Priestly celibacy, not Deacon celibacy?


#1

If the Church prohibits married men from becoming priests, why do they allow married men to become deacons?


#2

[quote="Catholic4Jesus, post:1, topic:322247"]
If the Church prohibits married men from becoming priests, why do they allow married men to become deacons?

[/quote]

Because it does.


#3

The Church only has the discipline of celibacy in the Latin Rite of the Church; and theoretically, that could change in the future, just as it sometimes was in the past. Today, there are married priests in the Eastern Rite. Although I cannot articulate explicitly why the traditions moved that way, suffice it to say that in the spirituality of the west, there appears to be a special emphasis on Christ’s teaching to let those who can accept celibacy to accept it (cf. Matt. 19:12) and Paul’s teaching that the unmarried man is well-equipped to be concerned with things of God (cf. 1 Cor. 7:32).

Also, as I understand, married priests among the many Anglican converts a couple years ago that were received into the Catholic Church retain their marital status.

But with regard to deacons, obviously, the tradition has not demanded the unmarried attention of deacons whose vocation lends more to an assistive role. Perhaps since priests are able to perform the sacrifice of the Eucharist, which is indeed Christ’s consummation with his bride, the Church, then the sign of a priest not in a natural marriage may be more communicative of that reality. Whereas a deacon functions in the person of Christ (as I understand) in other ways.

And please know that I am offering theological suppositions on the question. Off-hand, I don’t know of a magisterial document or ECF writing or something like that specifically addressing the “why” the tradition has developed as it has regarding deacons and priests (other than we trust the Spirit has so led us :o).


#4

Most probably because the time commitment required from a Permanent deacon (many of whom have "day jobs") is frequently less than that expected of a priest.


#5

perhaps this will help:
catholic.com/tracts/bishop-priest-and-deacon
catholic.com/tracts/celibacy-and-the-priesthood
newadvent.org/cathen/03481a.htm
catholic.com/node/5330/3466
catholicculture.org/culture/library/catechism/cat_view.cfm?recnum=2923

not sure if I am correct here but to my understanding a priest is suppose to represent the office of Jesus while a deacon is someone who assists the office of Jesus, I'm not sure if this played a part in the decision to make one celibate and the other not but I suppose your best bet would be to consult the catechism.


#6

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:3, topic:322247"]
The Church only has the discipline of celibacy in the Latin Rite of the Church; and theoretically, that could change in the future, just as it sometimes was in the past. Today, there are married priests in the Eastern Rite. Although I cannot articulate explicitly why the traditions moved that way, suffice it to say that in the spirituality of the west, there appears to be a special emphasis on Christ's teaching to let those who can accept celibacy to accept it (cf. Matt. 19:12) and Paul's teaching that the unmarried man is well-equipped to be concerned with things of God (cf. 1 Cor. 7:32).

Also, as I understand, married priests among the many Anglican converts a couple years ago that were received into the Catholic Church retain their marital status.

But with regard to deacons, obviously, the tradition has not demanded the unmarried attention of deacons whose vocation lends more to an assistive role. Perhaps since priests are able to perform the sacrifice of the Eucharist, which is indeed Christ's consummation with his bride, the Church, then the sign of a priest not in a natural marriage may be more communicative of that reality. Whereas a deacon functions in the person of Christ (as I understand) in other ways.

And please know that I am offering theological suppositions on the question. Off-hand, I don't know of a magisterial document or ECF writing or something like that specifically addressing the "why" the tradition has developed as it has regarding deacons and priests (other than we trust the Spirit has so led us :o).

[/quote]

This seems to make sense to me, although as I understand it deacons aren't actually said to act in the person of Christ at all. Which seems to strengthen your point.

Wikipedia:

"Code of Canon Law (1983)7 as modified by Benedict XVI (2009)8: Can. 1008 By divine institution, some of the Christian faithful are marked with an indelible character and constituted as sacred ministers by the sacrament of holy orders. They are thus consecrated and deputed so that, each according to his own grade, they may serve the People of God by a new and specific title. Can. 1009 §1. The orders are the episcopate, the presbyterate, and the diaconate. §2. They are conferred by the imposition of hands and the consecratory prayer which the liturgical books prescribe for the individual grades. §3. Those who are constituted in the order of the episcopate or the presbyterate receive the mission and capacity to act in the person of Christ the Head, whereas deacons are empowered to serve the People of God in the ministries of the liturgy, the word and charity. The change in Canon Law introduced by Ominum in Mentum resolved a discrepancy between the applicability of in persona Christi Capitis (“in the person of Christ the Head”) to deacons as well as priests and bishops. With the new Motu Proprio, in persona Christi Capitis applies only to priests and bishops."

That said, while married men can be ordained to the permanent diaconate, deacons do not (ordinarily) remarry.


#7

Thank you - good find - here is the full citation from Ominum in Mentum:*new text of the third paragraph is to be worded so that can. 1009 § 3 will read:

“Those who are constituted in the order of the episcopate or the presbyterate receive the mission and capacity to act in the person of Christ the Head, whereas deacons are empowered to serve the People of God in the ministries of the liturgy, the word and charity”.*
:o


#8

[quote="Catholic4Jesus, post:1, topic:322247"]
If the Church prohibits married men from becoming priests, why do they allow married men to become deacons?

[/quote]

It is odd...considering the man who is considered to be the very first pope was a married man!
Peter was married, right?
As were some of the other apostles?
(but the ones who had wives left them, yes? Does that mean they got divorced, or did they just separate from their wives and leave them?)


