lay deacons

Regarding Lay Catholic Deacons A man contiplating to become a lay deacon A 45 year old soon to be divorced from a civil marraige has two grown up daughters 19 & 23 never got married in the church still open minded to have a spouse if God permits Can he still become a deacon? UPON entering deaconate he has a girlfriend is obligaged to quit the deaconate even though he has full intentions to marry this individual
How about intimacy? Or do you have to be celebate?


You present a complicated scenario.

There is no such thing as a “lay deacon” in the Catholic Church. Deacons are clergy. They may either be secular (diocesan) or regular (religious).

This man must first determine whether or not his first marriage was valid or not. If he was Catholic when he civilly married, and did not acquire the necessary permission from his ordinary, then it is invalid due to lack of canonical form. If it was otherwise valid, he will need a declaration of nullity before proceeding to a second marriage or ordination, as valid marriage is an impediment to both of those.

If he has a girlfriend, he will need to marry her or cut her loose entirely before ordination. I don’t know the rules of formation programs but he will need to check with them whether it is permitted for him to join while he is unmarried but dating. That is a question only they can answer. Obviously, as a Catholic, he will have to abide by the Catholic teaching on sexuality and abstain from intimate relations with his girlfriend until they are married.

I second the above post.

And I must add that the marital profile described by the OP does not fit the relationship history that I believe a diocese would normally look for. There are dioceses who will not consider for admission to their diaconate formation program someone who was married IN the Church but who subsequently obtained a decree of nullity.

First! I want to thank those who replied…Bless You, I’m going to come clean: I grew up in the city of Paterson NJ I spent 14 years of my youth & educated by Salesian Priest, Brothers & Sisters. My mom worked hard for us to have a good foundation, for that I’m grateful I was given good catholic foundation. I got married very young (not with the Church) we had two beautiful daughters, all grown up, they live in Jersey, I live in in Maryland. Late in my marriage
I fell off the road did some bad things but today i’m clean & sober for 7 years I accepted the twelve principles & accepted in order for me to be Serine I learned to Trust God again, clean my house & serve others basically I asked God to give the knowledge to do His will, clear the wreckage of my past & live the twelve principles on a daily basis along with my Catholic Foundation, I got involved with a Religious Order & became a missionary, helping the poor & disadvantaged especially those in Recovery Men & women. I live in community with a religious brother & two other missionaries that is our ministry Very involved with with this particular order always traveling from Ohio to Florida meeting others in the order again priests, brothers & sisters. Its A Beautiful Family-So Much Love (GOD)
I don’t want to be a priest or brother, deacon i would consider & yes I’m in the middle of a civil divorce I go to church more now ever I’m in formation with their Apostalate I have been blessed I realized after getting clarity the church has changed very much & i took notice to the deacons on the alter reading scripture assisting the priest during mass I feel i can do more as a deacon but the church has canon law which I understand, just the fact that i’m talking about it means something. Can I still become a catholic Deacon as a single, civil divorced man, Can I get married again? I don’t know very confused missionary, my heart is divided I don’t think I can make a public or private commitment to be celibate Please help i’ve been discerning on it for a long time :confused:

There are several points you bring up which concern me. First of all, there is no such thing in the Catholic Church as a “lay deacon”, as another poster has explained.

Second, if you are being divorced you would not even be accepted for the inquirery. A deacon candidate must be an example to the faithful of how to live within and by Church doctrine and teachings. Marriage outside of the Church and a divorce are not in line with what is proper. This does not mean that one could not “work out” these issues and come into full communion and be reconciled, and then be accepted; but all of the work will be up to you, not the Church.

Third, if you are “open minded” to have a spouse, then you need to discern that first, not the diaconate. The diaconate is a life changing adventure; it is not a club or a sideline job. It is a 24-7, 365 vocation. After ordination you will forever be a member of the clergy, at work, at home, at Church, everywhere. It is not an elected position or title like many other denominations; it entails an ontological change which leaves an indelible mark on a man’s soul.

Fourth, the girlfriend, if you are dating at the time of formation your bishop and diocese will give guidelines; it will be up to your bishop if you are allowed to continue. Our bishop feels that it is okay to be in a relationship while in formation. The time will come when decisions will have to be made, until then just keep going. If the decision is made to marry, then you will most definitely be asked to leave the program to return after some time of marriage, you will not be ordained while in a non-married relationship. Our diocese is an informal five years. I say informal because it is an unwritten rule as far as I know. But after all issues are taken care of to make things regular, and after some time prescribed by the diocese, then the person can re-apply and possibly be accepted and pick up where he left off. But remember this is up to the local ordinary, the bishop.

Fifth, this one bothers me most of all. What are you asking? Is it ok to be intimate with your girlfriend? Sex is only acceptable in marriage, sacramental marriage; anything outside of that is fornication and grave sin. So outside of marriage, intimacy is rightfully forbidden and places in jeopardy your immortal soul, this includes sex in a civil marriage. This is why people in these situations should refrain from Holy Communion.

Sixth, ordained men are required to be celibate by discipline of the Latin Rite Church. There are only exceptions (exceptions is not the proper term) in permanent deacons and priests who have converted into the Church and ordained into the Latin Rite priesthood. Ordained men do not marry; only in very rare circumstances will Rome grant permission for a deacon to re-marry after being widowed. In other words, if you are ordained as a single man, you will be required to make the promise of celibacy, or take this vow if entering a community, i.e. non-secular clergy.

Thank you Dcn Gary you cleared up alot my questions God Bless

You’re welcome…feel free to private message me if you want more information…on anything. I’m here for you if you need me.

Also, keep in mind that I’m a secular clergyman, so my knowledge of a specific order’s guidelines or requirements is very limited.

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