I was having a discussion in the World News thread about the Canonical requirement for married permanent deacons to maintain perfect and perpetual continence. I was arguing the negative, i.e., married deacons have a primary obligation to fulfill their marital obligations and debt, i.e., to be available to hae relations with his wife. The other party, citing Canon Law, stated that all clerics are called to maintain perfect and perpetual continence, even married priests and deacons of the Latin Rite.
Before I get into the meat of the discussion, I wanted to ensure that everyone was clear on a few terms:
Chastity: A state of sexual purity.
Celibacy: The state of being unmarried.
Continence: The state of non-engaging in sexual activity.
Marital debt: The obligation that married people we owe their spouses to be open and available to enjoy the fruits of conjugal love. In other words, marriage sex.
We know that all of us are called to a life of chastity. Priests and other religious are called to a life of celibacy and continence. There seems to be, however, a conundrum for those married religious in the Latin Rite. There are few married priests in the Latin Church and there are a greater number of married permanent deacons.
Canon 277: “§1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity. §2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful. §3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.”
This seems to conflict with:
Canon 1135: Each spouse has an equal obligation and right to whatever pertains to the partnership of conjugal life.
The Spouses deliver power over their bodies to one another. The Husband has the right to command his Wife in this respect, and she the duty to obey, and likewise the Wife has the right to command her Husband in this respect, and he the duty to obey. (Roman Catechism and 1 Corinthians ch. 12 vs. 4)
It seems taht Canon Law 227 cannot invalidate Sacred Scripture, in where the wife has authority to demand conjugal love, and a husband has a duty to obey. This duty seems to overrule the canonical requirement for married clerics to maintain perfect and perpetual continence.