Washing up in Seminary after receiving some Holy Orders


#1

My understanding from having read about Catholic seminary in the past was that seminarians would receive minor orders (e.g. lector), after having made some progress (e.g. passed introductory courses), then would receive ordination as a Deacon (major orders) after some further progress, then would finally graduate and, if is discerned to be the will of God, be ordained. Vatican II's reintroduction of the Permanent Diaconate established a separate process for men who did not intend to become priests to become deacons and serve in that capacity. Before Vatican II, for a long time, the only non-priest deacons were men who were using the diaconate as a way station on their way to becoming a priest. It wasn't an end to itself.

To what extent do these orders have a non-theoretical meaning for men who fail to complete seminary? For example, if a man is admitted to seminary and receives ordination as a Deacon after reaching the appropriate point, and then, as a deacon, fails out of seminary due to poor grades, quits, or is expelled for misbehavior, is he automatically considered a Permanent Deacon or can he function as such while it is determined whether or not he should return to seminary, or does the fact that he is technically a Deacon have only theoretical relevance because he hasn't gone through Permanent Deacon formation (e.g. he could only serve in an emergency)?


#2

[quote="x1980x, post:1, topic:306677"]
My understanding from having read about Catholic seminary in the past was that seminarians would receive minor orders (e.g. lector), after having made some progress (e.g. passed introductory courses), then would receive ordination as a Deacon (major orders) after some further progress, then would finally graduate and, if is discerned to be the will of God, be ordained. Vatican II's reintroduction of the Permanent Diaconate established a separate process for men who did not intend to become priests to become deacons and serve in that capacity. Before Vatican II, for a long time, the only non-priest deacons were men who were using the diaconate as a way station on their way to becoming a priest. It wasn't an end to itself.

To what extent do these orders have a non-theoretical meaning for men who fail to complete seminary? For example, if a man is admitted to seminary and receives ordination as a Deacon after reaching the appropriate point, and then, as a deacon, fails out of seminary due to poor grades, quits, or is expelled for misbehavior, is he automatically considered a Permanent Deacon or can he function as such while it is determined whether or not he should return to seminary, or does the fact that he is technically a Deacon have only theoretical relevance because he hasn't gone through Permanent Deacon formation (e.g. he could only serve in an emergency)?

[/quote]

Your query is a bit confusing to me...sorry for that...but I will try to respond to it:

A seminarian candidate to the priesthood:

About 6 months prior to ordination, a seminarian is ordained a deacon....and serves as a deacon.....then is ordained to full priesthood.

For a seminarian to be ordained a deacon, he has technically completed all studies and required spiritual formation...all that is left is ordination to the priesthood.

And prior to ordination to the diaconate and priesthood, the seminary rector's recommendation is required, as is the bishop's approval.

Now, theoretically, something could happen in the time between being a deacon and final ordination to the priesthood.......that would prevent such ordination....then the seminarian just remains a deacon. Depending on the issues....and if he is in good standing, I guess he could continue to serve as a deacon in a parish in some capacity.


#3

[quote="x1980x, post:1, topic:306677"]
My understanding from having read about Catholic seminary in the past was that seminarians would receive minor orders (e.g. lector), after having made some progress (e.g. passed introductory courses), then would receive ordination as a Deacon (major orders) after some further progress, then would finally graduate and, if is discerned to be the will of God, be ordained. Vatican II's reintroduction of the Permanent Diaconate established a separate process for men who did not intend to become priests to become deacons and serve in that capacity. Before Vatican II, for a long time, the only non-priest deacons were men who were using the diaconate as a way station on their way to becoming a priest. It wasn't an end to itself.

To what extent do these orders have a non-theoretical meaning for men who fail to complete seminary? For example, if a man is admitted to seminary and receives ordination as a Deacon after reaching the appropriate point, and then, as a deacon, fails out of seminary due to poor grades, quits, or is expelled for misbehavior, is he automatically considered a Permanent Deacon or can he function as such while it is determined whether or not he should return to seminary, or does the fact that he is technically a Deacon have only theoretical relevance because he hasn't gone through Permanent Deacon formation (e.g. he could only serve in an emergency)?

