Valid Ordination

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Jack

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After reading “Goodby Good Men” I was confused about the validity of the priesthood of certain, perhaps many, “homosexual priests.” If a practicing homosexual seminarian is ordained having no intention of living homosexual celibacy, is he really ordained? Is he really a priest? How could he have been in the “State of Grace” if he had no intention of giving up his homosexual lifestyle? How can one be validly ordained without being in the “State of Grace?” How can one be in the “state of grace” without having a “firm purpose of amendment?” If he is not validly ordained, what was the validity of his Masses and what was the efficacy of the other Sacraments that he administered? And what about the poor souls that trusted in him and his ministry as a priest in the “Order of Melchizedek?”

For some inexplicable reason, I was unable to post this new thread (question) to one of the apologists of Catholic Answers. Can you help me to clear up this mess and ask one of the CA apologists to respond?
 
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Jack:
For some inexplicable reason, I was unable to post this new thread (question) to one of the apologists of Catholic Answers. Can you help me to clear up this mess and ask one of the CA apologists to respond?
There’s a “sticky” at the top of the AAA forum. It notes that the forum is temporarily closed while the apologists work through the backlog of questions. Hope to have it open soon. In the meantime, posting questions in the other forums allows others to comment. Thanks for you patience.
 
Disclaimer: IAmNotACanonLawyer.
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Jack:
After reading “Goodby Good Men” I was confused about the validity of the priesthood of certain, perhaps many, “homosexual priests.” If a practicing homosexual seminarian is ordained having no intention of living homosexual celibacy, is he really ordained? Is he really a priest? How could he have been in the “State of Grace” if he had no intention of giving up his homosexual lifestyle? How can one be validly ordained without being in the “State of Grace?” How can one be in the “state of grace” without having a “firm purpose of amendment?” If he is not validly ordained, what was the validity of his Masses and what was the efficacy of the other Sacraments that he administered? And what about the poor souls that trusted in him and his ministry as a priest in the “Order of Melchizedek?”
I see nothing in Canons 1041 & 1042 intratext.com/IXT/ENG0017/_P3R.HTM to render invalid the ordination of a man not in the ““State of Grace””, nor in the other conditions you enumerate. (Unless you would argue that a practicing homosexual is insane – I myself am unprepared to make such an argument) So I would suppose his ordination to be valid, and he really is a priest.

Frankly, I do not know what is the disposition of one who approaches any of the sacraments (save baptism & reconciliation) while in a state of mortal sin. What does it mean to seek God’s grace while opposed from him? I can’t imagine the sacraments are completely ineffective in such a case, but was does it mean to be incompletely effective, if indeed that is what they are? The only thing I am pretty sure of is that it compounds the sin (as, forinstance, when someone approaches the Eucharist when in a state of mortal sin).

(Maybe I will ask in another thread, because the last time I tried to hash it out myself I had to stop when my head started hurting)
 
An ordination would be valid even if the person did not intend to live a celebate lifestyle, for celebacy is not intrinsic to Holy Orders. However, they would be commiting a mortal sin and sacrilege by taking a vow before God without the intent to keep it.

Being in the State of Grace is not necessary to validly receive the sacraments. However, to receive while not in the state of Grace if a greivous sacrilege and of course illicit. Holy Orders imparts an imdelible mark on the soul regardless of its state of holiness, likewise with confirmation. However, the recipient would not be able to receive the all of the sacramental graces associated with the sacrament until he once again comes into the State of Grace, the moment that he is reconciled, the the graces that could not otherwise be applied are.

Thus the sacraments that he celebrates are still valid. Incidentally this was a very important issue in the early Church, whether or not the holiness of the minister affected the efficacy of the sacraments, the Church teaches that it does not. However, for the priest in Mortal Sin to say Mass, even though it may be valid, it is nevertheless a sacrilege for him to do so, but it is not for the faithful.
 
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Katholish:
An ordination would be valid even if the person did not intend to live a celebate lifestyle, for celebacy is not intrinsic to Holy Orders. However, they would be commiting a mortal sin and sacrilege by taking a vow before God without the intent to keep it.

