GCSPD 36-40: Holy Orders

Looks like I got these last two sacraments out of order. Imagine that. I rate Holy Orders as second to Marriage anyway, so … We should complete the sacramental picture as it has been handed to us from the Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities,

We all know that Orders provide the Church and its people with shepherds. The bishops remind us that “a physical disability is not considered in and of itself as disqualifying a person from Holy Orders.” (GSPCD 37) Canons 1029 and 1041 in Church law remind us that “candidates for ordination must possess the necessary spiritual, physical, human, moral, intellectual, emotional, and psychological qualities and abilities to fulfill the ministerial functions of the order they receive.” (also Ibid.) Who decides? Bishops or religious superiors. Each candidate must be assessed individually, and experts should be consulted. Collaboration between two chancery departments–vocations and persons with disabilities–is important for the discernment by candidates themselves. (Ibid. 38)

Seminaries have a responsibility to inculcate an “awareness of and experience with persons with disabilities.” (Ibid. 39) This document is recommended as formation material.

This section concludes with a reminder that clergy with disabilities–congenital or acquired before or after ordination–may need assistance in continuing their service to the Church. I think of the difference in the situation for persons with dementia. In the section on married persons, there is a continuation of the role with a partner and the aspiration to holiness. For clergy, many in their old age find the visible service to God’s people trimmed back. There are instances of early retirement, and certainly the impairments of living in one’s eighth decade and beyond. How does the institution assist those who are no longer in full-time ministry, but still ready to serve?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, USCCB documents. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s