Documents of the ECCC

Apostolic Succession

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto

The Apostolic Succession of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ in The United States, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia is part of the unbroken succession of bishops from Our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles down to the present time. Our joined lines of succession come from the great and holy Patriarchates of Christianity: Jerusalem, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, and Moscow.

Our Roman Catholic Lines of succession come through two outstanding sources: The Roman Catholic Church of Brazil and the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht. These lines are called “Rebiban” by scholars because they both trace back to Scipione Cardinal Rebiba who was consecrated a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church in 1541 A. D. In the Brazilian line there are many cardinals, apostolic nuncios and several Popes, including, Benedict XIII, Benedict, XIV, and Clement XIII and for this reason it is one of the strongest lines of succession in the Church. It is the same line of succession held by Pope John Paul II. The Utrecht line includes Antonio Cardinal Barbarini, Archbishop of Rheims, whose uncle was Pope Urban VIII.

     One of the Orthodox lines of succession comes from the Ancient See of St. Peter at Antioch through the Malankara Orthodox Church of India where Archbishop Vilatte was consecrated in 1892. Another Orthodox line of succession is through the Russian Patriarch of Moscow, Tikhon, who had been the Archbishop of America before he was elected patriarch. Patriarch Tikhon approved the election and consecration of Aftimos Ofeish in 1917 as the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop for America. We hold the Russian line of succession through Archbishop Ofeish.

    It is interesting to note that the Archepiscopal See of Utrecht had a unique privilege given in 1145 by Pope Eugenius II to allow the election and consecration of bishops. This privilege was ratified by the Fourth Lateran council in 1215. Pope Leo X. in 1520 in the papal bull, “Debitum Pastoralis”, extended the privileges and made the Church of Utrecht autonomous in all its affairs. Thus, the Church of Utrecht became the first independent Catholic Archdiocese and remained so until the First Vatican Council. At that time Rome appointed new bishops to the sees of the Netherlands, and the Church of Utrecht began to call itself the Old Catholic Church. In England and the United States, independent Catholic Churches were often called Old Roman Catholic Churches. There are many independent Catholic Churches in the Ultrajectine Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. Ultrajectensis is the Latin word for Utrecht and it signifies the minority party of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We hold the same faith, sacraments and orders and we are part of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Lord. Our succession in holy orders is from the ancient apostolic sees.  We give glory to God for this great gift.

Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto    

La sucesión apostólica de la Iglesia Católica Ecuménica de Cristo en los Estados Unidos, América Latina, África, Europa y Asia es parte de la sucesión ininterrumpida de los obispos de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo y sus apóstoles hasta el tiempo presente. Nuestras líneas de la sucesión se unió provienen de los patriarcados grande y sagrado de la cristiandad: Jerusalén, Constantinopla, Alejandría, Antioquía, Roma y Moscú.

      Nuestro católica líneas de sucesión llegado a través de dos fuentes de pendientes: La Iglesia Católica Romana de Brasil y de la Iglesia Católica Antigua de Utrecht. Estas líneas se llaman "Rebiban" por los estudiosos, ya que ambos se remontan a Cardenal Scipione Rebiba que fue consagrado obispo en la Iglesia Católica Romana en 1541 dC En la línea de Brasil hay muchos cardenales, nuncios apostólicos y de varios Papas, incluyendo, Benedicto XIII , Benedicto XIV, y Clemente XIII y por esta razón, es una de las líneas más fuertes de la sucesión en la Iglesia. Es la misma línea de la sucesión en manos de Papa Juan Pablo II. La línea de Utrecht incluye Barbarini Antonio Cardenal, Arzobispo de Reims, cuyo tío fue Pope Urban VIII.

  Una de las líneas ortodoxas de la sucesión viene de la antigua sede de San Pedro en Antioquía, a través de la Iglesia Orthox Malankara de la India donde el Arzobispo Vilatte fue consagrada en 1892. Otra línea ortodoxa de la sucesión es a través del Patriarca de Rusia de Moscú, Tikhon, que había sido el arzobispo de América antes de ser elegido patriarca. Patriarca Tikhon aprobó la elección y la consagración de Aftimos Ofeish en 1917 como el arzobispo siro-ortodoxa de América. Tenemos la línea de sucesión de Rusia a través de arzobispo Ofeish.

      Es interesante observar que la Sede de Utrecht arzobispal tuvo un privilegio único dado en 1145 por el Papa Eugenio II para permitir la elección y consagración de los obispos. Este privilegio fue ratificado por el Concilio Lateranense IV en 1215. El Papa León X en 1520 en la bula papal ", debitum Pastoralis", amplió los privilegios e hizo la Iglesia de Utrecht autónomas en todos sus asuntos. Así, la Iglesia de Utrecht se convirtió en la primera independiente de la Arquidiócesis Católica y se mantuvo así hasta que el Primer Concilio Vaticano. En ese momento Roma nombró nuevos obispos para las sedes de los Países Bajos, y la Iglesia de Utrecht empezaron a llamarse a sí misma la Iglesia Católica Antigua. En Inglaterra y los Estados Unidos, independiente de las iglesias católicas eran a menudo llamado Viejo Iglesias Católica Romana. Hay muchas iglesias católicas independientes en la Ultrajectine la Tradición de la Iglesia Católica Romana. Ultrajectensis es la palabra latina que significa de Utrecht y el partido minoritario de la una, santa católica y apostólica Iglesia. Tenemos la misma fe, los sacramentos y las órdenes y nosotros somos parte del Cuerpo Místico de Cristo, el Señor. Nuestro sucesión en las órdenes sagradas es de la Sede Apostólica antiguas sedes. Damos gloria a Dios por este gran regalo.

Canon Law of the ECCC

The following Document is the Canon Law of the ECCC in PDF legal Format. Copy rights apply.

Please go to:  A Text, Commentaty and Canon Law of the ECCC


Dignity and respect towards minorities

With the vast majority of Christians and bothers and sisters of other religions we affirm: Because God is the creator of life, we respect the Sanctity of life and the Dignity for every human being born in to this world. We manifest the moral right for every person to pursue a fulfilled and just life in society. We reject all inflammatory stereotypes, hate propaganda, and the incitement of violence toward minorities, caused by ignorance, false fears, and extremism. We call for their legal protection and the need for a more informed conscience.


Afirmamos la Dignidad y el Respeto junto a la vasta mayoria de los Cristianos y los hermanos y hermanas de otras religiones: Debido a que Dios es el creador de la vida, respetamos la Santidad de la vida y la Dignidad inherente a todo ser humano que venga a este mundo. Manifestamos el derecho moral de cada persona a una vida justa en la sociedad. Rechazamos todo tipo de estereotipos, odio racial y el proselitismo hacia la discriminacion excitacion a la violencia en contra de las minorias, los falsos temores y el extremismo causados por la ignorancia. Hacemos un llamado hacia la proteccion legal y la necesidad de una conciencia colectiva mejor informada.

The Following Documents:

® The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ All Copy rights reserved

Published in the United States of America. The Documents are protected and cannot be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means-including photocopying or computer scanning, without the prior written permission of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ.

-The Manifesto - General Guidelines for the Hierarchy of the ECCC - Norms and Regulations - Apostolic Succession - Studies for Candidates (0rdination for Diaconate and Priesthood) - History of Celibacy in the Catholic Church -        The Ordination of women



The Manifesto

The Forum of Dialogue

Because through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, God made the ultimate sacrifice in the fullness of time for the whole of creation, we believe that God’s salvation is an offer to all people who long for healing and a life of unity in diversity.

“Venerable brothers, such is the aim of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, which, while bringing together the Church's best energies and striving to have men welcome more favorably the good tidings of salvation, prepares, as it were and consolidates the path toward that unity of mankind which is required as a necessary foundation, in order that the earthly city may be brought to the resemblance of that heavenly city where truth reigns, charity is the law, and whose existence is eternity” (Cf. St. Augustine, Epistle 138, 3).

(From opening Speech of Blessed Pope John XXIII at Vatican II, Oct. 11th 1962)

Miami, Florida, Anno Domini 1999/2007

Table of Contents

I. Introduction: The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ……….....3-4

II. The Manifesto of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ…....5-10

III. A Forum of Dialog for the Revision of the Roman Canon Law

(CIC) and Canons of other Catholic Rites.........................11-13


© 1999/2007. 2nd Edition

® The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ All rights reserved

Published in the United States of America. This “Manifesto” is protected and cannot be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means-including photocopying or computer scanning, without the prior written permission of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ.  Registered in- and protected through the Library of Congress.

I. Introduction:

The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ

+In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

To the Bishops, Priests, Deacons, the Holy People of God of the Catholic Churches of Christ, and all People of Good Will.

The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ is a member of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ is part of a worldwide movement of millions of Roman Catholics, and members from different Catholic Rites that, through prayer and dialog is seeking Unity with all Catholic and Christian Churches, reforms within the Roman Catholic Rite and other Catholic Rites respectively.

“It is of utter importance to restoring community again; this cannot be postponed for later, or pushed to the end of time.” Frère Roger, Prior of Taizé, France. (In: Frère Roger, Taizé. Living Trust. Christian Feldmann, Herder Verlag Freiburg i. Breisgau 2005, p. 70.)


We are aware that, “No, you cannot lure Unity out from Negotiations or through legal agreements, you have to start to live it, in courage’s steps, in small cells, the texts will come afterwards.” (Ibid. 66)

The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ offers a pastoral ministry that incorporates both divine and human realities for the spiritual welfare of all Catholic people and all people of good will who share the fellowship of Jesus Christ. We believe that God’s love and compassion extend to everyone without exception. This inclusive vision of God is central in defining our Church’s ministry: providing a place of healing, serving the poor and the sick, reaching out to those who have been rejected by society, and striving for social justice.

We believe that an informed conscience based on the teachings of Holy Scripture, the dynamic elements of tradition, and human experience and insight, is the basis upon which God’s Holy People can search for truth and justice, demonstrate compassion, and express unconditional love for God and fellow human beings. We proclaim the sacred dignity of all persons, since they were created in rich diversity by our loving God.

We call for the formation of a forum of all Catholic rites to discuss modifying the general guidelines of the Codex Iuris Canonici (Canon Law) of the Roman Catholic Church and the Canons of other Catholic Rites to reflect the reality of post-modern Christianity understanding that the Holy Spirit is at work in all Catholic and Apostolic Rites. Because we envision the revision of the different Canon Laws in order to be applicable to all Catholic Churches, we encourage all Catholic Rites to collaborate more with each other.

“We must get to know the outlook of our separated brethren. To achieve this purpose, study is of necessity required, and this must be pursued with a sense of realism and good will. Catholics, who already have a proper grounding, need to acquire a more adequate understanding of the respective doctrines of our separated brethren, their history, their spiritual and liturgical life, their religious psychology and general background. Most valuable for this purpose are meetings of the two sides-especially for discussion of theological problems-where each can treat with the other on an equal footing-provided that those who take part in them are truly competent and have the approval of the bishops. From such dialogue will emerge still more clearly what the situation of the Catholic Church really is. In this way too the outlook of our separated brethren will be better understood, and our own belief more aptly explained.” (Vaticanum II, Decree on Ecumenism Chapter II, 9)

We hereby testify, by our hand and seal, that this document has been unanimously endorsed by the membership of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ.

Given at the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in the year of our Lord, Nineteen Hundred Ninety Nine, revised on the Feast of the Archangels, in the year of our Lord, MMVII at Miami, Florida, USA.

Servus Christi

++Dr. Karl Rodig

Ecumenical Primate

II. The Manifesto of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ

II.1. Apostolic Succession, Holy Orders and Sacraments

The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ is part of the worldwide community of Catholic churches that together compose the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church with Jesus Christ as her foundation. As Ecumenical Catholics, we have preserved the validity of holy orders for the office of bishops, priests, and deacons through apostolic succession derived from the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Antioch, and the Old Catholic Church.

“The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.”  (Vatican: Declaration, Dominus Jesus IV. 17, August 6, 2000) 

We hold on to the belief that the seven sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Ordination, and Matrimony) are part of our religious reality, given through God’s grace for our salvation by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We celebrate the sacraments as part of the Lord’s desire that we sanctify our lives; serve in this world as spiritual catalysts; shine as a light on the lamp-stand; and be the salt for the earth, preparing ourselves to enter His Kingdom. Recognizing the importance of the seven sacraments, we offer them to all sincere Catholics.


II. 2. Commitment to Tradition

The members of The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ are Catholics from the Roman Catholic Church, other Catholic rites, and Christians of good will who are striving for worldwide unity and seeking mutual reforms, by adhering to the general teaching of the Church’s Councils under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who causes us also to believe that: “Ecclesia semper reformanda est” (The Church always needs reform).

“Christ summons the Church to continual reformation as she sojourns here on earth. The Church is always in need of this, in so far as she is an institution of men here on earth. Thus if, in various times and circumstances, there have been deficiencies in moral conduct or in church discipline, or even in the way that church teaching has been formulated-to be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith itself-these can and should be set right at the opportune moment.” (Vaticanum II, Decree on Ecumenism Chapter II.6)

We hold on to the dynamic process of reforms that the Holy Spirit expresses in the “Sensus fidelium” (the Sense of the faithful), which gives the community of the faithful its credibility. We also hold on to the treasures of tradition, derived from Holy Scriptures, the teaching of Christ, and the teachings of the Catholic churches throughout history, as long as they continue to provide dignified guidance for the Church communities. We are united in essentials, having diversity in non essentials, and above all charity.

“All in the Church must preserve unity in essentials. But let all, according to the gifts they have received enjoy a proper freedom, in their various forms of spiritual life and discipline, in their different liturgical rites, and even in their theological elaborations of revealed truth. In all things let charity prevail. If they are true to this course of action, they will be giving ever better expression to the authentic catholicity and apostolicity of the Church.” (Vatic. II, Decree Ecum., Ch. I, 4)

With all our Christian brothers and sisters worldwide, we share the fellowship of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. We declare our support for the Holy Father (The Bishop of Rome), as we see in him the “Primus inter pares” (The First among Equals) to unite the Church in faith. May he guide the Church with Church leaders on a collegial base.

II.3. In an Ecumenical Spirit

The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ supports the reform efforts of millions of Roman Catholics worldwide who have signed petitions to the Vatican for reforms in the Roman Church and Catholics from other Rites who seek reforms in their churches serving the desire for Unity:

-Interfaith communion with all Catholic rites that have Apostolic Succession, sharing the sacred tradition, and have the same theology of the sacraments.

-The choice for priests either to marry or to live a celibate life.

-Ordination of women

-The involvement and participation of more lay people in the administration of the Church.

-The inclusion of Holy Communion for divorced and remarried people in context of their compromise with the church.

-More autonomy for the dioceses.

-The election of bishops by clergy and lay people, as it was customary in

 the early centuries of the Church.

-More collegiality between bishops and lay representatives of the local churches.

-Emphasis on the Gospel that calls for social justice for the poor, and for inclusion of those that have been rejected by society.

-The revision of the process of excommunication.

II.4. Needed Revision of Canon Law

The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ follows in general the instructions of the Codex Iuris Canonici (Canon Law), but calls for important adjustments to it as noted above (no. II.3). Presaging the current call for reforms was the “aggiornamento” (the dawning of a new day) that Blessed Pope John XXIII, proclaimed, enjoining us to read the signs of the times that all Catholics and Christians from other Churches can interpret as God’s call for the renewal of all His people.

Let us recall the words of blessed John XXIII:

“The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously. That doctrine embraces the whole of man, composed as he is of body and soul. And, since he is a pilgrim on this earth, it commands him to tend always toward heaven. This demonstrates how our mortal life is to be ordered in such a way as to fulfill our duties as citizens of earth and of heaven, and thus to attain the aim of life as established by God…The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character. …The Council now beginning rises in the Church like daybreak, a forerunner of most splendid light. It is now only dawn. And already at this first announcement of the rising day, how much sweetness fills our heart…and you, following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in order that the work of all may correspond to the modern expectations and needs of the various peoples of the world.” (Opening address of Vaticanum II, October 11th, 1962)

II.5. Charity and Love

Because through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, God made the ultimate sacrifice in the fullness of time for the whole of creation, we believe that God’s salvation is an offer to all people who long for healing and a life of unity in diversity.

