Priests and Divorce

Hi, just a quick question, to satisfy a curiosity. If someone felt they wanted to pursue a life as a priest, would the fact that person was divorced be a bar to them doing so? Is there any precedence for this? I’ve done some research and haven’t been able to find the answer.

Thanks.

Did the man have a proper annulment granted by his diocese?

There is a priest in the archdiocese of Chicago who was divorced with two grown children. He had recieved an annulment and because of that fact, he was able to enter seminary and became a priest. If there are minor children, then I believe a man cannot become a priest (if divorced and recieved a decree of nullity), but if the children are adults, then as long as their is a decree of nullity, the man can seek the priesthood if he is called by God to do such.

Some dioceses and religious orders will not accept a man who has been married, even with an anullment.

But then some will.

But no order or diocese will accept a man who is divorced without an anullment.

I have a friend who is a priest, and he was divorced and had received a decree of nullity some years before he entered seminary (no children).

Considering that the first disciple to be called by Jesus was married, having been married did not seem to be a bar for Jesus calling men to follow Him and be apostles. So, did Peter divorce his wife, or was he still married, or did she leave him? Regardless, what did Peter think about the statement in Matthew 19, verse 10 "The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”? Did Peter agree with this, or hear this as suggesting he made the incorrect decision in being married?
Also, Paul wrote: 1 Tim 3:1-6 "It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, he husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil."
If the divorce is a reflection of one’s ability to manage his own household, should they be encouraged to try to take care of the church of God?

Michael

If a man is divorced and has a declaration of nullity with no dependants (children) than they can be still be considered for the priesthood. However it comes down to the diocese. Most diocese are so desperate for priest they take just about anyone, it doesn’t matter what age they are , divorced etc. My diocese will not consider a divorced man even if he has no children and has received a declaration of nullity.

In my diocese (Cleveland), there is a man who is a priest who had been divorced, got an annulment, remarried, became a widower (his wife died). Then he was ordained. He has children and grandchildren.

Seems like widowers who were married only once, who then forsake marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, would be wonderful priests, assuming they are seen as consistent with 1 Tim 3.

Michael

I think you’re right, they could be very good priests. I know my friend is one of the most wonderful priests and men I have ever met.

We have divorced (yes, annulled) priests and deacons in the diocese. I question this a bit myself. With the deacon, how can a 25 year old marriage with 5 children be invalid??? They sure did consummate and live it!

It may depend on the diocese. I know one divorced priest we had who must stay on one side of the state as his wife (ex) is on the other! He just says she was ‘crazy’ but I do not know what she says about him.

I know there are marriages that end through no fault of one spouse when they are abandoned and etc. and there may be extenuating circumstances but I do not know that divorced men are the best candidates. I know our divorced deacon does annulments at the parish–surprise, surprise.

You seem to misunderstand what an annulment is. An annulment has nothing to do with how long a marriage lasted or if it was consummated.

It has everything to do with the state of the individuals at the time of the marriage.

A marriage that is invalid at the time it is contracted is never valid, no matter how long the couple has been together.


A friend of mine was divorced and was able to beocme a Priest event though he never received an anullment. IIRC the Bishop used a obscure cannon law ruiling from the 13th century about a man who’s wife left him to enter a convent to rule him eligible for ordination. It caused quiite a stir and he was fiinally ordaned only after the Popes direct approval. I wouldnt count in that in most cases, BTW.

 So after 25 years and 5 children, in retrospect the man and woman can be determined to not have truly been married as assessed by the state of the individuals at the time of marriage? Any possibility that little clues about the state of one or the other of the spouses may have surfaced over 25 years of raising 5 children?
 If there never was a marriage, do one or both of the spouses need to confess fornication, at least 5 times?
 And then, have as a deacon, a spiritual leader in the local parish, someone who gave witness to being married for 25 years, yet was deceived, or deceived, about the proper state for a valid marriage before the wedding, during the wedding, and after the wedding. Can you imaging his interpretation from the pulpit of 1 Tim 3:12? "A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well."

