…Here, in confirming that he and his wife will observe “celibacy” after his ordination to the priesthood, the deacon makes the single most common error one sees in this whole matter, namely, confusing “celibacy” (the determination not to marry) with “continence” (the determination not to engage in sexual relations). Now, Canon 277 expects perfect and perpetual continence of all clerics in the West, married or single, but canon law does not expect celibacy of all clerics. The deacon is hardly alone is making this terminological mistake. We all know what he meant…. (Source)
Don’t lose your head. That’s just the opinion of one Canon lawyer. Here is the resolution.
Loved this joke at the end of it:
I’m reminded of an old joke.
A devout Catholic asks his parish priest, “Father is it permissible for my wife and I to make love before Mass on Sunday?”
And the priest replied: ”Certainly. Just don’t block the aisles.”
p.s. Canon 277 clearly does not apply to married priests or married deacons because Canon 277 does not envision covering their situations:
1983 CIC 277. § 1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity. § 2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful. § 3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.
The obligation to continence in the law is clearly speaking about SINGLE men because it speaks in the context of celibacy. Celibacy, by the Church’s definition, is broader than simply being continent, since it also includes being unmarried. Therefore, this canon does not apply to married men who become deacons or priests in the Catholic Church. Socon or Bust readers will remember the case of the Lesbian Catholic Buddhist and the dust up that Ed Peters was involved with in that one. It seems that Ed’s off the mark with this one too.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of celibacy. But I’m not a big fan of Ed’s interpretations.