Being in the State of Grace is not necessary to validly receive the sacraments. However, to receive while not in the state of Grace if a greivous sacrilege and of course illicit. Holy Orders imparts an imdelible mark on the soul regardless of its state of holiness, likewise with confirmation. However, the recipient would not be able to receive the all of the sacramental graces associated with the sacrament until he once again comes into the State of Grace, the moment that he is reconciled, the the graces that could not otherwise be applied are.

Thus the sacraments that he celebrates are still valid. Incidentally this was a very important issue in the early Church, whether or not the holiness of the minister affected the efficacy of the sacraments, the Church teaches that it does not. However, for the priest in Mortal Sin to say Mass, even though it may be valid, it is nevertheless a sacrilege for him to do so, but it is not for the faithful.
Please cite your references Katholish. Thanks
 
I would be happy to give a source.

That Holy Orders can be validly received by a person in Mortal Sin:

Summa Theologica, Supplement to the Third Part, Question 36, Article 1:
I answer that, As Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. iii), “even as the more subtle and clear essences, being filled by the outpouring of the solar radiance, like the sun enlighten other bodies with their brilliant light, so in all things pertaining to God a man must not dare to become a leader of others, unless in all his habits he be most deiform and godlike.” Wherefore, since in every order a man is appointed to lead others in Divine things, he who being conscious of mortal sin presents himself for Orders is guilty of presumption and sins mortally. Consequently holiness of life is requisite for Orders, as a matter of precept, but not as essential to the sacrament; and if a wicked man be ordained, he receives the Order none the less, and yet with sin withal.
That the Mass is still valid when offered by a priest in Mortal Sin:

Summa Theologica, Third Part, Question 82, Article 6:
I answer that, There are two things to be considered in the mass. namely, the sacrament itself, which is the chief thing; and the prayers which are offered up in the mass for the quick and the dead. So far as the mass itself is concerned, the mass of a wicked priest is not of less value than that of a good priest, because the same sacrifice is offered by both.
Again, the prayer put up in the mass can be considered in two respects: first of all, in so far as it has its efficacy from the devotion of the priest interceding, and in this respect there is no doubt but that the mass of the better priest is the more fruitful. In another respect, inasmuch as the prayer is said by the priest in the mass in the place of the entire Church, of which the priest is the minister; and this ministry remains even in sinful men, as was said above (5) in regard to Christ’s ministry. Hence, in this respect the prayer even of the sinful priest is fruitful, not only that which he utters in the mass, but likewise all those he recites in the ecclesiastical offices, wherein he takes the place of the Church. on the other hand, his private prayers are not fruitful, according to Prov. 28:9: “He that turneth away his ears from hearing the law, his prayer shall be an abomination.”
 
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Jack:
After reading “Goodby Good Men” I was confused about the validity of the priesthood of certain, perhaps many, “homosexual priests.” If a practicing homosexual seminarian is ordained having no intention of living homosexual celibacy, is he really ordained? Is he really a priest?
For some inexplicable reason, I was unable to post this new thread (question) to one of the apologists of Catholic Answers. Can you help me to clear up this mess and ask one of the CA apologists to respond?
Dear Jack, I do hope that an apologist gets back to you, because then you can tell us. I have wondered about this ever since I learned that, in the past, ordinations in the Anglican Church that at first glance appeared valid were (and are), considered invalid by Rome, due to secret intentions. As I understand it, much of the ordination was satisfactory, but it was a facade after all, because the ordinands had no intention of interpreting what they promised in the light of traditional Roman Catholic Church teaching.

It would seem that many of the seminarians in Rose’s book were also led to believe that they would be able to marry soon after ordination. Anyway, how would any of these men differ from those non-validly ordained Anglicans?
 
Anna Elizabeth:
Dear Jack, I do hope that an apologist gets back to you, because then you can tell us. I have wondered about this ever since I learned that, in the past, ordinations in the Anglican Church that at first glance appeared valid were (and are), considered invalid by Rome, due to secret intentions. As I understand it, much of the ordination was satisfactory, but it was a facade after all, because the ordinands had no intention of interpreting what they promised in the light of traditional Roman Catholic Church teaching.

It would seem that many of the seminarians in Rose’s book were also led to believe that they would be able to marry soon after ordination. Anyway, how would any of these men differ from those non-validly ordained Anglicans?
That was also the primary intent of my original question. Perhaps I worded it too explicitly as being in the “State of Grace” at ordination.