#9

@Irondonkey..as I understand it deacons aren't actually said to act in the person of Christ at all

The Deacon is configured in the person of Christ the Servant

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cclergy/documents/jub_deacons_20000219_nieves_en.html THE PERMANENT DIACONATE:ITS IDENTITY, FUNCTIONS, AND PROSPECTS

The Holy Order ordains deacons to the ministry of Christ the Servant....

There are three diaconal ministries. Deacons are ordained to the ministries of the word, of the liturgy, and of charity. It is a three-fold ministry because in the person of the deacon, these three offices are concentric. What I mean is that they turn around the pivot of Christ the Servant in the person of the deacon. You cannot draw a circle without first fixing the centre where you will lay your compasses. A circle is defined by its centre, just as the three-fold diaconal ministry is defined by Christ the Servant.


#10

Yes, St. Peter was married, but as we said, it is a discipline. It wouldn’t be a sin for a priest to be married. In fact, there are married priests. Moreso in the Eastern rites of the Church, but in the Roman rite as well.

In short, the discipline was chosen so the priests would better exemplify the life the Christ lived, and to put forth more attention to the Church. That isn’t necessarily to say that a celibate priest does a better job than a married one, but he at least doesn’t have to worry about a lot of worldly problems the come with the marriage territory.


#11

[quote="DaddyGirl, post:8, topic:322247"]
It is odd...considering the man who is considered to be the very first pope was a married man!
Peter was married, right?
As were some of the other apostles?
(but the ones who had wives left them, yes? Does that mean they got divorced, or did they just separate from their wives and leave them?)

[/quote]

No evidence that Peter's wife was still alive by the time he was in Rome


#12

[quote="bzkoss236, post:10, topic:322247"]
Yes, St. Peter was married, but as we said, it is a discipline. It wouldn't be a sin for a priest to be married. In fact, there are married priests. Moreso in the Eastern rites of the Church, but in the Roman rite as well.

In short, the discipline was chosen so the priests would better exemplify the life the Christ lived, and to put forth more attention to the Church. That isn't necessarily to say that a celibate priest does a better job than a married one, but he at least doesn't have to worry about a lot of worldly problems the come with the marriage territory.

[/quote]

if a priest did get married wouldn't he have to rely on the congregation to financially support his family?


#13

[quote="DaddyGirl, post:8, topic:322247"]
It is odd...considering the man who is considered to be the very first pope was a married man!
Peter was married, right?
As were some of the other apostles?
(but the ones who had wives left them, yes? Does that mean they got divorced, or did they just separate from their wives and leave them?)

[/quote]

I'm pretty sure the Apostles did not abandon families. We know that Peter was married because we hear about him taking care of his mother in law. Which means that we know that he didn't abandon his mother in law. There is no actual mention of Peter's wife that I'm aware of, but many people seem to think she was dead by the time he was called.

Some might have left families in the sense that a deployed soldier leaves his family for a time, but I've never heard evidence that they abandoned them to fend for themselves.

But in any case, as has been mentioned, priestly celibacy is a discipline. It does not matter that it was not always in force, or may not always be in force, it makes sense to the West at this time and so it is done.


#14

[quote="triumphguy, post:9, topic:322247"]
The Deacon is configured in the person of Christ the Servant

[/quote]

It looks like there is a distinction in terms I didn't know about then. Would it then be correct that the standing in for Christ such as is done in the Eucharist and when absolving sins is acting "in the person of Christ the Head?" And that deacons don't do that sort of standing in for Christ at all?

Or possibly do you know of anywhere that describes what "in the person of Christ the Servant" means so that I can unconfuse myself?


#15

[quote="Iron_Donkey, post:14, topic:322247"]
It looks like there is a distinction in terms I didn't know about then. Would it then be correct that the standing in for Christ such as is done in the Eucharist and when absolving sins is acting "in the person of Christ the Head?" And that deacons don't do that sort of standing in for Christ at all?

Or possibly do you know of anywhere that describes what "in the person of Christ the Servant" means so that I can unconfuse myself?

[/quote]

The priest is acting in the person of Christ the High Priest, the Bishop acts as successor to the Apostles and the Deacon, as I have noted, in the person of Christ the Servant (which is why on Maundy Thursday the priest adjusts his stole to that of the Deacon (over the shoulder) as he washes the feet).

I'll post some links later - of to take kids to school now:thumbsup:


#16

Whew! Good thing.:wink:


#17

[quote="SMOM, post:16, topic:322247"]
Whew! Good thing.;)

[/quote]

Yes my wife called "Supper's ready" just as I was about to post - hence it's brevity. It is however, accurate ;) Thank God!


#18

I assume you weren’t having Dr. Peters over for supper…


#19

Just to throw a monkey wrench into this discussion...:p

it should be noted that if a man who is in formation to become a priest and is ordained a "transitional" deacon (meaning one is is planning on becoming a priest), and is ordained a deacon, he promises celibacy. If he then chooses not to be ordained a priest, he is still bound by the promise of celibacy.

I should also add, that if an unmarried man seeks ordination under the permanent deaconate, he too, will make a promise of celibacy.


#20

Is there anyone who thinks the Roman Catholic Church will start allowing long time deacons to become priest on a regular basis anytime soon?

I spoke with a long time Jesuit priest who said if the church needs to look for more priest that those long time deacons who have grown children and have served the church well might be the best place to start. I know of several I would be very comfortable with becoming priest, especially if they served with children and families as they might have more personal understanding. I don't know how the celibacy part would work.


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