Can a permanent deacon become a priest if his wife dies?


#1

I know that permanent deacons are only allowed to be married once. If a permanent deacon’s wife dies, is he allowed to go back to seminary and become a priest if he so desires?


#2

If his bishop allows him to do so, yes. I know it happens, but I’ve no idea how frequently.


#3

Well if I remember correctly, not too long ago it was in the news that a widower was ordain the Priest.


#4

A couple of years ago, in the Diocese of Cleveland, there was a man who was ordained who was married, got divorced, had his marriage annulled (he had children from that marriage which was shown to be invalid). Then he married again, his wife died, and he entered the seminary. He needed permission from his children to become a priest. They gave it, and he was ordained. That was the first time I ever heard of someone who had an annulment and who was a widower become a priest. It was kind of funny because there was an article in the Catholic Universe Bulletin* the diocesan newspaper that mentioned how this man’s grandchildren didn’t know if they should call him “Father Grandpa”.*


#5

A priest in our diocese did this couple of years ago, after his wife died, he got permission from the bishop to go to seminary to become a priest.


#6

That’s wonderful. I’m sure that he is an excellent priest. He would also be a great counselor for couples who wish to marry in the Church.


#7

We have a married priest here. He was once an Episcopal priest.


#8

In our diocese, this has happened once in the last 30 years or so. But in the past, we had just a few deacons, now we have over 30. Our bishop decides if a deacon is called to priesthood. He has indicated that this will be a rare happening in our diocese. The call to the permanent diaconate is a totally different call. The one deacon that was Ordained a priest had been administering a remote parish for many years. He was sent back as a priest after his wife died.


#9

I sure hope so!

And I hope that his Bishop encourages it… just MO.


#10

This question has come up before. If you go to this site, you can read the National Directory for the Formation of Permanent Deacons:

usccb.org/deacon/

I don’t remember exactly where, but somewhere in the document it states that a permanent deacon becoming a priest should be a rare exception.


#11

From the Vatican document Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons.

In the introduction.
3. The experience of the Church over several centuries has generated the norm of conferring the priesthood only on those who have already received the Diaconate and exercised it appropriately. The Order of deacons, however, “should not be considered merely a step towards the Priesthood”.

And from the main body of the document.

  1. The specific vocation to the permanent Diaconate presupposes the stability of this Order. Hence ordination to the Priesthood of non-married or widowed deacons must always be a very rare exception, and only for special and grave reasons. The decision of admission to the Order of Presbyters rests with the diocesan bishop, unless impediments exist which are reserved to the Holy See. Given the exceptional nature of such cases, the diocesan bishop should consult the Congregation for Catholic Education with regard to the intellectual and theological preparation of the candidate, and also the Congregation for the Clergy concerning the programme of priestly formation and the aptitude of the candidate to the priestly ministry.

The permanent diaconate is a different vocation than the priesthood, it is different by more than just the celebacy issue.

The permanent diaconate is not a holding place for a man who wants to be a priest (in the Latin Church) but is married.

It can be done but only for grave reasons.


#12

However, as stated in the document quoted above, the ordinary has the authority to ordain whomever he wishes (save those who are impeded by something that must be cleared by the Holy See) so it depends almost totally on the deacon’s individual bishop.


#13

ha…a widowed deacon who goes into the priesthood just seem to me like someone having there cake and eating it too:rolleyes:

If the deacon wants to be a priest then a question should be asked…

What was his REAL VOCATION!
To be married to someone or to the church as a priest:shrug:


#14

They are not equivalent.

You are aware that the celibate priesthood is only a disciple that is practiced in the Latin Church. The Eastern Catholic Churches ordain married men to the priesthood.

I will also add that a deacon who is widowed can not remarry. After ordination marriage is not an option.


#15

Yea i know it’s a Latin tradition so with the vocation of the priesthood so comes the celibacy…it is irrelevant what ever the tradition in the Eastern Church is…

keep the latin tradition for the latin church and the eastern for the eastern!


#16

Not 100% true. As it is a matter of discipline the pope can and has dispensed from the requirement of celibacy in the priesthood.

Be that as it may, how is ordaining a widowed deacon to the priesthood violating this tradition?


#17

I assume you are aware that the Latin Church has quite a few married priests, generally protestant ministers who converted.

The Pope can allow a married man to be ordained at any time for any reason that he sees fit.

Of course, as ByzCath says, this does not really relate to ordaining a widowed Deacon, as he would be unable to re-marry due to his clerical state, so would remain celibate whether ordained to the priesthood or not.

God Bless


#18

#19

I have seen it done here and in my hometown diocese.


#20

well id on’t think i vocation can change? well just my opinion


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