If I get no response from CA apologist, I will try Colon Donavon on EWTN’s Q&A board on Moral Theology. Watch there as well as here.
 
Anna, the reason for the Church’s declaration of the in-validation of Anglican Orders was because of a problem with the Form of the Sacrament. Intent is a concern, but the primary issue was over the Edwardian change to the Rite of Ordination.

Apostolicae Curae:
  1. The authority of Julius m, and of Paul IV, which we have quoted, clearly shows the origin of that practice which has been observed without interruption for more than three centuries, that Ordinations conferred according to the Edwardine rite should be considered null and void. This practice is fully proved by the numerous cases of absolute re-ordination according to the Catholic rite even in Rome.
  1. Then, considering that this matter, although already decided, had been by certain persons for whatever reason recalled into discussion, and that thence it might follow that a pernicious error would be fostered in the minds of many who might suppose that they possessed the Sacrament and effects of Orders, where these are nowise to be found, it seemed good to Us in the Lord to pronounce Our judgment.
  1. Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the Pontiffs, Our Predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by Our authority, of Our own initiative and certain knowledge, We pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.
 
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Jack:
After reading “Goodby Good Men” I was confused about the validity of the priesthood of certain, perhaps many, “homosexual priests.” If a practicing homosexual seminarian is ordained having no intention of living homosexual celibacy, is he really ordained? Is he really a priest?
\QUOTE]

Ok, then. How about this: if a witness hears a man or woman make a statement indicatiing that what he/she is about to promise in marriage is something he/she has no intention of keeping, does this not invalidate the marriage? Isn’t this grounds for possible annulment?

According to Michael Rose, were not some seminarians taught and ordained with the idea that soon they would be able to marry, and that, in the case of homosexuals, chastity was limited to not marrrying? Would their false promises not be equally invalidating of that sacrament? :confused:

Am I confused in seeing some parallels there?

Anna
 
As I mentioned before, celebacy is not essential to the Sacrament of Holy Orders. A person does not necessarily need to be celebate to be a priest. For instance, there is married clergy in the Eastern Rites as well as some in the Latin Rite that were former Anglican or Lutheran ministers that the Church has waved the normal requirement of celebacy in the latin Rite.

Thus marriage is not a perfect parallel as far as vows are concerned. The intent of marriage is different from the intent of ordination. A marriage would be invalidated if there was no intent to keep ones vows because the vows are what is essential to the sacrament, whereas the vow of celebacy is not essential to Holy Orders.
 
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Katholish:
As I mentioned before, celebacy is not essential to the Sacrament of Holy Orders. A person does not necessarily need to be celebate to be a priest. For instance, there is married clergy in the Eastern Rites as well as some in the Latin Rite that were former Anglican or Lutheran ministers that the Church has waved the normal requirement of celebacy in the latin Rite.

Thus marriage is not a perfect parallel as far as vows are concerned. The intent of marriage is different from the intent of ordination. A marriage would be invalidated if there was no intent to keep ones vows because the vows are what is essential to the sacrament, whereas the vow of celebacy is not essential to Holy Orders.
Are there any vows that are essential to Holy Orders?
 
Dear Anna Elizabeth,

Diocesan priests do not make any vows, technically speaking. They make “promises” of celibacy, obedience to the bishop, prayer…maybe something else, too. But, not vows like a typical member of a religious order must do (chastity, poverty, obedience…or, for some, obedience, stability, conversion of life).

So, no, there are no “vows” which are essential. As for “promises”, i don’t think so but I’m not sure.
 
Most texts on dealing with sacramental theology that I have seen say there are 3 things necessary for a sacrament to be valid: an effective form (the irght words), the INTENT to do what the church does when the sacrament is celebrated, and the correct subject matter for the sacrament (e.g. bread and wine for Eucharist).

The heresy of Donatism was dealt with centuries ago. It was a heresy in which its proponents taught thet the efficacy of sacraments performed by an unworthy minister were invalid because of the sins/shortcomings of the minister. The sins are the problem of the unworthy celebrant or officiant of a sacrament, not an impediment to the faithful receiving the graces conferred by the sacrament.

Pax Christi
 
Anna, I am not certain if any vows are essential to the sacrament, but I should think not so. The recipient of the sacrament must intend to become a priest, that is the essential intent as I understand it.
 
