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I haven't thoroughly read over all the responses, but it seems like some precision is missing here with regard to the definition of celibacy.

Celibacy is the promise not to marry, not the promise of continence. Now the promise of continence is implied for an unmarried person who promises not to marry, but it is certainly not implied for a person who is already married, but who by taking such a vow is promising not to marry AGAIN after the death of their spouse.

See "Vow of Chastity" here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15511a.htm
Yep, and I mentioned something akin to that with this:

Quote:Can. 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.

Laws cannot contradict each other.  So either this law doesn't apply to married permanent deacons, or it does and therefore they are bound to something they cannot be bound to since they are already married.

With respect, it *is* the constant tradition of both "lungs" of the Church.  In the West, continence is perpetual for clerics who serve at the altar.  This has led to celibacy for major orders as the rule, but the basis of the rule is the continence.  As I went over at length a few posts ago. 

In the East, the continence is periodic.  But, they maintain the apostolic tradition of continence for clerics who serve at the altar.

Only married deacons in the Western Church break this traditional rule.

If someone proposed an "Eastern Solution" for the Western married deacons (periodic continence based upon their Mass-serving schedule) that would at least be in keeping with *A* tradition of the Church (even if it was the incorrect one, hemispherically speaking).

As it is, what is being done is technically contrary to Canon Law and absolutely contrary to tradition, which is the standard by which the law is interpreted.  Not to mention that the *way* it is done (candidates for ordination refusing to answer a key promise at their ordination) is at very least illicit and possibly a problem of validity. 


Not sure how many other ways one can say it.



Can. 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.

Laws cannot contradict each other.  So either this law doesn't apply to married permanent deacons, or it does and therefore they are bound to something they cannot be bound to since they are already married.


With all due respect, I answered this pointedly, here:


There are two possible interpretations of Canon 277:

Can. 277 §1 Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and are therefore bound to celibacy, except permanent deacons who are married, who are bound to neither.

Can. 277 §1 Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and are therefore bound to celibacy, unless already married, in which case they are bound only to continence.


One of these interpretations represents the constant and ancient tradition of the Church and has not been over-ruled or abrogated by any act of the Church.  The other is a speculation which Rome has declined to endorse officially. 


The reason why #2 can easily be assumed as the correct one is that #2 is how the Church has *always* interpreted the rule, since at very least the 3rd century, and in the opinion of the absolute historical authorities on the subject, since apostoic times. 

In other words, there's a difference between a law contradicting itself and a law depending on the common knowledge of the tradition of the Church to be correctly interpreted.  If one does not use the traditional interpretation, but instead interprets the law as you are attempting to do, then it is in fact contradictory:

Clerics are to be celibate, but married deacons can be clerics.

That's an actual contradition.

The legitimate traditional interpretation of the canon requires no such gymnastics.  It is much simpler.  As I stated above, it goes:

Can. 277 §1 Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and are therefore bound to celibacy, unless already married, in which case they are bound only to continence.

..and as noted THIS is the interpretation which has the advantage of being recognizable to popes and council from the entire history of the Church, whereas the other interpretation you are arguing for is a complete novelty.




Now, although I fully expect to be banned, I think I need to make an explanatory post for the peanut gallery who are reading and wondering what the truth is here.

What we are discussing here is an arcane point of Canon Law, but it has important ramification to ordinary Catholics, and here's why:  There are two things at issue here, the proper interpretation of the Law, and the Doctrine behind it.  If one does not have a doctrinal foundation to work from, then Canon Law is just a series of arbitrary rules that the Church made up for itself.

If one has a proper doctrinal foundation, then the Law is a juridical expression of Truth. 

To apply this to the current situation, look at how modern Catholics understand these ideas.  For them, to abstain from sex in marriage is not logical.  As far as the modern Church is concerned, sex is entirely compatible with worship, and it would be entirely appropriate for a married deacon to "do the deed" then throw on the alb and stole and serve at Mass.  Of all the ideas that came out of the Church immediately after the council, this may be the most novel. 

