Requirements for candidates for Deacons

I’m sure that this has been addressed here before, but I had it come up in conversation the other day. The question is, what are the requirements, or perhaps I should say restrictions upon becoming, a Deacon.

What I know is:

  1. You must be male (of course).

  2. You must have your spouses permission.

Beyond that, I have it in mind that there’s an age restriction, ie., you have to have obtained a certain age. It might be the case that your spouse must be Catholic as well, it seems to me that I’ve heard that.

Can somebody flesh this out?

In my diocese you need to be 35 to be ordained unless you get a dispensation from the bishop, and then I believe you still need to be 33. So alas, I am still several years from being eligible to begin.


I thought that if a person had a Protestant wife, that was a barrier, and was surprised that didn’t seem to be so. Running a search on it, I see where Jimmy Akin posted on this once and was of the opinion that Canon Law didn’t prohibit a Deacon candidate from having a Protestant wife, but he thought as a matter of theology it should, basing his opinion on the writing of St. Paul.

Perfect and perpetual continence:

That seems to be disputed.

Note, I’m not getting into an argument regarding it, I’m just noting that it seems to be widely held that married Deacons aren’t bound the same way Priests are.

For that matter, it’s of course the normal view that married Priests aren’t bound in the came fashion as unmarried Priests are either.

You want to read the “National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the U.S.”. You can buy it from Amazon and other places, and I have also seen it as a PDF online some places too.

No, and this opinion of Dr. Peters has been documented here at CAF to be incorrect. In any case, no good service is being done to the Church for someone to set up this strawman obstacle. Continence by married deacons is simply not an issue, nor a requirement. Ask any deacon.

Continence isn’t required of married permanent Deacons. If/when their spouse dies, they are then bound by celibacy and may not remarry. Of course, a couple could make that decision for themselves. How do I know? My husband is a Deacon.

you can pretty much toss the Code, for what you are looking to learn…and, you can pretty much toss everything you heard here, unless the info comes from the diocese you will seek to be ordained through.

Contact your diocese to talk to someone in vocational discernment, and get the specifics to your diocese.

There are certain church-wide requirements that a diocese is not permitted to lift, thought they can be more restrictive. Many of them have already been hit upon here:

  1. male (at least for now);
  2. between the ages of 35 and 65 at the time of ordination
  3. if married, spouses permission;
  4. psychologically and emotionally healthy;
  5. of solid faith, deep spirituality and good character.

A particular diocese may include more rigid requirements i.e. higher age for initial ordination, requirement of a college degree etc.

It is true that unmarried men make of promise of celebacy at the time of ordination. Married men promise that if their spouse predeceases them, they will not remarry.

Perpetual continence for married deacons is not a requirement and the Vatican has emphatically ruled upon this.

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