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The Second Nicene Council (787) endorsed "the possibility of monastic vocations for the married" (Priestly celibacy in patristics and in the history of the Church by Roman Cholij, fn. 15):
Quote:Canon 20 reads in part: «If there are persons who wish to renounce the world and follow the monastic life along with their relatives, the men should go off to a male monastery and their wives enter a female monastery, for God is surely pleased with this.» N. Tanner SJ (ed), Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, vol.1 Sheed & Ward —‘Georgetown U.P. 1990, pp. 153-4.
Does this still happen today?
I would say, even before VII, that this has been on the rare side for a very long time.  In order for it to be even considered, children, if any, would have to be grown and capable of sustaining themselves, and both husband and wife would have to agree to this.  Meaning, it can't just be the wife longing to join a convent and the husband not being okay with it. 
  Also, as we get older, it is harder to break out of our ways and habits, and by this I don't mean bad habits.  It is one thing to love to assist at daily Mass and do spiritual reading on your own while maintaining a life in the world.  More goes on in a monastery than that.  The common prayer life, mealtime, and assigned duties could be a shock to most that have had a lifetime of less uniformity.
  There are reasons why the priesthood and religous life is entered, for the most part, by those not long-exposed to the world.  Formation needs to be handled a little differently when you are older.  Just my thoughts.

Joe
(07-15-2012, 02:48 PM)joe17 Wrote: [ -> ]I would say, even before VII, that this has been on the rare side for a very long time.
Yes, certainly even rarer than a window or widower joining a monastery
(07-15-2012, 02:48 PM)joe17 Wrote: [ -> ]In order for it to be even considered, children, if any, would have to be grown and capable of sustaining themselves, and both husband and wife would have to agree to this.  Meaning, it can't just be the wife longing to join a convent and the husband not being okay with it. 
  Also, as we get older, it is harder to break out of our ways and habits, and by this I don't mean bad habits.  It is one thing to love to assist at daily Mass and do spiritual reading on your own while maintaining a life in the world.  More goes on in a monastery than that.  The common prayer life, mealtime, and assigned duties could be a shock to most that have had a lifetime of less uniformity.
You make it seem like "maintaining a life in the world" is more disordered. Is it?
(07-15-2012, 02:48 PM)joe17 Wrote: [ -> ]There are reasons why the priesthood and religous life is entered, for the most part, by those not long-exposed to the world.  Formation needs to be handled a little differently when you are older.  Just my thoughts.
Also, does Canon 20 imply that those men who follow its path receive Holy Orders? Or are they lay brothers?
Sorry.  Did not mean to make the "life in the world" seem like it has nothing going for it.  Of course, we know that most souls are going to be married and that isees how they will get to Heaven, choosing the right mate to compliment them.
  The religous life of a man, for example, will be a little different then what he has been used to. As a husband/father, you were the head of the house and did the leading.  In a monastery, as a brother, or even as a priest, you will have a superior who will be the head and who will be bound to do what is best for the community to help them get to Heaven.  You will be free to give more time to loving and serving God that you might not have in a married situation.  Both are stations in life that can get one to Heaven so long as we remain friends of God.
  A man if accepted into a religous community would have to see and go by what the community superiors say concerning his vocation.  He may become a brother w/o ever going on to Holy Orders.  They must discern each man person by person.  The priesthood is a vocation within a vocation.
  God bless.

Joe
Didn't Louis and Zélie Martin, parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, try to pursue this?
Sometime ago I heard of an Anglican couple being accepted into the Catholic Church in this way. I wish I could remember the details.
This is an interesting thread! I would just comment that whether you enter religious life late or early you can expect to encounter the cross. And I think that's true of marriage too, oh well, I KNOW it's true of marriage! Smile

C.
Many monasteries and convents don't want to take people in that are above a certain age, as a general rule. That might make this more difficult nowadays.
I'm not letting my wife go.  I like her too much.

Besides, who would bring me tea, wash and fold my socks and get me out of bed in the morning?
There is a German couple (I think they were German) that did this last year.

Yes you must have no children or they are older and self-sufficient, both spouses consent to this, the Pope must grant the dispensation, there must be religious orders already willing to accept both, I'm sure the local bishop must be on board.  But it can be done.
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