twelve, having suffered from
Alzheimer’s Disease at the end of his life.
Besides his academic and pastoral contributions, Bishop Sheets was an enthusiastic
outdoorsman and prayerful mystic. He often gazed at the sunrise and the moon. He loved poetry and serious European films. It was said that he could perceive the gift of all God’s creation in a drop of water.

See:

To Believe Is to Exist: Theological Reflections for a Time of Crisis

by John R. Sheets | Apr 1, 1986

 

 

 

 

THE LITURGY IN ‘THE JESUIT RELATIONS’, 1610-1650

Jesuit Relations ProQuest

_________________________________________

THE LITURGY IN ‘THE JESUIT RELATIONS’, 1610-1650
by Brian W. Van Hove, S.J.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment
of the requirement for the degree of
Master of Theology, Regis College
(Toronto School of Theology)
1984
ProQuest Number: 1526730
Ail rights reserved

Can anyone find a copy of this book for me?

Joseph: the man closest to Jesus : the complete life, theology and devotional history of St. Joseph

Author:

Francis L Filas

Publisher:

[Boston] : St. Paul Editions, [1962]

Image

Nathaniel Robert Hop, DJ

img_0023.jpg

Wer war Hubert Jedin?


Wer war Hubert Jedin?

Im November 1991 veröffentlichte die Homiletic and Pastoral Review in den Vereinigten Staaten ein Memorandum von Hubert Jedin, das er 1968 verfasst hatte. Im englischsprachigen Raum wussten jedoch Viele nicht, wer dieser Mann war und welchen Beitrag er für die Kirche geleistet hat. Hier folgt eine kurze Skizze seines Lebens.

Der vielleicht herausragendste Kirchenhistoriker der katholischen Welt starb am 16. Juli 1980 in Bonn, damals Hauptstadt der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Er wurde am 17. Juni 1900 in Grossbriesen bei Breslau in Oberschlesien geboren. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg wurde dieses Gebiet polnisches Territorium. Die Stadt heißt heute Wrocław. Er wurde am 2. März 1924 zum Diözesanpriester geweiht und arbeitete zunächst zwei Jahre in einer Pfarrei. Gegen Ende seines Lebens wurde ihm der Titel „Monsignore“ verliehen.

Am 1. September 1933 entzogen ihm die deutschen Behörden seine akademische Zulassung wegen seiner Abstammung. 1936 wurde er zum Archivar der Erzdiözese Breslau ernannt. Weil seine Mutter eine katholische Konvertitin jüdischer Abstammung war, verhaftete die Gestapo 1938 Pfarrer Jedin. Es gelang ihm jedoch, freizukommen und Deutschland am 1. November 1939 zu verlassen. Die nächsten zehn Jahre (1939-1949) verbrachte er in Rom und forschte still und unauffällig an der Geschichte des Konzils von Trient. Er wurde zum anerkannten Experten dieses Gebietes. Er verwendete nur die Originaldokumente aus den Archiven.1 Er hatte Glück: Freunde wie Karl August Fink halfen ihm, seine wissenschaftlichen Papiere aus Deutschland zu holen. Die brauchte er in Rom, als er am Campo Santo Teutonico innerhalb des Vatikanstaates lebte.

Diese gründliche und originelle Untersuchung des primären Quellenmaterials führte zur Veröffentlichung von vier großen Bänden der „Geschichte des Konzils von Trient“. Zwei davon sind bisher in Englisch erschienen.2 Einige kleinere Studien von ihm sind ebenfalls bekannt. Eine, die 1937 erschienene „Papal Legate at the Council of Trent: Cardinal Seripando3 erschien 1947 in englischer Sprache. Weitere Studien waren Tommaso Campeggio (1958), Carlo Borromeo (1971) und Kardinal Caesar Baronius (1978) gewidmet. Sein Leben lang war er Spezialist für Konzile, insbesondere das tridentinische. Eines seiner Werke behandelte dessen Abschluss: „Der Abschluss des Trienter Konzils 1562/63“ (1964).4

Nach der Ankündigung eine ökumenischen Konzils (1959) durch Papst Johannes XXIII., Roncalli, veröffentlichte Jedin im selben Jahr seine „Ökumenischen Konzile der Katholischen Kirche: Ein historischer Abriss“ (ET 1960). Etwas später, als das II. Vatikanum bereits tagte, folgte im Jahr 1964 das bereits erwähnte Werk „Krise und Abschluss des Konzils von Trient“ (ET 1967). Die beiden Schriften sollten Seminaristen und an der Kirchengeschichte interessierten Studenten eine Perspektive bieten, was ein ökumenisches Konzil der katholischen Kirche bedeuten sollte.

Bei alledem war Jedin auch Generalist. Er initiierte die große zehnbändige Reihe „History of the Church“ unter seiner Redaktion. Ursprünglich als Text für Studenten gedacht, wurden die Bände bald ausführlicher und detaillierter. Man nannte diese Serie den „Fliche-Martin5 unserer Zeit“, heute ein Standardwerk. Es erschien in sieben Sprachen fast gleichzeitig mit dem deutschen Original. Der zehnte Band wurde schließlich 1981, ein Jahr nach seinem Tod, ins Englische übersetzt. Eine Kurzfassung der ersten drei Bände durch D. Larrimore Holland erschien 1992 in Englisch. Die Einleitung zum ersten Band allerdings erläutert seinen Antrieb und sein wissenschaftliches Vorgehen: Kirchengeschichte muss aus Sicht des Glaubens betrieben werden. So Jedin der Katholik, nicht nur der Gelehrte.

Ein weiteres von ihm betreutes Projekt war die kartografische Kirchengeschichte, der „Atlas zur Kirchengeschichte. Die christlichen Kirchen in Geschichte und Gegenwart“, 1970 in Deutschland erschienen.

Jedin musste seine Arbeit für vier Jahre, 1962-1965, einstellen, um als Peritus6 beim Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil zu dienen. Nur sehr wenige Konzils-Historiker dürfen selbst am Konzil teilnehmen! Kein anderer ist mir bekannt, der dieses seltene Privileg hatte. Dies erklärt auch die lange Unterbrechung zwischen der Veröffentlichung der ersten beiden Bände über das Tridentinum (1949, 1957) und der beiden weiteren Bände (1970, 1975).

Von 1949 bis 1965 war Jedin Professor in Bonn. Vor und nach diesen Jahren erhielt er sechs Ehrendoktortitel, darunter einen der Universität Löwen, und viele andere internationale Auszeichnungen und Einladungen. 1970 hatte ihm Papst Paul VI den Posten des Präfekten der Vatikanischen Bibliothek angeboten, den Jedin wegen seines Alters und der zunehmenden Schwäche ablehnte. Schon 1951 hatte Pius XII. ihn zum Vizepräfekten der Vatikanischen Bibliothek ernennen wollen. Er hatte jedoch bereits damals abgelehnt und zog vor, Wilhelm Neuss auf dem Lehrstuhl für Kirchengeschichte in Bonn zu folgen. Der schlechte Gesundheitszustand in den 1970er Jahren hinderte ihn dann doch daran, die gewünschten Fortschritte zu erzielen. Zum Glück blieb am Ende aber keines seiner geplanten Werke unvollständig.

Das autobiografische Buch „Lebensbericht“ erschien 1984 posthum. Es war nicht der erste Versuch dieser Art. Seine frühe Jugend war bereits als „Eine Jugend in Schlesien 1900-1925“ vorgestellt worden und wurde 1979 im Archiv für schlesische Kirchengeschichte veröffentlicht. Dieses Buch über sein späteres Leben umreißt seine berufliche Karriere und Produktivität. Es waren nicht etwa primär persönliche Reflexionen oder ein spirituelles „Tagebuch einer Seele“. Dennoch gab es in den Vereinigten Staaten negative Kritiken: Man sagte, Jedin sei gegen Ende seines Lebens erschrocken und traurig geworden, weil er glaubte, das Zweite Vatikanum sei entweder auf tragische Weise missverstanden oder gar verraten worden.

Er teilte zu diesem Thema den westdeutschen Bischöfen kurz nach dem Katholikentag 1968 in Essen offen seine Meinung mit.7 Diese Veranstaltung schien ihm den Widerstand gegen Humanae vitae ganz besonders zu fördern. Basierend auf seinen Kenntnissen des Tridentinums und des Vorgehens bei der Reformation, veranschaulichte er ihnen einen ähnlichen Prozess, der im postkonziliären 20. Jahrhundert ablief. Dem aufmerksamen Leser war nie entgangen, dass der Untertitel von „Krise und Abschluß des Konzils von Trient“ lautete „ein Rückblick zum Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil“. Die Übersetzung dieses Memorandums kam, vielleicht etwas spät, zunächst der englischsprachigen Leserschaft zugute.8 Es war eine ungewöhnliche „Aktivistenintervention“ eines Mannes, der sein ganzes Leben lang ein reiner und fast zurückgezogener Fachmann gewesen war.9

Rev. Brian Van Hove, SJ Dezember 1993;2016;2019

Überarbeitung eines kürzeren Artikels, der in The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Newsletter, vol. 16, nr. 1 (Dezember 1992) 19-20 erschien. Übersetzt 2019 ins Deutsche von Thomas Jury und Jochen Michels.

1Der Archivar und sein Freund, Msgr. Hermann Hoberg (1907-1992) assistierten bei der Aufgabe, insbesondere in den Kriegsjahren. Später war Hoberg von 1956 bis 1979 Vizepräfekt des „Archivio Segreto Vaticano“.

2Dies war mehr als anspruchsvoll. Andere vor ihm hatten es versucht, insbesondere Vincenz Schweitzer.

3Der päpstliche Legat beim Konzil von Trient: Kardinal Seripando

4Eine Sammlung von etwa sechzig seiner Hauptartikel wurde 1966 in zwei Bänden als Kirche des Glaubens, Kirche der Geschichte gedruckt. Ausgewählte Aufsätze und Vorträge (Freiburg,Brsg.-Basel-Wien: Herder). Einige dieser Artikel befassen sich mit Philosophie und Natur der Arbeit eines Kirchenhistorikers. Andere enthalten kurze bis mittelgroße Biografien von Hauptfiguren.

5Siehe Augustin Fliche und Victor Martin, Histoire de l’Église depuis les origines jusqu’à nos jours, vols. I-XXI (Paris: Bloud & Gay, 1934-1952); E.T. Eine Geschichte der katholischen Kirche (London-St. Louis, 2. Aufl. 1956). Diese Serie war ursprünglich in 26 Bänden geplant, wurde aber nie fertiggestellt. Es sollte andere mehrbändige Werke wie das Fernand Mourret Histoire Générale de L’Église übertreffen. Martin starb 1945 und Fliche 1951. Zwischen dem Erscheinen des ersten Bandes im Jahr 1934 und dem Todesjahr von Fliche wurden nur siebzehn Nummern veröffentlicht, von denen fünfzehn von Fliche persönlich herausgegeben wurden. Die Redaktion wurde von J.B. Duroselle und E. Jarry fortgesetzt. 1952 schrieb Roger Aubert Band 21 und veröffentlichte ihn 1964 erneut als Vatikan I. Diese Bände folgten nicht streng aufeinander: Band 19 erschien 1955; Band 19, Teil II, 1956; Band 18 im Jahr 1960; Band 14 von 1962; und sein Teil II erst 1964. Einige Jahre später veröffentlichte ein italienisches Team Band 22, der nicht in französischer oder englischer Übersetzung verfügbar ist. Werke dieses Umfangs sind so anspruchsvoll, dass sie in unserer Zeit der Spezialisierung fast unmöglich sind. Dennoch gilt die Sammlung „Fliche-Martin“ für die allgemeine Kirchengeschichte als Klassiker.

6Theologischer Konzilsberater

7Holmes sagt uns: „Das erste Treffen einer Versammlung deutscher Katholiken, der Katholikentag, fand 1848 in Mainz statt. Dieser Kongress hatte sich gegen die letzten Überreste des Josephinismus oder gegen jedwede Bewegung zur Errichtung einer nationalen Kirche in Deutschland gewandt. Der Katholikentag forderte Freiheit, „die katholischen Prinzipien in das gesamte Leben einzuführen und für eine Lösung des sozialen Problems zu arbeiten“. Die damaligen deutschen Katholiken wurden sich ihrer Rechte und ihrer Stärke bewusster und ultramontaner, aber nicht klerikaler. Der Katholikentag, der sich dann jährlich traf, bot ein naheliegendes Forum für die Erörterung sozialer Fragen. Diese Betonung sozialer Probleme wurde durch die Gründung des Volksvereins und durch Treffen katholischer Arbeiter weiter angeregt.“ Aus J. Derek Holmes, Der Triumph des Heilige Stuhl: Eine kurze Geschichte des Papsttums im 19. Jahrhundert, (London: Burns and Oates, 1978) 174. Der 92. Deutsche Katholikentag fand 1994 in Dresden statt.

8Mindestens einmal wurde es jedoch in gedruckter Form erwähnt, allerdings ohne den vollständigen Text anzugeben. Siehe Robert A. Graham, SJ, in seiner Kolumne „Vatikan“, in der Zeitschrift Knights of Columbus Columbia, als „Nebenergebnis des Zweiten Vatikanums: Gibt es einen bevorstehenden Abfall vom Glauben?“, Vol. LXV, nein. 7 (Juli 1985) 4.

9Möglicherweise war das einzige andere Mal seine öffentliche Kontroverse mit Erzbischof Annibale Bugnini über die Frage der Liturgie. Jedin veröffentlichte 1969 in L’Osservatore Romano einen Angriff auf den Reformprozess. Bugnini hatte auch einen Konflikt um die Liturgie mit Louis Bouyer. Für Bugninis Bericht siehe Die Reform der Liturgie 1948-1975 von Annibale Bugnini, tr. Matthew J. Connell (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1990) 283-284.

Our friends from Indiana

IMG_0080Leo and Margaret August 30

IMG_0063

IMG_0062.JPG

Image

Rollway red “Cardinal Flower”

IMG_0060 (1)

Image

One fewer “common mullein”

IMG_2213

My Backyard (August 3)

IMG_0039IMG_0043IMG_0042IMG_0041
Image

43rd Wedding Anniversary–James and Helen McGee, visiting Father Van Hove in Alma

DSC_0202

Image

Thanks to Mr. Jury, a nice clean edge on the cement.

IMG_0035

Image

New clock. New chair. Ready to roll into July.

new clock and chair.JPG

Gallery

A Sunday Toad in Alma

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Image

The view from my Porch, June 2019

View from my Porch

Image

Julie Ann Van Hove at work in Duluth, 2010

Peaches at work in Duluth 2010

Image

Cardinal Paul Augustinus Mayer [1911-2010]

Cardinal Augustin Mayer

Image

Spikey the little donkey in Texas, 2010

Spikey the miniature donkey, Feb 2010.JPG

Gallery

cochlear implant–step I and step II

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Image

My Office–a Hall of Fame

IMG_0018

Image

Remembering Mother

Mother 2019 Photo

Image

Noeker and Haggerty at Marmion Abbey, 2013

70974169070_commerceproduct_7192_0_0.jpg

Image

Bro. Theodore and cap [2013]

100_1353.JPG

Image

Father Vladimir and Matushka, 1996

Leckos 1996

Image

All Four of Us

all 4 of us--2019

Image

One has Irish humor, and one doesn’t. One wears a hat, and one doesn’t.

2019 Annunciata.png

Image

Ho-Ho-Ho 2018

DSC_7627

As rockets fall on Israel, people try to shelter themselves. November 2018.

As rockets fall on Israel, people try to shelter themselves.

Why would ideologues want to kill babies?

Quotation of the Day

“The reign of Abdul Hamid (1876-1909), the last Ottoman autocrat, was characterized by despotism and by the attempt to re-launch a pan-Islamic policy. At the same time, and with the help of European Freemasonry, the Party of the Young Turks started to assert itself, a revolutionary movement composed mainly of young officials who fought for the secularization of the country and who won power in 1908.”

Turkey in Europe: benefit or catastrophe?

by Roberto De Mattei

Gracewing, 2009, page 5.

 

Image

Derry Got a Haircut

Derry 2018.jpg

Do we have two traditions, one Apostolic and one “modern”? Canon 277 says what it says.

Dr. Peters gives the best current summary and reply:

http://www.canonlaw.info/a_deacons.htm

 

Image

A holy smirk greets you for the New Year.

authentic rabbit fur.jpg

Gallery

Mr. Noah graduates June 11. He is 18. Viva!

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Image

One Year Later — Puppy and Me

DSC_3672

News from China

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=31267

“Clerical Continence and the Restored Permanent Diaconate” by Donald J. Keefe, SJ [1998]

Clerical Continence and the Restored Permanent Diaconate

The results of the historical research of Alfons Cardinal Stickler into the apostolicity of the tradition of clerical celibacy and continence,i the corroboration of his conclusions by Frs. Christian Cochini and Roman Cholij, and the theological analysis of the intrinsic relation between the sacramental signs of marriage and of priestly orders proposed by Archbishop J. Francis Stafford of Denver at a recent Roman conference,ii are all in practice controverted by the effective condonation of the noncontinent exercise of their orders by post-conciliar married deacons who having lived in ignorance of any obligation to abstain from conjugal relations after their ordination, have now have been absolved of any obligation to continence, and in fact, if widowed, may apply for dispensation from what has been a diriment impediment to remarriage and, if remarried, continue in the exercise of their orders.iii

This anomalous departure from the ancient tradition of clerical continence appears to have its inception in the discussions of the restoration of the permanent diaconate during the second Vatican Council.iv However, it cannot be shown to have been authorized by the Council, whether tacitly or overtly, nor by Pope Paul VI in the documents by which he formally instituted the restored permanent diaconate and permitted the ordination to it of mature married men, nor by the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

Further, it is not unlikely that the practical condonation of the use of marriage by such deacons has led to a comparable condonation of the use of marriage by converts from among Protestant clergy who have later been ordained in the Roman Catholic rite; it is evidennt enough the noncontinence of married deacons is no more anomalous than the noncontinence of married priests.

Therefore, the restoration of the permanent diaconate and the ordination of married men to the permanent diaconate in the wake of Vatican II requires a further examination for, if the effective condonation of clerical noncontinence in married deacons and married priests in the Roman rite is in fact legitimate, that legitimacy can rest upon no other grounds than the documents underlying the restoration of the permanent diaconate. In what follows, we shall show that those documents provide no justification or warrant for diaconal noncontinence.

 I The Documents of Vatican II: Lumen Gentium §29

The concluding sentence of Lumen Gentium §29 reads:

De consensu Romani Pontificis his Diaconatus viris maturioris aetatis etiam in matrimonio viventibus conferri poterit, necnon iuvenibus idoneis, pro quibus tamen, lex caelibatus firma remanere debet.v

It is as well to note at the outset that it is the significance of “lex caelibatus” which is in issue. Granted that the canonical requirement of consecrated celibacy for those in major orders, (the “lex caelibatus”) is waived for married candidates (men “in matrimonio viventes”), and is retained for presumptively unmarried, because more youthful, candidates for the diaconate (“pro juvenibus idoneis”), the meaning of this waiver of the “lex caelibatus” granted the more mature candidates for the diaconate must be determined. Specifically, does the waiver legitimate, for those candidates who are married, the continuance of conjugal relations with their wives after their ordination?

