Celibacy as a Rule Still in Force for Anglicans

Ordination of Married Men to Come Case by Case

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution establishing personal ordinariates for Anglicans in communion with Rome does not alter the discipline of clerical celibacy nor the esteem the Church has for this practice, the Vatican clarified.

This clarification was given today in a statement from the Vatican announcing “Anglicanorum Coetibus,” Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution for Anglicans who want to enter the Catholic Church. Complementary norms and an official commentary were also published.

The constitution states: “Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church.

“In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI ‘Sacerdotalis coelibatus,’ n. 4215 and in the Statement ‘In June’ are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.”

This practice is nothing new and has already been in use for Anglican priests who have come into communion with Rome on an individual basis.

The question nevertheless arose after last month’s announcement of the constitution whether married seminarians would be able to become priests.

The document clarifies: “The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.”

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Anglicanorum coetibus: www.zenit.org/article-27490?l=english

Complementary norms: www.zenit.org/article-27491?l=english

Official commentary: www.zenit.org/article-27492?l=english

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