The two principles, “Caritas enim Christi urget nos” (The Love of Christ impels us) and “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est” (Where there is charity and love, there is God) shall guide and commit our service toward all people in need. Our missions worldwide are aiding the poor and rejected, especially the abandoned street children, by making concrete for them the extensions of God’s abounding love. As Catholic Christians we are serving with compassion and vigor all who seek God, desire spiritual renewal, long to live in dignity, and look for a place of healing.

Because love of God and love of our neighbor are the essential commandments upon which the whole law depends, we express our solemn desire to serve all of God’s people, expressing “love without judgment.”

II.6. Unity and Solidarity

The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ seeks, through prayer and dialog in the Holy Spirit, unity and solidarity among all Catholics and other Christians. We extend the hand of peace and solidarity to other believers as well, especially to our brothers and sisters in Judaism. Our longing for unity is based on the Lord’s own desire and prayer:

“May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us” (John 17:21).

The words of Vaticanum II are still today of great significance:

“Today, in many parts of the world, under the inspiring grace of the Holy Spirit, many efforts are being made in prayer, word and action to attain that fullness of unity which Jesus Christ desires. The Sacred Council exhorts all the Catholic faithful to recognize the signs of the times and to take an active and intelligent part in the work of ecumenism.”

“The term ‘ecumenical movement’ indicates the initiatives and activities planned and undertaken, according to the various needs of the Church and as opportunities offer, to promote Christian unity. These are: first, every effort to avoid expressions, judgments and actions which do not represent the condition of our separated brethren with truth and fairness and so make mutual relations with them more difficult; then, ‘dialogue’ between competent experts from different Churches and Communities. At these meetings, which are organized in a religious spirit, each explains the teaching of his Communion in greater depth and brings out clearly its distinctive features. In such dialogue, everyone gains a truer knowledge and more just appreciation of the teaching and religious life of both Communions. In addition, the way is prepared for cooperation between them in the duties for the common good of humanity which are demanded by every Christian conscience; and, wherever this is allowed, there is prayer in common. Finally, all are led to examine their own faithfulness to Christ's will for the Church and accordingly to undertake with vigor the task of renewal and reform. The attainment of union is the concern of the whole Church, faithful and shepherds alike. This concern extends to everyone, according to his talent, whether it is exercised in his daily Christian life or in his theological and historical research. This concern itself reveals already to some extent the bond of brotherhood between all Christians and it helps toward that full and perfect unity which God in His kindness wills.”

“There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without a change of heart. For it is from renewal of the inner life of our minds, from self-denial and an unstinted love that desires of unity take their rise and develop in a mature way. We should therefore pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble, gentle in the service of others, and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity towards them. St. Paul says: ‘I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace’. This exhortation is directed especially to those raised to sacred Orders precisely that the work of Christ may be continued. He came among us ‘not to be served but to serve’.”

“The words of St. John hold well about sins against unity: ‘If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us’. So we humbly beg pardon of God and of our separated brethren, just as we forgive them that trespass against us. All the faithful should remember that the more effort they make to live holier lives according to the Gospel, the better will they further Christian unity and put it into practice. For the closer their union with the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, the more deeply and easily will they be able to grow in mutual brotherly love.”

“This change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name, ‘spiritual ecumenism.’ In certain special circumstances, such as the prescribed prayers ‘for unity,’ and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren. Such prayers in common are certainly an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity, and they are a true expression of the ties which still bind Catholics to their separated brethren. "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them".

“Before the whole world let all Christians confess their faith in the triune God, one and three in the incarnate Son of God, our Redeemer and Lord. United in their efforts, and with mutual respect, let them bear witness to our common hope which does not play us false. In these days when cooperation in social matters is so widespread, all men without exception are called to work together, with much greater reason all those who believe in God, but most of all, all Christians in that they bear the name of Christ. Cooperation among Christians vividly expresses the relationship which in fact already unites them, and it sets in clearer relief the features of Christ the Servant. This cooperation, which has already begun in many countries, should be developed more and more, particularly in regions where a social and technical evolution is taking place be it in a just evaluation of the dignity of the human person, the establishment of the blessings of peace, the application of Gospel principles to social life, the advancement of the arts and sciences in a truly Christian spirit, or also in the use of various remedies to relieve the afflictions of our times such as famine and natural disasters, illiteracy and poverty, housing shortage and the unequal distribution of wealth. All believers in Christ can, through this cooperation, be led to acquire a better knowledge and appreciation of one another, and so pave the way to Christian unity.” (Vaticanum II, From the Decree on Ecumenism, Chapter I, 4, chapter II, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12)

III. A Forum of Dialog for the Revision of the Roman Canon Law (CIC) and the Canons of other Catholic Rites.

In the name of millions of Catholics worldwide, including the hundreds of priests who continue to leave the Roman Church because portions of the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC) have become an unnecessary burden rather than a support for their faith lives, in the name of unity with our brothers and sisters of all Catholic rites that are still separated from one another, we are moved by the Holy Spirit to invite all Catholic Rites to equally participate, to present, and to discuss reform issues that call for a revision of the CIC of the Roman Church and Canons of other Catholic Rites in a forum of dialog.

We acknowledge the advantage of Canon Law, supporting as it does the pastoral care of the people of God by providing guidelines for the structure of the whole Church, the Mystical Body of Christ in the world. In the past the CIC has undergone reforms because the need for reforms in a changing world was recognized: “etiam a praesertim de reformatione normarum novo mentis habitui novisque necessitatibus accommodanda… ” (CIC 1983, Praefatio XXXVIII).

Now, as part of God’s people who are worldwide in search for reforms, we affirm the need for additional changes in Canon Law. We support establishing a forum of dialogue, one that would pave the way to revising Canon Law, so it can adequately accommodate the new conditions in which the entire Catholic Church now lives. As Canon Law itself acknowledges,“…praesertim autem urgens novae recognitionis necessitas in luce ponitur, ut Ecclesiae disciplina mutatis rerum condicionibus apte accommodetur”

(CIC 1983, Praefatio XXXVIII).

In light of the worldwide call for changes by the great number of Catholics who are refocusing their lives through spiritual renewal and who are longing for unity with other Catholic rites, we believe it necessary to abolish those Canons of the CIC that erect obstacles to needed reforms* and to re-articulate certain provisions of Canon Law so that they can better serve the daily faith-life of Christians in this increasingly secular world.

The Vatican’s appointed commission for the revision of the CIC (from Vaticanum II to 1983, when the new edition was published) has demonstrated great achievements. This revised Codex states that Canon laws are not alien to charity and the human aspects of life because they are infused with the Christian Spirit. Aware of the new conditions of today’s changing world, we recognize that the time has come for the Roman Catholic Church to reassert her willingness to use the richness of her resources to revise the CIC whenever needed, “…insuper, cum sit a caritate, aequitate, humanitate non alienum, atque vero christiano spiritu plene perfusum…simulque eius condicionibus ac necessitatibus in mundo huius temporis consulere exoptat…ac deinceps nova recognitione indigebunt, tanta virium ubertate Ecclesia pollet ut, haud secus ac praeteritis saeculis, valeat viam renovandi leges vitae suae rursus capessere…” (CIC 1983, Praefatio LXIII). But instead of relying only on her own resources to reform the Codex, she should also tap the resources of her sister Catholic rites, considering them as guided by the Holy Spirit, who works all things to good.

*See reform issues outlined under no. II. 3 of the Manifesto of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ.

The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ prays for a fruitful dialog among all Catholic Churches leaders and their lay representatives since informed discussions and prayerful contemplation of issues of faith, ones that affect Catholics’ daily lives around the world, can only support the goal of this dialog, Catholic unity and solidarity. We need to rethink some of our theologies, making them adequate for the more informed mentality of post-modern Christians.

May God bless all the efforts of The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ and all of God’s Holy People who sincerely seek unity, healing, and reforms, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

General Guidelines for the Hierarchy of the ECCC

The college of bishops, held in Costa Rica, June 4th, 2006.

 Adapted and further revised at the special Synod in Canada, Oct. 27th, A. D. 2007.

   As stated in our Manifesto,

“The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ is a member of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ is part of a worldwide movement of millions of Roman Catholics, and members from different Catholic Rites that, through prayer and dialog is seeking Unity with all Catholic and Christian Churches, reforms within the Roman Catholic Rite and other Catholic Rites respectively.” (Introduction, Manifesto)

We follow the Canon Law (CIC), including canons of other Catholic Rites, except for those canons that are in need of reforms. Our Church is Catholic and apostolic, structured hierarchically, adhering to the teaching of the Church’s Councils. The following Articles are binding as they have been approved by the College of bishops.

Article I.

Election of the Ecumenical Primate

The Ecumenical Primate is the highest Representative of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ. His education will include a Doctor in Theology, in certain circumstances, a Master of Divinity shall be sufficient. He shall have sufficient experience                in pastoral care.

Article II.

The Ecumenical Primate is elected by a 2/3 majority of the college of bishops, clergy, and lay representatives serving his Office  for life-time.

Article III.

The Ecumenical Primate will build worldwide new dioceses, and church provinces. He will be involved in ecumenical gatherings with other Catholic Rites, and Christian Churches on all five Continents.

Article IV.

The Ecumenical Primate will guide the Church. Periodically, he will give pastoral instructions for the spiritual and moral welfare of the people of the Church, her clergy and religious orders.

Article V.

The Ecumenical Primate will form an advisory board of bishops and clergy in order to assist him. For all major decisions concerning major Church matters, he will seek always the consensus of the college of bishops.

The College and Synod of Bishops

Article VI.

The Ecumenical Primate will call (time permitting) all three years the Holy Synod for the Church composed of all bishops and lay representatives in order to review matters of the Church. The Ecumenical Primate presides over the Synod. In case of illness, the Synod will elect a temporary President (by a 2/3 majority vote) who will report to the Ecumenical Primate. We are aware that the Church has democratic elements yet it is not a democracy in the political sense (Teaching of the Councils of the Church).


Ecumenical Relations


Article VII.

The Ecumenical Primate will promote ecumenical relations with other churches, and when necessary nominate an official delegate be it a clergy person or lay representative to attend events where our church is invited to.

Article VIII.

The Ecumenical Primate in consultation with his advisory board will

prepare with his bishops Concordats of full union with other catholic rites who can prove true catholic apostolic succession. Also for sharing the Evangelization and social betterment with our sisters and brothers from other Christian churches.

Article IX.

We reaffirm again our commitment to our Church’s call for Ecumenism, in the understanding of the Caritas, because “Ubi Caritas et amor Deus ibi est.” Where there is Charity and Love there is God.” (1Cor. 13, 1-8)

Article X.

We reject any act of fanatism, because it is not Christian, and not inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Article XI.

The Ecumenical Primate encourages among his bishops courses for Ecumenism and to invite “experts”. Every bishop shall have in his diocese a delegate for ecumenical matters.


 Article XII.

The Jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ is present in countries around the world according to Old Canon Law (CIC), and being within the legal system of each Government, our Church is to be respected. 

Article XIII.

                Diocese and election of bishops. Each Diocese is organized according to Canon Law in the context of our Church and in the Spirit of our “Manifesto”.

Article XIV.

              Each diocese will hold from time to time a local Synod consisting of clergy, religious and lay representatives of each mission, renew or approve an existing pastoral plan for the diocese. The local bishop will preside over the local Synod.

Policy of criminal conduct of clergy and staff

Regarding the very responsibility, each member of the clergy or lay staff member has to live according to the Moral Church Code, given down to us through Holy Scripture and the Church Councils. It is therefore essential that a candidate admitted to Holy Orders, demonstrates from the very beginning a sincere and sound moral character. Each candidate for incardination or seeking Holy Order, admitted by the academic and formation office, shall therefore be screened and undergo psychological testing. Also a criminal background check for each candidate shall be conducted by an independent institution. In the formation process, the spiritual director, and the academic Dean shall pay special attention to the spiritual development of a candidate to give time for true discernment of his/her vocation to the ministry to God’s Holy people. This includes that the candidates have a mature and healthy understanding of their own sexuality, to see if they serve better in their ministry as married clergy, or remain celibate. Accusations of misconduct by any clergy or lay staff members will be reported to the local legal authorities for further investigation. All allegations shall be reported to the local bishop. The diocese and local churches will assist the victim(s) when possible. The clergy or lay staff member that has been accused of sexual abuse against a minor or adult will be removed immediately from active ministry or church position pending the outcome of the investigation. Every person does have the right of defense until proven guilty. If convicted and found guilty of a felony, the church will remove the person from active ministry relieving their faculties, or lay position held. The local legal process will take its course and in case of a sentencing, the Church will assist the person spiritually, and an appropriate therapy shall also be undertaken by the offender.

   For the Council of bishops

++Karl R. Rodig, D. Min., DD., M. Th.

Ecumenical Primate

+Hermogenes R. Rizo, DD., M. Th.

Secretary of the College of Bishops

+Ted Laurah, DD.


Bishop for Pennsylvania

In the presence of Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious, and Lay Representatives.


Norms and Regulations


Part One ............................................................................................................................. 3

REGULATORY NORMS FOR ECUMENICAL RELATIONS ................................... 3





RUPTURE ...................................................................................................................... 6

THEOLOGICAL OR ECUMENICAL LEVELS. ........................................................... 6

SPIRITUAL LEVEL OR SPIRITUAL ECUMENISM ................................................... 6

SOCIAL ECUMENICAL LEVEL ................................................................................... 7

CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................... 7



Article I.

CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATION ................................................................ 9

Article II.



CATHOLIC CHURCH OF CHRIST DOES NOT EXIST. ......................................... 10

Article III.





GENERAL NORM: .................................................................................................. 11

Document of Referral: ....................................................................................... 12

CONCERNING PASTORAL WORK ....................................................................... 13




Part One


The terms of Full Union, Agreement, and Concordat, should by themselves lead us toward seeking order and normative clarity in our churches, as part of their process of development and growing without implying imposition or curtailment of freedom. These three concepts should be the result of a deep collective conviction in as much as the very concept of church itself necessarily involves a human organization led by an individual or a group of individuals.

It is an obvious and joyful feeling to realize that our church is in a process of growth and, therefore, requires a constant attention to certain details, as well as a continuous effort from our part as far as order and norms are concerned, so that there is sufficient support for a healthy supervision from the Office of the Primate Archbishop.

Therefore, we want hereby to express clearly that the only objective of this declaration is not, and will never be, to substitute or impose new human norms to our tradition, to our doctrine nor to the world, other than to call to order according to the times we are living in. It is precisely due to the growth we are being experiencing worldwide that we confront the need to organize ourselves coherently out of a mutual respect for the diversity of our divine creation.

The objective to achieve, within our ecclesiastical body, is of such an order that, based on love, mutual respect and charity toward each other, we could be led toward an organic growth with all those brothers and sisters -lay members and clergy- who wish to join with us and thus implement our union.

An instrument like this one aspires to maintain the proper order within our Church, assuring to the laity the type of persons or churches which, once united, will become their leaders, making it possible for the hierarchy to bring into fruition the well being of those who constitute the Church, as well as making it possible for them to protect the doctrine trusted under their care.

The College of Bishops has deemed it necessary to implement the tools that will provide the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ (ECCC) with an adequate organizational structure proportionate to the times we are living in today.

The canonical instrument by which the different needs of the ECCC will be guided is the “Canonical Judicatory for Worldwide Church Affairs”. Its members are appointed by the Primate Archbishop See, constituted by members of the College of Bishops and  any other member of the clergy, Presbyters or Deacons, who, based on their own merits, are invited to be part of that entity. These appointments can be terminated whenever deemed necessary by the Primate Archbishop for the health of the Church. These appointments will cease automatically whenever a member conspires against the unity of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ by using his hierarchical position against the objectives to which he has been called to serve, or due to grievous acts against the Church and her members.

The members of the Canonical Judicatory can make suggestions to the Primate Archbishop See recommending the names of those candidates they might consider apt to serve in it.



1. These general norms of the Canonical Judicatory for the ECCC Affairs must be applied to all Churches, Religious Communities and clergy wishing to incardinate fully to us. For those churches who do so on a partial basis, these norms will depend on the agreements made by both parties.