If you look at this from an entirely traditional perspective, then the Law must be an expression of correct doctrine to be correct, and only interpretations which *preseve clerical continence for major orders* could possibly be in keeping with tradition, correct doctrine, and thus only those could be considered correct interpretations of the law. 

Using these rules, even if the traditional interpretation was the more tortured one, requiring more mental gymnastics, we'd still have to opt for it.  Thankfully, when all of the aspects of the law are taken in the context of Church history, it's by far the most comfortable one as well.  Once one starts twisting, then one has to twist everything, and that's what we've seen in this thread.  If one has a goal-directed  approach, where one is attempting to achieve the goal of proving that married incontinent deacons as OK, then one has to try to prove some odd ideas.  As just one for instance, one has to try to prove that a basic statement in the law such as about deacon's wives vetoing ordination means something entirely different in 1983-2011 than it meant in the entire history of the Church before that.

I really do not see this issue very much different than the other various controversies and absues that arose after the council.   In order to sneak these inventions and abuses past the people of God, the abusers first had to make the people ignorant of true doctrine.  Once the people had been convinced that all aspects of the faith were arbitrary, then anything could be changed. 
Celibacy is the promise not to marry, not the promise of continence. Now the promise of continence is implied for an unmarried person who promises not to marry, but it is certainly not implied for a person who is already married, but who by taking such a vow is promising not to marry AGAIN after the death of their spouse.

This is a really good example of what I'm talking about.  A very helpful aid to the logical process on this issue is to phrase the question:

"If it was A OK fine for the cleric to be married and sexually active after his ordination, then what is the logical reason for preventing him to remarry in the event of the death of his spouse?"


A sensical answer to this question can only exist if one understands that the rule not to re-marry was imposed on *perpetually continent* married clerics who had given up their right to congugal relations after ordination.

I'd really like to see someone explain it a different way.
(02-15-2011, 09:32 PM)Basher Wrote: [ -> ]Now, although I fully expect to be banned, I think I need to make an explanatory post for the peanut gallery who are reading and wondering what the truth is here.

Quit with the  "I expect to be banned" baiting nonsense.

As far as making explanatory posts and pontificating your opinion, you can get a blog.  This is a discussion forum.
(02-15-2011, 09:06 PM)Basher Wrote: [ -> ]With respect, it *is* the constant tradition of both "lungs" of the Church.  In the West, continence is perpetual for clerics who serve at the altar.  This has led to celibacy for major orders as the rule, but the basis of the rule is the continence.  As I went over at length a few posts ago. 

In the East, the continence is periodic.  But, they maintain the apostolic tradition of continence for clerics who serve at the altar.

Only married deacons in the Western Church break this traditional rule.

If someone proposed an "Eastern Solution" for the Western married deacons (periodic continence based upon their Mass-serving schedule) that would at least be in keeping with *A* tradition of the Church (even if it was the incorrect one, hemispherically speaking).

As it is, what is being done is technically contrary to Canon Law and absolutely contrary to tradition, which is the standard by which the law is interpreted.  Not to mention that the *way* it is done (candidates for ordination refusing to answer a key promise at their ordination) is at very least illicit and possibly a problem of validity. 


Not sure how many other ways one can say it.

The tradition of periodic continence in the east is not inherently clerical.  Periodic continence was also prescribed for the laity even in the Latin Rite (cf., the Roman Catechism).

Since we've opened up the Eastern Canon....

You made the argument above that the only reason you can think of for a deacon to have to get his wife's permission was permanent continence, correct?  And you offer this as proof of intent, or proof of something but what I'm not quite sure because I don't believe it is proof of anything.

How do you explain the fact that the Eastern Canon requires the same of its married clergy?  You admit they aren't required to undertake permanent continence, yet the permission of the wife is still required even though she will not be surrendering anything more than a Catholic woman married to a layman circa the Council of Trent.  How come?

