Thursday, April 4, 2013

New regulations on clerical celibacy enacted

4 April 2013 (ACNS) - The Patriarchal See announced today that new regulations regarding clerical celibacy in the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church have been enacted. The document, entitled Sacerdotes Matrimonio Coniuncti, states that priests and bishops, once ordained, will no longer be allowed to marry. If they are validly married prior to ordination to the priesthood, then they may not marry again if they survive their spouse. Deacons and Minor Clerics continue to be able to marry with permission of their Bishops, provided the conditions, which have been increased, are met.

The document also renewed and expanded the requirement that the wives of married men seeking ordination must give their consent, and both the postulant and spouse must sign the specified oaths and further take the oaths while kneeling before the ordaining Bishop. Deacons and Minor Clerics who are given permission to marry must do likewise with their intended spouse. This is in recognition of the fact that it is essential for spouses to support the ministry of their husband, as the service of a cleric to the Church is his most sacred, important, and chief duty and responsibility. This is both for the good of the Church and the good of the marriage.

It was noted that this practice is similar (albeit with some differences) to that of many Eastern Rite and Orthodox Churches, as well as the new Anglican Ordinariate. Also, married men in the Roman Communion who seek ordination as permanent Deacons must have spousal permission and agree not to re-marry. While married clergy was once common in the Roman Rite, it was suppressed at the Second Lateran Council in 1145.