2. Based on mutual respect, charity and fraternal love, these norms will not determine the Rites that should be observed concerning the particular liturgical practices of those churches which seek union with the ECCC, as long as their norms do not alter the basic tenets of good faith traditions.

3. The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ’s Manifesto is the fundamental document on which every agreement or ecumenical relationship is based upon, in as much as it clearly establishes the limits in which we can make agreements without compromising its essence and its spirit.

4. The Canonical Judicatory for Worldwide Church Affairs will be the one in charge of doing research, epistolary exchanges, elaboration of documents and other duties pertaining to this type of processes, in order to present them for approval, rejection or correction of ecumenical and administrative processes to the Office of the Ecumenical Primate Archbishop‘s See, once his assistance has been requested.

5. The communication between the Canonical Judicatory for Worldwide Church Affairs and the Primate Archbishop’s See must be transparent in such a manner that the Ecumenical Primate can be kept up to date at all times regarding each one of these processes, open to suggestions on both sides.

6. The Ecumenical Primate Archbishop See will be the one in charge of making the announcements worldwide of each process once it has been approved.

7. Written evidence in the archives will be filed of each process that takes place, whether it has been approved or rejected. In the last instant clear evidence of the reasons why the requested agreement did not take place must be specified in order to protect the ECCC from improper ways of thinking that might be inconvenient to a healthy ecclesiastical development according to our times, especially if these are against the Manifesto and sane doctrine.

8. These norms will not affect the local directives in the territories that join the ECCC, since in most cases, they are created according  to the culture, civil laws, particular needs in these territories as well as according to the idiosyncrasies of each country.                             As a way of example one shall look at the native citizens pastoral letters and other specific pastoral letters.

9. The Primate Archbishop See will be the one in charge of determining which territories will be under the supervision of the Canonical Judicatory for Worldwide Church Affairs, as far as ecumenical relations are concerned, and that the norms will be applied worldwide in order to observe the same uniformed and organized process for all.

10. Those churches which approach us requesting any type of mutual concordat or full union will have to fulfill the following requisites: 

Provide the name of the Church


Apostolic Succession


Name of the presiding Archbishop/Bishop

Name and number of Bishops and Auxiliary Bishops (if any)

Number of Missions or communities of faith

Religious Orders, Institutes, Consecrated Communities of life

Other (communities of virgins, widows, religious groups, etc.)

Societies of Apostolic life

Evangelical Profiles

Social Pastoral Projects

Ecclesiastical Territorial Regions

Number of Vicar Generals

Episcopal Vicars (specify number of presbyters and those with Episcopal orders) Rituals accepted for the Eucharistic celebrations: Vatican II (Novus Ordo), Tridentine Mass, Book of Common Prayer if coming from the Anglican tradition, Mass of St. John Chrysostomos, the Old Catholic Mass.

Explanation of position regarding the Seven Sacraments

Procedure applied to the election of Bishops

Requisites for the ordination of deacons, presbyters (academic level)

Ritual used for the orders of Deacons, Presbyters and Bishops

Territorial form of government (local cannons and regulations).

The ECCC has reached a worldwide consensus to accept the Ordination for women to the Priesthood

or Episcopacy as wee see this a sign of the Holy Spirit.



11. In the case of a full union, it is obvious that the full acceptance of the Manifesto of the ECCC has taken place without affecting the autonomy of the new Churches’ Dioceses concerning their individual ways of government as long as their administration and ways of acting will not harm the Entire Church nor contradict the Manifesto.

12. In the event of full union with churches presided by their Archbishop or bishop in his function, ecclesiastical jurisdictions and territories will be areas of discussion between him and the Ecumenical Primate Archbishop of the ECCC in order to reach a mutual

agreement (see jurisprudence regarding former concordats an full unions, Philippines, Canada). The Canonical Judicatory for Church Affairs will, in such cases, assist, make suggestions, or recommend to the Ecumenical Primate Archbishop in order to contribute toward the final decision.

13. Full union implies the coverage of the new member under the name of the ECCC, which does not apply to those churches that only request a concordat of recognition of the sacraments. God, in his infinite love, wishes for us, human beings, to understand His calling to be a family, in order to be able to offer the testimony that unity is possible within diversity.

14. In order to achieve a full implementation of these agreements there are several important aspects that must be taken into consideration by the church requesting to become a member of the ECCC, in such a way that we can promote a communion of faith among the Catholic rites, as indicated in the Manifesto. These are some of the basic aspects:

14.1 Have Valid Apostolic Succession

14.2 Share the same Theology about the Sacraments

14.3 Have kept the Doctrine as it was originally given

14.4 Have a clear concept of the Bishop Collegiality and its importance.




15. The lack of compliance by one or both of the parties who have signed the agreements implies the nullity or discontinuance of such agreements, not without having first tried to establish a brotherly dialog between the parties in order to resolve their issues. In the event of not being able to arrive to a positive outcome or of proved evidence of grievous fault the parties will be relieved from their mutual compromise. This should be communicated at once to the worldwide Church.

16. It is of the utmost importance that an ecumenical dialog be established, not only at the hierarchical level but also at grass root levels, since they are the ones who suffer the most when divisions occur.

17. In order to prevent these ruptures it is imperative that each church identifies its history, its doctrines, and it is clear about who her partners will be; about the boundaries in which the dialog will take place but, above everything else, it is important to have respect for the other person and his form of faith. This will allow a true dialog among believers within the experience of their respective lives together.

18. It is important that both churches, the one applying for membership as well as the ECCC, as the host church, have a clear vision of the following aspects:


This is a theological pastoral dialog 

conducted in the way as seen among the great historical churches. This mutual

understanding covers the hierarchical level as well as the level of the laity, in order to preserve mutual sharing within their diversity, based on knowledge and mutual respect.


This is the soul of the


ecumenical dialog and is based on the common prayer for all Christians and other

denominations who seek to resolve the problems of division that affect all people.

Another level is the reading and mutual study of Holy Scripture, the very source of our identity and the motor behind our common approach.


This is in reference to the efforts implemented in 

terminally ill, Shelters for the homeless, Centers for Immigrant Services, Vocational and 

Rehabilitation schools for youth at risk, etc. Social services are an opportunity for the 

Christian interaction of both churches which creates unity through mutual understanding.

19. In order to avoid future ruptures and burning outs, before pursuing any further, all levels of ecumenism must be analyzed with the applying church, according to Article 18, and, in the event that at the present moment union cannot be achieved, it should be immediately made known as soon as the information mentioned in article 10 is received.


The Ecumenical Relations, in the broader sense, must be treated very carefully within the context of charity, respect and clarity in order to open the possibilities towards agreements.

We must be very clear, as we have said before, that an ecumenical dialog does not imply the negation of our identity as a Church confronting doctrinal differences of other Churches. On the opposite, we must base this dialog upon what we share in common.

The basic condition to achieve an effective roll in an ecumenical dialog is the inner conviction which can lead us to a change in mentality, getting out of old schemes of thoughts and therefore demonstrating that we as Christians can build a sign of true unity open to other Christians of other churches, putting aside religious fanaticism that only leads to hatred and division within a society already victimized by an ecclesiastical absolutism proper of great churches already polarized.

Active and contemplative Ecumenical Relations well led before our brothers and sisters in Christ will make us shine together, as a family, as a light from above giving witness within a society so much divided, opposing the love of God for our Times.




Keeping in mind that bishops by Divine institution are called to be Pastors of the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in such a manner that, by exercising their office (ontological aspect), being teachers and protectors of sane doctrine, and fulfilling the priesthood of the sacred Orders (Matthew 4:23-24), by exercising their ministry and thus helping toward the government of the Church in the world (administrative aspect).

By virtue of their Episcopal consecration (the culmination of the Sacrament of the Priestly Order) they are united to the Episcopal College, and thus have the responsibility to help in the building of the Kingdom through such functions as: pastoral care, administration, governing, teaching, and hierarchical judicatory (Matthew 10:5-15), and being the proprietors of Church properties.

The Episcopal College is formed by those who are fully united to this body with the Ecumenical Primate Archbishop as the head.

Therefore: It is their responsibility to have common norms, and to elaborate local regulations that allow the good general administrations to show good governing of the Dioceses, as well as of the faithful who belong to it. Consequently, it is necessary to unify the necessary criteria at the world wide level, in such a manner that there is only one voice witnessing their Collegiality, the maturity and seriousness of the faith of the Church and her organisms.

Even with the existence of a worldwide church in her normative character that allows an uniformed general administrative structure, the Bishops in their respective Dioceses or individual territories can implement local norms that help toward administering the people of God under their care, as long as these norms do not contradict the general norms. (See “The Manifesto” greater autonomy for the Dioceses).

The norms generated by our Church and adapted to the signs of the time, like the ECCC, must be practical, must have reachable goals which will assist the work of the pastors in their care toward the laity, and should never become a heavy load for the people. They

must be directive and flexible, conducive to the healthy leadership of the Church.

We could say that the administration of the Church is the reordering of all its assets, in such a manner that the Church fulfills her mission. The Bishops, responsible of the correct administration, not only must think about the economic, the material and human assets, but moreover the spiritual assets, when generating any norm whether general or local. (1Cor.4, 1-2).

Even when in this efforts is always present a sane desire and a good will, the Bishops, when generating legislative norms, must be careful not to fall into these two dangers while creating administrative changes:

-Wishing to be so much organized that there is no room for the Holy Spirit.

-Being so mystical to leave everything to God’s will without any previous plan.

The former, in addition of being confusing, creates a waste of time and assets becoming less effective in performing our mission as a Church. Let’s seek an administration guided by the Holy Spirit.

Every church is considered by the different civil governments as an entity of public wellbeing without interest of profit, which implies that the Church is regulated according to its own administrative order. For this reason is The Canonical Judicatory for Worldwide ECCC Affairs must include in itself the functions of a Commission for Administration, so that it can assist the Primate Archbishop See in the elaboration of norms which will help in the administration of the ECCC at large: Like Human resources (the incardination of clergy in those territories where the ECCC does not exist, culture, guidance and extension of different pastoral styles according to the need of each territory where there is no bishop yet).

The Canonical Judicatory must also assist and advise in the foundation of religious institutes, societies of apostolic living and other forms of consecrated living, in those areas where the presence of the ECCC does not yet exist in a juridical form. Among its responsibilities it shall also include the developing of workshops and gatherings of training for the clergy and seminarians, the organization of materials for educational purposes being in use for the local Churches, and those functions which will be delegated to this department by the Primate Archbishop See.

(Luke 9:51-52) (Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7). Luke 8:1-3 John 4:8 Luke 10:1-2 Acts of the Apostles 2:44-46

Acts of the Apostles 4:36-37

Acts of the Apostles 18:1-3



Phil 4:10, 15, 16.


Article I


We reiterate: The ECCC is organized in such an administrative manner that the General

Norms and the Local Norms do not contradict each other.

The Primate Archbishop See will determine those works which require the assistance of

the Canonical Judicatory for Worldwide ECCC Affairs.

The Canonical Judicatory has the faculty in this respect to assist the Primate Archbishop See in the creation of administrative norms, to accept applications for clerical incardination and the reception of Religious Orders, Societies of Apostolic living and other forms of consecrated ways of life (monks, eremites, consecrated men and women, widows, and individual religious vows) in those territories where the juridical presence of the ECCC does not yet exist, or in those territories where there is no Bishop and no organized diocese (it must be understood that this applies to those Vicar Generals and Episcopal Vicars under the Primate Archbishop See. It does not apply to the Episcopal Vicariates under a Diocesan Ordinary). It also must assist the Primate Archbishop See in studies of feasibility concerning the opening or not opening of Ecclesiastical Missionary Communities and other aspects in regard to the administration and the diplomatic protocol. 

Regarding individual Dioceses, the Canonical Judicatory for the Worldwide ECCC Affairs serves as a mediator or supervising entity between these new territories and the Primate Archbishop See, if needed.

Article II.




1. Regarding the foundation of grass root Missionary Communities in those areas where the presence of the ECCC does not exist (it is understood as an area of a new church foundation) the existing norms should be applied regarding the selection of seminarians and/or the incardination of already ordained clergy.

-Evidence of Formation

-Application to enter the ECCC

-Church of Ordination (proof)

-Psychological test

-Recent photos

-Married priests and Deacons, a letter from the wife giving her consent, marriage certificate or document of divorce and reasons for separation; in the event of a Civil marriage a religious wedding ceremony shall be performed.

2. New founded Dioceses, or Vicariates following the directives of The Manifesto which gives them greater autonomy will be able to implement also their norms, following the characteristics, needs and particular idiosyncrasies of the country or states where they reside without contradicting the general norms given by the ECCC.

3. Before founding a church in a new territory a study of feasibility should be conducted and the possibility for growth in that particular territory should be analyzed as well as the real need to implement it and the means available for its realization, material as well as human aspects.

4. If the opening of a new territory has been approved, a site will be chosen by the local clerical team which will be also responsible for the good functioning of the church on site, and to apply for a non-for profit status with the IRS, and the local institutions respectfully.

5. After a wise period of time and once it is evident the intention and the authenticity of the person in charge has improved for the church on that site, eventually a Vicar can be appointed under the direction of the Primate Archbishop See.

6. As soon as it seems pastorally feasible in the territories the creation of a Diocese must be considered according to the guidelines of The Manifesto. The Church grows around the person of the Bishop since the clergy of the diocese receives from him their faculties.

May the growth of the Church always give assurance to the people of God that they will never lack the office of a Bishop.

Article III. 



1. Before allowing the foundation or incorporations of Religious Institutes, Religious Orders, Societies of Apostolic living and other forms of Consecrated Life, the need for their acceptance must also be analyzed in relation to the ECCC or a specific territory outside the ECCC jurisdiction, and in the event that they come from other Churches and have applied to join our jurisdiction, the reasons why they are separating from their original church must be clarified before being accepted.

2. Every institution of Consecrated Living which has not been created by the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ must fulfill the following requisites when applying for acceptance, integration or incorporation into the ECCC:

-Name of the original Church and year of foundation

-Its status in the original Church (Pious Foundation, Diocesan Rights, Autonomous Rights: term that substitute the Roman term of Pontifical Right).

-Name of the Founder

-Project of Life (Apostolic) and the way in which it is economically feasible

-Constitutions or “Regulae”

-Members (also how many novices, postulants, temporary or perpetually professed members)

- Request for a priest as spiritual guide

-Commitment to create a canonical I.D. guaranteeing legal and economic status

-The Institutes of Consecrated Living will be classified in accordance to their vocational purpose: Lay Institutes and Clerical Institutes

4. The Religious Institutes will also be classified according to their way of Life:

-Institutes of Active Living

-Institutes of Contemplative Life, Monasteries and Cloisters

5. The Early Church Consecrated ways of Life, such as:



-Consecrated Virgins and Widows (how can they associate among themselves)

These religious figures shall have the same attention, rights and duties of the Institutes of consecrated life, orders and monasteries.

6. Those coming from other Churches will have a probation period between 1 to 2 years in our Church, at the end of which their adaptation process will be mutually evaluated as far as their permanent status or dissociation from our Church is concerned.

7. The members of other Churches which have no Autonomous Rights located in territories where the figure of a Vicar is present, but a Bishop not exists yet, will be subjected to the authority of the Primate Archbishop See until such a time when a Bishop in that territory is appointed or elected, so they will be under his supervision and their process of approval is completed.

8. Every Religious Institute that has achieved the status of Autonomous Right will be subjected to the Primate Archbishop See but they must observe the norms of the Diocese where they are located and must collaborate with its work as well as with the work of its Bishop and its Diocesan clergy.

9. Each Religious Institute has its own rules and regulations by which they are internally governed. In addition, they must obey the general norms that bind the Church worldwide as well as those local ones (by which the Diocese is governed).

10. The above does not apply to those territories with bishops already present since the larger autonomy is granted by The Manifesto; these bishops can apply their local norms and regulations as long as they are consistent with the general norms of the Church. Each church must develop its own archives with its religious foundation processes.

11. Each process of a religious foundation or of incardination of institutes or forms of consecrated living, whether those done by the Bishops in their individual territories as well as those performed by the Canonical Judicatory for the ECCC Affairs, must be introduced with the complete documentation and in due time for its approval or rejection to the Primate Archbishop See.

