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What is the canonical penalty for Catholics who get ordained as "mail order ministers"?

  • Could you expand a little more on what you mean by "mail order ministers"? – Matt Gutting May 5 '17 at 17:08
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    Catholics who freely get ordained as a non-denominational minister cease to be Catholics and as a result canon law no longer applies to them because they out the jurisdiction of the Church. They are outside the unity of the Church and are to be considered heretics and/or a schismatics. How can one serve two masters. Either he will love the first and hate the second? See: Matthew 6:24 One is Catholic or one is something else! – Ken Graham May 5 '17 at 21:38
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    @KenGraham, no, Canonically speaking, they are still subject to Canon Law (or the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches). There is no specific Canonical penalty for this (certainly no latae sententiae censure), although it might constitute pretending to have Holy Orders. (Obviously, the Church is not going to bother someone who wants to leave, but it could cause an irregularity if the person came back and then wanted to become a priest.) – AthanasiusOfAlex May 6 '17 at 5:55
  • possible duplicate – Peter Turner May 6 '17 at 22:37
  • If the mail order ministry has no doctrine then I'm not sure why it would be any different from becoming a civil registrar – davidlol Nov 3 '17 at 20:30
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The Church seems to be silent on this matter, not because of its' gravity but more so because the whole purpose of canon law is to set down guidelines for Catholics in good faith to make the right choices and to act accordingly. How can one be in communion with the Church while being an ordained minister in another denominational church?

Catholics who freely get ordained as a non-denominational minister cease to be Catholics in good standing and as a result canon law will no longer hinder them because they outside the jurisdiction of the Church. They are outside the unity of the Church and are to be considered heretics and/or a schismatics. How can one serve two masters. Either he will love the first and hate the second? See: Matthew 6:24 One is Catholic or one is something else!

How Can someone claim to be a practicing Catholic and then get ordained as a non-denominational minister (such as from The Universal Life Church Ministries) makes no sense. One can not abide by what the Church teaches and then leave the fold and teach what may be contrary to Catholic theology.

The following article is found online and although it is only indirectly on this topic, many of its' points are quite prevalent to this subject: Catholic Priests Who Become Non-Catholic Ministers.

  • "Catholics who freely get ordained as a non-denominational minister cease to be Catholics" - false. Canon 11 states that ecclesiastical law will still apply to them, and canon 209 states that they have a responsibility to maintain themselves in communion with the Church. Essentially, anyone with a reasoning faculty, over the age of 7, who has been baptized or confirmed Catholic, is considered Catholic by the Church, regardless of what they consider themselves to be. – Matt Gutting May 6 '17 at 15:40
  • Once ordained in another denomination, a Catholic has no longer "maintained themselves in communion with the Church." and are outside the fold of the Catholic Church. – Ken Graham May 6 '17 at 16:43
  • I don't think that's an accurate interpretation of Canon 11 - but I'm not going to discuss that in comments, and chat is difficult to handle on the phone. – Matt Gutting May 6 '17 at 18:09
  • Ken, FWIW I was taught by our deacon that once baptized a Catholic one remains one, in the church's eyes as the ever present hope of redemption and return of any lapsed catholic is encouraged. Not sure if this is new age or old school teaching, but "Catholics Come Home" is a program founded on that basis. The path back into communion, even if one is at one point anathema or excommunicated, remains the sacrament of penance and reconciliation. – KorvinStarmast May 11 '17 at 21:03
  • catholicscomehome – KorvinStarmast May 11 '17 at 21:25

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