Tag Archives: Catholic Links

Miss “Derry” from Saginaw visits Father Van Hove


12 May 2016


Continence and the Diaconate in the contemporary Latin Church—more by Edward N. Peters in ‘Chicago Studies’ 49 [2010] 110-116

Edward N. Peters’s  article “Diaconal Categories and Clerical Celibacy” is now available on-line. Dr. Peters writes:
Clerical continence and clerical celibacy are, as I have taken great pains to make clear, distinct issues, but they obviously overlap in certain respects; eventually, questions about one will occasion questions about the other.posted by Dr. Edward Peters at This Permanent Link

Monday, May 10, 2010

Diaconal categories and clerical celibacy
My article on “Diaconal categories and clerical celibacy”, has just appeared in Chicago Studies 49 (2010) 110-116. In it I question the rationale and ultimate sustainability of treating the diaconate as, in effect, two distinct categories (so-called “transitional” and “permanent”), the implications of this recent bifurcation for Western clerical celibacy (1983 CIC 277), and conclude with some suggestions for recovering our appreciation of the essential unity of the diaconate.


Because my recent postings on diaconal (and a fortiori presbyteral) continence might lead to a more systematic examination of how the ordination of tens of thousands of married men to the diaconate (and of scores of married men to the priesthood) is impacting wider questions of clerical discipline in the West, I take this opportunity to post, with the kind permission of the editors at Chicago Studies, a searchable PDF of an article I recently published there on this question, “Diaconal Categories and Clerical Celibacy”.

In the Chicago Studies article I make four main points.

1. After establishing that the adjectives “permanent” and “transitional” are poor indicators of diaconal identity, I demonstrate that, when these two apparently contrasting terms are applied to the diaconate, they give the mistaken impression that there are many more differences between the ‘two kinds of diaconates’ than really exist.

2. I suggest that the ordination of tens of thousands of married men to the diaconate (and of scores of married men to the priesthood) has occasioned a “crisis” (in the Greek sense of the word, as in, ‘arriving at a time for important decisions’) regarding the future of clerical celibacy in the Roman Church.

3. Next, assuming that the West desires to preserve and promote the gift of clerical celibacy, I offer five concrete suggestions for the reform of the diaconate that will reflect the Second Vatican Council’s esteem for it as a “permanent rank of the hierarchy” while respecting the Council’s openness to calling some married men to diaconal orders.

4. Finally, for the benefit of those who have not read my Studia Canonica article on clerical continence, I suggest some consequences that a renewed recognition of the obligation of perfect and perpetual continence among Western clergy, even married ones, might have for wider questions of clerical celibacy.

ITEST: Institute For Theological Encounter With Science and Technology

ITEST News & Events

Contact Sister Marianne Postiglione, RSM
for information at:
Phone: 314-792-7220
E-mail ITEST-Info


The Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology (ITEST), launched in 1966 and incorporated in 1968, studies the advances in science and technology and their meaning for the Christian understanding of the human being and of creation.

ITEST has a long history and mission as an international, interdisciplinary, interfaith community of Christians concerned with one of the most promising but urgent issues facing the churches and the civil society, namely, the revolutionary advance in scientific and technological capability, particularly as it is directed toward living systems. Religiously, these developments are important relative to human dignity, freedom and bodily integrity. Socially, the technologies and industries developing from advances in the life sciences have the potential of being used to create either a far better society or one in which the human being is perceived as merely an interchangeable part of the social machinery.

ITEST functions with a Board of Directors representing the academic and professional disciplines, among them, science/technology, philosophy, theology, law and education. ITEST has members worldwide – representing 30 countries – as well as members from most areas of the United States. In effect, the Institute’s concern and interest “spans the globe” both geographically and intellectually.

ITEST produces a quarterly Bulletin covering timely and relevant topics in the encounter or meeting with faith and science/technology. ITEST also holds yearly symposia on theology and science/technology — issues which concern the churches and which demand an informed response. Also available for reference is a variety of mediabooks, and award-winning DVD’s and videos. A recent project of ITEST is a pilot program for Kindergarten – 4th Grade consisting of faith/science interface modules produced for our youngest Christians.