12. The Primate Archbishop See will be the one in charge of announcing to the worldwide Church the approval of the Religious Institutes or Incardination or incorporation of those Institutes or Orders from other Churches who have joined the ECCC.

Document of Referral:

Regulations for the foundation and development of Institutes for Religious Living and other forms of Consecrated Life ECCC:

Example of the Diocese of Costa Rica and the Archdiocese of Canada.

In the Document for the foundation and development of Religious Living and other

forms of Consecrated Life -ECCC Archdiocese of Costa Rica- you can find the processes,

step by step, for the foundation of religious experiences and how congregations must

be internally structured. 


1. Social pastoral work shall be promoted in the different territories of the ECCC. This work must be according to the objective reality of each territory. As an example we can quote services within the social pastoral context: Ministry to the immigrants, Training Vocational Centers, Centers for Human Promotion, Nutritional Assistance agencies, Centers for populations at risk (centers for the treatment of drug-addiction, the deaf, the mentally retarded, the unmarried couples, the terminally ill, the orphans, etc.).

2. In addition to the Social Pastoral work other types of pastoral work must be promoted toward the development of the faith and of the Church itself. Examples: Pastoral work through education in Catechism, Family work, Evangelism, Liturgy, Ministerial Extension, etc.

3. The Canonical Judicatory for the ECCC Affairs will serve as an advising guide to this pastoral work in those territories where the presence of the ECCC does not exist in the form of a Diocese (it should be understood: those recently established territories with grass root Missionary Communities where the a Vicar General is present, are directly under the Primate Archbishop See until such a time when they become a Diocese)










Nivel Teológico o Ecumenismo Teológico. 

Nivel Espiritual o Ecumenismo Espiritual .

Nivel Social o Ecumenismo Social. 




Articulo I


Articulo II




Articulo III












Las palabras unión plena, acuerdo, concordarto, necesariamente deben orientarnos a la

búsqueda del orden y claridad normativa en las Iglesias, como parte de su proceso de

desarrollo y crecimiento, sin que ello signifique una imposición o un sacrificio de la

libertad. Los tres conceptos deben ser el resultado de la convicción íntima y colectiva, en

el tanto el concepto de iglesia necesariamente conlleva una organización humana,

liderada por un individuo o grupo de individuos.

Es evidente y gozoso que nuestra Iglesia está en pleno proceso de crecimiento y, por lo

tanto, requiere de un trabajo minusioso y un esfuerzo sagaz en lo que al orden normativo

respecta, para que sirva de apoyo en lo administrativo a la Sede Arzobispal Primada.

Asi las cosas, dejamos en claro que el único fin de esta normativa no es, ni lo será, en

modo alguno el de sustituir o imponer de forma meramente humana ninguno de los

aspectos heredados por la tradición, la doctrina o la palabra, sino el de llamar al orden de

acuerdo con los tiempos que vivimos. Es precisamente por el crecimiento que estamos

experimentando en todo el mundo que surge la necesidad de podernos organizar de un

modo coherente y con un profundo respeto por diversidad del creación divina.

El objetivo de esta normativa es lograr, dentro de la sociedad eclesial, un orden tal que,

basando su estructura en el amor, el respeto y la caridad, nos facilite un crecimiento

ordenado y coherente para todos aquellos hermanos y hermanas – laicos y clero -- que

deseen unirse a nosotros y que concreten dicha unión.

Un instrumento como este aspira a mantener el orden debido dentro de la Iglesia, la

seguridad de los laicos en cuanto a quienes serán las personas o iglesias que al unirse se

convertirán en las encargadas de guiarles, facilitar a la Jerarquía el cumplimiento de

administrar y velar por el bienestar de la Iglesia y de quienes la conforman y velar por la

doctrina que se le ha heredado en custodia.

El Colegio de Obispos ha visto la necesidad de implementar herramientas que, como esta, nos permitan conducir a la Iglesia Católica Ecuménica de Cristo hacia una estructura organizativa adecuada al desarrollo que está viviendo.

El órgano legal por el cual se atenderán las diversas necesidades de la ICEC será La

Procuraduría Eclesiástica de Asuntos Mundiales y será conformada por los miembros del

Colegio de Obispos que sean llamados por la Sede Arzobispal Primada para servir en ella

y por cualquier otro miembro del clero – sean del grado del Presbiterado o del Diaconado

– que por sus méritos reciba la invitación de la Sede Arzobispal Primada para formar

parte de esta entidad. La Sede Arzobispal Primada podrá cesar los nombramientos

cuando lo crea necesario por salud de la Iglesia. Dichos nombramientos cesan en el acto

cuando un miembro que lo conforme atente contra la unidad de la Iglesia Católica

Ecuménica de Cristo, por utilizar su puesto jerárquico para fines contrarios a los que fue

llamado a servir en la entidad o por actos graves que vayan en detrimento de la Iglesia y

sus miembros. Los miembros que conformen la Procuraduría podrán sugerir a la Sede

Arzobipal Primada los candidatos que consideren idóneos para su conformación.


1- Esta Normativa para los Asuntos Eclesiásticos Mundiales ha de regir claramente

para la Iglesia Católica Ecuménica de Cristo y para aquellas Iglesias,

Comunidades Religiosas o Clérigos que deseen incardinarse que se unan de modo

pleno a nosotros. Para aquellas que lo hagan de forma parcial, esta normativa

regirá dependiendo de los acuerdos tomados por ambas partes.

2- Basándonos en el respeto, la caridad y el amor fraterno, esta normativa no

determinará los Ritos que han de observarse en lo que a las aciones litúrgicas

particulares de las Iglesias que se soliciten unirse a la ICEC, en tanto estas no

contengan o hayan sido alteradas con elementos anómalos o contrarios a la fe.

3- Sea El Manifiesto de la Iglesia Católica Ecuménica de Cristo la base documental

administrativa para cimentar o acordar cualquier tipo de relación ecuménica ya

que por sí deja claros los límites dentro de los cuales podemos realizar acuerdos

sin sacrificar su escencia ni su espíritu.

4- Será la Procuraduría para Asuntos Eclesiásticos Mundiales la encargada de

realizar los estudios, intercambios epistolares, elaboración de documentos y

demás menesteres pertinentes a este tipo de procesos hasta llegar a la presentación

del mismo a la Sede Arzobispal Primada Ecuménica para la aprobación, correción

o rechazo de los procesos ecuménicos o administrativos presentados en los cuales

se le haya solicitado su ayuda.

5- La comunicación entre la Procuraduría Eclesiástica para Asuntos Mundiales y la

Sede Arzobispal Primada deberá ser clara y fluida, de manera que el Arzobispo

Primado Ecuménico se mantenga al tanto de la marcha de cada uno de los

procesos, dando lugar a las sugerencias en ambas vías.

6- Será la Sede Arzobispal Primada Ecuménica la encargada de hacer los anuncios a

nivel mundial de cada proceso aprobado.

7- Deberá quedar constancia escrita en archivo de todo proceso que se lleve a cabo,

sea que este se haya aprobado o rechazado. En el último caso, se deberán dejar

muy en claro las razones por las cuales no fructificó el acuerdo solicitado conlla

finalidad de proteger la ICEC de líineas de pensamiento no convenientes para un

desarrollo eclesiástico sano y acorde con los tiempos, especialmente si estos

contravienen los puntos de El Manifiesto o la sana doctrina.

8- Esta normativa no ha de afectar los reglamentos locales o particulares de los

territorios a anexarse a la ICEC, ya que en la mayoría de los casos se crean

acordes a la cultura, leyes civiles, necesidades particulares de los territorios y a la

idiocincracia de cada país, como ejemplo de ello se puden citar las pastorales

indíegenas y otra pastorales específicas.

9- La Sede Arzobispal Primada Ecuménica será quien determine los territorios que

tendrá a cargo la Procuradiría Eclesiástica para los Asuntos Mundiales, pudiendo

reservarse para sí aquellos territorios que considere atender en lo que respecta a

asuntos ecuménicos, aunque será esta misma normativa la que se aplique a 

nivel mundial, de manera que todo proceso sea uniforme y organizado.

10- Aquellas Iglesias que se acerquen a nosotros solicitando algún tipo de concordato

o unión plena, deberan cumplir con la presentación de los siguientes datos:

• Nombre de la Iglesia

• País

• Sucesión Apostólica Valida

• Personaría Jurídica

• Nombre del Arzobispo Primado o Presidente

• Nombre de Obispo/s Auxiliares (si lo hubiese)

• Número de Misiones, Eparquías o Comunidades de Fé

• Ordenes Religiosas e Institutos de Vida Consagrada

• Otras Formas de Vida Consagrada (consagración de viudas, virgenes, anacoretas,

eremitas, etc...)

• Sociedades de Vida Apostólica

• Proyección Evangelizadora

• Proyectos de Pastoral Social

• División Eclesiástica Territorial

• Cantidad de Vicarios Generales

• Cantidad de Vicarios Episcopales (anotar cuales son presbíteros y cuáles tienen

orden episcopal)

• Ritual para la Celebración Eucarística: Vaticano II (Novus Ordo), Misa

Tridentina, Libro de Oración Común si procediese de la linea Anglicana. Misa de

San Juan Crisóstomo, Misa de Iglesia Vetera de Utrecht.

• Explicación de su vsión sobre la Teología de los Siete Sacramentos

• Procedimiento que aplican para la elección de sus Obispos

• Requisitos que solicitan para acceder al Orden Diaconal y Presbiteral (entièndase

nivel académico)nivel académico)

• Ritual que utilizan en la Ordenación de Diáconos, Presbíteros y Obispos

• Forma de Gobierno del Territorio (entiéndase por canónes locales y reglamentos,

normativas o derecho propio)

-Posición respecto al Ordenes Sagrados de Mujeres al Prebiterado.



11- El caso de uniones plenas, queda clara la aceptación completa de El Manifiesto de la

Iglesia Católica Ecuménica de Cristo, sin que esto afecte la autonomía de las nuevas

diócesis en lo que respecta a sus formas particulares de gobierno, siempre y cuando sus

forma y proceder no dañe la Iglesia o contravenga El Manifiesto.

12- En el caso de uniones plenas con Iglesias en las cuales exista la figura del Arzobispo,

sus funciones, posición eclesiástica y territorios a cargo, serán negociados entre quien

ostente ese título dentro de la Iglesia solicitante y el Arzobispo Primado Ecuménico de la

ICEC, por acuerdo mutuo. (ver jurisprudencia en casos de concordatros y uniones plenas

anteriores, Filipinas, Canadá). La Procuraduría Eclesiástica para Asuntos Mundiales

podrá en estos casos, asesorar, sugerir, recomendar o aconsejar al Arzobispo Primado

Ecuménico en la toma de esta desición.

13- La Unión Plena implica la cobertura del nuevo miembro bajo el nombre de la ICEC,

no aplicando esto para aquellas Iglesias que soliciten solamente un concordato de

reconocimiento de los sacramentos. Dios, en su infinito amor, ha querido que los seres

humanos comprendan el llamado a ser familia, dando testimonio que la unidad es posible

en la diversidad.

14- Para que se de una convivencia plena en estos acuerdos, se deben tomar en cuenta

aspectos importantes que deben existir en la estructura de la Iglesia solicitante, de manera

que podamos promover una comunión de fe entre los ritos católicos, como se indica en El Manifiesto. Algunos de estos aspectos básicos son los siguientes:

14.1 Tener la Sucesión Apostólica Valida

14..2 Compartir la misma Teología de los Sacramentos

14.3 Haber salvaguardado la Doctrina tal como les fue entregada en custodia

14.4 Tener claro el concepto y la importancia de la Colegialidad entre los Obispos




15- El imcumplimiento de los acuerdos firmados por parte de una o de ambas partes

firmantes, implica la ruptura y nulidad de los mismos, no sin antes intentar un diálogo

fraterno para aclarar y subsanar lo ocurrido. En caso de no obtener resultados positivos, o

de comprobarse la falta y siendo esta grave, las partes quedarán liberadas de su

compromiso. La reptura ha de ser comunicada a la Iglesia a nivel mundial a la brevedad


16- Es de suma importancia que el diálogo ecuménico no solo se lleve a cabo a nivel de

Jerarquías, sino que se le haga comprender la importancia de este diálogo a las bases que

conforman los fieles pues son ellos los que sufren y se confunden en cada ruptura.

17- Para prevenir estas rupturas, se hace necesario que cada Iglesia reconozca su historia,

sus doctrinas, tener claro quienes serán sus interlocutores, el ámbito en el cual se darán

los diálogos pero, ante todo, es primordial mantener un respeto por la otra persona y su

forma de fe. Lo anterior hará que que el diálogo entre los fieles se de en la sencillez de la

experiencia compartida de la vida.

18- Es importante que, tanto la Iglesia solicitante como la ICEC, en calidad de Iglesia

receptora, tengamos claro los siguiente aspectos:

Nivel Teológico o Ecumenismo Teológico. Este es el diálogo teológico pastoral llevado

Este es el diálogo teológico pastoral llevado

a cabo de la forma en que se realiza entre las grandes Iglesias históricas. Este

conocimiento mutuo va desde el nivel Jerárquico hasta los flieles, de manera que se

genere un compartir en la diversidad por medio del respeto y del conocimiento mutuo.

Nivel Espiritual o Ecumenismo Espiritual. Este es el alma del diálogo ecuménico, el

Este es el alma del diálogo ecuménico, el

cual se basa en momentos de oración en común en pro de los cristianos y de otras

diferencias o problemas que afectan a los pueblos. Otro nivel de práctica en este sentido

es la lectura y estudios en común de las Sagradas Escrituras fuente de nuestra identidad y

promotora del acercamiento mutuo.

Nivel Social o Ecumenismo Social. Esto es lo referente a los esfuerzos realizados en

Esto es lo referente a los esfuerzos realizados en

común por las diferentes denominaciones establecidas en defensa de los diversos ideales,

entre ellos aquellos que tienen que ver con: Derechos Humanos, Atención de enfermos

terminales, Albergues de Indigentes, Asistencia a Emigrantes, Centros de Capacitación

Laboral para personas en riesgo Social, etcétera. La acción social es una oportunidad

para el encuentro de los cristianos de ambas Iglesias, que facilita el conocimiento mutuo,

facilitando la unidad.

19- Para evitar futuras rupturas y desgastes, antes de iniciar cualquier proceso, se deben

analizar los niveles de ecumenismo que podemos tener con cada Iglesia solicitante, como

se indica en el Artículo 18 de esta normativa, o si esta relación no sería posible por el

momento y comunicarlo. Este análisis se puede realizar en el momento en que recibimos

la información de la cual se hace mención en el Artículo 10 de esta normativa.



Las Relaciones Ecuménicas, en el amplio sentido que estas contienen, deben, por su

importancia, ser tratadas de una forma particularmente cuidadosa dentro de un profundo

contexto de caridad, respeto y claridad de posibilidades en lo que a acuerdos se refiere.

Debemos tener en claro, como ya hemos hecho mención, que dialogar ecuménicamente

no es negar nuestra identidad como Iglesia, ante las diferencias doctrinales de otras

Iglesias, sino basar ese diálogo en lo que tenemos en común.

La condición básica para lograr un dsempeño eficaz en el diálogo ecuménico es la

conversión interior que nos conduzca a un cambo de mentalidad, saliendo de los antiguos

esquemas de pensamiento, demostrando de esta forma que el cristiano puede construir un

signo de unidad abierto a la relación con cristianos de otra Iglesias, dejando a un lado el

fanatismo partidista que solo conduce a incentivar el odio y la división en una sociedad

ya afectada por el poder mal entendido del absolutismo eclesiático de las grandes

instituciones ya politizadas.

La Relaciones Ecumenicas bien conducidas ante nuestros hermanos en Cristo nos llevará

a brillar juntos, como familia, como luz que desde lo alto da testimonio ante una sociedad

que influenciada por una religiosidad partidista solo ha demostrado una oposición a

querer a Dios por medio de una nueva realidad cristiana acorde a los tiempos: Las

Relaciones Ecuménias.