The language of Lumen Gentium itself cannot be said to do so. The waiving of the “lex caelibatus” refers simply to dropping the juridical prohibition of married candidates for higher orders; the dropping of the requirement of nonmarriage for an older candidate says nothing about a removal of the obligation of clerical continence after his ordination, unless his continuing in conjugal relations be thought inseparable from his marriage. Since continuing in conjugal intimacy is not thus integral to marriage, and that as a matter of canon law, such a reading of Lumen Gentium cannot be defended.vi

Similarly, Austin Flannery’s translation of Lumen Gentium §29 offers no justification for diaconal noncontinence:

Should the Roman Pontiff think fit, it will be possible to confer this diaconal order even upon married men, provided they be of more mature age, and also on suitable young men, for whom, however, the law of celibacy must remain in force. (387)vii

Neither do the reports of the conciliar discussions and debates concerning the restoration of the permanent diaconate justify the equation of the waiver of celibacy with a waiver of clerical continence, although some evidence of a conciliar confusion of the obligation of consecrated celibacy with the obligation of continence, whereby the waiver of the one might be thought to be assimilated to the waiver of the other, begins to surface in them.viii

Herbert Vorgrimler’s commentary on Lumen Gentium §29 relates the procedure decided upon in the third session for the restoration of the permanent diaconate; he affirms, as in line with the conciliar decision, that the “duty” of celibacy is not to apply to married deacons:

Only two points are laid down with regard to the way it (the restoration of the permanent diaconate) is to be done: the competent authority is the episcopal conference, with the consent of the Pope; the duty of celibacy is not to be imposed upon men of more mature age, although it remains for younger men.ix

The phrase used by Vorgrimler, that of a “duty of celibacy,” is entirely misleading; §29 of Lumen Gentium speaks of a “law of celibacy,” not of a “duty.” This is not mere quibbling: such a misreading reveals a certain lack of reflection upon the relation of major orders to consecrated celibacy on the one hand and to continence on the other. In fact, it amounts to a confusion over the meaning and therefore the interrelation, of celibacy and of continence, and of their respective relations to major orders. In the first place, major orders are a diriment impediment to marriage; e.g., we read in “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” that

Post ordinem receptum diaconi, grandiore etiam aetate promoti, ex tradita Ecclesiae disciplina ad ineundum matrimonium inhabiles sunt.x

As Paul VI here affirms, ordination to the diaconate makes subsequent marriage impossible: an unmarried deacon cannot marry, and a married deacon, upon the death of his wife, cannot remarry. The language here is not disciplinary: it speaks of a simple sacramental incapacity, the sort that is termed a diriment impediment. Canonists are accustomed to speak of major orders as a diriment impediment to marriage only when celibacy is formally embraced as a condition of ordination. However, the inability of a married major cleric to remarry upon the death of his wife can only be due to precisely such an impediment: i.e., one which as inherent in his exercise of his orders simply nullifies any such attempted marriage. It is of course true that this impediment is not absolute: a cleric may be laicized and, in consequence of such laicization, of such removal from the exercise of orders, he may be granted a papal dispensation from the law of celibacy. Nonetheless, in the absence of such dispensation, the “lex caelibatus” binds even the laicized cleric, and simply precludes a subsequent marriage.

This inhibition upon the marriage of major clerics is not mere Roman rigorism. The reasons for it rest upon the meaning of ordination itself, and finally derive from the nuptial relation between Christ and the Church which is celebrated in the Eucharistic sacrifice. A diriment impediment to marriage, an inability to marry, a sacramental incapacity, is inherent in the exercise in persona Christi of major orders. However, this impediment is distinct from (a) celibacy, and (b) continence.

Celibacy denotes the unmarried status, the absence of the marital bond.xi Concretely, celibacy is thus merely a matter of fact: the absence of a marital bond. However, “consecrated celibacy” denotes a specific commitment to the unmarried state, as alone consonant with ordination to a major Order, whether that be in prospect, or already received.xii Heretofore, in the Latin rite, consecrated celibacy has been canonically requisite to the reception of major orders. The institution of the married permanent diaconate is by way of exception to this canonical and liturgical tradition.

The noncelibate state, on the contrary, denotes the presence of a marital bond, and the consequent incapacity to enter upon another marriage prior to the death of one’s spouse. Prior to the approval of the admission of married men to the permanent diaconate by Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, noncelibate men, as has been seen, were barred by canon law from receiving major orders. However, noncelibacy — which is to say, the existence of the marital bond — has never been understood to be a diriment impediment to such ordination.

Continence is deliberate abstention from sexual relations. Its first reference is to abstention from marital relations; by extension and a fortiori, it denotes abstention from all extramarital sexual relations. Abstention from marital relations may be temporary, in accordance with the Pauline counsel in I Cor 7:5, or it may be permanent, as required by the reception of major orders, a sacrament transcending but not annulling marriage.xiii Cochini has shown such clerical continence to have been required of married men by an tradition which can only be of apostolic origin.xiv Married men who, with the consent of their wives, were ordained as bishops, priests, or deacons, were thereafter held to continence: only in the Eastern Church has this obligation not been observed, and Cholij has shown the inadequacy of the supposed conciliar foundation of that rejection of clerical continence. The Code of Canon Law continues to require the consent of the wife of the candidate for the permanent diaconate.

The canonical clerical celibacy proper to the Latin rite, which has been dropped for the “more mature” candidate for the restored permanent diaconate, is the unmarried status heretofore canonically requisite for ordination to any of the three major orders.

The sacramental character of Orders is thus analogous to the vinculum of sacramental marriage, in that ordination to a major Order simply renders the ordained man, whether married or unmarried, incapable of contracting marriage apart from laicization and papal dispensation. Thus, such ordination bars the cleric arctius altari conjungi from attempting or entering into marriage, quite as an existing marriage bars one from entering into another marriage.

It is then evident that one cannot accurately speak of a “duty” of celibacy any more than one can speak accurately of a “duty” of marriage. Quite as marriage connotes the obligation of fidelity, clerical (here, diaconal) celibacy connotes the duty or obligation of continence. But as marriage is distinct from fidelity, so celibacy is distinct from continence. As marriage is not the same as fidelity to marriage, neither is celibacy the same as the continence which, analogously, is fidelity to major orders. However, such casual reference to celibacy as a “duty” precisely suggests or connotes this identity, and so induces the confusion between celibacy and continence which seems to have governed much of the discussion of the celibacy of the permanent diaconate at Vatican II.

To speak of clerical celibacy as a “duty” further implies that clerical celibacy is not a committed state, but is only a continuing moral responsibility which one might fail to meet, as one may fail to meet the duty of marital fidelity. Such language further suggests what could not be affirmed, the merely “functional” status of clerical celibacy: that is, to speak of a duty of celibacy is to intimate that celibacy, with its connoted moral obligation of clerical continence, is not integral to major orders.

Therefore, while it is entirely proper to speak of a celibate major cleric’s duty of continence, it is quite misleading to speak of his celibacy as a “duty.” Duties are positive moral — and therefore free — concomitants of a positive office, or munus, which arise out of that office. Because they arise out of an office or munus such as orders, duties consist in continuing fidelity to that office, but they are not identified with the office, and should not be spoken of in such a fashion as to blur that fact. Once ordained, an unmarried deacon, priest, or bishop is not free to be noncelibate, for a man exercising major orders simply cannot marry: such a cleric cannot be married apart from dispensation. But he is certainly free to be continent, for otherwise continence would not be a matter of fidelity; therein lies the particular obligation, the “duty,” of the major cleric — here, the deacon.

Vorgrimler informs us that two points, viz., the authority competent to admit married men to the permanent diaconate, and the married (non-celibate) character of the permanent diaconate, were those most debated at the second and third sessions:

For the course of the voting, see the historical introduction to this commentary by G. Philips. In view of the interventions and the results of the voting, the text was considerably revised by the Theological Commission (relatores: B. Kloppenburg, O.F.M., and P. Smulders, S.J.), and adopted into the draft of July 3, 1964 in a form which differs substantially from the present text only in two points. One is concerned with the authority competent to admit married men to the diaconate. Here the Theological Commission was ordered to insert the words De consensu Romani Pontificis. The second point was whether young men who wished to be deacons were obliged to celibacy or not. The council decided in favor of celibacy, but it should be noted that as many as 839 Fathers rejected celibacy in such cases. The official relator, Bishop Jiménes L. Henriquez [sic], was not in favor of young married deacons. (227; emphasis added)

In the first place, if Vorgrimler’s recital of a conciliar discussion of the “obligation” of celibacy is accurate ad litteram, this usage again reveals the acceptance of a certain suggestio falsi within the conciliar discussion, wherein “celibacy,” which in the technical language of canon law simply refers to the unmarried state, is discussed as though it were an obligation: viz., the word is used by the conciliar Fathers as though it were associated with “continence” in such wise that a noncelibate or married diaconate is one which is noncontinent, i.e., a diaconate which contemplates the continuing use of marriage by the married ordinatus. If on the other hand, Fr. Vorgrimler may be thought to be reading his own confusion on this point into the conciliar discussion, it does not appear that that discussion contained anything which might have worked to correct such a mistake. As we shall see, this confusion of celibacy with continence, and of noncelibacy with noncontinence, did in fact obtain among the bishops, and nothing in the record of the conciliar discussion of Lumen Gentium §29 evidences any recognition of the confusion, nor any clarification of it.xv

Further on in his commentary on this passage, Vorgrimler has observed that

It is also noteworthy that the tasks of the deacon include liturgical functions, but that his role in the celebration of the Eucharist, which is one of the most outstanding features of the diaconate in the Eastern Churches, receives no mention. (229)

Vorgrimler’s report of a lack of conciliar interest in the liturgical dimension of the diaconal office, particularly in the celebration of the Eucharist, is consistent with Michael Novak’s report.xvi Gérard Philips’ historical survey,xvii cited by Vorgrimler supra, contains the following observations:

Here (relative to the priesthood) the whole assembly was perfectly unanimous. But when the votes were taken on the diaconate, the difference of viewpoint emerged more strongly than ever. In principle, the revival of the permanent diaconate was accepted by 1903 votes against 242. But the next day, 29 September, the question came up as to whether the local authorities, with the approval of the Pope, could decide on the actual revival, and here almost a third of the voters expressed themselves in the negative. (702 against 1523). But the nub of the controversy was whether this form of diaconate could be entrusted to married men of mature age. Here the two thirds majority was slightly larger, 1598 ayes against 629 noes. The next clause was the only one which was rejected by the assembly. The draft envisaged the possibility of young men who were not bound by the law of celibacy being ordained deacons. Here a large majority of the Fathers flatly said no: 1364, against 839 ayes. (130).

Philips’ account says nothing of the noncontinence of the married men ordained to the permanent diaconate: again, the same silence characterizes Novak’s fuller treatment of the conciliar debate.

A confusion of celibacy with continence, of marriage with noncontinence, and so a confusion of the institution of a noncelibate (married) diaconate with the formal permission for the diaconal use of marriage, is evident on both sides of the debate. The only possible inference from Philips’ account is that the minority of bishops — 839 out of 2203 is no inconsiderable fraction —, who voted against holding even the younger and unmarried deacons to the “lex caelibatus,” could hardly have understood the universally noncelibate, viz., married, diaconate which they contemplated for the younger men nonetheless to oblige such men, once married, to abstention from the use of marriage. There would not have been sufficient point to such a proposal to gain the support of eight hundred and thirty-nine bishops. The minority bishops could only have had in view, and were understood by their conciliar adversaries to have in view, the establishment of a novel diaconate: one whose members, because they could marry after ordination, need not be continent after ordination. But there is no conciliar clarification of the minority’s obvious identification of noncelibacy with noncontinence. One can hardly avoid concluding that the majority of the conciliar Fathers shared this confusion with the minority.

The latent, or tacit — but in any case evident — confusion among the conciliar Fathers of clerical celibacy with clerical continence, and so of married clergy with clerical noncontinence, which this vote manifests, could not but have carried over into the conciliar approval of the ordination of married candidates for the diaconate, to whom the “lex caelibatus” would not apply.

For it does not appear that the conciliar Fathers ever considered a married diaconate to which the lex caelibatus would not apply, to be the mere tautology that it is. For the conciliar bishops, the waiver of the lex caelibatus with respect to married deacons was quite uncritically understood to connote the legitimation of conjugal intercourse. The vote on the waiver of celibacy for the younger deacons could only imply that more than a third of the bishops voting were in favor doing what had never been formally discussed: legitimating subsequent marriage or remarriage by a man in full exercise of major orders.

As Gérard Philips observes, “a large majority of the Fathers flatly said no” to the minority proposal of the dropping of the law of celibacy for the younger candidates for the diaconate. We may be quite sure that in the minds of the minority, the noncelibacy which they would permit the younger candidates did not carry the implicit qualification that as married deacons they would live in continence. Rather, for reasons which we shall later explore,xviii the minority view of the restored diaconate had so accepted a dissociation of celibacy from major orders, at least with respect to the diaconate, as to no longer consider ordination to the diaconate a diriment impediment to subsequent marriage.

Given this dissociation, they could hardly be concerned for the continence of married deacons. But again, insofar as one may judge from the conciliar documents, as well as from the reports of those present, there was no significant discussion of this underlying point of view. It would seem to have passed unchallenged by the majority, who simply held to the ancient tradition. For there is no record of such a subtlety entering into the conciliar discussion. In the view of the minority at least, the relaxation for diaconal candidates of the lex caelibatus was identically the relaxation of the traditional requirement not only of married continence for those in diaconal orders, but was also the dismissal of the tradition which had found in major orders a diriment impediment to marriage.

But what of the majority? We can only conclude that they rejected what they understood the minority to approve: the admission to the diaconate of unmarried candidates, who subsequent to ordination might marry and enter into marital relations.

It is important to emphasize that an approval by the conciliar Fathers of the subsequent marriage of unmarried deacons would have for them to have flatly rejected the liturgical and doctrinal tradition of clerical celibacy which Stickler, Concini and Cholij have rightly judged to be apostolic in its origins — and more, to have done this without any conciliar discussion of so radical a step.

Yet further, that step — the conciliar approval of a view of diaconal orders in which ordination to the diaconate would not be a diriment impediment to marriage — would not only have amounted to a conciliar approval of the noncontinence of married clerics across the board; its dissociation of celibacy from major orders would have instituted a drastic alteration in the sacramental doctrine of Roman Catholicism, one extending to the Eucharist itself, which for reasons which cannot here be explored, would thereby have ceased to be the offering of the One Sacrifice.xix

Therefore, the majority of the conciliar Fathers, whose views found expression in Lumen Gentium §29, were aware of the doctrinal significance of clerical celibacy, if inarticulately: for the majority, the celibacy required of the younger candidates to the diaconate connoted a continuing obligation to continence, and most certainly was associated with recognizing, in ordination to the diaconate, a diriment impediment to subsequent marriage. The majority’s rejection of a noncelibate youthful diaconate, one whose members might later marry, is otherwise unintelligible. This rejection of the minority approval of a noncelibate and noncontinent youthful diaconate cannot but have had consequences for what the majority understood the opening up of the diaconate to married men to entail, but these consequences seem never to have been explored at the Council.

Consequently it is manifestly important to clarify the terminology used in the conciliar approval of the restored permanent diaconate, and in the papal legislation implementing that restoration. Specifically, it is necessary to avoid what the conciliar Fathers did not avoid, the confusion which would identify the “lex caelibatus” with the obligation to continence and, eo ipso, would identify relaxation of the “lex caelibatus” with a relaxation of the obligation of continence in those ordained to major orders.

We have seen that “celibacy” and “celibate” do not identify respectively with “continence” and “continent.” A celibate priest or deacon is unmarried; he is expected to be continent, but a sinful noncontinence does not nullify his celibate state. A noncelibate priest or deacon is one who is married; his noncelibacy does not imply or warrant his noncontinence, in law or in fact.

Thus the celibacy and the continence of those in major orders are in the same positive correlation which links marriage to fidelity in the married;xx a married deacon or priest cannot be celibate — this is a matter of definition. Nonetheless, he should be continent, for the reasons adduced by Cochini and Cholij, and resumed in Archbishop Stafford’s recent lecture.xxi It is then evident that those men who are candidates for a liturgical office by which they will be arctius altari conjungixxii are held to continence, and precisely by such ordination, whether they are celibate or married. No other reading of Lumen Gentium §29 is internally coherent, nor could it be made consistent with the later papal legislation instituting the restored diaconate.

II The Papal Documents

Three years after the Council, Paul VI began to lay down the norms for the permanent diaconate: first in “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem,”xxiii, then in “Pontificalis Romani Recognitio,”xxiv and finally in “Ad pascendum”xxv. Moreover, the Pope had earlier spoken to the same subject, if only briefly, in “Sacerdotalis Caelibatus.”xxvi

“Sacerdotalis Caelibatus” is then the first in time of these documents; it bears only in passing upon the diaconate but, because “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” follows immediately upon it, what it has to say on that subject is of no little interest. We quote §13 of “Sacerdotalis Caelibatus,” in full, and the final paragraph of §42:

§13 Porro hi contradictorum veluti concentus non solum perantiqua et grandia testimonia sive Pastorum Ecclesiae, sive magistrorum pietatis opprimere videtur, sed etiam viva in nostrisque oculis haerentia exempla, ab innumerabili cohorte edita sanctorum ac fidelium Dei administrorum, qui in re vera sacrum caelibatum demonstrant sibi causam itemque indicium eius fuisse doni, quo se totos laetissimosque Christi mysterio tradiderunt. Quae utique egregia exempla, non minus nostris quam praeteritis temporibus posita, placate constanterque adhuc loquuntur. Quapropter Nos, quibus praesentes res semper curae fuerunt, teneri non possumus, quin nec opinatam hanc mirificamque veritatem animadvertimus, qua docemur nunc etiam in Dei Ecclesia, ubicumque terrarum ea sancta tabernacula statuit, innumerabilem multitudinem sacrorum administrorum — subdiaconorum, diaconorum, presbyterorum, episcoporum — voluntarium Deoque sacratum caelibatum caste et integre servare.

§42 Ceteroqui Ecclesiae primores ab hac utenda potestate minime abstinere ex eo colligitur, quod recens Concilium Oecumenicum sapienter censuit, ut sacer nempe diaconatus ordo provectis etiam aetate viris, in matrimonio viventibus, posset conferri. (emphasis added)

The italicized phrase is perhaps a term of art, although the 1983 Code of Canon Law avoids it; first appearing in Lumen Gentium §29, immediately afterwards in “Sacerdotalis Caelibatus,” and then in “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem,” it imports a continuing condition or status which will not cease upon ordination: this can only be the marriage bond itself. To interpret it otherwise, as warranting the continuing use of marriage by a married deacon is to rest the use of marriage by a deacon upon a highly debatable exegesis of a rather obscure canonical phrase, and to suppose that such a drastic departure from tradition could rest upon such a debatable exegesis.

