In this hypothetical situation say a bishop goes off the deep end so to speak that he goes and actually ordains a 10 year old boy that was part of his family a priest with all the ceremonies that accompany it. I know that this is highly illicit. My question is whether the boy in question actually received the indelible mark of the sacrament of orders on his soul and thereby receive the power to say mass and absolve from sins.

Would this boy be bound to celibacy? What would the normal procedure be in these bizarre circumstances?

Remember bishop ordained kid since he was the bishop’s personal favorite family member and not because of religious training

From what I have read in canon law, validity or Holy Orders depends upon both the Bishop and the candidate. The candidate must be a baptized male in full communion with the Catholic Church and have the intention of receiving ordination. The Bishop must have apostolic succession, and administer the sacrament correctly and not be forced into the ordination.

CIC Canon 277"Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven and therefore are obliged to observe celibacy, which is a special gift of God, by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and can more freely dedicate themselves to the services of God and mankind."

Can. 1026 A person must possess due freedom in order to be ordained. It is absolutely forbidden to force anyone in any way or for any reason to receive orders or to deter one who is canonically suitable from receiving them.

Can. 1031 §1. The presbyterate is not to be conferred except on those who have completed the twenty-fifth year of age and possess sufficient maturity; an interval of at least six months is to be observed between the diaconate and the presbyterate. Those destined to the presbyterate are to be admitted to the order of deacon only after completing the twenty-third year of age.

Can. 1034 §1. A person aspiring to the diaconate or presbyterate is not to be ordained unless he has first been enrolled among the candidates through the liturgical rite of admission by the authority mentioned in cann. 1016 and 1019; his petition is previously to have been written in his own hand, signed, and accepted in writing by the same authority.
§2. A person who has been received into a clerical institute through vows is not bound to obtain this admission.

Can. 1036 In order to be promoted to the order of diaconate or of presbyterate, the candidate is to present to his bishop or competent major superior a declaration written in his own hand and signed in which he attests that he will receive the sacred order of his own accord and freely and will devote himself perpetually to the ecclesiastical ministry and at the same time asks to be admitted to the order to be received.
Can. 1037 An unmarried candidate for the permanent diaconate and a candidate for the presbyterate are not to be admitted to the order of diaconate unless they have assumed the obligation of celibacy in the prescribed rite publicly before God and the Church or have made perpetual vows in a religious institute.

Can. 1039 All candidates for any order are to make a spiritual retreat for at least five days in a place and manner determined by the ordinary. Before the bishop proceeds to ordination, he must be certain that the candidates properly made this retreat.


Traditionally, it was generally accepted that a baptized, male infant could be validly ordained. (For example, see St. Thomas newadvent.org/summa/5039.htm#article2). Once he reached an older age (approx. 16 years old), the boy would be given the choice of whether or not he wanted to assume the obligations of the ordained state and function accordingly. In the recent past, perhaps there have been more people questioning this. Their reasoning might go something like this: if we hold that women cannot be ordained due to the expressed will of the Lord Jesus, should we not also hold that the expressed will of the Lord did not include the idea of infants being capable of receiving ordination?

I suspect that the majority of theologians and canonists would still accept the first position–it is theoretically possible that a baptized, male infant can be ordained.


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