Considerando que los Obispos por institución Divina están llamados a ser Pastores en la

Iglesia bajo la guía del Espírtu Santo, de manera que, ejerciendo su oficio, (aspecto

ontológico) sean también quienes enseñen y protejan la doctrina, cumplan el sacerdocio

del culto sagrado (Mt. 4, 23-24) y ejerciendo su ministerio ayuden en el gobierno de la

Iglesia en el mundo (aspecto administrativo),

En virtud de su Consagración Episcopal recibida (culmen del sacramento del orden) están

unidos al Colegio Episcopal y de esta forma a la responsabilidad de asistir en la

construcción del Reino por medio de funciones como: administración, gobierno,

magisterio, determinación jurídica por la potestad jeráquica y regimen pastoral de la

Iglesia (Mt. 10, 5-15), y como propietarios de los propiedades de la Iglesia.

Forman el Colegio Episcopal de la ICEC, aquellos que están unidos plenamente a este

cuerpo con el Arzobispo Primado Ecuménico a la cabeza.

Por tanto:

Es su responsabilidad procurar normativas que permitan la buena administración general

de la Iglesia para la buena marcha de cada Diócesis y de los fieles que las conforman. En

consecuencia, es necesario unificar los criterios a nivel mundial, de forma que exista una

misma voz que al unísono de testimonio de la Colegialidad, madurez y seriedad en la fe

de la Iglesia y de los Organos que la conforman.

Aún existiendo una normativa para la Iglesia mundial que permita mantener una

uniformidad en la estructura administrativa general, los Obispos en sus Diócesis o

Territorios particulares pueden implemantar normativas locales que les ayuden en la

administración de la porción del pueblo de Dios a ellos encomendado, siempre y cuando

estas no entren en contradicción con las normas generales. “El Manifiesto” (mayor

autonomía para las Diócesis).

Las normativas que se generen en una Iglesia adaptada a los signos de los tiempos como

lo es la ICEC, deben ser prácticas, pocas y han de contener metas alcanzables que

faciliten las labores a los pastores y su cumplimiento para los fieles laicos, nunca deberán

convertirse en una carga pesada para el pueblo. Deberár ser directas y a la vez flexibles

para el liderzgo sano de la Iglesia en aquellos puntos en que sea permitido.

Podriamos decir que la administración en la Iglesia es el ordenamiento de todos los

recursos de la misma, de tal manera que la Iglesia cumpla así con la misión que tiene. Los Obispos, responsables de esta correcta administración, no solo deben pensar en la parte económica, sino también, en los recursos materiales, humanos y espirituales en el

momento de generar alguna normativa,m sea esta general o local (1 Co. 4, 1-2).

Aunque en este afán de organización esté presente un deseo sano y un sentimiento de

buena voluntad, los Obispos en el momento de crear normativas para legislar, deben

cuidar el no incurrir en dos peligros presentes cuando se hacen estas transformaciones


- Desear ser tan organizados que no dejen lugar a la obra del Espíritu Santo.

- Ser tan místicos que dejen todo a la voluntad de Dios y se quiera proceder sin plan alguno.

Lo anterior, aparte de traer confusión, provoca un desperdicio de tiempo y recursos,

teniendo, a causa de esto, menos efectividad en nuestra misión como Iglesia. Busquemos

una administración guiada por el Espíritu Santo.

Toda Iglesia es considerada por los diferentes gobiernos civiles como una entidad de bien

público sin fines de lucro, implicando esto que la Iglesia esté normada para su orden

administrativo. Es por esta razón que la Procuraduría Eclesiástica de Asuntos Mundiales

debe contener en sí misma la función de Comisión Administrativa de forma que pueda

asistir a la Sede Arzobispal Priamada en la creación de normativas que ayuden a regular

la administración de la ICEC en sus diversos ámbitos, en los procesos de recursos

humanos (adhesiones de institutos religiosos, las incardinaciones de clérigos en territorios en donde no exista la ICEC, creación, guía y extensión de diversas pastorales de acuerdo con la necesidad de estas en cada territorio en el cual no exista la figura episcopal).

La Procuraduría también deberá asistir y asesorar en la fundación de institutos religiosos,

sociedades de vida apostólica y otras formas de vida consagrada en aquellos lugares en

donde no exista la presencia de la ICEC. Sus responsabilidades también incluyen el

desarrollo de talleres y programas formativos para el clero y semnaristas, el desarrollo de

materiales que cumplan fines educativos y formativos para el uso de la Iglesia, y otras

funciones que en su momento sean delegadas a este departamento por la Sede Arzobispal

Primada. (Lc. 9, 51 – 52), (Hechos de los Apóstoles 6, 1-7)

Lc. 8, 1-3

Jn. 4, 8

Lc. 10, 1-2

Hechos de los Apóstoles 2, 44-46

Hechos de los Apóstoles 4, 36-37

Hechos de los Apóstoles 18, 1-3

1 Co. 1, 28.

2 Corintios 8, 18-22

Filipenses 4.10, 15-16


Articulo I 


Quede la Iglesia Católica Ecuménica de Cristo organizada de manera administrativa en

Normas Generales y Normativas Locales sin que las segundas contravengan a las


La Sede Arzobispal Primada determinará los trabajos en los cuales requerirá de los

servicios de La Procuraduría Eclesiastica de Asuntos Mundiales.

La Procuraduría queda facultada en este aspecto para ayudar a la Sede Arzobispal

Primada en la creación de normativas de uso administrativo, recibir solicitudes de

incardinacón de clérigos y recepción de Institutos u Ordenes Religiosas, Sociedades de

Vida Apostólica u otras formas de Vida Consagrada (eremitas, anacoretas, consagración

de vírgenes o viudas, votos religiosos individuales) en territorios donde no exista la

presencia de la ICEC o en aquellos territorios de la Iglesia que carezcan de Obispo o

sea que no esten conformados como Diócesis (entiéndase que aplica a aquellas

Vicarías Generales y Vicarías Episcopales sujetas a la autoridad de la Sede

Arzobispal Primada. No aplica a las Vicarías Episcopales sujetas a un Ordinadrio

Diocesano ). También debe asistir a la Sede Arzobispal Primada en el estudio de la

factibilidad o no de abrir Comunidades Misioneras Eclesiales y aspectos afines a la

función administrativa y diplomática.

En el caso de las Diócesis particulares, la injerencia que tiene la Procuraduría Eclesiástica

de Asuntos Mundiales es de mediadora y supervisora entre estas y la Sede Arzobispal

Primada, si fuese del caso, o simplemente si así fuese solicitado en una o ambas vías.


Articulo II




1- Para la fundación de Comunidades Misioneras de Base en lugares en donde no exista

la presencia de la ICEC (entiéndase por fundar iglesia territorialmente), se deberán

aplicar las normas ya existentes para la selección de seminaristas y/o la incardinación de

clérigos (ya ordenados):

- Comprobar Formación

- Solicitud de ingreso a la ICEC

- Iglesia en la cual fue ordenado (comprobantes)

- Exámen Psicológico

- Fotografias recientes

- En caso de Diáconos y Sacerdotes casados, presentar carta de la esposa dando su

consentimiento, comprobante matrimonial, si es divorciado presentar comprobante de

divorcio y los motivos de la separación, si el matrimonio es civil se deberá

respetuosamente motivarlo a realizar el matrimonio religioso.

2- Las Diócesis particulares, en virtud del punto de El Manifiesto que les otorga mayor

autonomía a las Diócesis Regionales, podrán aplicar también sus normativas propias para

dicha selección de acuerdo con las características, necesidades e idiosincracia particulares

del país en donde está radicada, sin contravenir las normas generales dadas por la Iglesia.

3- Antes de fundar Iglesia territorialmente, estúdiense las posibilidades de desarrollo que

esta tenga en el territorio y la necesidad real de hacerlo además de los medios con que se

cuenta para ello, tanto materiales como humanos.

4- Si se aprueba la apertura de dicho territorio, de entre quienes forman parte del equipo

clerical en el lugar será escogido un encargado temporal, quien llevará la responsabilidad

de la buena marcha de la Iglesia en el lugar.

5- Después de un tiempo prudencial y comprobada la intención e idoneidad de la persona

encargada de la Iglesia en el lugar, puede eventualmente nombrarse un Vicario que quede

sujeto a la Sede Arzobispal Primada.

6- En cuanto la necesidad pastoral así lo indique, promuévase en esos territorios la

erección de Diócesis, haciendo el debido proceso de acuerdo con lo indicado en El 

Manifiesto. La Iglesia crece en torno al Obispo ya que a este la fue dado el don de la 

fecundidad por medio de la potestad de ordenar. Facilitemos de esta forma el crecimiento

de la Iglesia, garantizando al pueblo que nunca caracerá del oficio del Obispo.


Articulo III






1- Antes de permitir la fundación o anexión de Institutos Religiosos, Ordenes Religiosas,

Sociedades de Vida Apostólica u otras Formas de Vida Consagrada, analícese la

necesidad de las mismas para la Iglesia o para un territorio específico y en el caso de las

que, existiendo, proceden de otra Iglesia y solicitan pertenecer a nuestra juridicción,

estúdiense bien las razones por las cuales se están separando de su Iglesia de origen antes

de ser recibidas.

2- Toda Forma de Vida Consagrada que no haya sido fundada en la ICEC, al solicitar su

integración o anexión a nuestra Iglesia, deberá cumplir con os siguientes requisistos:

- Nombre de la Iglesia de Procedencia y año de Fundación

- Estatus que tenía en su Iglesia de origen (Fundación Pía, Derecho Diocesano,

Derecho Autónomo (término que substituye el término romano de “Derecho


- Nombre del Fundador (a)

- Proyecto de Vida (apostolado) y forma en la cual van a sustentar la obra a nivel


- Constituciones o Regla de Vida

- Miembros que lo conforman (cuantos postulantes, cuantos novicios, cuantos

profesos temporales y cuantos profesos perpetuos)

- Solicitud de un Sacerdote como guía espiritual

- Compromiso de crear una cédula jurídica que les proporciones sustento legal y


3- Los Institutos de Vida Consagrada se clasificarán según su Vocación en:

- Laicales

- Clericales

4- Los Institutos de Vida Religiosa también se clasifican según su forma de vida en:

- Institutos de Vida Activa

- Institutos de Vida Contemplativa

- Institutos de Clausura Total y Monasterios

5- Permítanse, además de las figuras religiosas anteriores, aquellas que son antiguas y de

consagración individual, como son:

- Vida Eremítica o Anacorética

- Vida Hermitaña

- Consagración de Vírgenes y Viudas (estas puede asociarse entre si)

Tengan estas figuras religiosas las mismas atenciones, derechos y obligaciones que los

institutos de vida consagrada, ordenes y monasterios.

6- Aquellos procedentes de otras Iglesias, tengan un periódo de prueba de 1 a 2 años en

nuestra Iglesia, al cabo del cual se analizará mutuamente el proceso de adaptación y la

permanencia o disociación del mismo de nuestra Iglesia.

7- Los Institutos de Vida Consagrada que no sean de derecho Autónomo y se encuentren

radicados en territorios en los cuales no exista la Figura de Vicaría, o la figura de

Diócesis, permanecerán sujetos a la autoridad de la Sede Arzobispal Primada hasta que,

existiendo un Obispo en dicho territorio, se trasladen bajo la tutela de este hasta terminar

su proceso de aprobación.

8- Todo Instituto Religioso que haya alcanzado el estatus de Derecho Autónomo, quedará

sujeto a la autoridad de la Sede Arzobispal Primada, pero deberán respetar las normas de

la Diócesis en donde se encuentren radicados y procurarán colaborar en las obras de esta

junto al Obispo y el Clero Diocesano.

9- Todo Instituto Religioso tiene sus propios reglamentos por los cuales se regirán a lo

interno. Deberán respetar además las reglas generales que rigen a la Iglesia a nivel

mundial y aquellas que sean locales (entiéndase por las cuales se asisten las Diócesis par

ayudarse en su gobierno).

10- Lo anterior no aplica para aquellos territorios que tengan Obispo Ordinario, ya que,

en virtud de la mayor autonomía que les otorga El Manifiesto, pueden aplicar sus

reglamentos locales en tanto estos sean consecuentes con las normas generales de la

Iglesia. Cada Diócesis deberá desarrollar su archivo propio de procesos fundacionales


11-Todo proceso fundacional de vida religiosa o de incardinación de institutos o formas

de vida consagrada, tanto aquellos realizados por los Obispos en sus territorios

particulares como los realizados por la Procuraduría Eclesiástica de Asuntos Mundiales,

en su momento deberán ser presentados con la documentación completa a la Sede

Arzobispal Primada para su aprobación o rechazo.

12- La Sede Arzobispal Primada será la encargada de anunciar a la Iglesia Mundial las

Aprobaciones de Institutos Religiosos o las Incardinaciones o Anexiones de aquellos

Institutos u Ordenes procedentes de otras Iglesias y que se hayan unido a la ICEC.

Documento de referencia:

Reglamento para la Fundación y Desarrollo de Institutos de Vida Religiosa y Otras

Formas de Vida Consagrada ICEC – Diócesis de Costa Rica.

( En el Documento Reglamento para la Fundación y Desarrollo de Insitutos de Vida

Religiosa y Otras Formas de Vida Consagarada ICEC – Diócesis de Costa Rica, se

encuentran descritos paso a paso los procesos a desarrollar para la fundación de

experiencias religiosas y como deben estructurarse las congregaciones internamente.

Ejemplo tambien: nuestro Orden Terzero Franciscano Mundial.



1- Deberán fomentarse las pastorales sociales en los diferentes territorios en donde haya

presencia de la ICEC. Estas deberán estar acordes con las realidades de cada territorio.

Como ejemplo de dichas pastorales podemos citar los siguientes servicios dentro de la

pastoral social: Pastoral del Emigrante, Centros de Capacitación y Promoción Humana,

Asistencia Alimentaria, Atención a Poblaciones en Riesgo (drogadictos, sordos, personas

con retardo mental, parejas en unión libre, atención del enfermo terminal, huérfanos, etc...)

2-Además de las Pastorales Sociales, deberá motivarse la existencia de otras Pastorales

que ayuden en el desarrollos de la fe y de la Iglesia misma. Ejemplo de estas Pastorales

son: La Pastoral litúrgica, Educación en la Catequesis, Pastoral Familiar, Pastoral de

Evangelización y Extensión Ministerial, etc.

3- La Procuraduría Eclesiástica para los Asuntos Mundiales servirá de guía en asesorar la

organización de estas Pastorales en los territorios en donde no exista la presencia de la

ICEC en la figura de la Diócesis, entiéndase en los territorios de reciente fundación de

Comunidades Misioneras de Base, o en aquellas en donde exista la figura de Vicarias

Generales, pues están sujetas directamente a la Sede Arzobispal Primada hasta que se transformen en Diócesis.