Although promises are taken during ordination (both to the diaconate & the priesthood) they are not required for validity of the sacrament.

Promises are taken by diocesan candidates for holy orders:

  1. *]Promise of obedience to the bishop and his successors
    *]Promise to pray the Divine Office
    *]Promise of celibacy (for priesthood candidates and unmarried diaconal candidates)

    Promises are not vows; vows are taken by Consecrated Persons (both women and men) in conjuction with the rules of their particular order.

    Traditionally they are the evangelical counsels of obedience, poverty and chastity. Additional vows such as stability might also apply.

    Thus diocesan = promises; religious = vows

    In any case, valid ordination is received only by a baptized male, who has given free consent to receiving sacred orders.

    There are six irregularities to receiving orders:

    1. *]Amentia - “insanity”
      *]Apostate, heretic or schismatic
      *]Attempted marriage while impeded by orders, vow, or to a woman impeded by marriage or vow
      *]Committed homicide or participated in procuring an abortion
      *]Mulitation of self or other (gravely) or attempted suicide
      *]Simulated an act of holy orders reserved to an order which he does not belong to (e.g. a deacon simulating confecting the Euchraist)

      If homosexuality could be clearly established as a mental disease, then perhaps ordination of a man could be doubted.

      In the peace of Christ,
      Chris
 
Diaconia, your list of “irregularities” wouldn’t make an ordination necessarily invalid though. Insanity would because the essential intent of the sacrament could not be present. However, Schismatics or heretics could be validly ordained, as could those who mutilate themselves, etc.
 
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Katholish:
Diaconia, your list of “irregularities” wouldn’t make an ordination necessarily invalid though. Insanity would because the essential intent of the sacrament could not be present. However, Schismatics or heretics could be validly ordained, as could those who mutilate themselves, etc.
Katholish:

“Irregularity” is the canonical term for a perpetual impediment. In the list I provided, those are the six perpetual impediments to receiving sacred orders. Confer canons 1040 & 1041.

Impediments affect the liceity, that is the legality, of orders. So while a man who has any one of these six irregulaties might be validly ordained, he would not be legally ordainded.

Additionally, illegally receiving sacred orders may be punished by a penalty. This may include a latae sententiae excommunication (by the very act itself) for some of the irregularities.

So, interestingly enough, although a heretic might be validly ordained, if he persisted in his heretical position, he incurs an automatic excommunication (latae sententiae), per canon 1364.

To steer the discussion back to the original thread, the seemingly applicable irregularity involved with a homosexual candidate would be that of amentia.

In my view, the practical application of this would require WIDESPREAD agreement that homosexuality is a mental disorder. It would be hard to establish such agreement, I believe, in the phychological community.

For example, a few years ago the DSM-IV removed the condition of “ephebophilia” because the board believed that homosexuality is NOT a mental disorder. They reasoned that ephebophilia is more like homosexuality and less like pedophilia.

This of course is true, it IS more like homosexuality than pedophilia, but that dodges the root question of whether homosexuality is disordered.

My expertise lies with philosophy & theology, and not in the applied sciences, so I don’t really have any business guess whether homosexuality is a disorder or not.

One final thought, even if homosexuality does not impede orders (if it is NOT amentia), it’s just a BAD IDEA anyway! It might be likened to a recovering alcoholic becoming a bartender. It’s just not prudent for someone with sexual attraction to other men to place themself in such a position of temptation. Such men are prone to act out their frustrations in unhealthy behaviors, which might include unchaste acts, drinking, anger and the like.

Unfortunately, I have first hand experience of what Rose recounted in Goodbye Good Men. I’ll save that info for another time and place.

In the peace of Christ Jesus,
Chris
 
In the marriage v. Holy Orders discussion, perhaps this will help.

In the Latin chuch it is the couple who confect the sacrament of marriage. That is, they are the ministers of the sacrament, the priest or deacon serve mearly as witness for the church. Therefore their (the couple’s) intent as the ministers of the sacrament is of primary concern to determining validity of the sacrament.

In the sacrament of Holy Orders the Bishop confects (ministers) the sacrament, so it is the intent and disposition of the bishop, as the minister of the sacrament, which is important, not the disposition of the recipient. With the information that Diaconia provided, considered.

Hope this helps, I will hopefully provide you with some sources soon.

God Bless,
RP
 
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