Such a putative papal rejection of the tradition of diaconal continence would require more foundation than the documents instituting the permanent diaconate can provide. This is particularly the case when, as here, the implication of a papal dismissal of the requirement of diaconal continence would have clear doctrinal import, as is shown to be the case by Cochini’s establishment of the apostolic origin of the tradition of clerical celibacy.

The third of these documents, the “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem,” is Pope Paul VI’s formal statement of the rules governing the restored permanent diaconate. In it, a paragraph confirming the existing law relative to the diaconate, except insofar as specifically altered (“nisi aliter cautum fuerit”), prefaces the numeration of the new regulations; viz:

698 Principio igitur quae in Codice Juris Canonici de diaconorum juribus et officiis, sive omnium clericorum communibus, sive eorundem propriis, statuuntur, ea omnia, nisi aliter cautum fuerit, confirmamus et in eos etiam valere edicimus, qui stabiliter in diaconatu sunt mansuri. Pro quibus praeterea haec alia, quae sequuntur, statuimus.

There follow thirty-five headings of regulations respecting the restored permanent diaconate; of these, the second, eleventh, sixteenth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-sixth bear upon the requirement, or not, of diaconal continence.

The second paragraph contains a clear if unattributed paraphrase of the final sentence of Lumen Gentium §29; it merely changes the order of phrases in that sentence. However, even as altered, this text deals only with celibate and noncelibate candidates for the diaconate, and says nothing which could be read to authorize the noncontinence of married deacons. The law of celibacy, imposed on unmarried candidates for the diaconate, obviously does not hold for married candidates: once more, “celibate” means “unmarried,” and it is simply as a matter of definition that married candidates are not celibate.

Here we place in sequence, for purposes of comparison, once again the final sentence of Lumen Gentium, §29, and the excerpt from “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” which depends upon it:

Lumen Gentium, §29: De consensu Romani Pontificis hi Diaconatus viris maturioris aetatis etiam in matrimonio viventibus conferri poterit, necnon iuvenibus idoneis, pro quibus tamen lex coelibatus firma remanere debet.xxvii

699 “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem,” ¶2: In petenda ab Apostolica Sede approbatione exponendae sunt tum causae, quae novam huiusmodi disciplinam aliqua in regione constitutendam suadeant, tum rerum condiciones, quae veram boni eventus spem afferant; itemque describendus erit eiusdem disciplinae modus, utrum videlicet agatur de diaconatu conferendo iuvenibus idoneis, pro quibus … lex caelibatus firma remanere debet, an viris maturioris aetatis, etiam in matrimonio viventibus, an utrique candidatorum generi. (original emphasis)

To repeat, the reference in the latter excerpt to Lumen Gentium §29 is by way of italicization, not citation, and so can be said to be implicit. It can be read only as warranting or authorizing the ordination of deacons “in matrimonio viventibus,” which is to say, the ordination of married men to the diaconate. Nothing whatever appears in that text to authorize the novelty of a continuing exercise by them of conjugal relations subsequent to their ordination. It cannot be said to have been instituted by the Pope even tacitly, as by indirection. It is therefore evident that the condition of such a drastic change in the diaconate, as restored by Vatican II and Paul VI, viz., the “nisi aliter cautum fuerit” set forth in “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” at 698, quoted supra and again here, simply is not met:

698 Principio igitur quae in Codice Juris Canonici de diaconorum juribus et officiis, sive omnium clericorum communibus, sive eorundem propriis, statuuntur, ea omnia, nisi aliter cautum fuerit, confirmamus et in eos etiam valere edicimus, qui stabiliter in diaconatu sunt mansuri. (emphasis added)

The eleventh paragraph of “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” requires the permission of the wife before the ordination of the married candidate to the permanent diaconate:

700 ¶11. Grandioris aetatis viri, sive caelibes sive etiam matrimonio conjuncti, ad diaconatum vocari possunt: hi vero ne admittantur, nisi constet non solum de uxoris consensu, sed de eiusdem etiam christiana morum probitate illisque dotibus, quae viri ministerium nec impediant nec dedecorent. (emphasis added)

Once again, we here see celibacy contrasted not with noncontinence but with marriage, and the contrast evidently is understood as exhausting the possibilities. This paragraph quite clearly restates the traditional requirement for permission from the wives of married ordinands who, by their husbands’ ordination and consequent continence, would find themselves comparably bound to continence: we shall see that the moral demands placed upon the wife by her husband’s ordination are sufficiently alluded to in the “nisi constet non solum de uxoris consensu, sed de eiusdem etiam christiana morum probitate illisque dotibus, quae viri ministerium nec impediant nec dedecorent.”

Paragraph sixteen is yet more difficult to account for, if one supposes the use of marriage by the married permanent deacon to be licit:

701 ¶16. Post ordinem receptum diaconi, grandiore etiam aetate promoti, ex tradita Ecclesiae disciplina ad ineundum matrimonium inhabiles sunt.

The phrase, “grandiore etiam aetate promoti,” can only refer to those candidates for the diaconate who are “viri(s) maturioris aetatis, etiam in matrimonio viventibus,” (“sive caelibes sive etiam matrimonio conjuncti”) i.e., the older candidates for the permanent diaconate, to whom the law of celibacy does not apply. Here, we are informed that, whether married or not, once ordained the older deacons are incapable of marrying, or of marrying again.

It is impossible to understand why a second marriage should be excluded “ex tradita ecclesiae disciplina” if, contrary to that traditional discipline, conjugal intimacy in an existing marriage is acceptable. The paragraph clearly refers back to the ancient tradition which found such a remarriage, with its implication of reinstituted conjugal intercourse by one in higher orders, entirely immoral and in fact impossible. This interpretation, the sole possible one, of course invokes again the traditional law of continence for married deacons.

The twenty-fifth paragraph is as follows:

702 ¶25. Diaconi, utpote qui Christi et Ecclesiae mysteriis inserviant, a quovis pravitatis vitio se abstineant Deoque semper placere studeant, ad omne opus bonum pro hominum salute parati.9 (Cfr. 2 Tim 2,21) Ob receptum ergo ordinem, longe aliis excellant oportet in vitae liturgicae actione, in studio precandi, in divino ministerio, in oboedientia, in caritate, in castitate. (original emphasis)

First to be remarked of this paragraph is the Pope’s emphasis upon the traditional liturgical responsibility of the permanent deacon, a matter we have seen to have been largely ignored by Lumen Gentium §29. Secondly, we note that the “castitas” to which the preceding quotation makes reference is the traditional equivalent of that “pudicitia” which from the earliest years had described the continence required of those ordained to the episcopacy, priesthood, and diaconate.xxviii

The twenty-sixth paragraph of this papal document takes for granted the liceity of permanent deacons “in matrimonio viventium,” once again contrasting that state not with continence, but with celibacy. A single diaconal spirituality is said to be incumbent upon both celibate deacons, and those who are married, viz., those “in matrimonio viventes:”

702-03 ¶26. Episcopalis Conferentiae erit efficaciores normas statuere ad spiritualem vitam alendam diaconorum, tam in caelibatu quam in matrimonio viventium. Curant tamen locorum Ordinarii, ut omnes diaconi:

1) assidue legendo attenteque secum meditando Dei verbo vacent;

2) frequenter vel etiam cotidie, quantum fieri potest, Missae sacrificio actuosi intersint, SS. Eucharistiae sacramento reficiantur idemque pietatis causa invisant; (emphasis added)

Again, we note the stress which Pope Paul VI has placed upon the Eucharistic focus of the restored diaconate. Here the Pope makes the first clear reference, whether in Lumen Gentium or in “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem,” to the ordained deacon as “in matrimonio vivens.” The only use of such language in Lumen Gentium or in “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” related to married candidates for the diaconate. If in fact “in matrimonio vivens” does imply ongoing conjugal relations, surely here was the place to have made it clear, for the contrast, constant heretofore, of celibacy with marriage, not with noncontinence or with the use of marriage, has excluded a reading of “in matrimonio viven(te)s” which would imply the liceity of marital intercourse after ordination to the diaconate.

The earlier paragraph (11) of the same document, in which we have read that the consent of the wife of the married candidate for the diaconate is prerequisite to his ordination, only confirms the equation of “in matrimonio viventes” with the reality of marriage bond itself:

700 ¶11. Grandioris aetatis viri, sive caelibes sive etiam matrimonio conjuncti, ad diaconatum vocari possunt: hi vero ne admittantur, nisi constet non solum de uxoris consensu, sed de eiusdem etiam christiana morum probitate illisque dotibus, quae viri ministerium nec empediant nec dedecorent. (emphasis added.)

According to the tradition which Cochini and Stickler have cogently argued to be of apostolic origin, it was precisely the post-ordination use of marital relations by the married deacon which was described as an impediment to the diaconal ministry at the altar, and as indecent. Consequently, the addition of this ad cautelam proviso must be read as meant to guard the consequently continent modality of life required for the admission of married candidates to diaconal orders: that they be continent thereafter, and this with the wife’s consent and with her foreseen moral support.

This interpretation is the simplest reading of the language of paragraph 26, “tam in caelibatu quam in matrimonio viventium.” Once again, it is to be noted the paired opposites are presented as exhaustive; further, if “in caelibatu (viventes)” simply means “unmarried,” as opposed to “in matrimonio viventes” as the equivalent of “married,” nothing in this paragraph (26) can be shown to warrant a noncontinent married permanent diaconate. If on the other hand “caelibatus” does not exhaust the alternatives to “in matrimonio vivens” this needs to be shown, whereas that it does not has only been assumed — unwarrantably — by those who suppose the married deacon to be permitted conjugal relations simply qua noncelibate.

It must be therefore be concluded that at this point in the documentation there has appeared no warrant for the novel understanding of the diaconate whereby the ordination of married men to the permanent diaconate would no longer oblige them to subsequent continence. Because they are married, such deacons are by definition not celibate, but this says nothing as to their freedom to continue to engage in marital relations. The relaxation of the “lex caelibatus” for the permanent diaconate does not in any manner imply the relaxation of the obligation of continence for those in major orders. It is intended merely to open up candidacy for the permanent diaconate to a group of men formerly excluded from such orders by the fact of their married state, their noncelibacy.

It is further to be noted that conjoined to paragraph 26 supra is a subsection exhorting precisely the close association of the deacon with the Eucharistic sacrifice which has been — and remains — the liturgical ground for clerical continence. In fact, whatever the silence of the Fathers at the Council on the point, “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” clearly assigns to the restored permanent diaconate the liturgical responsibilities within the Church’s Eucharistic worship which have been traditional to the diaconate as such:

701 ¶22. Secundum memoratum Concilii Vaticani II Constitutionem, diaconi est, quatenus loci Ordinarius haec ipsa expedienda commiserit:

1) inter actiones liturgicas episcopo et presbytero adesse in omnibus, quae rituales varii ordinis libri eidem attribuunt;

3) Eucharistiam asservare, sibi ceterisque distribuere, eam in viaticum morientibus offere, atque eucharisticam benedictionem, quam dicunt, cum sacra pyxide populo impertire.

Further, the prefatory pages of “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” leave no doubt that the restored permanent diaconate is indeed the sacramental Order of the apostolic tradition, ordination to which confers a specific character, by which the deacon is ordered to the service of the altar. This service of the altar had been further spelled out in earlier introductory paragraphs, among them following, which assign and confirm the traditional liturgical duties of the diaconate:

697-98 Sacrum diaconatus ordinem iam inde a prisca Apostolorum aetate catholica Ecclesia magno in honore habuit, quemadmodum ipse Gentium Doctor testatur, qui diaconos una cum episcopis nominatim salvere jubet1 (Cfr. Phil 1, 1) atque Timotheum docet, quaenam virtutes animique dotes ab iisdem sint expetendae, ut suo digni ministerio aestimentur.2 [Cfr. I Tim 3, 8-13.] (emphasis added)

Porro Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, perantiquam huiusmodi morem servans, honorificam diaconatus mentionem in Constitutione, a verbis Lumen Gentium incipienti, fecit ibique, cum de episcopis et presbyteris egisset, tertium quoque sacri ordinis gradum celebravit, eius dignitatem illustrando atque officia percensendo. Verum hinc probe intellegens haec munera, ad vitam Ecclesiae summopere necessaria, in disciplina Ecclesiae latinae hodie vigenti in pluribus regionibus adimplere difficulter posse, hinc tantae rei commodius consulere exoptans, sapienter decrevit, ut diaconatus in futurum tamquam proprius ac permanens gradus hierarchiae restitui posset.3 (Cfr. n. 29; A.A.S. 57 [1965] p. 36.)

Quamvis enim nonnulla diaconorum munera laicis viris, in terris praesertim missionali opere excolendis, revera committi soleant, eos tamen juvat… qui ministerio vere diaconali fungantur…per impositionem manuum inde ab Apostolis traditam corroborari et altari arctius coniungi, ut ministerium suum per gratiam sacramentalem diaconatus efficacius expleant.4 (Cfr. Conc. Vat. II, Decr. Ad Gentes, n. 16; A.A.S. 58 [1966] p. 967) Qua profecto ratione optimo quasi in lumine collocabitur propria huiusce Ordinis natura, qui non tamquam merus ad sacerdotium gradus est existimandus, sed indelebili suo charactere ac praecipua sua gratia insignis ita locupletatur, ut qui ad ipsum vocentur, ii mysteriis Christi et Ecclesiae stabiliter inservire possint.5 (Cfr. Conc. Vat. II, Const. Dogm. Lumen Gentium, n. 11: A.A.S. 57 [1965] p. 46.)

In 1972, norms for admission to the diaconate were promulgated in “Ad Pascendum;” these include:

6. The special consecration of celibacy observed for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and its obligation for candidates to the priesthood and for unmarried candidates for the diaconate are indeed linked with the diaconate. The public commitment to holy celibacy before God and the Church is to be celebrated in a particular rite, even by religious, and is to precede ordination to the diaconate. Celibacy taken on in this way is a diriment impediment to entering marriage.

In accordance with the traditional discipline of the Church, a married deacon who has lost his wife cannot enter a new marriage.26

26Apostolic Letter Sacram Diaconatus Ordinem, n. 16: A.A.S. 59 (1967), p. 701.

“Ad pascendum,” A.A.S. 64 [1972] 534-540; tr. Documents, 439

The language bearing upon the continence expected of the ordained deacon, married or unmarried, remains indirect. For example, the celibacy attaching to the office of the priesthood, and of the unmarried deacon, is said to be a diriment impediment to marriage. We have earlier seen that the married deacon is unable to remarry (“Post ordinem receptum diaconi, grandiore etiam aetate promoti, ex tradita Ecclesiae disciplina ad ineundum matrimonium inhabiles sunt”). If there was there no explicit mention of a diriment impediment, it is understandable enough, for it is ordination to the diaconate which is the ground of the impediment: the language quoted here is sufficiently explicit as to its reality. In the end, the obligation of consecrated celibacy is of sacramental, not merely of juridical provenance: thus before affirming that diaconal orders constitute a diriment impediment to marriage, “Ad Pascendum” speaks not of an illiceity but of an incapacity in the deacon with respect to subsequent marriage.

That the requirement of diaconal continence is left intact by Vatican II and Pope Paul VI is yet further manifest in the spate of scriptural and patristic references in “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” and again in “Ad Pascendum” — these references to Phil 1:1, to I Tim 3, to 2 Tim 2, to Ignatius Martyr, to Polycarp, to Irenaeus, to Justin Martyr, to Tertullian, to the Didascalia Apostolorum, to Hippolytus’ Traditio Apostolica, to Leo the Great — invite the application to the renewed permanent diaconate of all that had been understood by the patristic tradition to pertain to the diaconal office.

With the publication of Cochini’s research, anticipated by the work of Alfons Cardinal Stickler and confirmed by that of Roman Cholij, the burden of going forward with the evidence rests upon whoever would deny that the apostolic tradition of continence is integral to the apostolic and the patristic understanding of the diaconal Order, and consequently that the tradition is liturgical and therefore is doctrinal. It is not at all a mere disciplinary usage, as Cochini and Cholij have shown.

As prelude to the list of “norms” set out in “Ad Pascendum,” Pope Paul VI recited his extensive consultation with “experts,” as well as with the episcopal conferences. It is inconceivable that he would have ignored the scholarship of Fr. Stickler who, raised by Pope John Paul II to the archiepiscopate in 1983 and to the Cardinalate in 1985, had already at the time of the Council a stellar reputation as a Church historian, and who as we have seen had published a paper directly on the continence of the diaconate in 1964 and another in 1970, well prior to “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” and “Ad Pascendum.” Cochini has written:

Fr. Stickler was an expert at the Second Vatican Council, which decided, as we recall, the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Church. His study, “The Continence of the Deacon, Especially during the First Millennium of the Church,” published in 1964, was written as part of studies aiming to bring to the Council Fathers elements of reflection borrowed from history. The author points out that one must understand celibacy in the early Church not only as meaning a prohibition of marriage, but also in the sense of perfect continence for those who were already married. The Western Church Tradition is studied in the light of the teachings of the councils, of the Fathers, and of the Roman pontiffs who always preserved (or restored) its essential features. The author opines it is on the basis of motivations inherent in the very nature of the Order and of the sacred ministry that this uninterrupted tradition demands a perfect continence on the part of those who have been married before receiving sacred Orders.

Apostolic Origins, at 43.

The doctrinal point raised by Fr. Stickler — viz., that continence is integral to the diaconal service at the altar — seems never to have been expressly contested by the Fathers in the Council. This impression is confirmed by the conciliar reportage, supposing it to be accurate, of Vorgrimler and Philips, supra, as well as that of Henri Fesquet.xxix Similarly, Michael Novak’s fuller account of the debate over diaconal celibacy never touches on this point. The only debate was over marriage versus celibacy for the diaconate; the continence which the tradition has required of married deacons simply did not arise as a topic of discussion.

In connection with this reportage, it is noteworthy that Stickler’s name, that of a peritus at the Council who had addressed this much-discussed subject expressly in the 1964 article cited by Cochini, supra, is not found in the index of Vorgrimler’s Commentary, in which the quotations supra from Vorgrimler and Philips appeared; neither is he mentioned in Fesquet’s book, nor in Novak’s, nor in the Actus Synodalia. It can hardly be supposed, then, that his well-known position had been controverted by the conciliar Fathers: such a controversy could not have passed unnoticed, whereas we have both Vorgrimler and Philips as witnesses to its absence from the conciliar discussion. We must conclude that Stickler’s point of view was never opposed at the Council, and more likely, that the question of whether or not the married permanent deacon was to be continent was not raised at all. As has been seen, it does appear that a large minority of the conciliar Fathers took for granted the noncontinence of the married diaconate: otherwise, the minority approval of waiving celibacy also for the younger candidates for the diaconate is without point.

