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   Canon Twelve

Code of Canon Law
of the
Evangelical Catholic Church


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 governing.

12.2 The Orders are the Episcopacy, the Presbyterate, and the Diaconate.

12.3 Holy Orders are open to both men and women, without discrimination, who have properly fulfilled the required formation process.

12.4 Orders are conferred by the imposition of hands and by the consecratory prayers, which the liturgical books prescribe for the individual grades.

12.5 Ordination is to be celebrated within the solemnities of the Mass of Sunday; however, it can take place on other days, even ordinary weekdays.

12.6 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.

12.7 The minister of Sacred Ordination is a validly consecrated bishop.

12.8 The 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.

12.9 Each 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 freedom.

    §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 the Sacrament.

12.14 Those 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.

    §2 Candidates for the Diaconate or Presbyterate must be a full member of the Church prior to their consideration to enter into secular clerical formation.

12.15 As part of the application process to enter into secular clerical formation, candidates must complete the following:

    §1 Provide documentation of their Baptism, Confirmation, and Marriage

    §2 Provide documentation of the dissolution of any Marriage.

    §3 Complete a criminal background check at the candidate’s expense.

    §4 Complete a standard psychological examination at the candidate’s expense.

    §5 Provide documentation of required academic credentials.

    §6 All application forms

    §7 Declare 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.

    §8 Meet the residency requirements of the local diocese.

12.16 The 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.

    §1 The 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.

12.18 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 Orders.

    §1 The length of the internship will be decided by the local ordinary.

12.19 The Order of Deacon cannot be dispensed for candidates to the Presbyterate.

12.20 After 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.

12.22 The 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.

12.23 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.

    §1 Prior 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.

I further 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. "

    §2 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.

12.26 The following are irregular regarding the reception of Orders:

    §1 A 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.

    §2 A person who has committed the delict of apostasy, heresy, or schism within the Church.

    §3 A person who has committed voluntary homicide.

    §4 A person who has committed sexual assault.

12.27 A neophyte is simply impeded from receiving Orders, unless they have been sufficiently proven in the judgment of the local ordinary

12.28 The 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.

12.29 Ignorance of any irregularities or impediments does not exempt from them.

12.30 For one to be promoted to Sacred Orders, the following documents are required:

    §1 Certification that the academic studies prescribed have been completed.

    §2 Certification that the Diaconate has been received if it is a question of those to be ordained to the Presbyterate.

    §3 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.

12.31 As regards the inquiry concerning the qualities required of candidates for Ordination, the following prescriptions are to be observed:

    §1 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.

12.33 If, 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.

12:34  If, 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.

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