In Italian

Dignità e rispetto verso le minoranzeCon la stragrande maggioranza dei cristiani e i fratelli e sorelle di altre religioni affermiamo: Peoiché Dio è il creatore della vita, rispettiamo la santità della vita e la dignità di ogni essere umano nato in questo mondo. Noi manifestiamo il diritto morale di ogni persona di perseguire una vita soddisfacente nella società. Rifiutiamo tutti gli stereotipi faziosi, odiamo la propaganda, e l'incitamento alla violenza nei confronti delle minoranze, causato da ignoranza, false paure, e l'estremismo. Chiediamo tutela giuridica e la necessità di una coscienza più Manifesto Forum di dialogoPoichè attraverso Suo Figlio, Gesù Cristo, nostro Signore e Salvatore, Dio ha fatto l'ultimo sacrificio nella pienezza del tempo per tutta la creazione, noi crediamo che la salvezza di Dio è offerta a tutti nella loro unità e nella diversità.
"Venerati Fratelli, tale è lo scopo del Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II, che, pur riunendo le migliori energie della Chiesa e cercando che gli uomini accolgano più favorevolmente la buona novella della salvezza, prepara, per così dire e consolida il cammino verso l'unità del genere umano che è richiesto come necessario fondamento, in modo che la città terrena possa essere a somiglianza di quella città celeste dove la verità regna, la carità è la legge, e la cui esistenza è l'eternità "(cfr S. Agostino, Epistola 138 , 3).(Dal Discorso di apertura del Beato Papa Giovanni XXIII al Concilio Vaticano II, 11 ottobre 1962) Miami, Florida, Anno Domini 1999/2007SommarioI. Introduzione: La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo ...3-4 II. IL Manifesto della Chiesa Cattolica Ecumenica di Cristo ... 5-10      III. Un forum di dialogo per la revisione della legge Canone Romano (CIC) e canoni di altri riti cattolici .......11-13I. Introduzione:
La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo+ Nel nome del Padre, del Figlio e dello Spirito Santo.
Per i Vescovi, sacerdoti, diaconi, popolo santo di Dio delle Chiese cattoliche di Cristo, e tutte le persone di buona volontà.
La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo è parte della Chiesa una, santa cattolica e apostolica, il Corpo mistico di Cristo. La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo è parte di un movimento mondiale di milioni di cattolici e membri di diversi riti cattolici che, attraverso la preghiera e il dialogo è alla ricerca di unità con tutte le Chiese cattoliche e cristiane, le riforme all'interno del rito cattolico e altri riti cattolici."È di assoluta importanza per il ripristino di una nuova comunità; questo non può essere rinviato a dopo, o spinto fino alla fine del tempo. "Frère Roger, priore di Taizé, in Francia. (In:.... Frère Roger, Taizé Living Trust Christian Feldmann, Herder Verlag Freiburg i Brisgovia 2005, p 70.) ________________________________________________________________________________ _______________Siamo consapevoli che, "No, non è possibile attirare l'Unità fuori da negoziati o attraverso accordi legali, si deve cominciare a viverla, a passi di coraggio, in piccole celle, i testi verranno dopo." (Ibid. 66)
La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo offre una pastorale che incorpora entrambe le realtà divine e umane per il benessere spirituale di tutti i cattolici e tutte le persone di buona volontà che condividono la comunione di Gesù Cristo. Noi crediamo che l'amore e la compassione di Dio si estendano a tutti senza eccezione. Questa visione inclusiva di Dio è centrale nella definizione del ministero della nostra Chiesa: fornire un luogo di guarigione, servire i poveri e gli ammalati, raggiungendo coloro che sono stati respinti dalla società, e lotta per la giustizia sociale.Noi crediamo che una coscienza informata basata sugli insegnamenti della Sacra Scrittura, gli elementi dinamici della tradizione, e l'esperienza umana e intuizione, siano la base su cui la gente può cercare la verità e la giustizia di Dio, dare prova di compassione, ed esprimere amore incondizionato per Dio e gli altri esseri umani. Noi proclamiamo la dignità sacra di tutte le persone, da quando sono stati creati nella ricca diversità del nostro Dio amorevole.Chiediamo la formazione di un forum di tutti i riti cattolici per discutere la modifica delle linee guida generali del Codex Iuris Canonici (diritto canonico) della Chiesa cattolica romana e i Canoni di altri riti cattolici in modo da riflettere la realtà della comprensione del cristianesimo post-moderno che lo Spirito Santo è all'opera in tutti i riti cattolici e apostolici. Perché noi immaginiamo la revisione delle diverse leggi canoniche in modo da essere applicabili a tutte le Chiese cattoliche, incoraggiamo tutti i riti cattolici a collaborare di più gli uni con gli altri."Dobbiamo arrivare a conoscere le prospettive dei nostri fratelli separati. Per raggiungere questo scopo, lo studio è necessariamente richiesto, e questo deve essere perseguito con un senso di realismo e di buona volontà. I cattolici, che hanno già una preparazione adeguata, hanno bisogno di acquisire una più adeguata comprensione delle rispettive dottrine dei nostri fratelli separati, la loro storia, la loro vita spirituale e liturgica, la loro psicologia religiosa e lo sfondo generale. Più prezioso per questo scopo sono incontri delle due parti, soprattutto per la discussione di teologiche problemi a cui ognuno può trattare con l'altro su un piano di parità, a condizione che coloro che prendono parte a loro sono veramente competenti e avere l'approvazione dei vescovi. Da questo dialogo emergeranno ancora più chiaramente quale sia la situazione della Chiesa cattolica è in realtà. In questo modo anche le prospettive dei nostri fratelli separati saranno meglio comprese, e la nostra convinzione più propriamente spiegata. "(Vaticanum II, Decreto sull'ecumenismo capitolo II, 9) Con la presente testimoniamo, con la nostra mano e il sigillo, che questo documento è stato approvato all'unanimità dai membri della Chiesa Cattolica Ecumenica di Cristo.Dato nella solennità degli Apostoli Pietro e Paolo, nell'anno del nostro Signore, 1999, rivisto in occasione della festa degli Arcangeli, nell'anno del nostro Signore, MMVII a Miami, Florida, USA. servus Christi
++ Dr. Karl RodigPrimate ecumenicoII. Il Manifesto della Chiesa Cattolica Ecumenica di Cristo
II.1. Successione apostolica, l'Ordine e Sacramenti
La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo è parte della comunità mondiale di chiese cattoliche che insieme compongono l'una, santa cattolica e apostolica chiesa con Gesù Cristo come suofondamento. Come cattolici ecumenici, abbiamo conservato la validità degli ordini sacri per la carica di vescovi, sacerdoti e diaconi attraverso la successione apostolica derivata dalla Chiesa cattolica romana, la Chiesa di Antiochia, e la Chiesa vetero-cattolica.
"Le Chiese che, pur non essendo in perfetta comunione con la Chiesa Cattolica, restano unite ad essa per mezzo di strettissimi vincoli, quali la successione apostolica e la valida Eucaristia, sono vere Chiese particolari". (Vaticano: Dichiarazione, Dominus Gesù IV. 17, 6 Agosto 2000)Teniamo a convinzione che i sette sacramenti (Battesimo, Confermazione, l'Eucaristia, la riconciliazione, unzione degli infermi, l'ordinazione, e il matrimonio) sono parte della nostra realtà religiosa, data la grazia di Dio per la nostra salvezza dal potere dello Spirito Spirito.
Noi celebriamo i sacramenti come parte del desiderio del Signore che ha di santificare le nostre vite; servire in questo mondo come catalizzatori spirituali; brillare come una luce sul candelabro; e di essere il sale della terra, preparandoci ad entrare nel Suo Regno. Riconoscendo l'importanza dei sette sacramenti, li offriamo a tutti i cattolici sinceri.II. 2. L'impegno per la tradizione
I membri della Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo sono cattolici provenienti dalla Chiesa cattolica romana, da altri riti cattolici, cristiani di buona volontà che si sforzano per l’unità in tutto il mondo e nella ricerca di riforme comuni, aderendo agli insegnamenti generali dei concili della Chiesa sotto la guida dello Spirito Santo, che ci fa anche a credere che: "Ecclesia semper reformanda est" (la Chiesa ha sempre bisogno di una riforma).
"Chiamata da Cristo che la vuole Chiesa in continua riforma qui sulla terra. La Chiesa ha sempre bisogno di questo, nella misura in cui essa è un'istituzione di uomini qui sulla terra. Così, se, in circostanze e tempi diversi, ci sono state carenze nella condotta morale o di disciplina della chiesa, o anche nel modo in cui l'insegnamento della chiesa è stato formulato per essere attentamente distinto dal deposito della fede stessa, questi possono e devono essere impostati giusto al momento opportuno. "(Vaticanum II, decreto sull'ecumenismo capitolo II.6)
Teniamo al processo dinamico di riforme che lo Spirito Santo esprime nella "Sensus fidelium" (il senso dei fedeli), che dà alla comunità dei fedeli la sua credibilità. Ci atteniamo ai tesori della tradizione, derivati dalla Sacra Scrittura, l'insegnamento di Cristo, e gli insegnamenti delle chiese cattoliche nel corso della storia, fintanto che continuano a fornire orientamenti dignitosi per le comunità della Chiesa. Siamo uniti a elementi essenziali, avendo la diversità nei non essenziali, e soprattutto siamo uniti nella carità.
"Tutto nella Chiesa deve preservare l'unità nelle cose essenziali. Ma lasciare che tutto, secondo i doni che ha ricevuto godono di una libertà adeguata, nelle loro varie forme di vita spirituale e di disciplina, nei diversi riti liturgici, e anche nelle elaborazioni teologiche della verità rivelata. In tutte le cose lasciate prevalere la carità. Se ci si attiene a questa linea di condotta, si darà sempre meglio espressione alla cattolicità autentica e apostolicità della Chiesa ". (Vatic. II, Decreto Ecum., Cap. I, 4) Con tutti i nostri fratelli e sorelle cristiani di tutto il mondo, condividiamo la comunione di Gesù Cristo, nostro Redentore. Dichiariamo il nostro sostegno al Santo Padre (Il Vescovo di Roma), come "primus inter pares" (il primo tra uguali) per unire la Chiesa nella fede. Possa egli guidare la Chiesa con dirigenti della Chiesa su una base collegiale.II.3. In uno spirito ecumenicoLa Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo sostiene gli sforzi di riforma di milioni di cattolici in tutto il mondo che hanno firmato petizioni in Vaticano per le riforme nella Chiesa romana e cattolici di altri riti che cercano le riforme nelle loro chiese che servono il desiderio per l'Unità:
la comunione - intercomunione con tutti i riti cattolici che hanno successione apostolica, la condivisione della sacra tradizione, e hanno la stessa teologia dei sacramenti.-La Scelta dei sacerdoti sia di sposarsi o di vivere una vita di celibato sia libera e incondizionata. -Ordinazione delle donne
-La Coinvolgimento e partecipazione dei laici nella gestione della Chiesa.
-Inclusione della Santa Comunione per le persone divorziate risposate-Più autonomia per le diocesi.
-Il Elezione dei vescovi da parte del clero e laici, come era consuetudine sin dai primi secoli della Chiesa.
-Più Collegialità tra i vescovi e laici rappresentanti delle chiese locali.
-maggiore enfasi Sul Vangelo che chiede giustizia sociale per i poveri, e inclusione di quelli che sono stati rifiutati dalla società.
-La Revisione del processo di scomunica.II.4. Revisione necessaria di diritto canonico
La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo segue, in generale, osserva le indicazioni del Codice di Diritto Canonico, ma chiede importanti adattamenti come osservato in precedenza (n. II.3). Presagendo la chiamata per le riforme (l'alba di un nuovo giorno) che il Beato Papa Giovanni XXIII, ha proclamato, ci invita a leggere i segni dei tempi che tutti i cattolici e cristiani di altre Chiese possono interpretare come chiamata di Dio per il rinnovo di tutto il suo popolo.
Ricordiamo le parole del Beato Giovanni XXIII:
"La più grande preoccupazione del Concilio Ecumenico è questa: che il sacro deposito della dottrina cristiana sia custodito e insegnato più efficacemente. Questa dottrina abbraccia tutto l'uomo, composta com'è di corpo e anima. E, dal momento che è un pellegrino su questa terra, tende sempre verso il cielo. Questo dimostra come la nostra vita mortale deve essere ordinata in modo tale da soddisfare i nostri doveri di cittadini della terra e del cielo, e, quindi, per raggiungere lo scopo della vita, come stabilito da Dio ... La sostanza dell'antica dottrina del deposito della fede è una cosa, e il modo in cui viene presentato un altra. Ed è quest'ultimo che deve essere preso in grande considerazione con pazienza, se necessario, tutto ciò che viene misurato nelle forme e proporzioni di un magistero che è prevalentemente di carattere pastorale. ... Il Concilio ora cominciando nella Chiesa, come l'alba, precursore della più splendida luce. È ora solo all'alba. E già a questo primo annuncio del giorno nascente, quanta dolcezza riempie il nostro cuore ... e tu, seguendo l'ispirazione dello Spirito Santo, in modo che il lavoro di tutti può corrispondere alle aspettative moderne e le esigenze dei vari popoli del mondo . "(discorso di apertura del Vaticanum II, 11 ottobre 1962)II.5. Carità e Amore
Perché attraverso Suo Figlio, Gesù Cristo, nostro Signore e Salvatore, Dio ha fatto l'ultimo sacrificio nella pienezza del tempo per tutta la creazione, noi crediamo che la salvezza di Dio è offerta a tutti in ogni tempo e luogo per la guarigione e una vita di unità nella diversità.
I due principi, "Caritas enim Christi urget nos" (L'amore di Cristo ci spinge) e "Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est" (Dove c'è carità e amore, lì c'è Dio), siano la guida per il nostro servizio verso tutte le persone bisognose. Le nostre missioni in tutto il mondo stanno aiutando i poveri e i respinti, in particolare i bambini di strada abbandonati, rendendo concreto per loro le estensioni di amore abbondante di Dio. Come cristiani cattolici stiamo servendo con compassione e vigore tutti coloroche cercano Dio, il desiderio di rinnovamento spirituale, il vivere in dignità, e cercare un luogo di guarigione.
Poiché l'amore di Dio e l’amore del prossimo sono i comandamenti essenziali da cui tutta la legge dipende, esprimiamo il nostro solenne desiderio di servire tutto il popolo di Dio, esprimendo "l'amore senza giudizio."II.6. Unità e solidarietà
La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo cerca, attraverso la preghiera e il dialogo nello Spirito Santo, l'unità e la solidarietà tra tutti i cattolici e gli altri cristiani. Estendiamo la mano della pace e della solidarietà agli altri credenti e, in particolare ai nostri fratelli e sorelle nel giudaismo. Il nostro desiderio di unità si basa sul proprio desiderio e la preghiera del Signore:
"Che tutti siano uno, come, tu Padre, sei in me e io in te, siano anch'essi in noi uno" (Gv 17,21).
Le parole di Vaticanum II sono ancora oggi di grande importanza:
"Oggi, in molte parti del mondo, sotto la grazia ispiratrice dello Spirito Santo, molti sforzi sono stati fatti nella preghiera, la parola e l'azione per raggiungere quella pienezza di unità che Gesù Cristo desidera. Il sacro concilio esorta tutti i fedeli cattolici a riconoscere i segni dei tempi e a prendere parte attiva e intelligente nel lavoro di ecumenismo ".
"Il termine 'movimento ecumenico' indica le iniziative e le attività programmate e intraprese, secondo le varie necessità della Chiesa e come opportunità offerta, per promuovere l'unità dei cristiani. Questi sono: in primo luogo, ogni sforzo per evitare espressioni, giudizi e le azioni che non rappresentano la condizione dei fratelli separati con la verità e correttezza e così rendono le mutue relazioni più difficili; poi, 'dialogo' tra esperti competenti di diverse Chiese e Comunità. In queste riunioni, che sono organizzate in uno spirito religioso, ogni realtà spiega l'insegnamento della sua comunione in modo più approfondito e porta chiaramente le sue caratteristiche distintive. In tale dialogo, ognuno guadagna una conoscenza più vera e più giusta stima della dottrina e della vita di entrambe le Comunioni. Inoltre, il modo in cui è preparato per la cooperazione tra loro nei compiti per il bene comune dell'umanità, che sono stabiliti da ogni coscienza cristiana; e, laddove ciò sia consentito, vi è la preghiera in comune. Infine, tutti sono portati a esaminare la loro fedeltà alla volontà di Cristo per la Chiesa e di conseguenza per intraprendere con vigore l'opera di rinnovamento e di riforma. Il raggiungimento dell’ unione è la preoccupazione di tutta la Chiesa, fedeli e pastori. Questa preoccupazione si estende a tutti, secondo il suo talento, sia che si esercita nella vita cristiana di ogni giorno quanto negli studi teologici e storici. Questa preoccupazione manifesta già in qualche modo il legame di fratellanza tra tutti i cristiani e aiuta verso quella piena e perfetta unità che Dio, nella sua bontà vuole. "
