Sunday, August 25, 2013


The post about the young man, aspiring to be a priest, being told he must attend the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona or he has no place in this archdiocese, elicited a few emails relative to a similar ultimatum having been given to the deacon candidates a decade ago. 

The deacon candidates were apparently told that they must go through the Neo-Catechumenal Way to become deacons. The actual level of involvement was not specified. They were not forced to remain in the NCW and most chose not to continue after ordination.

There is some expectation that the same course through the NCW will be prescribed for the current class of diaconate candidates. According to one email, the diaconate formation program has been put on hold until each individual candidate can be interviewed, and at least one candidate expects to be given the same ultimatum as the prospective seminarian: serve in the NCW or there is no place for you in this archdiocese. 

Given that most of the deacons from the previous class departed from the NCW after ordination, it may be that the archdiocese wants to be sure the same thing doesn't happen again. Fr. Adrian Cristobal has replaced the deposed Fr. Paul Gofigan as the Director of Diaconate Formation. 

(BTW, if this isn't the case, Fr. Cristobal is welcome to refute the claim and we will gladly post his response.)


Meanwhile, some diaconate candidates may want to take a step back and consider a brewing controversy over the interpretation of Canon 277. The thought is that should this case make its way to Rome, either the law would have to be changed or married clergy would required to embrace continence. Most think that if the latter happens, continence would not be required of those already ordained, but would be required of all new candidates. I would not be addressing this except that the debate has been brought to the fore by Dr. Edward Peters, one of the most highly respected canon lawyers in the American church. Here are some posts for your review:

The obligation of perfect and perpetual continence binds all Western clerics

Canon 277 and clerical continence in the Roman Church

Why Canon 277 § 3 does not allow bishops to exempt clerics from the obligation of continence

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