[/quote]

To a certain extent, it depends upon why he leaves.

If he leaves on his own, deciding not to become a priest, he actually has a right to continue as a deacon. Here's the canon:

Can. 1038 A deacon who refuses to be promoted to the presbyterate cannot be prohibited from the exercise of the order received unless he is prevented by a canonical impediment or another grave cause to be evaluated in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or competent major superior.

If however, he is dismissed from formation, or there is some impediment preventing him from being ordained a priest, then he can be prohibited from functioning as a deacon. Remember though that he will always be a deacon, but unable to function as one.

If there is such an impediment (preventing priestly ordination) it's highly unlikely that it would not be discovered until after ordination as a deacon. Also very unlikely that an impediment would arise after ordination (say, if he attempts a civil marriage). Unlikely but neither is impossible.

I see where your question is going at the end: if he did not complete "permanent deacon" formation, but only completed "transitional deacon" formation, does that prevent him from functioning as a deacon? Canon law says no. Once he is ordained a deacon, he "is" a deacon, regardless of which formation track he was on at the time of ordination.

In part, that canon protects permanent deacons whose wives die. The bishop can invite the deacon to become a priest (after further training), but cannot compel him to do so by threatening to suspend his diaconal faculties if he does not agree.


#4

a transitional deacon is ordained, and then the following year, he is ordained a priest, btw.


#5

[quote="datritle, post:4, topic:306677"]
a transitional deacon is ordained, and then the following year, he is ordained a priest, btw.

[/quote]

The Diocese of Saskatoon is getting two new wonderful soon to be Priests. Please keep Deacon Colin Roy, and Deacon Dan (I forgot the last name) in your prayers. Two young men filled with love and devotion for Our LORD. Please keep them in your prayers as they are so close to fulfilling Our LORDS call for them..... :D :gopray2::highprayer::gopray2:


#6

[quote="mymamamary, post:5, topic:306677"]
The Diocese of Saskatoon is getting two new wonderful soon to be Priests. Please keep Deacon Colin Roy, and Deacon Dan (I forgot the last name) in your prayers. Two young men filled with love and devotion for Our LORD. Please keep them in your prayers as they are so close to fulfilling Our LORDS call for them..... :D :gopray2::highprayer::gopray2:

[/quote]

Roy’s fellow seminarian Daniel Yasinski was also ordained a deacon for the diocese, continuing his journey to the priesthood .
Two other deacons in the Diocese of Saskatoon — Gregory Roth and Hoang Nguyen — will be ordained to the priesthood June 22 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon.


#7

[quote="x1980x, post:1, topic:306677"]
My understanding from having read about Catholic seminary in the past was that seminarians would receive minor orders (e.g. lector), after having made some progress (e.g. passed introductory courses), then would receive ordination as a Deacon (major orders) after some further progress, then would finally graduate and, if is discerned to be the will of God, be ordained. Vatican II's reintroduction of the Permanent Diaconate established a separate process for men who did not intend to become priests to become deacons and serve in that capacity. Before Vatican II, for a long time, the only non-priest deacons were men who were using the diaconate as a way station on their way to becoming a priest. It wasn't an end to itself.

To what extent do these orders have a non-theoretical meaning for men who fail to complete seminary? For example, if a man is admitted to seminary and receives ordination as a Deacon after reaching the appropriate point, and then, as a deacon, fails out of seminary due to poor grades, quits, or is expelled for misbehavior, is he automatically considered a Permanent Deacon or can he function as such while it is determined whether or not he should return to seminary, or does the fact that he is technically a Deacon have only theoretical relevance because he hasn't gone through Permanent Deacon formation (e.g. he could only serve in an emergency)?

[/quote]

When it comes down to it, there really is no "Permanent Deacon" and "Transitional Deacon". Permanent Deacon just means that the Diaconate is restored to an actual ministry and men can actually serve for life as Deacons. But a Deacon is a Deacon. If one is ordained to the Diaconate and wasn't ordained to the priesthood even if he was aiming to, he is a validly ordained Deacon. Now whether his falling out of the seminary would cause him to be defrocked, he can continue serving as a Deacon in a diocese where a Bishop would take him.