Cochini has shown that the continence of the diaconate was from the earliest records considered to be on the same level as that of the priest and the bishop, and that this requirement of continence in those serving the altar did and does not rest upon such early legislation as that promulgated by the Councils of Elvira (305) and of Carthage (390) (which, bye the bye, are cited neither by “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” nor by “Ad Pascendum”) but rests rather upon a liturgically-grounded apostolic tradition which links celibacy and marital continence to the intercessory Eucharistic role of the higher clergy, whose rank reflects the level of their direct responsibility for the celebration of the Mass. Following I Tim 3:8-13, this continence was from the earliest times held consistent with the ordination of married men to the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate, who were held to strict continence thereafter. Such ordination of married men was predicated upon the prior consent of the wives of the candidates, for of course ordination imposed continence upon them as well as upon their husbands, even to the point of forbidding the widows of deacons, as well as of priests and bishops, to remarry quite as it forbade widower bishops and priests to remarry; we have seen this requirement reaffirmed in §11 of “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” and also in the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The ordination of younger, unmarried men to the diaconate required then as now a life-long commitment to celibacy and obviously to continence.

It is only with the Council in Trullo, at the end of the seventh century, that this discipline lapsed in the Eastern Churches; Cochini has detailed the circumstances of this deviation, and Cholij, a priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, has seconded Cochini’s conclusion that it is indeed a deviation, as has also Henri Crouzel.xxx

In the light of Lumen Gentium’s omission, stressed by Vorgrimler, of any mention of participation in the celebration of the Eucharist as among the duties, liturgical and otherwise, of permanent deacons, it might have been asked whether the “permanent diaconate” envisaged by the Council had not suffered a sea change from that of which the apostolic tradition has demanded celibacy. For an instance of such change exists: Cochini and Cholij both record a change in liturgical responsibility in the reverse direction, which affected the subdiaconate in the West from the fifth century onward to Vatican II. From its primitive standing as an exterior service or ministry akin to that of an acolyte, lector or porter, the subdiaconate had by the fifth century became directly involved in the celebration of the Eucharistic mystery. Thereupon it was recognized by the Pope as a major Order, and its candidates were committed to continence, despite the considerable inconveniences involved in the drastic demand this novelty placed upon married subdeacons. The abolition of the subdiaconate as a major Order, and its consequent dissociation from celibacy by Pope Paul VI in “Ministeria Quaedam,” §4,xxxi can only reflect a shifting of the liturgical responsibilities of the subdiaconate away from direct responsibility for the Eucharistic celebration. In Rahner’s view, just such a shifting of responsibility, from liturgical to practical responsibilities, would appear to have long since overtaken the permanent diaconate at the time of its recommended reinstitution by Lumen Gentium and Ad Gentes Divinitus, and its actual institution by “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” and “Ad Pascendum.”

However, if only because the conciliar motives for that reinstitution of the permanent diaconate, as set forth in Lumen Gentium, §29 did not touch the diaconal exercise of a direct responsibility in the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice, it is evident that no change in the liturgical responsibilities of the permanent diaconate was in contemplation at the Council. What may have been assumed by many of the Fathers present there is another matter.

In any case, Paul VI, in “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem,” explicitly reaffirmed the liturgical and particularly the Eucharistic responsibility, and the correlative Eucharistic spirituality, of the restored diaconate. The Pope was equally insistent upon the traditional hierarchical rank of the permanent diaconate, and upon the indelible sacramental character which the ordination to it, by the imposition of hands, effects.

There can be no doubt that the Pope has restored the permanent diaconate in the sense of the traditional, sacramentally-conferred, hierarchical Order, an Order which he describes in the traditional language of “altari arctius conjungi.”xxxii It is this closeness to the altar, inseparable from their liturgical office, that Cochini has shown to be the basis for the ancient tradition requiring continence of deacons, as it is required of bishops and of priests.

Yet further: it must be kept in mind that the Nota Explicativa which Pope Paul VI added as an appendix to Lumen Gentium bars the reading into that document, by way of a supposedly latent implication, of any novel doctrinal affirmation:

the sacred synod declared as binding on the Church only those matters of faith and morals which it has expressly put forward as such.xxxiii

It is impossible to find in the documents of Vatican II any intent or indeed any intimation of an intent to teach a novel interpretation of the sacrament of orders; in fact, the conciliar intent to attach the renewal of the permanent diaconate to the biblical and patristic tradition is evident.

Thus, the post-conciliar proliferation of married and noncontinent deacons, in the face of an evident apostolic tradition denying the liceity of such a practice, demands a solution which can only be an explicit recognition of the binding character of the apostolic tradition of diaconal continence. The pastoral problem has no other answer, for any alternative would undercut the nature of the diaconate itself, as arctius altari conjungi. Further, the implications of the noncontinent married diaconate for the celibate priesthood cannot be ignored: if a noncontinent diaconate, “altari arctius conjungi,” is legitimate in the Latin Church, all that remains for the legitimation of a married and noncontinent priesthood and episcopacy is negotiation of the terms of the surrender of all sacramental realism. In the final analysis, we are dealing with a matter which puts in issue the point upon which the Reformation turned, and which was resolved at Trent: the Mass as the celebration, or not, of the Eucharistic sacrifice. If the apostolic doctrine on that point is to be upheld, so also that which is strictly conjoined to it, the celibacy of those who serve the altar upon which the One Sacrifice is offered and the One Flesh of the New Covenant instituted.

The contemporary fact of the married deacons — and perhaps of married priests as well — in full exercise at once of their marital intimacy and their orders is an obvious surd in Roman Catholic life and worship, for the coincidence of conjugal relations with responsibility for service arctius altari conjungi has been illicit since apostolic times for reasons going to the heart of the Church’s Eucharistic worship in truth. Consequently, there is every reason to deny that the restoration of the permanent diaconate in any sense legitimates the noncontinence of deacons “in matrimonio viventes.”

The Fathers at Vatican II, and Paul VI in his implementation of Lumen Gentium, §29, were intent upon the restoration of the third hierarchical Order; it is evident from the opening paragraphs of “Pontificalis Romani Recognitio” that there was no intent to introduce a novelty:

Pontificalis Romani recognitio non tamen generali modo a Concilio Oecumenico Vaticano II praescribitur,1 sed etiam peculiaribus regitur normis, quibus eadem Sacra Synodus ritus Ordinationum, sive quoad caeremonias sive quoad textus2 dimutari iussit. (original emphasis)

Sed ex Ordinationis ritibus illi imprimis considerandi sunt, quibus per Sacramentum Ordinis, vario gradu collatum, sacra Hierarchia constituitur: sic ministerium ecclesiasticum divinitus institutum diversis ordinibus exercetur ab illis qui iam ab antiquo Episcopi, Presbyteri, Diaconi vocantur.3 (original emphasis)

In recognitione autem ritus Ordinationum Sacrarum, praeter principia generalia, quibus integra instauratio Liturgiae, iuxta praescripta Concilii Vaticani II, regi debet, summopere attendendum est ad praeclaram illam doctrinam de natura et effectibus Sacramenti Ordinis, quae in Constitutione de Ecclesia ab eodem Conciliio pronuntiata est, nam textus et ritus ita ordinari oportet ut sancta, quae significant, clarius exprimant, eaque populus christianus, in quantum fieri potest, facile percipere atque plena, actuosa et communitatis propria celebratione participare possit.4 (original emphasis)

1Conc Vat. II, Const. de Sacra Liturgia, Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 25: A.A.S. 56 (1964) p. 107.

2Ibid., n. 76: A.A.S. 56 (1964) p. 119.

3Conc. Vat. II, Const. dogm. de Ecclesia, Lumen gentium, n. 28: A.A.S. 57 (1965) pp. 33-34.

4Conc Vat. II, Const. de Sacra Liturgia, Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 21: A.A.S. 56 (1964) p. 106.

After reading language such as this, it is impossible to believe that the restoration of the permanent diaconate by the Council and the Pope contemplated making any alteration in the sacrament of orders. Some at least of the conciliar Fathers must have been aware of the doctrinal weight of the traditional obligation of diaconal continence; Fr. Stickler’s articles would not have passed unnoticed. While the Fathers agreed at the Council to permit a married permanent diaconate, and while there is reason to suppose that the commentators we have cited (Vorgrimler, Philips, Novak, Fesquet), and with them a minority of the Fathers, understood the phrase “in matrimonio viventibus” to connote or denote permission for the continuing use of marriage by married deacons, there is no indication in the records of the conciliar debates that the Fathers ever approved a noncontinent married diaconate. In fact, the evidence is all to the contrary effect. The reasons for the confusion at the Council over the meaning of diaconal celibacy are not apparent on the record.xxxiv

Married bishops, priests, and deacons are no novelty in the Church, but the use of marriage by men in major orders is precisely the novelty which Stickler understood it to be; we have seen Stickler repeat this conviction, which the research of Cochini and Cholij has since corroborated.

Finally, the theological development of the doctrine of “Pastores Dabo Vobis” presented by Archbishop Stafford’s lecture provides further reason for agreeing with Cochini’s affirmation of the patristic origin of the Latin tradition of clerical celibacy; it does appear that the sacramental signs themselves of marriage and of orders intimate the impropriety of noncontinence in anyone who is “altari arctius coniungi,” as we have seen the diaconal office described by Paul VI in “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem.”

Vorgrimler has pointed to the large minority of bishops at the Council who voted to relieve even the unmarried deacon of any consequent obligation of celibacy. We can hardly suppose so large a number of the world’s Catholic bishops to be intent upon dismissing an apostolic doctrine, and yet the perduring tradition of clerical continence can have no other ground — but this is precisely what does not appear to have been suspected by that minority of Fathers who voted against diaconal celibacy at the Council. The minority of the Fathers — a sizable minority — quite clearly intended to dispense even the young unmarried deacons from both celibacy and from continence in marriage. The only alternative to this conclusion is that the minority read “celibacy” strictly, to mean unmarried simply, so that the dropping of the requirement of celibacy for unmarried deacons meant permission for them to marry after ordination coupled with the obligation to live continently thereafter — but for the reasons which have been set out, that alternative appears to be excluded: in brief, it is pointless.

When the majority reaffirmed the requirement of celibacy traditional for unmarried deacons, and at the same time approved the ordination of married men to the diaconate — thus approved the ordination to the permanent diaconate of men who were not celibate — they did not thereby license the use of marriage by such deacons; had they done so, there would have been no possible basis for their firm refusal to drop the requirement of celibacy for younger candidates for the diaconate.

In sum, there is every reason to insist that the sacrament of orders remains as it has been, and that the current practice — one cannot speak of its canonical institution — of a noncontinent diaconate is an aberration which will not attain a permanent standing in the Church.

Donald J. Keefe, S.J.

St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie

October, 1998

iEndnotes

1Alfons Stickler, “La continenza dei diaconi specialmente nel primo millenio della chiesa,” Salesianum 26 (1964) 275-302; “Tratti salienti nella storia del celibato,” Sacra Doctrina 15 (1970) 585-620; “Il celibato ecclesiatico” in L’Osservatore della Domenica, supplements to nos. 103, 109, and 115 of L’Osservatore Romano for May 6, 13, 20, 1979; “L’évolution de la discipline du célibat dans l’Église en Occident de la fin de l’âge patristique au Concile de Trente,” in Sacerdoce et célibat.

iiArchbishop (now Cardinal) J. Francis Stafford, “The Eucharistic Foundation of Sacerdotal Celibacy,” Origins 23/12 (2 Sept., 1993) 211-216. The then-Archbishop Stafford delivered this address at a conference on the priesthood, held under the auspices of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy on May 26-28, 1993, at the Gregorian University in Rome to mark the first anniversary of the papal encyclical, Pastores Dabo Vobis. His essay relies upon Christian Cochini, S.J., Origines apostoliques du célibat sacerdotal. Préface du Père A. Stickler; coll. Le Sycamore (Paris: Éditions Lethielleux; Namur: Culture et Vérité, 1981). Page references hereafter to Fr. Cochini’s chef d’oeuvre will be to its English translation, The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy. With a Preface by Father Alfons M. Stickler. Translated by Nelly Marans (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990) [henceforth, Apostolic Origins]. This latter edition is furnished with an index, unfortunately lacking in the original. See also Roman Cholij, Clerical Celibacy In East And West. Foreword by Alfons Cardinal Stickler, S.D.B., Librarian and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church; Preface by Michael Napier of the Oratory (Leominster, Herfordshire: Fowler Wright Books, 1989) [henceforth, Clerical Celibacy]. At the time of his writing, Fr. Cholij, a priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, was secretary to the bishop of the Ukrainian-rite Catholics of London. As Cardinal Stickler observes, Fr. Cholij’s book is a most valuable supplement to Fr. Cochini’s work, the more so in that although himself a member of a rite (Ukrainian) permitting the ordination of married men and their subsequent exercise of marital rights, Cholij agrees with Cochini that this concession rests upon a mistaken interpretation written by the Quinisext Council (In Trullo) into the Greek translation of the canons of the Council of Carthage.

Fr. Cochini’s book originated as a doctoral dissertation for the Institut Catholique (Paris), while Fr. Cholij’s study was written as a doctoral dissertation in canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome. Cochini’s dissertation, defended before a board headed by Jean Cardinal Daniélou, S.J., was at the latter’s urging, with the approval of Henri Cardinal de Lubac, and under Fr. Alfons Stickler’s guidance, later expanded into the present work. Its invaluable contribution to the theology of Orders seems to have been little regarded in this country, although since its appearance in English translation it is being widely read. Its distinguished author is now a missionary in Taiwan.

iii During the summer of 1998, American ordinaries received two documents, written in close association by, respectively, the Congregation for Education and the Congregation for the Clergy. The document from the Congregation for the Clergy was published in English as “Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons,” Origins 28/11 (Aug. 1998) 181-91. In it we read:

For married candidates, to live love [sic] means offering themselves to their spouses in a reciprocal belonging, in a total, faithful and indissoluble union in the likeness of Christ’s love for his church, at the same time it means welcoming children, loving them, educating them and showing forth to the whole church and society the communion of the family (§68, 188a; emphasis added.

An English translation of the document issued by the Congregation for Education was published in the same number of Origins as “Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons,” ibid., 191-204; it contains the following passage:

In particular, the widowed deacon should be supported in living perfect perpetual continence.192 He should be helped to understand the profound ecclesial reasons which preclude his remarriage (cf. I Tim 3:12), in accordance with the constant discipline of the church in the East and West.193 (§62, at 200b; emphasis added).

192Cf. Canon 277.1.

193Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, III, 16; Ad Pascendum, VI; Canon 1087. Provision is made for possible exceptions to this discipline in the June 6, 1997, circular letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship; and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Prot. No. 26397, 8.

The circular letter referenced in the footnote quoted supra (193) was published in English as “Deacons’ Remarriage: Laicizing Priests,” Origins 27/11 (Aug. 28, 1997), 169, 171-72, wherein we read:

1. The competence1 to treat of cases of dispensation from the obligations of sacred ordination and of vows in the above mentioned institutes, such dispensation being inseparably connected with dismissal from the clerical state, lies with this congregation. (at 169b; emphasis added)

1Cf. Secretary of State, Letter 230.139 (Feb. 8, 1989).

On the next page of the English tr. of the circular letter the following language appears:

6. As a consequence of the new disposition concerning the permanent diaconate and of the norms issued by the Holy See5 and by numerous episcopates regarding formation, lifestyle and ministerial activities entrusted to deacons, a difficulty that arises from the impediment preventing “married permanent deacons, widowed after ordination” from contracting a further marriage [sic]. Such a second marriage after ordination could in fact be attempted only under the pain of canonical nullity.6 (at 171a-b)

5Cf. Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 29; Paul VI, apostolic letter Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem (June 18, 1967): A.A.S. 59 (1967), pp. 697-704; apostolic constitution Pontificalis Romani Recognitio (June 18, 1968): A.A.S. 60 (1968), pp. 369-373; apostolic letter Ad Pascendum (Aug. 15, 1972): A.A.S. 64 (1972), pp. 534-550; Code of Canon Law, Canons 236, 276.2 and .3; 1035.1; 1037; 1042.,1; 1053.3; John Paul II, “Catechesis” from the Oct. 13, 1993, general audience address: Insegnamenti XVI, 2 (1993), pp. 1000-1004; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1554.

6Ad Pascendum, VI, and Canon 1087 in connection with Canon 1078.2.1.

7. For some time it has been evident that because of this prohibition grave difficulties have arisen for those who have been widowed after ordination but are desirous of remaining in the diaconal ministry.

8. With a view to establishing a new practice modifying the current norm, which requires three cumulative and simultaneous conditions which would constitute motivating exceptions for the granting of a dispensation from the prohibition of Canon 1087, this dicastery has requested and has obtained from the Holy Father that any one of the three following conditions taken singly are [sic] sufficient for a favorable consideration of the dispensation from this impediment, namely:

—The great and proven usefulness of the ministry of the deacon to the diocese to which he belongs.

—That he has children of such a tender age as to be in need of motherly care.

—That he has parents or parents-in-law who are elderly and in need of care (§8, at 171b).

And finally, at the end of the circular letter:

9. The Cardinal Secretary of State, in a letter (No. 4092.629) of Feb. 27, 1997, has communicated the approval given by the Holy Father on Feb. 10, 1997, to these above-mentioned new criteria regarding the dispensation from celibacy for priests under the age of 40; and in a letter of March 22, 1997 (No. 4092.629) [sic], permission was given for the new conditions under which dispensation may be granted from the impediment to a second marriage on the part of the permanent deacons who have been widowed after ordination. It was further established that this circular letter be sent to diocesan and religious ordinaries informing them of these new measures for future reference.

10. Diocesan and religious ordinaries are therefore kindly requested to give due attention to these instructions should they have occasion to forward petitions for dispensation to this congregation.

Vatican City, June 6, 1997

Archbishop Jorge Medina Estevez, Pro-Prefect

Archbishop Geraldo M. Agnelo, Secretary

The first passage quoted, (§68) excerpted from the document published by the Congregation for the Clergy, clearly knows nothing of, or ignores, the traditional requirement that married men in major orders be continent in their marriage after ordination: the propriety of sexual relations between married deacons and their wives is even insisted upon. As will be shown, the liceity of this departure from tradition was never discussed during the Council by any of the bishops concerned for the married diaconate. Further: it is evident that with their promulgation by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the new norms annul the diriment impediment to marriage constituted by prior ordination to major Orders. The “diriment” character of that impediment has been summarily negated; the impediment of Orders has been treated as though it were of merely canonical provenance and standing, and its dispensability thereby taken for granted. The “great and proven usefulness of the ministry of the deacon, etc.,” now trumps “the constant discipline of the church in the East and West” which has required that “such dispensation (be) inseparably connected with dismissal from the clerical state” — this inseparable connection of its dispensation with dismissal from the clerical state is that which makes the impediment of Orders to be a diriment impediment. The constant tradition of the Church, East and West, has been denied doctrinal significance, and this without any discussion of the subject by the bishops at Vatican II or elsewhere, and in the entire absence of any competent theological inquiry into the matter other than that provided by Stickler, Cochini and Cholij, whose unanimity contradicts the assumptions of both Congregations and of the Secretary of State.

It is to be noted that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, while asserting that “this dicastery has requested and obtained from the Holy Father that any one of the three following conditions taken singly are sufficient for a favorable consideration of the dispensation from this impediment, etc.,” relies for this assertion of papal permission upon a document which on this point is at best ambiguous, for we have read in the circular letter that:

in a letter of March 22, 1997 (no. 402.629) permission was given for the new conditions under which dispensation may be granted from the impediment to a second marriage on the part of permanent deacons who have been widowed after ordination.

