Canon 12: Holy Orders
12.1 By divine
institution, some among the Christian faithful are constituted
sacred ministers through the Sacrament of Orders by means of the
indelible character with which they are marked. Accordingly, they
are consecrated and deputed to shepherd the People of God, each in
accord with their own grade of Orders, by fulfilling in the person
of Christ the Head the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and
Orders are the Episcopacy, the Presbyterate, and the Diaconate.
Orders are open to both men and women, without discrimination, who
have properly fulfilled the required formation process.
are conferred by the imposition of hands and by the consecratory
prayers, which the liturgical books prescribe for the individual
Ordination is to be celebrated within the solemnities of the Mass of
Sunday; however, it can take place on other days, even ordinary
Ordination is to be celebrated in a church and the clergy and other
members of the Christian Faithful are to be invited so that a large
congregation may be present for the celebration.
minister of Sacred Ordination is a validly consecrated bishop.
principal consecrating bishop in an Episcopal consecration is to
associate at least two other consecrating bishops; but it is
especially appropriate that all bishops who are present should
consecrate the bishop-elect along with the bishops mentioned.
candidate is to be ordained to the Presbyterate or Diaconate by
their own bishop, or with legitimate dimissorial letters from their
bishop or major religious superior.
12.10 A bishop
can confer Orders outside of their own jurisdiction only with the
written permission of the local diocesan bishop.
12.11 Only a
Baptized candidate validly receives Sacred Ordination.
12.12 It is
required that in the judgment of the same legitimate superior that a
candidate for Sacred Ordination be considered useful for the
ministry of the Church.
12.13 In order
for a candidate to be ordained they must possess the required
§1 In the
case of a candidate for Sacred Ordination, who is married, the
written consent of the spouse is required for the licit reception of
who aspire to the Diaconate or Presbyterate are required to complete
a prescribed program of formation.
§1 In the
case of candidates for Sacred Ordination, who are married, the
formation program shall include the spouse to the extent deemed
necessary by the local ordinary.
Candidates for the Diaconate or Presbyterate must be a full member
of the Church prior to their consideration to enter into secular
12.15 As part
of the application process to enter into secular clerical formation,
candidates must complete the following:
documentation of their Baptism, Confirmation, and Marriage
documentation of the dissolution of any Marriage.
Complete a criminal background check at the candidate’s expense.
Complete a standard psychological examination at the candidate’s
documentation of required academic credentials.
their ability to meet all financial obligations for tuition to a
graduate school of theology if the candidate has not yet completed a
Master of Divinity degree or equivalent degree.
the residency requirements of the local diocese.
diocesan Director of Vocations will empanel a review board of five
clerics in good standing to consider the applications of all
candidates and present their recommendations to the local ordinary.
The decision of the local ordinary to accept or reject any candidate
is final and not subject to review.
12.17 As part
of their formation process, candidates for Ordination will enter
into the minor Orders of Lector, Acolyte, and Candidacy prior to
being admitted to the Order of Deacon.
Order of Lector will be celebrated at the start of the candidate’s
formal graduate studies. The Order of Acolyte may be celebrated at
the mid-point of the candidate’s graduate studies. Candidacy may be
celebrated at the discretion of the local ordinary.
§2 In the
case of a candidate for Ordination who has completed the required
academic studies prior to beginning the prescribed program of
clerical formation, the conferral of the Minor Orders shall be at
the discretion of the local ordinary or competent major religious
superior, after consultation with the candidate and the Diocesan
Director of Vocations.
Candidates will enter into the Order of Deacon just prior to the
start of their internship. The local ordinary must evaluate the
readiness of the candidate prior to the calling of the candidate to
length of the internship will be decided by the local ordinary.
Order of Deacon cannot be dispensed for candidates to the
all circumstances have been taken into account in the prudent
judgment of the proper bishop or the competent major religious
superior, only those should be promoted to Orders who have an
integral faith, motivated by right intention, possess the requisite
knowledge, enjoy a good reputation, good morals, proven virtues, and
other physical and psychological qualities which are appropriate to
the Order received.