Michael

Yes, most likely. In fact, the clues were all there on the wedding day, or else there could not have been a Declaration of Nullity. At least one of the parties lied about something essential, OR at least one of the parties was incapable of contracting a valid marriage due to any one of a number of factors including, an addiction; immaturity; or incomprehension of the duties about to be undertaken. (One man thought that he was stepping in for the woman’s father, and that he was going to be her teacher and mentor. Of course they also had children, but a Declaration of Nullity was granted because he had no idea what it means to be “a husband” at the time of the marriage (and obviously never figured it out later on, either). The woman was granted permission to remarry later on, if she so chooses to do so, but the man was barred from getting married again until he solves his problem, thus showing that receiving a Declaration of Nullity in and of itself does not signify freedom to marry again, but that the Declaration needs to be examined first, before that person can get married again in the Church, just to make sure that there are no notations of that sort on it.

If there never was a marriage, do one or both of the spouses need to confess fornication, at least 5 times?

No, since they thought they were married.

And then, have as a deacon, a spiritual leader in the local parish, someone who gave witness to being married for 25 years, yet was deceived, or deceived, about the proper state for a valid marriage before the wedding, during the wedding, and after the wedding. Can you imaging his interpretation from the pulpit of 1 Tim 3:12? “A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.”

Believe me, he would have been examined thoroughly, and any problems that were his fault will have been gone over and over and over again in the Tribunal and also in his preparation process for Ordination.

Someone going through intensive therapy once told me, “Everyone should have a mental illness - they even teach you how to cook, and everything!!” I imagine it’s similar with a Declaration of Nullity and all that follows after - they make sure they are as totally “normalized” as possible.

And it took 25 years to own up to the clues? Which should have been address before the wedding, or as soon as the clues persisted. When it comes to faith, let’s not chose spiritual leaders who have a 25 year history of being deceived, or deceiving. It should not take 25 years to discover/own up to addiction, immaturity, or incomprehension of the duties about to be undertaken, in one’s self, or spouse. What kind of Catholic faith community were they part of that there were not friends or family to encourage them both before and/or after the wedding? 25 years? Let’s not confuse excuses with expanations.

If they were married, then there would be no possibitity of annulment. If there was not a true marriage, then do they have to confess with a contrite heart the sin of fornication? Either there was or was not a true marriage. The great news is that God forgives those who come to Him with a contrite heart. The key is to come to Him with a contrite heart. If there was a true marriage, then no fornication to confess. If there was not a true marriage, then there is fornication to confess, unless of course one was oblivious to being deceived, or deceiving. Either way, not one I would volunteer to be a spiritual leader until sufficient time had demonstrated a history of choices consistent with Christian leadership characteristics.

Why are you asking me? Did I ordain this guy? Take it up with the Pope; he’s the boss of this outfit, not me.

If it were up to me, no one would ever be allowed to get divorced, ever - separation for a serious reason, sure, but divorce? No way. Remarriage? Forget it. Celibate 'til the day you die, buddy, even if (especially if!!) you were stinking drunk on your wedding day, and had no idea what was going on, or who that woman is …

Lucky thing for most people that I’m not the Pope, isn’t it? :stuck_out_tongue:

The examination should have been before the wedding. Proper preparation and examination for the Sacrament of Marriage is not to be given a second class seat, by either those desiring to marry, and those preparing them for marriage. Both the “students” and “teachers” fell short.

I’m not his Confessor, or anybody else’s; I have absolutely no idea how that part works.

Either there was or was not a true marriage. The great news is that God forgives those who come to Him with a contrite heart. The key is to come to Him with a contrite heart. If there was a true marriage, then no fornication to confess. If there was not a true marriage, then there is fornication to confess, unless of course one was oblivious to being deceived, or deceiving. Either way, not one I would volunteer to be a spiritual leader until sufficient time had demonstrated a history of choices consistent with Christian leadership characteristics.

You don’t consider two years for the legal divorce to go through, four years to get the declaration of nullity, plus 16 years of Seminary to be “enough time?”

The way you’re talking, it sounds like they ordained him the same day he left home.

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