Quote:Canon 769

1. The authority who admits a candidate for sacred ordination should obtain: (1) the declaration which is mentioned in can. 761, also a certificate of the last sacred ordination or, if it
is the case of the first sacred ordination, a certificate of  baptism and chrismation with holy myron; (2) if the candidate is married, a certificate of marriage and the written consent of his wife;
How do you explain the fact that the Eastern Canon requires the same of its married clergy?  You admit they aren't required to undertake permanent continence, yet the permission of the wife is still required even though she will not be surrendering anything more than a Catholic woman married to a layman circa the Council of Trent.  How come?

Actually, your question is good, and has a simple answer:

Because the cleric can be removed from the clerical state or even excommunicated for violating what for him is law.  It's very serious for him.  That's the "why".


You do make the very good point that periodic continence is so important in the history of Right Worship that it was even recommended to the laity.  I appreciate the contribution, I will be using that when indicated.   
(02-15-2011, 09:32 PM)Basher Wrote: [ -> ]Now, although I fully expect to be banned, I think I need to make an explanatory post for the peanut gallery who are reading and wondering what the truth is here.

What we are discussing here is an arcane point of Canon Law, but it has important ramification to ordinary Catholics, and here's why:  There are two things at issue here, the proper interpretation of the Law, and the Doctrine behind it.  If one does not have a doctrinal foundation to work from, then Canon Law is just a series of arbitrary rules that the Church made up for itself.

If one has a proper doctrinal foundation, then the Law is a juridical expression of Truth. 

To apply this to the current situation, look at how modern Catholics understand these ideas.  For them, to abstain from sex in marriage is not logical.  As far as the modern Church is concerned, sex is entirely compatible with worship, and it would be entirely appropriate for a married deacon to "do the deed" then throw on the alb and stole and serve at Mass.  Of all the ideas that came out of the Church immediately after the council, this may be the most novel. 

If you look at this from an entirely traditional perspective, then the Law must be an expression of correct doctrine to be correct, and only interpretations which *preseve clerical continence for major orders* could possibly be in keeping with tradition, correct doctrine, and thus only those could be considered correct interpretations of the law. 

Using these rules, even if the traditional interpretation was the more tortured one, requiring more mental gymnastics, we'd still have to opt for it.  Thankfully, when all of the aspects of the law are taken in the context of Church history, it's by far the most comfortable one as well.  Once one starts twisting, then one has to twist everything, and that's what we've seen in this thread.  If one has a goal-directed  approach, where one is attempting to achieve the goal of proving that married incontinent deacons as OK, then one has to try to prove some odd ideas.  As just one for instance, one has to try to prove that a basic statement in the law such as about deacon's wives vetoing ordination means something entirely different in 1983-2011 than it meant in the entire history of the Church before that.

I really do not see this issue very much different than the other various controversies and absues that arose after the council.   In order to sneak these inventions and abuses past the people of God, the abusers first had to make the people ignorant of true doctrine.  Once the people had been convinced that all aspects of the faith were arbitrary, then anything could be changed. 

Yes, we covered the case that you are making a political / doctrinal stand over a point of law.  I'm not interested in that, and I think it's foolhardy for reasons I could give if you're interested, but I suspect you're not.  I'll offer this, though:  doctrine isn't going to be fixed via Canon Law, Canon Law will only be fixed by fixing the doctrine - i.e., the nonsense that came out of the Council.  If you want to argue how the 1983 Code is untraditional and dubious in certain areas, you won't get an argument from me, but that won't change until the other stuff is changed.

As I suggested, I believe at most it will be 30 seconds for the Pope to make an adjustment to Canon Law if it even gets that far.  This issue is a non-starter as far as promoting tradition.

My position in the discussion is that the Canon Law is the Canon Law.  Whether it is traditional or tone or not, and often it is not, that doesn't change the fact that if a deacon is brought before a tribunal charged with what you claim, they will judge the allegations as the law is written; he will not appear before the CDF / Holy Office.
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