12.21 Only for
a canonical reason, even if it be occult, can the proper bishop or
competent major religious superior forbid access to Orders with due
regard for recourse in accord with the norm of law.
Presbyterate is not to be conferred upon those who have not
completed their twenty third year or who do not possess sufficient
maturity; an interval of at least six months is to be observed
between the Diaconate and Presbyterate Ordinations.
Candidates must complete their graduate studies prior to entering
into the Order of the Presbyterate.
12.24 In order
to be promoted to the Order of Deacon or Presbyter, the candidate is
to give to the proper bishop or competent major religious superior a
signed declaration written in their own hand, testifying that they
are about to receive Sacred Orders of their own accord and freely;
and they will devote themselves perpetually to the ecclesiastical
ministry. This declaration is also to contain their petition for
admission to the reception of Orders.
12.25 In order
for any priest or deacon to validly function within the Church, they
must be granted faculties from their Ordinary. Letters of Faculties
are a binding contract between the Church and its clergy. Priests
and Deacons from religious congregations may petition for faculties
through the office of their religious superior. All priests,
secular and religious, serve within any given diocese at the
discretion of the local ordinary.
to entering into Orders or Incardination, all secular and religious
candidates must sign the following letter of agreement:
" I, NAME OF
CANDIDATE, accept and support the Sacramental, Liturgical and
Ecclesial theology of the Evangelical Catholic Church. I further
state my acceptance and support for the Canon Law of this Church. I
hereby acknowledge and accept the responsibilities of any and all
faculties granted to me by my Ordinary and that I further
acknowledge and accept the fact that I serve at the discretion of my
Ordinary, to whom I pledge my respect and obedience.
swear and promise that should my faculties end, either through an
official act of suspension by my Ordinary or through an act of
resignation or self-termination, I will not attempt nor continue to
engage in the pastoral activities granted to me through my former
faculties, style myself as a cleric of this Church body or Religious
Congregation nor promote myself as a legal representative of this
Church body or Religious Congregation.
I make this
pledge freely and without reservations. "
Candidates for Orders or Incardination who fail to sign this
agreement cannot enter into Orders or be Incardinated into the
Church or into any Religious Congregation within the Church.
following are irregular regarding the reception of Orders:
person who labors under some form of mental illness or other psychic
defect due to which, after consultation with experts in the medical
field, are judged incapable of rightly carrying out the ministry.
person who has committed the delict of apostasy, heresy, or schism
within the Church.
person who has committed voluntary homicide.
person who has committed sexual assault.
neophyte is simply impeded from receiving Orders, unless they have
been sufficiently proven in the judgment of the local ordinary
faithful are obliged to reveal impediments to Sacred Orders, if they
know of any and can provide documentation, to the local ordinary,
competent major religious superior, or pastor before Ordination.
Ignorance of any irregularities or impediments does not exempt from
12.30 For one
to be promoted to Sacred Orders, the following documents are
Certification that the academic studies prescribed have been
Certification that the Diaconate has been received if it is a
question of those to be ordained to the Presbyterate.
Certification that Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage (if applicable),
or any Grant of Dissolution have been received and that any
additional ministries requested have been received if it is a
question of those to be promoted to the Diaconate.
regards the inquiry concerning the qualities required of candidates
for Ordination, the following prescriptions are to be observed:
Testimonials from competent persons.
§ In order
that the inquiry may be properly conducted, the diocesan bishop or
the competent major religious superior may employ other means which
may seem useful in accord with the circumstances of time and place.
12.32 In order
for a bishop to proceed to the Ordination of one who is not the
bishop’s subject, it is necessary that the required dimissorial
letters declare that all necessary documents have been furnished,
and that the inquiry has been conducted in accord with the norm of
law and that the suitability of the candidate has been proved.
despite all the above listed considerations, the bishop has certain
reasonable concerns regarding the suitability of the candidate for
Ordination, the bishop is not to ordain the candidate.
after attaining Orders, it is discovered that the candidate
consciously submitted false and misleading information on his or her
application to enter into the formation program for the Church, the
Church shall declare such Orders null and void.
Return to Canon Law Main