In the first place, the protocol number assigned this letter of March 22nd is the same as given the letter received the previous February 27th concerning the dispensation of laicized priests: both numbers may be in error, and one of them must be. However that may be, in the footnote citing both of these letters from the Secretary of State we have read that:

The Cardinal Secretary of State, in a letter (No. 4092.629) of Feb. 27th, 1997, has communicated the approval given by the Holy Father on Feb. 10, 1997, to these above-mentioned new criteria regarding the dispensation from celibacy for priests under the age of 40; and in a letter of March 22nd, 1997 (No. 4092.629) [sic], permission was given for the new conditions under which dispensation may be granted from the impediment to a second marriage on the part of the permanent deacons who have been widowed after ordination.

Here the Congregation clearly asserts, in the active voice, that the Cardinal Secretary of State has communicated to the Congregation for Divine Worship a papal permission to dispense, under certain circumstances, laicized priests under the age of forty from their canonical incapacity to marry. In this direct statement there is nothing startling, for while the laicization of a priest does not imply such dispensation, and while its discretional grant by the Pope to priests who have been thus dismissed from the clerical state may be more or less rare, such a dispensation presents no novelty. However, in the Congregation’s circular letter we find incongruously associated with this dispensation granted to laicized priests, another and entirely different situation. For it is to be noted that the description in the Congregation’s ‘circular letter,” of the Secretary of State’s letter of March 22nd, couched in the passive voice, makes no mention of any papal approval of the dispensation which may be granted by the Secretary of State to widowed deacons from the canon law and the ancient tradition which have barred their remarriage. Rather, in that same passive voice, we read that, in the March 22nd letter, “permission was given” to the Congreation for Divine worship to grant such dispensations: it does not say by whom permission was given.

Where, as here in the case of widowed deacons, a papal permission to dispense from a diriment impediment is not clearly asserted, as it was in the circular letter’s immediately prior discussion of the dispensation of laicized priests, that permission cannot be presumed, as the circular letter presumes it.

In the absence of a clearly and responsibly affirmed papal permission, who has the canonical authority to grant such a dispensation from a traditionally diriment impediment? Within the ambiguous context of the Congregation’s ‘circular letter,’ which touches its jurisdiction, the question does not arise. Viz., we read:

1. The competence1 to treat of cases of dispensation from the obligations of sacred ordination and of vows in the above mentioned institutes, such dispensation being inseparably connected with dismissal from the clerical state, lies with this congregation. (at 169b; emphasis added)

1Cf. Secretary of State, Letter 230.139 (Feb. 8, 1989).

The second clause of the quoted sentence is clearly a continuing limitation placed upon the authority of the Congregation for Divine Worship. The limitation is stated in the present tense, as a fact in being at the time of the writing of the letter. And in fact, nothing in the following paragraphs of the letter recite any expansion of this jurisdiction by the Pope, who alone can dispense from diriment impediments. There is only the general statement by the Congregation in paragraph 8, which we have read supra, stating that:

8. With a view to establishing a new practice modifying the current norm, which requires three cumulative and simultaneous conditions which would constitute motivating exceptions for the granting of a dispensation from the prohibition of Canon 1087, this dicastery has requested and has obtained from the Holy Father that any one of the three following conditions taken singly are [sic] sufficient for a favorable consideration of the dispensation from this impediment, namely:

—The great and proven usefulness of the ministry of the deacon to the diocese to which he belongs.

—That he has children of such a tender age as to be in need of motherly care.

That he has parents or parents-in-law who are elderly and in need of care (at 171b).

This is curious: the “motivating exceptions” apply to all dispensations from “the prohibition of Canon 1087”, which applies to everyone in major orders, not merely to deacons: it reads:

Can. 1087 – Invalide matrimonium attentant qui in sacris ordinis sunt constituti.

Yet we have seen that the circular letter’s application of these exceptions to the dispensation of priests from “the prohibition of Canon 1087” requires their prior laicization, in such wise that these exceptions can have no bearing on their case. Viz.: the first condition expressly concerns deacons who will remain in the exercise of their orders, while the second and third “conditions” for granting dispensations from Canon 1087 likewise can have no application to the previously unmarried and now laicized priest, unless it contemplates condoning the contumacious attempted marriage of the previously laicized priest under the age of forty who, unable for some reason to meet his responsibilities for his young children, or parents, or parents in-law, now seeks a dispensation from Canon 1087, which condonation can hardly be presumed. Nonetheless, we have seen that the next paragraph of the circular letter expressly applies these new conditions to priests:

9. The Cardinal Secretary of State, in a letter (No. 4092.629) of Feb. 27, 1997, has communicated the approval given by the Holy Father on Feb. 10, 1997, to these above-mentioned new criteria regarding the dispensation from celibacy for priests under the age of 40; and in a letter of March 22, 1997 (No. 402.629) [sic], permission was given for the new conditions under which dispensation may be granted from the impediment to a second marriage on the part of the permanent deacons who have been widowed after ordination.

The clarification of this confusion must be left to canonists: it defeats common sense.

The puzzlement over the reality of an intimated papal approval of the new conditions which would permit the novel remarriage of widowed men in major orders without their prior laicization, which in fact underwrites the encouragement given them by the Congregation for Education and the Congregation for the Clergy to live in marital relations with their wives, might easily be resolved, were the subject letter of March 22nd letter from the Cardinal Secretary of State to the Congregation for Divine Worship available for public or even episcopal inspection. However, such correspondence is not available in any published collection insofar as a reasonably diligent search can discover. Thus, even were its protocol number accurately cited in the English tr. of the circular letter in Origins, it would be without value to anyone seeking that information.

One cannot but wonder why these two letters from the Secretary of State, disparate in time as well as in subject matter, were so closely associated by the circular letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship. They were dealt with separately by the Secretary of State, and no reason appears for their being lumped together four or five months later by the Congregation for Divine Worship: we have seen the muddle which this close association has permitted and perhaps forced. Further, such a clear departure, in the case of the widowed permanent deacon, from an ecclesial tradition whose authority is nonetheless cited in the first section of that circular letter, needs some rather more solemn form of communication than can be provided by a circular letter.

In this connection, it should not pass without remark that the title given this circular letter by the editor of Origins simply reverses the letter’s order of treatment of its subject matter, which deals first with the dispensation of laicized clergy, and only then with the dispensation of widowed permanent deacons. This was hardly inadvertent: the editor recognized the relative unimportance of the former subject, and the high significance of the latter, and thus testifies further to the incongruity of their being bundled together in the circular letter.

Not only is the situation anomalous which results from the novel dispensation granted widowed permanent deacons from what has been the diriment impediment of Orders to marriage: it clearly invites a comparable nullification of the celibacy and continence required of the priesthood by a comparably ancient ecclesial tradition, and by the canon law. This outcome might be thought acceptable on the ground that several Eastern Churches in union with Rome nonetheless permit the marriage of their priests prior to ordination. They do not of course permit the re-marriage of their priests after ordination without having first dismissed them from the clerical state. The Eastern practice since Trullo provides no grounds for the re-marriage of widowed permanent deacons.

Once the widowed deacon’s re-marriage is admitted as consistent with his continuing in the exercise of his orders — i.e., with remaining in his clerical state — not only is there undercut the continent fidelity traditionally essential to the spirituality of Orders; there is also invoked by this anomaly a Protestant interpretation of the Eucharist.

Given that the permanent deacon is in major Orders, and thereby arctius altari conjungi, his capacity to remarry while in the exercise of his Order implies either that the diaconal Order is no longer arctius altari conjungi, or that the Eucharist is no longer the offering of the One Sacrifice of the Second Adam for the Second Eve. For by this remarriage of widowed deacons the nuptial symbolism of the sacrament of Orders has been dismissed without any discussion of that symbolism, or even any exhibition of interest in it, and this on the level of universally-distributed proclamations by two of the Vatican dicasteries.

The anomaly of diaconal remarriage may continue to be ignored, as it has been by documents issuing from three Vatican dicasteries and the from Vatican Secretary of State: it does not thereby cease to insert confusion into the sacrament of Orders, a confusion which touches the Church’s worship in truth. Catholic sacramental worship is utterly dependent upon the truth, the authenticity of its sacramental signs, whose institution is of God, not man, but whose safeguard must be the Magisterium.

iv4Actus Synodalia Sacrosancti Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani II, Vol. III, periodus tertia, Pars I, Sessio Publica IV. Congregationis Generalis LXXX-LXXXII (Rome: Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1973) [hereafter, Actus Synodalia], 259-69, esp. 266ff.

vA.A.S. 57 [1965] 36.

viCodex Juris Canonici, C. 277 distinguishes clearly between celibacy and continence:

§1. Clerici obligatione tenentur servandi perfectam perpetuamque propter Regnum coelorum continentiam, ideoque ad caelibatem adstringuntur, quod est peculiare Dei donum, quo quidem sacri ministri indiviso corde Christo facilius adhaerere possunt atque Dei hominumque servitio liberius sese dedicare valent.

§2. Debita cum prudentia clerici se gerant cum personis, quarum frequentatio ipsorum obligationem ad continentiam servandam in discrimen vocare aut in fidelium scandalum vertere possit.

The distinction between continence and celibacy is again recognized in C. 599:

Evangelicum castitatis consilium propter Regnum coelorum assumptum, quod signum est mundi futuri et fons uberioris fecunditatis in indiviso corde, obligationem secumfert continentiae perfectae in caelibatu.

The most recent examination of the historical articulation of this apostolic tradition, with an overview and criticism of previous studies of clerical celibacy, is provided by Christian Cochini’s study, cited in note 2, supra. In the foreword of Roman Cholij’s comparable work, Clerical Celibacy In East And West, also cited in note 2, supra, Cardinal Stickler has written that:

These two studies surpass, therefore, all the preceding ones which are often one-sided and even historically wrong, and will constitute in the future the new, scientifically certain basis for every safe statement in this delicate field with all its different and even opposed subjective meanings and objective difficulties.

viiVatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, [henceforth, Documents] at 387.

viiiThe official summaries of the Conciliar discussion of diaconal celibacy may be found in Francisco Hellín, Concilii Vaticani II Synopsis in ordinem redigens schemata cum relationibus necnon Patrum orationes atque animadversiones 2. Constitutio Dogmatica de Ecclesia Lumen Gentium; ser. Studi sul Concilio Vaticano II (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1995), 310-315; see also “Relationes circa Caput III”, 2066-2067; 2077-2080.

ixThis may be found in Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II [henceforth, Commentary] at 22-30.

x“Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem,” §16 (A.A.S. 59 [1967] 697-704) at 701.

xiStickler has drawn attention to the more inclusive understanding of celibacy in the early Church; see note 1, supra, and Cochini, Apostolic Origins, at 43.

xii“Ad pascendum,” A.A.S. 64 (1972) 534-540; tr. Documents, at 439:

6. The special consecration of celibacy observed for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and its obligation for candidates to the priesthood and for unmarried candidates for the diaconate are indeed linked with the diaconate. The public commitment to holy celibacy before God and the Church is to be celebrated in a particular rite, even by religious, and is to precede ordination to the diaconate. Celibacy taken on in this way is a diriment impediment to entering marriage.

In accordance with the traditional discipline of the Church, a married deacon who has lost his wife cannot enter a new marriage.26

26Apostolic Letter Sacram Diaconatus Ordinem, n. 16: A.A.S. 59 (1967), p. 701.

xiiiArchbishop Stafford developed this point in the lecture cited in note 2, supra.

xivThe review article, “The Apostolic Origins of Clerical Continence: A Critical Appraisal of a New Book,” Theological Studies 41 (1982) 693-705, which Fr. Roger Balducelli, O.S.F.S., directed to the French original of Cochini’s study, applies an Enlightenment notion of historicity to Cochini’s conclusion of the apostolic origins of clerical celibacy, and on that rather fragile if commonplace foundation dismisses Cochini’s findings. This is to proceed rather by an ideologically-driven fiat than by a serious examination of Cochini’s argument. The Enlightenment’s rationalization of history is really not the last word on the subject.

xvI am indebted to a conversation with Edward N. Peters, J.D., J.C.D., Diocesan Director for Canonical Affairs for the Diocese of San Diego, for a clarifying insight into the failure of the conciliar Fathers to distinguish between celibacy and continence during their discussion of the renewal of the permanent diaconate. Their inadvertent melding of celibacy with continence may well underlie the post-conciliar divagation from the ancient apostolic tradition of diaconal continence.

xviMichael Novak, The Open Church: Vatican II, Act II (New York: Macmillan, 1962, 1963, 1964), 121-27; see also Ralph M. Wiltgen, S.V.D., The Rhine Flows Into The Tiber: The Unknown Council (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1967), 96-100.

xviiGérard Philips, “History of the Constitution,” Commentary, 105-137.

xviiiSee note 33, infra.

xixThe point is developed in Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter’s “Do This in Memory of Me”: A Pastoral Letter on the Sacrament of Priestly Orders (Toronto: The Mission Press, 8 December, 1983); see also the comparable pastoral letter of Archbishop J. Francis Stafford, “In the Person of Christ, The Head of the Body: The Mystery of the Priestly Vocation,” Origins 18 (1988) 349-360, together with the address cited in note 2, supra.

xxAt bottom, as Cardinal Stafford has pointed out, this is the relation between the ex opere operato effect of the sacrament (the res et sacramentum) — which is the diaconal, priestly or episcopal character in the ordained, and is the matrimonial vinculum in the married — to the ex opere operantis effect, (the res sacramenti) of the sacramental sign — which in the ordained is celibacy, in the married is fidelity, and in each is the free fulfillment, the spirituality, of the respective sacramental sign — whether of Orders or of Matrimony.

xxiCf. note 1, supra.

xxii“Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem,” A.A.S. 59 [1967] 697-704, at 698.

xxiiiA.A.S. 59 (1967) 697-704.

xxivA.A.S. 60 (1968) 369-373.

xxvA.A.S. 64 (1972) 534-540; (Documents, 433-441).

xxviA.A.S. 59 (1967) 657, 697; §§ 13 and 42.

xxviiSee note 4, supra.

xxviiiCochini, op. cit., 236 (quoting Ambrose, De officiis III (PL 104b-5a), 247-48, and citing Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, the so-called Canons of Hippolytus, Epiphanius of Constantia, and Jerome; et passim.

xxixHenri Fesquet, The Drama of Vatican II: The Ecumenical Council, June 1962 – December, 1965; tr. Bernard Murchland; American Intro. by Michael Novak (New York: Random House, 1967).

xxxHenri Crouzel, “Une nouvelle étude sur les origines du célibat ecclésiastique,” Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique 73 (1982) 293-97. Cochini’s and Cholij’s works are cited in note 2, supra, et passim.

xxxiA.A.S. 64 (15 August, 1972) 529-534; Documents 427-32.

xxxiiSee note 22, supra.

xxxiiiDocuments, 423.

xxxivThe reasons given by the bishops and their theologians at the Council for their advocacy of a noncelibate permanent diaconate sometimes simply assumed without discussion that diaconal celibacy is without intrinsic relation to the diaconate. This view appears in a highly pertinent document provided me by Fr. William J. O’Rourke, S.T.D., pastor of St. Steven’s Church, Quinebaugh, CT. Entitled “Formal Request to Restore the Diaconate as a Permanent Order Presented to the Fathers of Vatican Council II in 1962 by the Original Deacon Circle, Munich, West Germany,” it has more recently been translated and published by Patrick McCaslin and Michael Lawler as Appendix 2 of Sacrament of Service (Mahway, NY: Paulist Press, 1986). Its signatories stressed that

The diaconate, to which, according to St. Paul (cf. I Tim 3:12) the earliest Church councils and the custom of the Eastern Churches up to the present day, married men are admitted, had in the early Church its own specific nature: the basic fundamental was always the liturgical office, while the exercise of the other essential offices, namely the works of charity and the ministry of the word, varied in importance according to the needs of particular places and times. (at 146)

Further on, to the same effect:

The tasks of the restored diaconate would all have their source and center in the intimate connection of the deacon’s office with the Holy Eucharist. (at 146)

But the signatories and their theological advisor[s] evidently had no intimation of any causal link between that “intimate connection” and the tradition of diaconal celibacy, for they continue:

What of the question of celibacy? The celibacy of the priest plays an impressive part in witnessing to the reality of supernatural goods, especially in our day, when so much emphasis is placed on the goods of this world. This celibacy would also apply to deacons under the new plan, when they were members of religious orders. On the other hand, the Church is also stressing more and more today the witnessing power of the sacrament of matrimony as a sign of Christ’s union with his Church and as a means of sanctification in the world. As the diaconate of its nature does not require celibacy, it seems that there are rich potentialities for holiness in the married life for those who would also belong to the hierarchy of the Church as deacons. (at 148-49)

Obviously, this highly pragmatic rationale for a married diaconate can apply to the priesthood as well as to the diaconate. Further, we see here the confusion of noncelibacy with noncontinence in the allusion to the “rich potentialities for holiness in the married life.” It would strain the intention of the authors considerably to read into such language that transcendence of matrimony by major orders and the consequent obligation of the ordained to live in continence, which the apostolic and patristic tradition affirms.

The pragmatic mentality we have noted in the “Original Deacon Circle” surfaces again in the near-ultimatum presented the conciliar Fathers by Bishop McHugh of Panama: “Aut diaconatus instauretur uxoratus, aut non instauretur.” For Bishop McHugh, as for most of the bishops favoring the married diaconate, the justification for its renewal was pastoral and practical. The married diaconate was perceived as a means of bringing a more or less influential class of laity into closer association with the mission of the Church. Even Cardinal Spellman, although he had opposed the restoration of the permanent diaconate, had also treated the question of its restoration pragmatically, as a merely disciplinary matter, and Cardinal Döpfner of Munich, who rejected Cardinal Spellman’s objections to the restoration, evinced no interest in exploring the doctrinal content of the traditional requirement of celibacy in the diaconate, although he defended the sacramentality of the diaconate as a matter of doctrine.

Cardinal Döpfner was a major spokesman for the restoration of the permanent married diaconate; his argument, here as elsewhere, was clearly reliant upon the views of his famous peritus, Karl Rahner, whose viewpoint on the question is set out in “The Theology of the Restoration of the Diaconate,” Theological Investigations V, 269-314 (a translation of his contribution, “Die Theologie der Eneuerung des Diakonates,” to a massive collection of articles which he co-edited with Herbert Vorgrimler, Diaconia in Christo; ser. Quaestiones Disputatae 15/16 (Herder: Freiburg im Breisgau, 1962); see pp. 285-324). In this essay, Rahner displays a highly nominalist theology of diaconal ordination and diaconal orders. We find him simply reversing the order of sacramental causality, reasoning as though the sacramental sign were indefinitely plastic, continually informed by concrete facticity of the empirical situation, and not by the liturgical intentionality intrinsic to every sacramental sign and therefore intrinsic to the sacramental character received at ordination, the res et sacramentum which is the effect ex opere operato of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Church by the risen Christ.

