Holy Orders and Canon Law

I am wondering about whether a widow with children could be made a deacon and later a priest under canon law. What about a man who has children and an annulled marriage? This occurred to me after I sat through a RCIA class las night hearing a lot of questions about misunderstandings on the part of many about the Church and marriage, annulment, etc. I know it is esoteric, but I am curious about how this is treated in the Latin Rite. Lastly, can anyone direct me to a website with Roman Canon Law? Thanks.

[quote="shawnbm, post:1, topic:184509"]
I am wondering about whether a widow with children could be made a deacon and later a priest under canon law. What about a man who has children and an annulled marriage? This occurred to me after I sat through a RCIA class las night hearing a lot of questions about misunderstandings on the part of many about the Church and marriage, annulment, etc. I know it is esoteric, but I am curious about how this is treated in the Latin Rite. Lastly, can anyone direct me to a website with Roman Canon Law? Thanks.

[/quote]

Since marriage is not an impediment to the diaconate, neither is widowhood. However, the candidate's obligations to his children and his ability to balance that with his diaconal duties would be carefully weighed. I'll stop there, since some of the issues you raised are more complex and there are many here more qualified who will answer them.

Canon Law

I find it's often easiest to click on "Texts & Search" at the top, then click on "Alphabetical" at the top of *that * page.

[quote="shawnbm, post:1, topic:184509"]
I am wondering about whether a widow with children could be made a deacon and later a priest under canon law.

[/quote]

I'll assume you mean widower. And the answer is yes.

What about a man who has children and an annulled marriage?

Once again, yes. However, a diocese would be very cautious about doing so.

Lastly, can anyone direct me to a website with Roman Canon Law? Thanks.

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States is online at usccb.org/deacon/DeaconDirectory.pdf and will answer some of your questions.

For example:

  1. Underlying the restoration and renewal of the diaconate at the Second Vatican Council was the principle that the diaconate is a stable and permanent rank of ordained ministry. Since the history of the order over the last millennium, however, has been centered on the diaconate as a transitory stage leading to the priesthood, actions that may obfuscate the stability and permanence of the order should be minimized. This would include the ordination of celibate or widowed deacons to the priesthood. "Hence ordination [of a permanent deacon] to the Priesthood...must always be a very rare exception, and only for special and grave reasons...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 program of priestly formation and the aptitude of the candidate to the priestly ministry."

The quote in the paragraph comes from: DMLPD Note 193, citing Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Circular Letter, Prot. No. 263/97 (June 6, 1997), no. 8.

the case of a candidate who has previously had a marriage declared null has been discussed in this form rather recently, and the answer is basically, it depends. Not an absolute prohibition, but extra care would be taken in his direction and discernment, and attention paid to the reason for the annulment, and if that reason impinges on his suitability for the diaconate, the issue would first have to be resolved.

[quote="shawnbm, post:1, topic:184509"]
I am wondering about whether a widow with children could be made a deacon and later a priest under canon law. What about a man who has children and an annulled marriage? This occurred to me after I sat through a RCIA class las night hearing a lot of questions about misunderstandings on the part of many about the Church and marriage, annulment, etc. I know it is esoteric, but I am curious about how this is treated in the Latin Rite. Lastly, can anyone direct me to a website with Roman Canon Law? Thanks.

[/quote]

One of our Priests was a widower with grown children. Also there have always been some married Priests. There will be many issues to address concerning a candidate who attempted marriage and had to have the record of the sacrament removed, however he is not prohibited from attempting to enter the Priesthood. Lets just call him a long shot.

hope that helps

Than you all very much for your replies. I appreciate such answers. Pax tecum.

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