There is nothing with Permanent Deacons that prevent them from being ordained a priest. Even the current canon in the Latin Church where only celibate men are admitted to the priesthood, we know that can be dispensed and has been from time to time.


#8

[quote="FrDavid96, post:3, topic:306677"]
...
I see where your question is going at the end: if he did not complete "permanent deacon" formation, but only completed "transitional deacon" formation, does that prevent him from functioning as a deacon? Canon law says no. Once he is ordained a deacon, he "is" a deacon, regardless of which formation track he was on at the time of ordination.

...

[/quote]

This is exactly what I was intending to ask.


#9

[quote="april32010, post:6, topic:306677"]

[/quote]

Thats Him!! :thumbsup::thumbsup:

I met them both at St. Peters, I was just there for a discernment weekend....

Wonderful young men!! I hope they will save many souls with their ministries!!


#10

[quote="FrDavid96, post:3, topic:306677"]
...If however, he is dismissed from formation, or there is some impediment preventing him from being ordained a priest, then he can be prohibited from functioning as a deacon. Remember though that he will always be a deacon, but unable to function as one.

If there is such an impediment (preventing priestly ordination) it's highly unlikely that it would not be discovered until after ordination as a deacon. Also very unlikely that an impediment would arise after ordination (say, if he attempts a civil marriage). Unlikely but neither is impossible....

[/quote]

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:7, topic:306677"]
...Now whether his falling out of the seminary would cause him to be defrocked, he can continue serving as a Deacon in a diocese where a Bishop would take him....

[/quote]

Is there an impediment or offense that would or could (in the judgment of the bishop) prevent a transitional deacon from being ordained a priest but that is not sufficiently serious to require that the deacon be defrocked? For example, are there some mental health conditions (that might be diagnosed after deacon formation) that are ok for deacons to have but priests cannot have them?

e.g.:

Bishop: "Unfortunately, your doctor just called me and told me that he just diagnosed you with somatization disorder. You will be unable to be ordained to the priesthood due to your illness but I invite you to stay here as a deacon. We'd love to have you."

Isn't it the case that sexual abuse of a minor would require a transitional deacon to be completely defrocked with no leeway given to the bishop? That is, the bishop could not decide to have mercy and simply forbid him from advancing to the priesthood but keep him on as a deacon.


#11

[quote="x1980x, post:10, topic:306677"]
Is there an impediment or offense that would or could (in the judgment of the bishop) prevent a transitional deacon from being ordained a priest but that is not sufficiently serious to require that the deacon be defrocked? For example, are there some mental health conditions (that might be diagnosed after deacon formation) that are ok for deacons to have but priests cannot have them?

e.g.:

Bishop: "Unfortunately, your doctor just called me and told me that he just diagnosed you with somatization disorder. You will be unable to be ordained to the priesthood due to your illness but I invite you to stay here as a deacon. We'd love to have you."

Isn't it the case that sexual abuse of a minor would require a transitional deacon to be completely defrocked with no leeway given to the bishop? That is, the bishop could not decide to have mercy and simply forbid him from advancing to the priesthood but keep him on as a deacon.

[/quote]

One at a time

  1. Yes. At least in theory. A deacon (destined for the priesthood) might develop some mental disorder which prevents him from functioning as a priest, but might not necessarily exclude him as a deacon. He might not be able to handle the stress of a pastoral assignment as a priest (full time, living in the rectory, etc.) but that doesn't mean he cannot function occasionally as a deacon. In theory it's possible.

  2. I don't like getting into the realm of abuse of a minor on these threads, however...
    In general, yes, abuse of a minor would mean he would have to be suspended from functioning as a deacon, but to say "no leeway given to the bishop" is a bit too far as an absolute statement. The candidate or the bishop could ultimately appeal to the pope for permission to remain as a deacon. This is VERY VERY unlikely but since you did ask, it is at least possible in theory. Think of it this way, if someone asks the question "if John Doe murders 20 people, can he still be pardoned by the governor?" The answer is yes, but that is not the same thing as saying it's likely.


#12

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