"Non ci può essere ecumenismo degno di questo nome, senza un cambiamento del cuore. Perché è dal rinnovamento della vita interiore della nostra mente, dalla negazione di sé e un amore incondizionato che il desiderio dell'unità nasce e si sviluppa in modo maturo. Dobbiamo quindi pregare lo Spirito Santo per la grazia di una sincera abnegazione, dell'umiltà e mansuetudine nel servizio degli altri, e di avere un atteggiamento di generosità fraterna nei loro confronti. San Paolo dice: 'Io, quindi, prigioniero del Signore, vi prego di comportarvi in maniera degna della vocazione che avete ricevuto, con ogni umiltà, mansuetudine e pazienza, sopportandovi a vicenda con amore, cercando di conservare l'unità dello spirito per mezzo del vincolo della pace '. Questa esortazione è rivolta in particolare a coloro che sono chiamati agli ordini sacri affinchè l'opera di Cristo possa essere continuata. Egli è venuto in mezzo a noi 'non per essere servito, ma per servire' ".
"Le parole di San Giovanni tengono bene sui peccati contro l'unità: 'Se diciamo che non abbiamo peccato, siamo bugiardi, e la sua parola non è in noi'. Così umilmente chiediamo perdono a Dio e ai nostri fratelli separati, proprio come noi li rimettiamo contro di noi. Tutti i fedeli devono ricordareche più è lo sforzo che fanno per vivere una vita più conforme al Vangelo, migliore sarà l'unità che i cristiani mettono in pratica. Per tanto più sarà la loro unione con il Padre, la Parola e lo Spirito, più intima e facile sarà l’ azione per crescere nell'amore reciproco e fraterno ".
"Questa conversione del cuore e la santità della vita, insieme con le preghiere private e pubbliche per l'unità dei cristiani, devono essere considerati come l'anima di tutto il movimento ecumenico, e merita il nome di 'ecumenismo spirituale.' In alcune circostanze particolari, come ad esempio le preghiere prescritte per l'unità ', e durante incontri ecumenici, è ammissibile, auspicabile che i cattolici si associno nella preghiera con i fratelli separati. Queste preghiere in comune sono senza dubbio un mezzo efficace per ottenere la grazia dell'unità, e sono una vera espressione dei legami che legano ancora i cattolici ai loro fratelli separati. "Perché dove sono due o tre riuniti nel mio nome, io sono in mezzo a loro"."Prima di tutto tutti i cristiani confessano la loro fede in Dio uno e trino, uno e tre nel Figlio di Dio incarnato, nostro Redentore e Signore. Ciascuno, con rispetto reciproco, rende testimonianza alla nostra comune speranza. In questi giorni in cui la cooperazione in materia sociale è così diffusa, tutti gli uomini senza eccezione sono chiamati a lavorare insieme, con molta più ragione tutti coloro che credono in Dio, ma soprattutto, tutti i cristiani, nel senso che portano il nome di Cristo. La cooperazione tra i cristiani esprime vivamente il rapporto che di fatto già li unisce, e pone più in pienezza il volto di Cristo servo. Questa cooperazione, che è già iniziata in molti paesi, dovrebbe essere sviluppata sempre di più, in particolare nelle regioni in cui l'evoluzione sociale e tecnica si svolge sia in una giusta valutazione della dignità della persona umana, la creazione della pace, l'applicazione dei principi evangelici alla vita sociale, il progresso delle arti e delle scienze, in uno spirito veramente cristiano, o anche l'uso di vari rimedi per alleviare le sofferenze del nostro tempo, quali la fame e le calamità naturali, l'analfabetismo e la povertà, carenza di alloggi e l'ineguale distribuzione della ricchezza. Tutti i credenti in Cristo possono, attraverso questa collaborazione, essere portati ad acquisire una migliore conoscenza e l'apprezzamento dell’ altro, e così spianare la strada per l'unità dei cristiani ". (Vaticanum II, Dal decreto sull'ecumenismo, Capitolo I, 4, capitolo II , 5, 7, 8, 9, 12).III. Un forum di dialogo per la revisione del diritto canonico romano (CIC) e dei canoni degli altri riti cattolici.
In nome di milioni di cattolici in tutto il mondo, comprese le centinaia di sacerdoti che continuano a lasciare la Chiesa romana, perché porzioni del Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC) sono diventate un onere inutile, piuttosto che un sostegno per la loro fede viva, in nome dell'unità con i nostri fratelli e sorelle di tutti i riti cattolici che sono ancora separati gli uni dagli altri, siamo mossi dallo Spirito Santo, per invitare tutti i riti cattolici a partecipare allo stesso modo, per presentare e discutere le questioni di riforma che richiedono una revisione del CIC della Chiesa romana e i canoni di altri riti cattolici in un forum di dialogo.Riconosciamo il vantaggio del diritto canonico, sostenendo, che fa la cura pastorale del popolo di Dio, fornendo le linee guida per la struttura di tutta la Chiesa, Corpo mistico di Cristo nel mondo. In passato, il CIC ha subito riforme perché la necessità di riforme in un mondo che cambia è stata riconosciuta: "etiam un praesertim de reformatione normarum novo mentis habitui novisque necessitatibus accommodanda ..." (CIC 1983 Praefatio XXXVIII).Ora, come parte del popolo di Dio che ci trovano in tutto il mondo in cerca di riforme, affermiamo la necessità di ulteriori modifiche nel diritto canonico. Sosteniamo che bisognerebbe istituire un Forum di dialogo, che aprirebbe la strada alla revisione del diritto canonico, in modo che possa adeguatamente ospitare le nuove condizioni in cui tutta la Chiesa cattolica vive ora. Come DirittoCanonico si riconosce, "... praesertim autem urgens novae recognitionis necessitas in luce ponitur, ut Ecclesiae disciplina mutatis rerum condicionibus Apte accommodetur"
(CIC 1983, Praefatio XXXVIII).Alla luce della chiamata in tutto il mondo per la varietà del grande numero di cattolici che centrano la loro vita attraverso il rinnovamento spirituale e che hanno desiderio di unità con gli altri riti cattolici, crediamo sia necessario abolire quei canoni del CIC che creano ostacoli alle riforme necessarie * e di riarticolare alcune disposizioni del diritto canonico in modo che possano meglio servire la fede-vita quotidiana dei cristiani in questo mondo sempre più secolarizzato.La Commissione nominata dal Vaticano per la revisione del CIC (dal Vaticanum II al 1983, quando la nuova edizione è stata pubblicata) ha dimostrato grandi risultati. Questa revisione del Codex stabilisce che le leggi Canoniche non sono estranee alla carità e agli aspetti umani della vita, perché sono intrise di spirito cristiano. Consapevoli delle nuove condizioni del mondo che cambia, ci rendiamo conto che è giunto il momento per la Chiesa cattolica romana di riaffermare la sua volontà di usare la ricchezza delle sue risorse per rivedere il CIC in caso di necessità, "... insuper, cum sit a caritate, aequitate , humanitate non alienum, atque vero Christiano spiritu plene perfusum ... simulque eius condicionibus ac necessitatibus in mundo huius temporis consulere exoptat ... ac deinceps nova recognitione indigebunt, tanta Virium ubertate Ecclesia Pollet ut, Haud secus ac praeteritis saeculis, valeat viam renovandi leges vitae suae rursus capessere ... "(CIC 1983, Praefatio LXIII). Ma invece di basarsi solo sulle proprie risorse per la riforma del Codice, deve anche sfruttare le risorse delle chiese sorelle di riti cattolici, considerandole sotto la guida dello Spirito Santo, il quale opera tutte le cose per bene.* Vedere le questioni di riforma delineate al n. II. 3 del Manifesto della Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo.
La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo prega per un dialogo proficuo tra tutti i leader delle chiese cattoliche e i loro rappresentanti laici per discussioni informate e per la contemplazione orante delle questioni di fede, quelle che influenzano la vita quotidiana dei cattolici in tutto il mondo, in grado di supportare solo l'obiettivo di questo dialogo , l'unità cattolica e la solidarietà. Abbiamo bisogno di ripensare alcune delle nostre teologie, affinchè si rendano adeguate per la mentalità più consapevole dei cristiani post-moderni.Che Dio benedica tutti gli sforzi della Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo e tutto il popolo santo di Dio che sinceramente cerca l'unità, la guarigione, e le riforme, sotto la guida dello Spirito Santo.Linee guida generali per la gerarchia della ECCC
Il Collegio dei Vescovi, tenutosi in Costa Rica, 4 giugno 2006.Adattato e ulteriormente rivisto al Sinodo speciale in Canada, 27 ottobre, A. D. del 2007.Come indicato nel nostro Manifesto,
"La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo è membro della Chiesa una, santa cattolica e apostolica, il Corpo mistico di Cristo. La Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo è parte di un movimento mondiale di milioni di cattolici membri di diversi riti cattolici che, attraverso la preghiera e il dialogo è alla ricerca di unità con tutte le Chiese cattoliche e cristiane, le riforme all'interno del rito cattolico e gli altri riti cattolici. "(Introduzione, Manifesto)Seguiamo il diritto canonico (CIC), compresi i canoni di altri riti cattolici, ad eccezione di quei canoni che hanno bisogno di riforme. La nostra Chiesa è cattolica e apostolica, strutturata gerarchicamente, aderendo agli insegnamenti dei concili della Chiesa. I seguenti articoli sono vincolanti in quanto sono stati approvati dal Collegio dei Vescovi.Articolo I.
Elezione del Primate EcumenicoIl Primate ecumenico è il più alto rappresentante della Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo. La sua formazione comprende un dottorato in Teologia, in determinate circostanze, il baccellerato è sufficiente. Egli deve avere sufficiente esperienza nella pastorale.Articolo II.
Il Primate ecumenico è eletto da una maggioranza di 2/3 del collegio dei vescovi, clero e laici rappresentanti ed esercita il suo Ufficio per tutta la vita.Articolo III.
Il Primate ecumenico costruirà in tutto il mondo nuove diocesi, e province della chiesa. Egli sarà coinvolto in incontri ecumenici con altri riti cattolici, e chiese cristiane nei cinque continenti.Articolo IV.
Il Primate ecumenico guiderà la Chiesa. Periodicamente, darà istruzioni pastorali per il bene spirituale e morale del popolo della Chiesa, il suo clero e gli ordini religiosi.Articolo V.
Il Primate ecumenico formerà un comitato consultivo dei vescovi e del clero, al fine di assisterlo. Per tutte le decisioni riguardanti le principali questioni della Chiesa, egli cercherà sempre il consenso del collegio dei vescovi.Il Collegio e Sinodo dei VescoviArticolo VI.
Il Primate Ecumenico convocherà (tempo permettendo) ogni tre gli anni, il Santo Sinodo della Chiesa composta da tutti i vescovi e rappresentanti dei laici al fine di esaminare le questioni della Chiesa. Il Primate ecumenico presiede il Sinodo. In caso di malattia, il Sinodo eleggerà un Presidente temporaneo (con un voto a maggioranza dei 2/3) che riferirà al Primate ecumenico. Siamo consapevoli che la Chiesa ha elementi democratici Eppure non è una democrazia in senso politico (insegnamento dei Concili della Chiesa).relazioni ecumenicheArticolo VII.
Il Primate ecumenico promuoverà rapporti ecumenici con le altre chiese, e quando necessario nomina un delegato ufficiale dal clero o tra i laici come rappresentante ad eventi in cui la nostra Chiesa è invitata a partecipare.Articolo VIII.
Il Primate ecumenico, di concerto con i suoi consiglieri prepara con i suoi vescovi Concordati di piena unione con altri riti cattolici che possono dimostrare vera successione apostolica cattolica. Anche per condividere l'Evangelizzazione e il miglioramento sociale con le nostre sorelle e i fratelli di altre chiese cristiane.Articolo IX.
Ribadiamo ancora una volta il nostro impegno al nostro appello della Chiesa per l'Ecumenismo, nella comprensione della Caritas, perché "Ubi Caritas et Amor Deus ibi est." Dove c'è carità e amore c'è Dio. "(1 Cor. 13, 1-8)Articolo X.
Rifiutiamo ogni atto di fanatismo, perché non è cristiano, e non ispirato dallo Spirito Santo.Articolo XI.
Il Primate Ecumenico incoraggia tra i suoi vescovi corsi per l'ecumenismo e ad invitare "esperti". Ogni vescovo deve avere nella sua diocesi un delegato per le questioni ecumeniche.GiurisdizioneArticolo XII.
La giurisdizione della Chiesa Cattolica ecumenica di Cristo è presente in vari paesi del mondo secondo il vecchio Diritto Canonico (CIC), essendo all'interno del sistema giuridico di ogni governo, la nostra Chiesa deve essere riconosciuta.Articolo XIII.
Diocesi e l'elezione dei vescoviOgni diocesi è organizzata secondo il diritto canonico, nel contesto della nostra Chiesa e nello Spirito del nostro "Manifesto".Articolo XIV.
Ogni diocesi terrà di volta in volta un Sinodo locale composto da sacerdoti, religiosi e laici rappresentanti di ogni missione, per rinnovare o approvare un piano pastorale esistente per la diocesi. Il vescovo locale presiederà il Sinodo locale.Criteri di condotta criminale del clero e del personale
Per quanto riguarda la responsabilità, ogni membro del clero o i laici devono vivere secondo la morale del Codice della Chiesa, data a noi attraverso la Sacra Scrittura e i Concili della Chiesa. È quindi essenziale che un candidato ammesso agli ordini sacri, dimostri fin dall'inizio un caratteremorale sincero e consono. Ogni candidato per l'incardinazione o che richiede il Sacro Ordine, deve essere ammesso dall'ufficio accademico e formazione, deve quindi essere sottoposto a test psicologici. Anche un controllo dei precedenti penali per ciascun candidato deve essere effettuato da un ente indipendente. Nel processo di formazione, il direttore spirituale, e il decano accademico devono prestare particolare attenzione allo sviluppo spirituale di un candidato per dare il tempo per un vero discernimento della vocazione al ministero per il popolo santo di Dio. Ciò include che i candidati abbiano una comprensione matura e sana della propria sessualità, per vedere se servono meglio nel loro ministero come clero sposato, o rimanere celibi. Le accuse di cattiva condotta da parte qualsiasi membro del clero o dei laici dello staff saranno segnalate alle autorità legali locali per ulteriori indagini. Tutte le accuse devono essere segnalate al vescovo locale. Le chiese diocesane e locali assisteranno la vittima quando possibile. Il membro del personale del clero o laici, che è stato accusato di abusi sessuali nei confronti di un adulto o minore sarà rimosso immediatamente dal ministero attivo o la posizione della chiesa in attesa dei risultati delle indagini. Ogni persona ha il diritto di difesa fino a prova contraria. In caso di condanna e trovato colpevole di un crimine, la chiesa rimuoverà la persona dal ministero attivo e da tutte le facoltà, o da tutte le posizioni ricoperte dai laici. Il processo legale locale prenderà il suo corso e, in caso di condanna, la Chiesa assisterà la persona spiritualmente, e una terapia appropriata deve essere intrapresa da parte del trasgressore.Per il Consiglio dei vescovi
++ Karl R. Rodig, D. Min., DD., M. Th.
Primate ecumenico
+ Ermogene R. Rizo, DD., M. Th.
Segretario del Collegio dei Vescovi
+ Ted Laurah, DD.
Vescovo per Pennsylvania
In presenza di Vescovi, sacerdoti, diaconi, religiosi e rappresentanti laici.
Norme e regolamenti ContenutoPrima parte ..........................3 NORME REGOLAMENTARI PER le relazioni ecumeniche ................3NORME GENERALI DI relazioni ecumeniche E ALTRO .................... 4concordati e accordi analoghi .......................... 5IN CASO DI MANCANZA DI RISPETTO alla piena unione, Concordati E ACCORDI e mezzi per prevenire la LORO ROTTURA......................................6 LIVELLI teologico o ecumenico. ........................................... 6
LIVELLO spirituale o ecumenismo spirituale ............................... 6SOCIALE livello ecumenico ................................................ 7CONCLUSIONE ............................................. 7
Norme per la gli affari amministrativi e pastorali ..................... 8
Articolo I.
Quanto riguarda l'amministrazione ................................ 9 Articolo II.
 Articolo III.
SOCIETÀ DI VITA APOSTOLICA E ALTRE FORME DI vita CONSACRATAin quei luoghi dove la presenza di CHIESA CATTOLICA Ecumenica DI CRISTO NON ESISTE Norma generale: ....... 11 Documento di rinvio: ........................................ 12
