Monday, January 17, 2011

Deacons and continence

My blog visitor count is up again, this time because of comments I have made on the above topic.

For my readers who don't trawl the blogosphere, here are some blogs that are currently discussing the issue, some humorously, others more seriously, some with misgivings...

The Anchoress: Deacons in the Center-Ring.

Dr Edward Peters, the one who started the whole thing:
His Studia Canonica article can be found here.
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
Some thoughts on Dcn. Ditewig's comments on diaconal continence
The difference between personal status and the objective requirements of law
Let's avoid “consequence-driven analysis”
Debating complex points of law is hard enough; having to repudiate false quotations is too much
Addressing questions on clerical continence requires attention to Holy Orders as well as to Matrimony
Four options regarding continence and married clergy in the West (summary)
Four options... full article.

Dr Peters' son Thomas: Church Law says Permanent Deacons (and all clerics) are obliged to abstain from sex, notes Canonist Edward Peters {updated}

Deacon Greg Kandra: Can you countenance continence?

Deacon William T. Ditewig

Abbey Roads: Can the new Anglican Catholic priests keep "doin' it"?

John Martens in America Magazine: Sex and the Married Deacon

Father Ray Blake: Clergy and Sex.

A concerned Eastern Rite Catholic writes A Critical Consideration of The Case for Clerical Celibacy


  1. Kevin O'Donnell18 January, 2011 07:18

    Having studied Cochini's works, and those by other scholars, I have been far from convinced that the continence of married clergy was apostolic. The evidence seems to be that it is fourth century and maybe third. How widespread it was even by the fourth century is a matter for debate, too. Eastern bishops argued differently. The earliest evidence suggests that any married cleric seeking continence, or anyone embracing celbacy, should approve this with the bishop (ref Ignatius of Antioch?) Paul in 1 Cor urges married people to remain in the condition in which they were called and to abstain from marital relations only for a season. The Orthodox have also developed a different tradition where married priests are not required to be continent, and the ministries of Eastern rite married clergy were accepted and valued in the documents of Vatican II. The Canon in question declares that celibacy is the case because continence is the case. You can't really have one without the other, for great stress can come into a marriage otherwise. We former Anglicans who are married are dispensed from the vow of celibacy, and surely, in the context of the canon, from continence also.
    These debates about the early Church will rage on I am sure with claims and counter claims. The point is that the present teaching of the Church does not expect permanent deacons and convert clergy to be continent.

  2. Oh, just one thing: just because a law doesn't appear before a certain date does not mean that the tradition did not exist. Laws are often made only when an accepted tradition is questioned or violated and I believe this is one of the arguments that Cochini and others put forward.


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