E.g., we are told that

If one bears the distinction of office and of the rite of the transmission of office clearly in mind — and if one is quite clear in one’s mind about the fact that in the very nature of things a rite of the transmission of office can “demand” celibacy only if the office to be transmitted demands it — then it will be easy to answer the question with which we are now concerned. For the Church shows by her practice that she does not see any very close and necessary connection between the office of deacon and celibacy. For this office exists and is transmitted in the Church without celibacy being demanded. For, those men and office-bearers in the Church in whose case the desirability of a sacramental transmission of office is indicated here are de facto for the most part married men, and neither the official Church nor people in the Church have ever maintained or felt any incompatibility or inconvenience in the co-existence of this office in recent centuries or at the present time.

Throughout this widely-published article, Rahner expressly presupposes that the service rendered by the participation of married laymen in the Church’s mission is the concrete exercise of a factual if anonymous diaconate which, as anonymous, can only have arisen and been transmitted nonsacramentally: we have seen him speak nonchalantly of deacons as

those men and office-bearers in the Church in whose case the desirability of a sacramental transmission of office is indicated here. (emphasis added)

For Rahner, clearly enough, the meaning of the diaconal office is controlled by the pragmatics of its quite anonymous exercise. This entirely gratuitous presupposition controls his analysis. In view of the presupposed “de facto” situation, ordination to the diaconate, as he argues, must now conform to what that “diaconate” already is, by virtue of its supposedly de facto ongoing transmission and exercise by married laymen. Every significant question is begged.

Rahner’s reasoning discounts a priori the sacramental efficacy ex opere operato of ordination to the diaconate, and reduces the Church’s liturgical worship to that level of historical anonymity which will support the article’s major premise of an anonymously transmitted diaconate already in existence as a matter of hard fact: i.e., pragmatically. There is no reason for limiting his rational to the diaconate.

Consequently, for Rahner, the sacramental sign of diaconal orders is intrinsically empty, devoid of any intrinsic intelligibility and so without any intrinsic sacramental efficacy, for that intelligibility, and therefore that efficacy, according to Rahner’s postulate, have already been supplied ab extra, pragmatically and “anonymously” by the de facto historical situation.

To accept this rationale is to accept ordination sola fide; the diaconal Order can have nothing to do with the sacramental realism which specifies Catholicism, nor can any of those office-bearers in the Church in whose case the “desirability of a sacramental transmission of office is indicated”.

We need not here repeat nor enlarge upon the sharp criticism already made of Rahner’s sacramental theology: for a celebrated instance of that criticism, see William A. Van Roo, S.J., “Reflections on Karl Rahner’s “Kirche und Sakramente”,” Gregorianum 44 (1963) 465-500. The same sacramental nominalism as Rahner then endorsed now serves such organizations as CORPUS with respect to their dismissal of any need for priestly celibacy, and such organizations as the Women’s Ordination Conference with respect to their dismissal of any need for priestly masculinity, or indeed for the priesthood as defined by the Council of Trent.

Summarily, those theologians and bishops favoring the restoration of the permanent diaconate as noncelibate generally understood celibacy to be a merely disciplinary usage, advantageous under past circumstances but without intrinsic significance for the diaconate, and a matter therefore dispensable for practical purposes. The dropping of this supposedly extrinsic disciplinary requirement was dealt with by them simply as the quite acceptable and necessary price to be paid for supposedly pastoral ends — which were recited at length by some dozen contributors to the last section of the Diaconia in Christo. It is fairly evident that when celibacy is understood to be merely a disciplinary matter, its waiver is eo ipso the waiver of continence in the married deacon: any other view must derive from something more than an extrinsic disciplinary usage.

The conciliar Fathers’ unconcern for the doctrinal weight of the ancient tradition of diaconal celibacy, and for any doctrinal import which the restoration of the permanent diaconate as noncontinent might have, was not uncommon. While those favoring the restoration often stressed also the doctrinal character of the close association of the diaconate with the priesthood and the episcopacy, this association contributed little to the discussion. The novel association of the restored diaconate with marriage and the exercise of marital intercourse by married deacons was much more in view, however uncritically, as the language, already cited, of the “Formal Request” of the Original Deacon Circle reveals:

the Church is also stressing more and more today the witnessing power of the sacrament of matrimony as a sign of Christ’s union with his Church and as a means of sanctification in the world.

From the perspective afforded by the passage of more than thirty years, it may be said that the hopes placed in such a “diaconate” as Rahner, the authors contributing to the final section of Diaconia in Christo, and “The Original Deacon Circle” envisaged, have not been fulfilled, whether in the First World or in the Third. An anonymous diaconate is finally imperceptible, which is to say, fictive. An anonymous diaconate cannot but vanish from history, for it has no sacramental objectivity, no character given ex opere operato by the efficacious sacramental sign that is ordination to the diaconal service of the altar, and can only be imperceptible to, and thus without impact upon, the secularity of the world. If the restoration of the permanent diaconate is to be efficacious in those dioceses which elect it, such restoration can be realized only by a return to the Catholic tradition, and to a fuller appreciation of the sacramental, liturgical, and apostolic specificity of the diaconate than was in evidence among those discussing its renewal at Vatican II, or has been in evidence since.

Image

The Dying Saint Joseph (St. Louis shrine)

The Dying St. Joseph

Joyce A. Little – dissertation 1984

Joyce A. Little   click there

Alcuin Reid on Klaus Gamber

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Review of Msgr. Gamber’s Classic Study by Dr. Alcuin Reid

Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background, Roman Catholic Books 2006, 224pp pb. $24.95

Reviewed by Dr. Alcuin Reid

The news that Monsignor Klaus Gamber’s book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background has been brought back into print by Roman Catholic Books is very good news indeed, for it is a seminal work which has done much to expose the extent of discontinuity in the post-conciliar reform. It stands alongside Archbishop Bugnini’s own book, The Reform of the Liturgy, as essential reading – though Gamber is certainly the more accessible of the two.

Gamber’s book is in fact two books. The first examines the overall work of the changes made to the liturgy in the 1960’s. He sees the question of whether or not the changes were an organic development as crucial. His conclusions speak for themselves: “Obviously, the reformers wanted a completely new liturgy, a liturgy that differed from the traditional one in spirit as well as in form; and in no way a liturgy that represented what the Council Fathers had envisioned, i.e., a liturgy that would meet the pastoral needs of the faithful” (p. 100). Gamber is clear and unequivocal: a large mistake has been made with regard to the liturgy, unprecedented in the Church’s history.

However, it would be wrong to align Gamber with traditionalists who draw a line at 1962, 1955, or even earlier, beyond which all change is anathema. Gamber is a critical liturgical historian, as shown by his precise and detailed discussion of the question of which way the liturgy should be celebrated, which comprises the second book in this volume. (A more recent and comprehensive treatment of facing east, including a critical evaluation of Gamber’s contribution, is to be found in Fr U.M. Lang’s Turning Towards the Lord.)

Gamber’s concerns are historical, doctrinal and pastoral. He readily accepts the appropriateness of vernacular readings, and even of the pruning of some of the later accretions to the Traditional Roman Rite (Psalm 42 from the prayers at the foot of the altar, the Offertory prayers, the last Gospel). These prudential decisions can be argued about, as they were at Trent. But he staunchly defends traditions integral to the Roman Rite throughout its history, e.g., facing eastwards and the Roman Canon, and deprecates “the cold breath of realism [that] now pervades our worship” (p.13).

Gamber speaks frankly of the destruction of the Roman Rite after the Council, the last example of which can be found in the Ordo Missae promulgated in 1965 as the reform called for by the Council. Significantly, Archbishop Bugnini dismissed this 1965 reform as insufficient because its alterations were merely “peripheral”, insisting that “radical” changes were what was needed.

It is Gamber’s brave but loyal ‘critical traditionalism’ that gives such importance to his writing. His theses are well documented, and his research is impressive. One hopes more of his writings will be made available in translation.

After reading Gamber (and also Bugnini) it is difficult if not impossible to maintain an uncritical acceptance of the new liturgy, even when it is celebrated devoutly and with the right intention. When we recall the doctrinal importance of the liturgy (lex orandi, lex credendi), we realise that the question of how we worship is central to our faith. What then is to be done?

“What we need today … [are] bishops like those who in the fourth century courageously fought against Arianism when almost the whole of Christendom had succumbed to the heresy. We need saints today who can unite those whose faith has remained firm so that we might fight error and rouse the weak and vacillating from their apathy,” writes Gamber (p.113). At tall order, certainly, but not beyond the possibilities of Divine Providence.

quotation of the day

THE RHINE FLOWS INTO THE TIBER,

BUT THE TIBER IS PROTECTED BY AFRICANS.

-bvh

Merry Christmas from Alma!

Father Brian Van Hove, S.J.
Father Brian Van Hove, S.J.
Chaplain

Father Brian Van Hove, S.J., is the chaplain of the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, MI.  He offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the clinic every Wednesday morning. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1982.  He holds a doctorate from Catholic University in Church History.

 

Novices Have Many Talents

Novices Have Many Talents

Novices Have Many Talents

Image

Hmmmmm…

http://i2.wp.com/www.bookwormroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Obama-abortions-Muslims-alcohol.jpg?zoom=2&resize=323,323

Father Van Hove, Mr. Dylan Wallace, Julie Ann Van Hove

Family Portrait in Superior

June 5, 2016   Superior, Wisconsin

Gallery

My Backyard

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Ten Names for Girls?

Posted by on September 9, 2014 in Family HistoryBaby girl namesMuch like fashion, baby names follow trends. These days, classic-sounding names like Olivia, Sophia, and Ava are in vogue, but some more traditional names that were once on top have completely fallen to the wayside.

Now, a name like Minnie (which you may come across frequently if you are digging around your Ancestry family tree in the late 1800s) is probably only associated with young people wearing T-shirts at Disney World. That said, female names seem to vary wildly in popularity, while many of the most popular male names over the years stand the test of time. There are some monikers like Ernest, Norman, or Bernard that sound retro but all still managed to rank within the top 1,000 names in 2013 according to the Social Security Administration.

So if you are looking through your family history hoping to come across a name that will make your little girl stand out, here are a few formerly popular names that are practically nonexistent now.

Betty: Throughout the 1930s, Betty was second only to Mary among girl names, but has been on a steady decline since 1940.

Ethel: Strong showing during the 1890s, hitting 8th place, slipped to 12th in the 1900s, then dropped to 80th the following decade and never recovered.

Tammy: This female moniker skyrocketed out of nowhere in the 1960s and landed in the 13th spot. But by the 1990s, it was no longer in the top 200 and has all but disappeared since then.

Dorothy: In the 1920s Dorothy was all the rage (way before The Wizard of Oz) and peaked in the No. 2 spot, but since then, this name has slipped significantly. While it still merits a place in the top 1,000, it was most recently ranked at 808. The similar Doris (13th in the 1930s) has also been ignored over the past 15 years, not even making the top 1,000.

Ida: This classic name was the 7th-most-popular female name during the 1880s, but then slipped into disuse in subsequent decades.

Mildred: The name peaked at 6th place during the 1910s and held strong through the 1920s, but then went on a rapid decline.

Edna: It never quite reached top 10 popularity, but it was a strong contender from the 1880s all the way through the 1920s before it started sounding old-fashioned.

Gladys: Managed to crack the top 20 at the turn of the century, but dropped off by the 1910s.

Florence: For almost five decades, Florence managed to stay in (or very close to the top 20), but by the 1930s, the name was losing favor.

Bertha: In the 1880s, this name was the 8th-most-popular female name for the entire decade and then took a slow downturn. Now we think of Bertha — and Bessie, which followed a similar popularity arc — as a name more regularly associated with farm animals!

—Angel Cohn

Gallery

The Blessed Cletus

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Bishop Barber in Oakland!

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/247801/oaklands-catholic-bishop-robbed-of-cash-episcopal-ring-while-praying-near-cathedral

Saturday, May 29, 2021 

Oakland’s Catholic bishop robbed of cash, episcopal ring while praying near cathedral

Barber Official largeBishop Michael Barber, S.J. CNA file photo.

By CNA Staff

Oakland, Calif., May 26, 2021 / 18:01 pm

A gun-wielding man allegedly robbed Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland of some money and his episcopal ring near the city’s cathedral on Saturday, the very day the cathedral held a previously scheduled vigil against gun violence.

“A man pulled a gun on me, pointed it at me, and said ‘give me your wallet’,” Bishop Barber said during Sunday Mass, NBC Bay Area News reports. “I was terrified. I was afraid. I thought ‘maybe this is it.’ I said ‘I’m sorry for my sins, Lord’.”

On May 22, Bishop Barber recounted, he was praying the rosary at about 3 p.m. on a walk around the Cathedral of Christ the Light, just north of downtown Oakland. In front of the Paramount Theatre, he noticed a young man following him.

“That’s when I got a little suspicious,” he said, according to ABC7 News. “Thought I better turn back and head toward home but I didn’t make it.”

The young man quickly put a gun in the bishop’s face. He demanded he hand over his wallet and episcopal ring.

“He said give me the cash, so I gave him the cash, and then he said give me that ring,” said the bishop.

“I said please don’t shoot, I’m a Catholic priest,” he recounted.

“I was afraid. I’d rather have my life, so I gave him the ring — the ring with which I was consecrated by the archbishop when I was made a bishop,” Barber said. “The ring that means I’m married to the Diocese of Oakland. It’s as precious to me as your wedding ring is to you.”

The bishop said he prayed to God and wondered whether he would die.

“I had just given a sermon that morning, I ordained two new priests in the Cathedral and my sermon was about a Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep… go figure, you know,”

The encounter lasted about five minutes. The robber left the scene on a bicycle, the bishop said, estimating his age to be in his early twenties.

The Oakland Police Department told McClatchy News they are “actively investigating” the alleged armed robbery. Oakland has seen a 50% increase in armed robberies over 2020, the police department said.

(Story continues below)

Some forms of crime have spiked nationally in the last year, with shootings and murders especially rising during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Bishop Barber spoke about the need to forgive.

“I have to forgive him,” he said, according to ABC7 News. “I’m supposed to react like Jesus did, and I keep thinking, ‘gee I hope they catch that guy, I hope he doesn’t rob somebody else’.”

1

Cardinal Cornelius Sim has died at age 69

2

Military chaplains embrace God’s call: ‘This is where God wants me’

3

Lila Rose publishes book on pro-life activism and personal experiences

4

Pope Francis honors the late Armenian Catholic patriarch on the day of his funeral

5

Don’t let ‘false compassion’ legalize assisted suicide, say bishops of England and Wales

Parishioners who have been victims of crime are now telling their stories to Bishop Barber after Mass.

“One lady said three guys car jacked her and she was terrified. Another lady said her window had been smashed while she had been in Church… poor Oakland,” the bishop said.

Later on Saturday, after the bishop was robbed, the cathedral held a previously announced vigil against gun violence.

In a May 6 statement, Bishop Barber had cited the “alarming” rise in violence and homicide in Oakland. He called for prayer to end gun violence.

“We know we are brought into this world to love: our Catholic faith teaches of a God who is all-loving, merciful and intent on bringing each one of us to our salvation,” he said in the statement. “Sadly, our human nature is not always true to God’s intent for us. Violence is due to sin, and it seems to be escalating again in Oakland, fueled by a proliferation of guns in our homes and on our streets.”

“Violence begins in the heart. It can also end when hearts are reconciled with Christ,” Bishop Barber said.

Bishop Michael C Barber leaves the Cathedral of Christ the Light after his ordination and installation as Bishop of Oakland Credit THE CATHOLIC VOICE CNA US Catholic News 5 31 13

New Oakland bishop looks to Pope Francis’ example:

Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J., was ordained and installed as Bishop of Oakland on May 25, 2013, promising to follow Pope Francis’ emphasis on caring for the poor and the suffering.CNA White Logo

Contact phone: (303) 997-8563
Contact us between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Mountain Time Zone)

© 2021 CNA | All rights reserved.

Dr. Edward N. Peters on Canon 277: continence for all clerics

CanonLaw.infoDr. Edward PetersTo work for the proper implementation of canon law is to play an extraordinarilyconstructive role in continuing the redemptive mission of Christ. Pope John Paul IIPlease supportCanonLaw.info
BlogFacebookWebmasterNotices 15 apr 2019Masterpage1983 CodeMasterpage1917 CodeMasterpage Liber Extra Masterpage Eastern CodeResearch links Codex Vigens 1983Codex Vigens 1990 Pan-Textuals 1983Pan-Textuals 1917 Academic WorksRelated Q & A oncontinence, celibacy, and chastity, here.

Overview  The canonical obligation of perfect and perpetual continence binds all Western clerics Clerics in the Western Church, even those married, are bound by Canon 277 (and the unbroken and unanimoustradition behind that canon) to observe perfect and perpetual continence. This thesis, though it surprises most and astounds some, is not offered lightly. It is firmly grounded in Western law and tradition and has, in fact, withstood every attempt to repudiate it over the centuries, even during periods (such as obtain now) of widespread inadvertence to the requirement. 

LawCanon 277. § 1. Clerici obligatione tenentur servandi perfectam perpetuamque propter Regnum coelorum continentiam, ideoque ad coelibatum adstringuntur, quod est peculiare Dei donum, quo quidem sacri ministri indiviso corde Christo facilius adhaerere possunt atque Dei hominumque servitio liberius sese dedicare valent. § 2. Debita cum prudentia clerici se gerant cum personis, quarum frequentatio ipsorum obligationem ad continentiam servandam in discrimen vocare aut in fidelium scandalum vertere possit. § 3. Competit Episcopo dioecesano ut hac de re normas statuat magis determinatas utque de huius obligationis observantia in casibus particularibus iudicium ferat. Eng. trans. 1983 CIC 277. § 1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity. § 2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful. § 3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation. 

