Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Responses to Rex Pilger's comments on clerical continence

Brian Van Hove, SJ, and Dcn. Rex Pilger are debating in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review whether the obligation of clerical continence (1983 CIC 277) applies to married permanent deacons. Van Hove argues affirmatively, Pilger negatively. My 2005 article on this question has been cited approvingly by Van Hove, but I have not intervened in the HPR discussion because, until recently, my work had not been challenged by either side. Recently, however, Pilger attempted to refute several points that I made or accept concerning clerical continence.

My responses to Pilger are posted on my canon law website, here. I must caution, however, that the issues raised in this discussion are quite complex. Those not familiar with the broader discussion of clerical continence should avoid forming any conclusions based only on what appears there. +++

The HPR exchange unfolded thus: Rex Pilger, "Making sense of the ministry of the deacon", HPR November 2006 pp. 23-27; Brian Van Hove, Letter, HPR April 2007 p. 6; Richard Kosterman, Letter, and Fr. Vincent, Letter, HPR November 2007 pp. 3-4; Brian Van Hove, Letter, HPR March 2008 pp. 6-7; Mark Gross, Letter, HPR July 2008 pp. 5-6; and Rex Pilger, Letter, HPR October 2008 pp. 4-5. For all the letters posted sequentially, see R. Pilger's Deacon's Bench Weblog of October 2, 2008.

Updated, 1 December 2008. I see that Dcn. Pilger has responded to some of my assertions. Links to his reponses, and my reactions to his responses, can be found in the left parchment column of my original post, dated 30 November 2008.