  Contents of this page Fundamental thesis: all Roman clerics, even those married, are subject to the obligation of continence  • citation to Studia Canonica article defending thesis, direct to PDF. • importance of studying the topic for oneself, below. • emphasis on canonical nature of argument, below. Situation of married men ordained without consent to continence, below. Arguments for diaconal continence apply a fortiori to priests, below. Four ways to reconcile law-tradition and current clerical practice, below or direct to page. Historical studies demonstrate an unbroken tradition of clerical continence, below, including: Overviews; Continence during the first millennium; Gratian’s Decree; Ius Decretalium; and Pio-Benedictine Code Some theological studies of clerical continence, below. Recent letters from the PCLT do not resolve the question, below.  • Response to PCLT Letter of 4 March 2011, direct to Memo. • Response to PCLT Letter of 17 December 2011, direct to Memo. Wider questions on married clergy in the West have arisen, below. • Refutation of Duderstadt’s essay, direct to Memo. Fuller discussion of some earlier points related to clerical continence, below.  • More on late modification of what would become Canon 277, direct to Memo. • More on the dicasterial phrase “a certain continence”, direct to Memo. • Why Canon 277 § 3 does not authorize exemptions for married clerics, blog post. • Mistranslation of Presbyterorum ordinis 16, direct to PDF. • Reply to Woestman’s comments on phrase “in matrimonio viventibus”, direct to Memo. Additional materials with relevance to clerical continence, below.  • Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Non latet (1858) • Congregation for Catholic Education, circ. let. “Come è a conoscenza” (1969) • Martimort’s Deaconesses (1986) • Brian Mullady, op, recently defended priestly celibacy (2010) • Cdl. Levada’s remarks on celibacy and continence (2011), on-line here. • Why Dcn. John Cornelius and his wife Sheryl are doing a praiseworthy thing (2013), here. A specific question on the Rite or Ordination, below. Why inadvertence to Canon 277 does not result in “custom” contrary to it, direct to Memo. New studies on, or related to, clerical continence being published, below. Concluding thought, below. Notes & Staging 
celibacy is not continence
The single most common mistake hampering discussion of this issue is confusing “celibacy” (the willed state not to enter marriage) with “continence” (the choice not to engage in conjugal relations); adding to this modern confusion is the fact that these two concepts are sometimes used, by various sources, interchangeably. Fundamental thesis: all clerics, even those married, are bound to complete continence  (a) All clerics in the Western Church, even those married, are bound by Canon 277—and the unbroken Western tradition behind that canon—to observe perfect and perpetual continence. See Edward Peters, “Canonical considerations on diaconal continence”, Studia Canonica 39 (2005) 147-180, searchable PDF here, abstracts in English, French, and Latin below. It is impossible to follow, let alone contribute to, discussion of this topic unless one first understands (even if one disagrees with) the arguments made in this article.  (b) My thesis has for obvious reasons provoked much commentary, some public, some private, some by professionals, much by amateurs (by which I mean persons who, notwithstanding sometimes impressive credentials in other fields, possess only a superficial knowledge of canon law). While I believe my canonical writing are understandable by intelligent readers with a background in Catholic thought, I caution non-canonists from assuming things that canonists would dismiss and from overlooking things that canonists would take for granted. The internet, especially the blogosphere, is a haven for people who would rather write than read. Many of the cyberspace comments about my thesis have been written by those who did not read, let alone understand, my Studia article. I urge those following this discussion not to rely on others’ characterizations of my thesis and instead to commit to the personal study necessary to understand this important matter. In any event, I cannot monitor, let alone respond to, all public discussions of this topic, though I have tried to reply to as many posts as reasonably possible, below.  (c) It is important to underscore that my thesis concerns what canon law requires today. To carry that burden I do not need to prove Scriptural or apostolic foundations for Canon 277. Most modern canons do not boast Scriptural or apostolic roots yet no one doubts their binding character. While I am, as it happens, persuaded of the Scriptural and apostolic foundations for the current canonical discipline, those who attempt to refute my thesis based on their interpretations of the Bible or Church history argue in vain. My argument is not Scriptural or apostolic; it is canonical. Biblical or historical critics are free, I suppose, to use their opinions to argue for a change in canonical discipline but not to prove what that discipline is. I have presented what canon law requires of clerics; my conclusions are susceptible only to canonically cogent refutation. 
 The situation of currently ordained married men and their wives From the outset of my observations on the text of Canon 277 I have acknowledged the anomalous canonical situation of married men ordained without personal (or uxorial) consent to the obligation of continence and I have defended the exercise conjugal rights among such persons. See, e.g., Peters, “Considerations”, 177-178. My writings on the obligations of clerical continence have been prospective in nature, asking what should bedone in the future about disconnect between law and tradition on one hand and common assumptions and practices on the other. 
 Arguments for diaconal continence apply a fortiori to priests Although my Studia article did not address the continence obligations of married priests, I believe that the arguments set out for deacons apply even more strongly to priests, that is, to clerics who are even more closely configured to Christ the High Priest than are deacons. 
 More discussion of these four options is offered here.Four ways to reconcile law-tradition and clerical practice are possible I have avoided urging to the Church toward or away from any particular resolution of this issue. I see, however, only four possible ways to reconcile the current disconnect between tradition and canon law on the one hand and current clerical practice on the other, namely: the Roman Church can:  • reaffirm the unbroken tradition of perfect and perpetual continence for all clerics; or, • reaffirm the continence obligation for all priests, but abandon it for married deacons; or, • assert a temporary continence obligation for married priests (and possibly deacons); or, • abandon any expectation of continence for married clerics (i.e., canonize the present situation). From here: “I think it ironic, to say the least, that Western married deacons and priests, despite belonging to the Church that has unquestionably held with near absolute consistency for a celibate (and, even if married, a completely continent) clergy, have—doubtless for lack of direction—adopted an approach to continence that, not only has no support in Western law or tradition, but fails to satisfy even the mitigated continence expectations of various Eastern Churches. Some people are not struck by the fact that, with no express approbation or endorsement by ecclesiastical authority, such a dramatic abandonment of Western expectations regarding such an important area of clerical life has occurred in so short a time. But, as I said in my Studia article, I think it very important, both for the operation of law and for the stability of the faith community, that such a complete change in fundamental clerical practice either be formally recognized in law if it is genuine, or be reasonably but firmly removed from practice if it is not. The current continued dichotomy between law and history on the one hand, and assumptions and practice on the other, is quite incongruous and ultimately unsupportable.” 
        Historical studies demonstrate an unbroken tradition of clerical continence Several important historical studies of clerical continence preceded my canonical examinations of this topic. I found the following works insightful. The best short overviews of this matter are:  • Alfons Maria Cdl. Stickler (Austrian prelate, 1910-2007), The Case for Clerical Celibacy, , (Ignatius Press, 1995) 106 pp., B. Ferme trans of Stickler, Seine Entwicklungsgeshichte und seine theologischen Grundlagen (1993). Order English version here. Excepts from Stickler’s Case are available on line here.  • Thomas McGovern, Priestly Celibacy Today (Scepter/Midwest Theological Forum, 1998) 248 pp., esp. pp. 58-65. Order it here. McGovern’s basic text is apparently available on-line here.  • Ignace de la Pottiere († 2003), “The biblical foundation of priestly celibacy”, Vatican website, here.  • Magdalen Ross, extended blog post “On clerical continence” (18 Jan 2011), here
  Extended studies of clerical continence as observed during the first millennium are:  • Christian Cochini (French Jesuit, 1929-), The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy,  (Ignatius Press, 1990) 469 pp., N. Marans’ trans. of Cochini, Origens apostoliques du célibat sacerdotal (1981). ▪ Review: A. Marchetto,  Apollinaris 56 (1983) 294-298. Notes: This was a doctoral dissertation directed by Jean Cdl. Danilieu. ≡ Order it here.     • Roman Cholij, Clerical Celibacy in East and West (Gracewing, 1989) 226 pp., available in part on-line here. ▪ Review: A. Wilder, Angelicum 67 (1990) 584-585.  • Stefan Heid (German priest, 1961-), Celibacy in the Early Church: the beginnings of a discipline of obligatory continence for clerics in East and West, (Ignatius Press, 2000) 376 pp., M. Miller trans. of  Heid, Zölibat in der frühen Kirche: Die Anfänge einer Enthaltsamkeitsplicht für Kleriker in Ost und West (1997). Order English version here. ▪ Review: J. Lynch, Studia Canonica 36 (2002) 277-278.  
Books  Cochini (1990) Stickler (1995)  McGovern (1997)  Heid (2000)
  The classic examination of clerical continence in Gratian’s Decree is: Filippo Liotta, La Continenza dei Chierici nel Pensiero Canonistico Classico: da Graziano a Gregorio IX (Quaderni de Studi Senesi, 1971) 401 pp. ▪ Reviews: C. Munier, Revue d’ Histoire Ecclésiastique 67 (1972) 485-489 (French); J. Brundage, Speculum 48 (1973) 376-377 (English). I know of no formal examination of clerical continence under the Ius Decretalium (mid-13th to early-20th centuries), but I am preparing one. So far, however, nothing in my examination of the fontes for 1917 CIC 132, see below, suggests even the slightest gap in the tradition of clerical continence. The obligation of complete continence under Pio-Benedictine law, even for the few married clerics of those times, was unanimously upheld by standard commentators. See Peters, “Considerations” at 156-160. 
   Some theological studies of clerical continence Some theological studies of clerical continence preceded my canonical examinations of this topic. Besides theological discussions found in the above historical works, one may note:  • A. Cattaneo, ed., Married Priests? 30 Crucial Questions about Celibacy (Ignatius, 2012) 179 pp.  • Donald Keefe (American Jesuit, 1924-2018), “Clerical Continence and the Restored Permanent Diaconate” (October, 1998), available from Fr. Van Hove, SJ, on-line here.      • J. Coppens, ed., Sacerdoce et Célibat: Études Historiques et Théologiques (Gembloux/Peeters, 1971) 752 pp., English edition, Priesthood and Celibacy (Ancora, 1972) 1023 pp. 
  As further evidence that the PCLT letters do not qualify as ‘authentic interpretations’ of Canon 277, note that the PCLT itself indicated that in 2011 it had replied to several questions not considered dubia iuris, including a question “concerning permanent deacons in regard to Canon 277” (my trans). See Communicationes 43 (2011) 35.Two letters from the PCLT issued in 2011 do not resolve this question Two letters on Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts letterhead dealing with the continence obligations of married deacons were produced in 2011. (a) In the first document, dated March 4, 2011, Abp. Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the PCLT, responded to a letter faxed him two just weeks earlier (see Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions 2011 at 18-20, on-line here) and, in a single, parenthetical remark, purported to offer a “clarification” of what is, of course, a complex and controversial canonical matter. While the designation of this letter as only a “clarification” indicated that no formal interpretation of Canon 277 was intended, some observers took the prelate’s slight remark as settling a controverted canonical point, so I commented on it here. (b) In the second document, dated 17 December 2011, Abp. Coccopalmerio offered an extended “clarification” of the continence obligations of married deacons. The prelate’s letter was not immediately released to the public, but it was distributed to all US bishops under a cover letter from the USCCB dated 31 January 2012, available on-line here. I commented publicly on the US cover letter here, but responded only privately to the PCLT letter until such time as it was released to the public. That eventually happened (see Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions 2012 at 12-14) at which point I made my response available here. Two important points concerning both letters should be highlighted:  • Abp. Coccopalmerio’s second letter (even less so, his first) is not, and does not claim to be, an “authentic interpretation” of Canon 277. The authority of the PCLT over universal law in the Church is set out in ap. con. Pastor bonus (1988) n. 155: “With regard to the universal laws of the Church, the Council is competent to publish authentic interpretations confirmed by pontifical authority, after consulting the dicasteries concerned in questions of major importance.” See also EXEG COMM I: 322-323 and CLSA NEW COMM 71-73. Abp. Coccopalmerio’s letter was not confirmed—neither ‘generically’ nor ‘specifically’—by pontifical authority, and it was sent only to the US bishops. It does not satisfy, therefore, some key requirements of an authentic interpretation of universal law.  • Abp. Coccopalmerio’s letter, whatever its weight, concerns only married deacons, not married priests. My original Studia article on clerical continence focused on married deacons but, while the obligation of perfect and perpetual continence begins at diaconate, the arguments for obligatory continence among married priests—who are more closely configured to Christ the High Priest and who are more intimately linked to the altar of sacrifice than are deacons—are even stronger. Therefore, even if some change in the law of continence could be established in regard to married deacons (and recent develops such as Omnium in mentem imply, in some respects, a widening wedge between diaconate and priesthood), nothing, absolutely nothing, in Western law or tradition can account for the abandonment of the obligation of perfect and perpetual continence among married priests
 Wider questions about married clergy in the West need examination The discussion of continence obligations among married clergy is not, I suggest, unrelated to wider questions about the place of married clergy in the Roman Church generally. I outlined some of these questions in Edward Peters, “Diaconal categories and clerical celibacy”, Chicago Studies 49 (2010) 110-116, available on-line here. My Chicago Studies article occasioned a very poorly conceived and executed reply, namely, Peery Duderstadt, “A Modest Proposal: A Reply to ‘Diaconal Categories and Clerical Celibacy'”, Chicago Studies 50 (2011) 236-241. It would have been tedious to discuss all of the flaws in Duderstadt’s essay—let alone to ask Chicago Studies to publish my reactions—but I felt that some response was in order if only to illustrate for others what kind of ineptitude is wont to present itself, from time to time, even in respected venues, as informed refutation of my thesis. My reply to Duderstadt is available in PDF here
 Some points related to clerical continence can be more fully discussed Following the publication of the Studia article, some points lightly touched on therein, or not discussed at all, have surfaced among those trying to follow this discussion, to which points I have tried to respond. In no particular order, they are as follows:  • More on the removal of an exemption proposed for married deacons from the future Canon 277 (19/20 February 2011), further to Peters, “Considerations” at 169-171;  • More on the dicasterial use of the phrase “a certain continence” (26 February 2011), further to Peters, “Considerations” at 172-174;  • More on why Canon 277 § 3 does not authorize bishops to exempt married clerics from continence, further to Peters, “Considerations”, 151, 168, here.  • Edward Peters, “A note on a misapplications of Presbyterorum ordinis 16″, Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly 34/2 (2011) 33-35, on line here; and  • William Woestman, omi, published a brief look at, among things, the phrase “in matrimonio viventibus” (see Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions 2011 at 74-76, on line here), to which I replied on 27 October 2011, here
 Additional materials with relevance to clerical continence In researching more matters related to Canon 277, I continue to across interesting materials. I offer some of them here:  (a) Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Non latet (1858) “Whoever ponders diligently the true tradition of celibacy and clerical continence will indeed find that, from the first centuries of the Catholic Church, if not by a general and explicit law, at least by behavior and custom, it was firmly established that not only bishops and priests, but [all] clergy in holy Orders were to preserve inviolate virginity or perpetual continence”. Quoted by Roman Cholij, “Priesthood and celibacy according to recent Church teaching”, in Congregation for the Clergy, Priesthood: a Greater Love, a Symposium on the Thirtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Conciliar decree Prebysterorum ordinis (Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 1997) originally titled Sacerdozio: Un Amore Più Grande (1997), at 249-256, at 251, fn. 8. Original text available here (b) Congregation for Catholic Education, circ. let. “Come è a conoscenza” (1969) In the course of its “Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons” (1998), the Congregation for Catholic Education recalled its circular letter of 1969 wherein guidelines for the education of deacons were presented. See Congregation for Catholic Education, circ. let. “Come è a conoscenza” [Formation of candidates for the permanent diaconate] (16 July 1969), Enchiridion Vaticanum III, nn. 1408-1412, at 834-837. That circular letter makes no comments for or against clerical continence. 
   (c) Martimort’s Deaconesses (1986) “It is well known that, according to the ancient Latin discipline, priests and deacons who had previously contracted marriage were required, upon ordination, to practice continence but were not required to separate themselves from their wives. … In Rome, in the ninth century, [these wives] received a special blessing … and a special costume was even conferred upon them.” Aimé Georges Martimort, Deaconesses: an historical study (Ignatius, 1986) at 201, citations omitted, discussing the wives of deacons. Order it here. This passage is interesting in several respects: yet another accomplished ecclesiastical historian reports with aplomb that continence was obligatory for married men becoming deacons or priests in the West; there was appropriate solicitude for the wives of clerics lest they be cut off from the spousal support (financial, emotional, etc.) that they had a right to expect from their husbands, and for that matter, indications that married men should not be required to do without the personal assistance of their wives; and a special blessing and even manner of dress were conferred on the wives of clergy in recognition that wives too were making a great sacrifice consequent to their husbands’ ordination and would benefit by special sacramental support.   (d) Brian Mullady, op, recently defended priestly celibacy in 2010, availablehere. I would offer here three emendations to Mullady’s comments on continence.  • First, the obligation of clerical continence (c. 277) does not forbid married clerics from “consummating” their marriages, for consummation is a singular act (c. 1061 § 1) that would have been performed by married men long before they took holy orders. Rather, clerical continence requires married clergy to cease exercising their right to sexual relations with their wives after ordination (a consequence reflected by the twice iterated requirement—cc. 1031 and 1050—that wives consent to the ordination of their husbands, lest wives be deprived of the opportunity to exercise their conjugal rights within marriage without their consent). Clerical marriages, in any event, despite the observance of continence after ordination, remain “consummated”.  • Second, I would assert less firmly the idea that clerical continence has its “origin” in the Levitical observances of the Old Testament. I think it better to say that clerical continence finds prefigurement in Levitical (or temporary) continence, certainly, but that the ‘origins’ or foundations of clerical continence today are rooted in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, as Mullady suggests in the rest of his answer.  • Third, it is not so much, I think, “celibacy” that the Latin Church does not impose on Eastern Churches in union with Rome (indeed, as I have argued elsewhere, there is a growing question as to how much Rome, rhetoric notwithstanding, imposes celibacy on Western clergy these days) but rather, that Rome has not for many centuries expected continence of married Eastern clerics, despite unquestionably requiring it of her own, albeit relatively few, married clerics. The more pressing issue for the Roman Church, therefore, is: to what extent will the near-total, post-Conciliar disregard for the hitherto undoubted obligation of perfect and perpetual continence for Western clergy, including those men married, continue to be ignored? Or, is the obligation simply to be abandoned? 14 Sep 2011. 
   (e) Cdl. Levada’s remarks in Belo Horizonte on celibacy and continence (21 Nov 2011Cdl. Levada spoke out of “personal conviction, and not on behalf of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” when he proposed “celibacy and continence as a tradition going back to apostolic times”. His thoughtful appeal to history, notably his citations to the Jesuit historian Cochini (along with Alfons Stickler and Peter Brown), are very interesting.  Of related interest, and also on the Vatican’s website, is RomanCholij, “Priestly celibacy in patristics and in the history of the Church” (undated), on-line here. 
 A specific question on the Rite of Ordination The Rite of Ordination of Deacons (1989) does not require married candidates to promise celibacy or continence; therefore, according to some, married deacons are not bound by celibacy or continence. At least three responses may be offered:  • The obligations of clerical continence and celibacy are canonical in nature, not liturgical, so one must look to canonical sources (such as the Code of Canon Law), not liturgical (such as the Roman Pontifical), for their scope and application. The canonical obligation of clerical continence is set out in Canon 277 § 1 and is nowhere lifted for deacons or priests. The canonical obligation of clerical celibacy is set out in Canon 277 § 1 and is lifted for deacons in Canons 1031 § 2, 1042 n. 1, and 1050 n. 3, while that for priests can be dispensed by Rome.  • A formal promise of celibacy is not required from ordinands in order that the matrimonial impediment of holy Orders apply to single men upon ordination (and to married men upon the death of their wives), in accord with Canon 1087; so too, a formal promise of continence is not required from ordinands for the obligation of continence to apply to clerics upon ordination, in accord with Canons 266 § 1 and 277 § 1.  • The obligations of the clerical state are very many; that only a few of of them are emphasized during the rite of ordination in no way implies that those others which are not expressly declared during the rite are somehow less binding, let alone do they become non-binding. 
 Inadvertence to the obligation of continence does not result in contrary “custom” Some holding that Canon 277 binds all clerics in the Roman Church to perfect and perpetual continence nevertheless wonder whether widespread inadvertence to the continence obligation on the part of Roman married clergy might work to derogate from that ancient obligation; put another way, some wonder whether “custom” is (or was by, say, late January 2013) applicable against certain obligations set out in Canon 277. I believe the answer to that question to be No. In this context the word “custom” is canonical and must be taken in its canonical—not popular—sense if it is to be invoked for canonical purposes. No less an authority than Alphonsus Van Hove (1872-1947) dubbed “custom” the canonical topic “intricatissima”. But, because “custom” might be invoked against the obligations of Canon 277 by some unaware of what the term means canonically, I venture to explain why a “custom” argument does not avail those who hold against the obligation of perfect and perpetual continence for all clerics in the West, here
 Fr. Daly Fr. Van Hove Fr. RylandNew studies on, or related to, clerical continence are being published Several studies of clerical continence have recently appeared. In reverse chronological order, they are:  • Gary Selin, On the Christological, Ecclesiological, and Eschatological Dimensions of Priestly Celibacy in Presbyterorum Ordinis, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus and Subsequent Magisterial Documents (Catholic University of America, 2011) 366 pp., available on-line here.  • Anthony McLaughlin, The Obligation of Perfect and Perpetual Continence and Married Deacons in the Latin Church, Canon Law Studies no. 573 (Catholic University of America, 2010), available on-line here.  • John Boyle, extended blog post, “Permanent deacons are obliged by the law of continence”, 10 Nov 2010, with updates, on-line here.  • RomeReports.com(Conference News, 8 March 2010), watch for some journalistic imprecision and translation anomalies, but good report overall.  • Brendan Daly, “Priestly Celibacy: the obligations of celibacy and continence for priests”, Compass 43/4 (2009) 20-33, available on-line here.  • Brian Van Hove, Letter to the editor (Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Mar 2008), here.  • Ray Ryland, “The Gift: a married priest looks at celibacy”Crisis (October 2006); Letters to the editor, with responses by Fr. Ryland, appeared in the December 2006 issue of Crisis.  • Jorge de Otaduy, in commenting on c. 277 § 1 for the Exegetical Commentary (2004) II/1 at 349 states “Married deacons, however, are not obligated to keep perfect and perpetual continence and may continue their normal married life” adding that the import of his opinion above required c. 277 § 2 to be modified for deacons (though no modification for them is found in c. 288). Of course, Otaduy offers his remarks as a gratuitous assertions, presenting no arguments for his views. I suggest that they fall for the same reasons that I have set out at length above. Even so, I would have acknowledged Otaduy’s position if I had had access to this commentary when I wrote my Studia Canonical article. I did not. 
 concluding thought This point has been made many times, but bears repeating: the Church does not make major decisions hastily. The questions raised by me and others concerning the obligations of clerical continence under Canon 277 (and the unbroken Western tradition behind that canon) are weighty and require informed resolution. I do not know what that resolution will be. But I do know that many people are looking at one resolution of the question (namely, obligatory clerical continence) and—concluding that its immediate implementation would work an injustice on men ordained without such intentions and on their wives (which it would, of course)—dismissing out of hand that resolution as wrong. Such an approach to legal interpretation, however, is substantively mistaken and methodologically backward: substantively mistaken, in that finding for obligatory continence would not require the immediate cessation of conjugal relations between married clergy and their wives, and methodologically backward in that one should ask first what the law requires, and then ask how might behavior be brought into conformity with the law or, if appropriate, how the law might be amended to reflect new values. 

Unus ex Patribus [in Coetu de S. Hierarchia] animadvertit in historia Ecclesiam fuisse reformatam quando in honorem restituta fuit lex coelibatus. Comm. XVI: 177Notes & Staging Abstract – Analysis of c. 277 indicates that two distinct obligations are imposed on clerics in the Latin Church: sexual continence and celibacy. Continence is presented as the fundamental norm. Although the obligation of celibacy is mitigated for permament deacons, Peters finds no relaxation of the law regarding the fundamental obligation of continence for them in canon law. Testing this conclusion, Peters examines Pio-Benedictine dispositions on celibacy and continence for clerics, post-conciliar norms by which the (permanent) diaconate was restored in the West, and the legislative history of 1983 Code dispositions on the subject. He suggests that these norms maintain the obligation of continence for married permament deacons. Peters then examines various arguments by scholars that support the exercise of conjugal rights by permanent deacons (principally arguments based on c. 4) and concludes that, while these might be potentially applicable to those who received sacred orders without awareness of the requirements of law in this area, they are insufficient in themselves to establish a modification of the traditional canonical obligation of continence reasserted in c. 277. Peters invites the competent ecclesiastical authority to articulate in canonically compelling terms why the obligation of continence should not be applied to married permanent deacons, or to take the steps necessary to assure that formation programs for married permanent deacons conform to the requirement of clerical continence so that candidates for ordination and their spouses can make an informed decision. Résumé – (Anglais). Une analyse du c. 277 indique que deux obligations distinctes sont imposées aux clercs dans l’Église latine: la continence sexuelle et le célibat. La continence est présentée comme la norme fondamentale. Alors que l’obligation du célibat est mitigée pour les diacres permanents, Peters ne trouve aucun relâchement de la loi pour l’obligation fondamentale de la continence pour eux en droit canonique. Vérifiant cette conclusion, Peters examine les dispositions pio-bénédictines concernant le célibat des clercs et la continence, les normes post-conciliaires par lesquelles le diaconat (permanent) fut restauré en Occident et l’histoire législative des dispositions du Code de 1983 à ce sujet. Il suggère que ces normes maintiennent l’obligation de continence pour les diacres permanents mariés. Peters examine ensuite les quelques arguments de la part d’érudits en faveur du maintien de l’exercise des droits conjugaux par les diacres permanents (principalement des arguments fondés sur le c. 4) et conclut que, bien qu’ils soient potentiellement applicables à ceux ayant reçu les ordres sacrés sans connaître les exigencies du droit en la matière, ils sont insuffisants en soi pour entraîner une modification de l’obligation canonique traditionnelle de la continence répétée au c. 277. Peters invite l’autorité ecclésiastique compétente à articuler en des termes canoniques solides en soi pourquoi l’obligation de la continence ne devrait pas s’appliquer aux diacres permanents mariés ou prendre les moyens nécessaires pour que les programmes de formation des diacres permanents mariés soient conformes à l’exigence de continence cléricale afin que les candidats à l’ordination et leurs épouses puissent prendre une décision éclairée. Abstractus articuli: Edward Peters, “Canonical considerations on diaconal continence”, Studia Canonica 39 (2005) 147-180. Anglice. Scrutatio can. 277 demonstrat quod duae obligationes et distinctae imponuntur in clericos in Ecclesia latina: continentiam sexualem et coelibatum. Continentia sexualis autem offertur tamquam norma fundamentalis. Etsi obligatio coelibatus mitigatur pro diaconis permanentibus in Codice 1983, praesens auctor tamen non invenit pro illis relaxationem obligationis fundamentalis continentiae in canonibus. Ad hanc conclusionem tentandam, auctor examinat provisiones Codicis Pii-Benedicti in re coelibatus et continentiae clericalis, normas demanantes post Concilii finem quibus diaconatus (permanens) in occidente restituitur, et historiam legislativam 1983 Codicis dispositionum hac in re. Quas normas sustinere obligationem continentiae pro diaconis permantibus etiam uxoratis praesenti auctori persuasum est. Magna cum diligentia examinat auctor argumenta doctorum qui defendunt exercitium iurium conjugalium a diaconis permanentibus (praecipue argumenta ex can. 4) et concludat quod, non obstantibus argumentis fortasse propositis pro illis qui ordines sacros accepiunt inscientes normas legis in re continentiae obligationis, non esse satis in se statuere modificationem obligationis continentiae vindicatae in can. 277. Postremo, invitat praesens auctor ecclesiasticam auctoritatem competentem demonstrare modis canonice cogentibus obligationem continentiae ad instituendos diaconos permanendos uxoratos non applicari, vel, instruere ut Rationes studiorum in quibuslibet regionibus ad diaconos permanentes uxoratos instituendos conforment ad normas continentiae clericalis, ita ut candidati ad ordines necnon uxores suae possint iudicium bene informatum facere.  The USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations recently notified American bishops that it had received from Abp. Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, a “clarification” regarding whether married permanent deacons were obligated to observe perfect and perpetual continence per Canon 277 § 1. This marks the second time that Abp. Coccopalmerio has offered an opinion on whether Canon 277 § 1 binds married permanent deacons to continence. The prelate’s first letter (4 March 2011) and my response to it, are available here. The Committee has notified US bishops that, per “observations” formulated by PCLT officials, married permanent deacons are not bound to observe continence. The Committee invited bishops to share the dicasterial response with arch/diocesan officials who might find it useful; since then the conference notification has apparently circulated widely. I saw it a few days ago. There is little to say about the USCCB notification itself. It does not indicate the reasoning by which dicastery officials arrived at their position and it does not add any observations of its own. If the original dicastery letter (PCLT 13095/2011, 17 dec 2011) becomes public—it is not secret, obviously, but I have not seen it in a public venue yet—I will feel free to comment publicly on it. In the meantime, I will share my responses to the Roman letter with those who already have it and who wish to follow this important, and on-going, issue.  Some exchanges in blogosphere, probably of minimal value at this point: Ignitum Today (March 2013) American Papist I (2); American Papist II (-); Anchoress (3); Deacon’s Bench I (-); Deacon’s Bench II (7); Deacon’s Bench III (2); Deacon’s Bench IV (3); Deacon’s Bench V (4); Deacons Today I (6); Deacons Today II (18); Nat. Cath. Reporter (1); Sioux City Deacon (4); St. Louis Catholic (4*) Vox Nova (12); WDTPRS (3). * My four reply posts are no longer visible at St. Louis Catholic. In fact, all that remains there last I checked is the original “logical fallacy” claim made against me, allegedly penned by a canon lawyer who would not admit publicly to his/her remarks. Pity. I am actually getting questions from people who wonder whether I’ve seen the SLC post and whether I plan to reply! In any case, as I had pointed out at SLC, I responded to the “logical fallacy” argument on-line more than two years ago and in other threads more recently. Might I suggest trying the thread at Deacons Today II where inconvenient replies from those whose views are publicly challenged don’t seem to disappear. See also:  • My brief reply to comments on Catholic Answers Forum, no. 69, 23 Feb 2009.  • Extended responses to Dcn. Pilger’s commentsbrief follow-up, 19 Feb 2009  • My brief reply to posts on The Deacon’s Bench, dated 16 Feb 2009. Some other of my blog posts:  • Reminder: Canon 277, at some point, needs to be authoritatively addressed (9 jan 2017) • If we do discuss ‘clerical celibacy” let’s really discuss it (10 dec 2015) • My Q&A on ‘continence’, ‘celibacy’, and ‘chastity’ (15 jan 2015) • Some thoughts occasioned by Dcn. Ditewig’s latest post 26 Jan 2011 • Why “Anglicanorum coetibus” does not control one’s reading of Canon 277 25 Jan 2011 • Questions on clerical continence requires attention to Orders and Matrimony 19 Jan 2011 • Debating complex points of law is hard; repudiating false quotations is harder 18 Jan 2011 • Let’s avoid “consequence-driven analysis” 18 Jan 2011 • The difference between personal status and the objective requirements of law 18 Jan 2011 • Some thoughts on Dcn. Ditewig’s comments on diaconal continence 17 Jan 2011 • Lawler, A canonical bombshell, 17 Jan 2011 • Canon 277 § 3 does not allow bishops to exempt clerics from continence 17 Jan 2011 • Deacon Keith Fournier 17 Jan 2011 • Canon 277 and clerical continence in the Roman Church 15 Jan 2011 • Response to Dcn. James Russell’s remarks on Canon 277 6 Aug 2012 Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, instr. ad Archiep. Fogarasien. et Alba-Iulien. Graeci ritus Non latet Amplitudinem Tuam (24 martii 1858), in Collectanea S. Congregationis de Propaganda Fide seu Decreta, Instructiones, Rescripta pro Apostolicis Missionibus, in 2 vols., (Romae: S.C. de Propaganda Fide, 1907) doc. n. 1158, I: 627-630, at 628; also in P. Gasparri & J. Serédi, eds., Codicis Iuris Canonici Fontes, in 9 vols., (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1923-1949) doc. n. 4844, VII: 372-376, at 373: “Qui germanam tradtionem de coelibatu ac continentia cleri sedulo expenderit inveniet profecto vel a primis Ecclesiae catholicae saeculis, si non generali et explicita lege, moribus saltem ac conseutudine fuisse firmatum, ut nedum Episcopi et presbyteri, sed ut clerici in sacris constituti virginitatem, vel perpetuam continentiam inviolate servarent.” Note: I found all of Non latet worth reading. Note that it dates from nearly a generation before the Bickell-Funk debate. Here is a provisional searchable PDF scan of Non latetuntil I can secure a better.  Sources for 1917 CIC 132 Canon 277 § 1 of the 1983 Code basically came from Canon 132 § 1 of the 1917 Code. That Pio-Benedictine canon, in turn, arose from many sources as listed by Gasparri in the footnote to that canon. It is not easy for non-canonists to search out the sources (fontes) of Pio-Benedictine law, so, for the benefit of interested parties, I have broken out the sources for 1917 CIC 132 § 1 below. “Friedberg” refers of course to his 2-volume edition of the Corpus Iuris Canonici, and “Gasparii” refers to his 9-volume Codicis Iuris Canonici Fontes. I would welcome any corrections or emendations. Dist. 27, c. 8, Presbiteris (Friedberg I: 100)Dist. 28, c. 2, Decernimus (Friedberg I: 101)Dist. 28, c. 8, Diaconi (Friedberg I: 102)Dist. 28, c. 9, Presbiter (Friedberg I: 103)Dist. 31, c. 1, Ante triennium (Friedberg I: 111)Dist. 31, c. 2, Sacerdotibus (Friedberg I: 111)Dist. 31, c. 3, Episcopos (Friedberg I: 112)Dist. 31, c. 7, Si laicus (Friedberg I: 113)Dist. 31, c. 10, Lex continentiae (Friedberg I: 113)Dist. 31, c. 14, Aliter se (Friedberg I: 115)Dist. 32, c. 1, Cum sacerdotibus (Friedberg I: 116)Dist. 32, c. 2, Multorum relatione (Friedberg I: 116)Dist. 32, c. 4, De illo clerico (Friedberg I: 117)Dist. 32, c. 5, Nullus missam (Friedberg I: 117)Dist. 32, c. 6, Preter hoc (Friedberg I: 117)Dist. 32, c. 10, Eos qui post (Friedberg I: 120)Dist. 32, c. 11, Erubescant (Friedberg I: 120)Dist. 32, c. 13, Placuit episcopos (Friedberg I: 120)Dist. 32, c. 14, Seriatim (Friedberg I: 121)Dist. 33, c. 7, Habuisse (Friedberg I: 124)Dist. 81, c. 19, Ministri alteris (Friedberg I: 286)Causa 27, q. 1, c. 40, Ut lex continentiae (Friedberg I: 1059) Extra, III, 1, c. 13, Ut clericorum (Friedberg II: 452)Extra, III, 3, c. 1, Si qui clericorum (Friedberg II: 457)Extra, III, 3, c. 4, Sane sacerdos (Friedberg II: 458)Extra, III, 3, c. 5, Diversis fallaciis (Friedberg II: 458)Extra, IV, 6, c. 1, De diacono (Friedberg II: 684)Extra, IV, 6, c. 2, Ex literarum (Friedberg II: 685)Extra, V, 31, c. 4, Clerici (Friedberg II: 836)in Sexto, III, 15, c. 1, Quod votum (Friedberg II: 1053)in Clem., IV, c. 1, Eos qui divino (Friedberg II: 1177)Extravag. Joan. XXII, t. VI, c. 1, Antiquae (Friedberg II: 1212) Conc. Lateranen. I, c. 3Conc. Trident., sess XXI, de ref. c. 6Conc. Trident., sess XXIII, de ref. c. 13Conc. Trident., sess XXIV, de matrimonio, c. 9Leo X (in Conc. Lateranen. V), const. Supernae dispositionis, 5 maii 1514, § 34 Innocentius XIII, const. Apostolici ministerii, 23 maii 1723, § 8 (Gasparri I: 585-586)Benedictus XIII, const. In supremo, 23 sept. 1724, § 6 (Gasparri I: 601)Benedictus XIII, const. In supremo, 23 sept. 1724, § 28 (Gasparri I: 608-609)Benedictus XIII, const. Pastoralis officii, 27 mart. 1726, § 3 (Gasparri I: 634)Benedictus XIV, const. Ad militantis, 30 mart. 1742, § 12 (Gasparri I: 725)Benedictus XIV, const. Ad militantis, 30 mart. 1742, § 25 (Gasparri I: 728)Benedictus XIV, const. Etsi pastoralis, 26 maii 1742 § VII, n. 26 (Gasparri I: 748)Benedictus XIV, const. Etsi pastoralis, 26 maii 1742 § VII, n. 27 (Gasparri I: 749)Benedictus XIV, instr. Eo quamvis tempore, 4 maii 1745, § 34 seq. (Gasparri I: 898-899)Benedictus XIV, ep. encycl. Allatae sunt, 26 iul. 1755, § 22 (Gasparri II: 460-461)Gregorius XVI, litt. ap. Cum in Ecclesia, 17 sept. 1833 (Gasparri II: 754)Pius IX, ep. encycl. Qui pluribus, 9 nov. 1846 (Gasparri II: 807)Pius IX, litt. ap. Multiplices inter, 10 iun. 1851 (Gasparri II: 855)Pius IX, litt. ap. Ad Apostolicae, 22 aug. 1851 (Gasparri II: 857)Pius IX, Syllabus errorum, prop 72 (Gasparri II: 1008)Pius IX, const. Apostolicae Sedis, 12 oct. 1869, § III, n. 1 (Gasparri III: 28) S. C. S. Off. (Ratisbonen.), 22 dec. 1880, ad I (Gasparri IV: 385)S. C. S. Off. , 13 ian. 1892, ad 5 (Gasparri IV: 470)S. C. de Prop. Fide, instr. (ad Archiep. Fogarasien et Alba-Iulien.), 24 mart. 1858 (Gasparri VII: 372) Pontificale Rom., tit. De ordinibus conferendisPontificale Rom., tit, De ordinatione subdiaconi 

User notesThere might be editions of works that pre-date or post-date those cited herein. Reviews and Notes are grey-highlighted, on-line biographical information is underlined blue-linked, and matters in green highlights are of special interest. Yellow highlights are cautions for users, while the markers “=”, “≠”, and “≈” are placeholders for use by webmaster.

Staging 

 Materials on this website represent the opinions of Dr. Edward Peters and are offered in accord with Canon 212 § 3.This website undergoes continual refinement and development. No warranty of completeness or correctness is made.Dr. Peters’ views are not necessarily shared by others in the field nor are they intended as canonical or civil advice. CanonLaw.info Homepage & Site Directory / Help support CanonLaw.info/Original Materials © Edward N. Peters

Honey-Bunny and Cory

Honey-Bunny and Cory

Image

St. Louis, Missouri

A safehouse from the pandemic!

Jesuit Hall in St. Louis.

Image

Jonathan Robinson, CO +RIP Toronto

Jonathan Robinson CO RIP