In materia di lavoro PASTORALE ........................ 13
Indicazioni CANONICHE
Relative a tutti gli affari della ChiesaPrima parte
NORME REGOLAMENTARI PER relazioni ecumenicheI termini della Unione completa, accordo e Concordato, dovrebbero in sé condurci
Verso l’ordine e la chiarezza normativa nelle nostre chiese in cerca, come parte del loro processo di sviluppo e di crescita senza che ciò comporti l'imposizione o riduzione della libertà. Questi
tre concetti dovrebbero essere il risultato di una profonda convinzione collettiva in quanto il concetto stesso di chiesa stessa necessariamente un'organizzazione umana guidata da un individuo o gruppo di individui.
Si tratta di una sensazione evidente e gioiosa il rendersi conto che la nostra chiesa è in un processo di crescita e, quindi, richiede una costante attenzione su alcuni dettagli, così come uno sforzo continuo da parte nostra per quanto riguarda l'ordine e le norme, in modo che ci sia un sostegno sufficiente per un controllo sano dall'Ufficio dell’ Arcivescovo Primate.
Pertanto, vogliamo la presente per esprimere con chiarezza che l'unico obiettivo di questa dichiarazione è che non adesso, e non sarà mai, il sostituire o imporre nuove norme umane alla nostra tradizione, alla nostra dottrina né al mondo, oltre a fare ordine in tutto questo in base ai tempi che stiamo vivendo. E 'proprio a causa della crescita che stiamo vivendo in tutto il mondo di che noi siamo chiamati a confrontarci con la necessità di organizzarci in modo coerente per un rispetto reciproco per la diversità della divina creazione.
Obiettivo da realizzare, all'interno del nostro corpo ecclesiale, è di un tale ordine che, sulla base l'amore, il rispetto reciproco e la carità verso l'altro, potremmo essere portati verso una organica la crescita con tutti quei fratelli e sorelle sia laici che chierici che desiderano aderire con
noi e quindi implementare la nostra unione.Uno strumento come questo aspira a mantenere l'ordine corretto all'interno della nostra Chiesa, assicurando ai laici il tipo di persone o chiese che, una volta uniti, diventerà la loro
leadership, rendendo possibile per la gerarchia di portare in fruizione il benessere di coloro che costituiscono la Chiesa, oltre a rendere possibile per loro di proteggere la dottrina e la fiducia sotto la loro cura.Il Collegio dei Vescovi ha ritenuto necessario implementare gli strumenti che forniranno
Alla Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo (ECCC) un’ organizzazione adeguata e
Strutturata proporzionata ai tempi che stiamo vivendo oggi.
Lo strumento canonico da utilizzare come guida nelle diverse esigenze della ECCC è il
"Judicatory Canonico e per tutto quello che riguarda gli affari della Chiesa". I suoi membri sono nominati dall'Arcivescovo Primate, costituito da membri del Collegio dei Vescovi e daaltri membro del clero, presbiteri o diaconi, che, sulla base dei propri meriti, sono
invitati a far parte di tale entità. Le loro riunioni possono essere a porte chiuse qualora lo ritenga necessario il Primate arcivescovo per la salute della Chiesa. questi appuntamenti avranno luogo automaticamente ogni volta che un membro cospira contro l'unità della Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo mediante la sua posizione gerarchica nei confronti degli obiettivi per cui è stato chiamato a servire, o a causa di atti gravi contro la Chiesa e i suoi membri.
I membri del judicatory canonico possono fare proposte al Primate Arcivescovo e raccomandare i nomi di quei candidati che potrebbero essere adatti a servire in tale istituto.NORME GENERALI DI relazioni ecumeniche E ALTRO1. Queste norme generali del judicatory canonico per gli Affari della ECCC devono essere
applicate a tutte le Chiese, comunità religiose e al clero che desidera essere incardinato completamente da noi. Per quelle chiese che lo fanno su base parziale, queste da norme dipenderanno gli accordi fatti da entrambe le parti.
2. Sulla base del rispetto reciproco, la carità e l'amore fraterno, queste norme non determineranno modifiche ai Riti che devono essere osservati per quanto riguarda le particolari pratiche liturgiche di quelle chiese che cercano unione con la ECCC, purché le loro norme non alterino la base dei principi di buone tradizioni di fede.
3. Per La Chiesa Cattolica Ecumenica di Cristo il Manifesto è il documento fondamentale
Su cui ogni accordo o rapporto ecumenico si basa, in quanto esso stabilisce chiaramente i limiti in cui possiamo fare accordi senza compromettere la sua essenza e il suo spirito.
4. Il judicatory Canonico per tutto il mondo degli affari della Chiesa sarà quello in carica di
fare ricerca, scambi epistolari, elaborazione di documenti e altre funzioni relative a questo tipo di processi, in modo da presentarli per l’ approvazione, rifiuto o la correzione dei processi ecumenici e amministrativi per l'Ufficio del Primate Ecumenico nella sede Arcivescovile, una volta che è stata richiesta la sua assistenza.
5. La comunicazione tra il judicatory canonico per tutto il mondo degli affari della Chiesa
e della sede dell’Arcivescovo Primate deve essere trasparente in modo tale che il Primate ecumenico possa essere tenuto aggiornato in ogni momento per quanto riguarda ognuno di questi processi, aperti a suggerimenti su entrambi i lati.
6. L’ Arcivescovo Primate ecumenico sarà l’ incaricato che rende gli annunci in tutto il mondo di ogni processo una volta che è stato approvato.
7. prove scritte negli archivi saranno depositati di ogni processo che avviene, se
è stato approvato o respinto. Sia data chiara evidenza immediata dei motivi per cui l’Accordo richiesto non ha avuto luogo, ciò deve essere specificato al fine di proteggere la ECCCda modi impropri di pensare che potrebbero essere scomodi per un sano sviluppo ecclesiastico secondo i nostri tempi, soprattutto se questi sono contro il Manifesto e la sana dottrina.8. Queste norme non influenzeranno le direttive locali nei territori che aderiscono all’ECCC,
poiché nella maggior parte dei casi, essi sono creati secondo la cultura, leggi civili, particolari esigenze in questi territori, nonché secondo le idiosincrasie di ogni paese. Come ad esempio al modo di vedere dei cittadini nativi le lettere pastorali e altri atti pastorali specifici.
9. L’ arcivescovo primate sarà incaricato di determinare quali territori saranno sotto la supervisione del judicatory canonico per tutto il mondo degli affari della Chiesa,
per quanto riguarda i rapporti ecumenici, e che saranno applicate le norme in tutto il mondo al fine di osservare lo stesso processo uniformemente e sia organizzato per tutti.
10. Quelle chiese che si approcciano e ci richiedono qualsiasi tipo di concordato reciproco o totale Unione dovranno soddisfare i seguenti requisiti:
Fornire il nome della Chiesa
Successione Apostolica
Nome dell’Arcivescovo/vescovo presidente
Nomi dei vescovi o ausiliari
Numero di missioni e comunità di fede
Ordini religiosi, istituti, comunità di vita consacrata
Altro ( comunità di vergini, vedove, gruppi religiosi)
Associazioni di vita apostolica
Profili evangelici
Progetti pastorali sociali
Regioni ecclesiastiche territoriali
Numero dei vicari generali
Vicari episcopali ( specificare il numero dei presbiteri e coloro con ordini episcopali)
Rituali accettati per le celebrazioni eucaristiche: Vaticano II (Novus Ordo), tridentino
Messali, Book of Common Prayer se provenienti dalla tradizione anglicana, Messa di San Giovanni Chrysostomos, la Messa Vetero cattolica.
Spiegazione della posizione per quanto riguarda i sette sacramenti
Procedura applicata alla elezione dei Vescovi
Requisiti per l'ordinazione di diaconi, presbiteri (livello accademico)
Rituale usato per gli ordini dei Diaconi, Presbiteri e Vescoviforma territoriale di governo (canoni e altre normative locali).
L'ECCC ha raggiunto un consenso in tutto il mondo ad accettare l'ordinazione delle donne al sacerdozio o Episcopato ritenendo questo un segno dello Spirito Santo.Unioni IN PIENEzza, concordati e accordi analoghi
11. Nel caso di un'unione completa, è evidente che l'accettazione del Manifesto
Della ECCC ha avuto luogo senza compromettere l'autonomia delle Diocesi delle nuove chiese riguardanti i loro modi individuali di governo fino a quando la loro amministrazione e modi di agire non danneggiano l'intera Chiesa né contraddicono il Manifesto.
12. In caso di piena unione con chiese presiedute dal loro arcivescovo o vescovo nella sua
la funzione, le giurisdizioni e i territori ecclesiastici saranno aree di discussione tra
Costui e l’Arcivescovo Primate Ecumenico della ECCC al fine di raggiungere un reciproco
accordo (vedi giurisprudenza per quanto riguarda gli ex concordati di piena unione, Filippine,Canada). Il judicatory Canonico per gli Affari della Chiesa, in questi casi, assiste, fa
suggerimenti, o raccomanda all’Arcivescovo Primate Ecumenico al fine di contribuire
verso la decisione finale.
13. La completa unione implica la copertura del nuovo membro sotto il nome della ECCC,
che non si applica a quelle chiese che richiedono solo un concordato di riconoscimento dei sacramenti. Dio, nel suo amore infinito, vuole per noi, esseri umani, di capire la suachiamata ad essere una famiglia, in modo da essere in grado di fornire la testimonianza che l'unità è possibile nella diversità.
14. Al fine di ottenere una piena attuazione di questi accordi ci sono diversi aspetti importanti che devono essere presi in considerazione dalla chiesa che chiede di diventare membro della ECCC, in modo tale che si possa promuovere una comunione di fede tra i riti cattolici, come indicato nel Manifesto. Questi sono alcuni degli aspetti fondamentali:14.1 possedere successione apostolica valida
14.2 condividere la stessa teologia sui Sacramenti
14.3 mantenere la dottrina come era in origine
14.4 avere una chiara concezione della collegialità del Vescovo e la sua importanza.IN CASO DI MANCANZA DI RISPETTO piena unione,
Concordati E ACCORDI e modi di impedire la loro ROTTURA
15. La mancanza di rispetto da parte di una o di entrambe le parti che hanno firmato gli accordi implica la nullità o cessazione di tali accordi, non senza aver prima tentato di stabilire un dialogo fraterno tra le parti al fine di risolvere i loro problemi. Nel caso in cui non si è in grado di arrivare a un esito positivo o di elementi di prova provata di grave colpa le parti saranno sollevate dal loro reciproco compromesso. Questo dovrebbe essere comunicato immediatamente alla Chiesa in tutto il mondo.
16. È di fondamentale importanza che si stabilisca un dialogo ecumenico, non solo a livello gerarchico ma anche a livello di base, poiché sono quelli che soffrono di più quando si verificano divisioni.
17. Al fine di evitare tali rotture è indispensabile che ogni chiesa identifica la sua storia, le sue dottrine in modo che sia chiaro chi è il suo partner; i confini entro cui i rapporti hanno luogo ma, sopra tutto, è importante avere il rispetto per l'altra persona e la sua forma di fede. Questo permetterà un vero e proprio dialogo tra credenti all'interno dell'esperienza dei rispettivi stili di vita insieme.
18. È importante che entrambe le chiese, quella candidata all'adesione nonché la ECCC, come chiesa di accoglienza, abbiano una chiara visione dei seguenti aspetti:LIVELLI teologico o ecumenico.Si tratta di un dialogo teologico pastorale condotto nel modo che si è esperito tra le grandi chiese storiche. Questa reciproca comprensione copre il livello gerarchico nonché il livello dei laici, per preservare la condivisione reciproca all'interno della loro diversità, basata sulla conoscenza e il rispetto reciproco.LIVELLO spirituale o ecumenismo spirituale.Questa è l'anima della finestra di dialogo ecumenico e si basa sulla preghiera comune per tutti i cristiani e le altre denominazioni che cercano di risolvere i problemi della divisione che colpiscono tutte le persone.Un altro livello è la lettura e lo studio reciproco della Sacra Scrittura, la fonte stessa della nostra identità e il motore che muove il nostro approccio comune.Livello ecumenico sociale.Questo è in riferimento agli sforzi attuati con i malati terminali, ricoveri per i senza tetto, Centri e Servizi per immigrati, scuole professionali e di riabilitazione per i giovani a rischio, ecc. I servizi sociali sono un'opportunità per l’interazione cristiana di entrambe le chiese, che creano unità attraverso la comprensione reciproca.19. Al fine di evitare fratture future, prima di proseguire ulteriormente, tutti
livelli di ecumenismo devono essere analizzati con la chiesa, ai sensi dell'articolo 18,
e, nel caso in cui al momento attuale l’unione non può essere raggiunta, dovrebbe essere immediatamente resa nota non appena le informazioni di cui all'articolo 10 vengono ricevute.CONCLUSIONELe relazioni ecumeniche, in senso lato, devono essere trattate con molta attenzione all'interno del contesto di carità, di rispetto e chiarezza al fine di aprire le possibilità verso accordi.
Dobbiamo essere molto chiari, come abbiamo detto prima, un dialogo ecumenico non implica
la negazione della nostra identità come Chiesa riguardo differenze dottrinali con altreChiese. Al contrario, dobbiamo basare questa finestra su ciò che abbiamo in comune.
La condizione di base per ottenere un tiro efficace in un dialogo ecumenico è la convinzione che ci può portare a un cambiamento di mentalità, uscire da vecchi schemi di pensieri e quindi dimostrare che noi, come cristiani, possiamo costruire un segno di vera unità e aprire ad altri cristiani di altre chiese, mettendo il fanatismo religioso da parte perchè esso porta a odio e alla divisione all'interno di una società già vittima di un assolutismo ecclesiastico condotto dalle grandi chiese.
Relazioni ecumeniche attive e contemplative ben condotte con i nostri fratelli e sorelle in Cristo ci faranno brillare insieme, come una famiglia, come una luce dall'alto, come testimonianza all'interno di una società tanto divisa, opponendo l'amore di Dio per i nostri tempi.SECONDA PARTE
NORME PER affari amministrativi e pastoraliTenendo presente che i vescovi per divina istituzione sono chiamati ad essere Pastori della
Chiesa sotto la guida dello Spirito Santo, in modo tale che, esercitando il loro ufficio (aspetto ontologico), essendo maestri e protettori della sana dottrina, e adempiendo il sacerdozio degli Ordini sacri (Matteo 4: 23-24), esercitando il loro ministero e contribuendo in tal modo al governo della Chiesa nel mondo (Aspetto amministrativo).
In virtù della loro consacrazione episcopale (il culmine del sacramento dell’Ordine Sacerdotale) sono uniti al Collegio episcopale, e quindi hanno la responsabilità di aiutare nella costruzione del Regno attraverso funzioni quali: pastorale, amministrazione, di governo, di insegnamento, e giudice, gerarchico (Matteo 10: 5-15), e di essere i proprietari delle proprietà della Chiesa.
Il collegio episcopale è costituito da coloro che sono completamente uniti a questo corpo con l’Arcivescovo Primate Ecumenico come capo.
Quindi: è loro responsabilità avere norme comuni, e di elaborare quelle locali, norme che consentono le buone amministrazioni generali per mostrare buon governo della Diocesi, come pure dei fedeli che ne fanno parte. Di conseguenza, è necessario unificare i criteri a livello mondiale, inmodo tale che vi sia solo una sola voce a testimoniare la collegialità, la maturità e la serietà della fede della Chiesa e dei suoi organismi.
Anche con l'esistenza di una chiesa mondiale nel suo carattere normativo che consente un uniforme struttura amministrativa generale, i vescovi nelle loro rispettive diocesi o singoli territori possono implementare norme locali che aiutano l'amministrazione del popolo di Dio sotto la loro cura, a patto che queste norme non siano in contrasto con le norme generali. (Vedere "Il Manifesto" una maggiore autonomia per le Diocesi).Le norme generate dalla nostra Chiesa e adattate come segni del tempo, per la ECCC, devono essere pratiche, devono avere obiettivi raggiungibili, che aiuteranno il lavoro dei pastori nella loro cura verso i laici, e non dovrebbero mai diventare un carico pesante per la gente. Esse devono essere direttive e flessibili, favorevoli ad una leadership sana della Chiesa. Potremmo dire che l'amministrazione della Chiesa è il riordino di tutti i suoi beni, in modo tale che la Chiesa compia la sua missione. I Vescovi, responsabili della corretta amministrazione, non solo devono pensare all’aspetto economico, materiale e alle attività umane, ma soprattutto ai beni spirituali, quando si generano le norme sia di carattere generale che locali. (1Cor.4, 1-2).Anche quando in questo sforzo è sempre presente un desiderio sano e una buona volontà, i Vescovi, durante la generazione di norme legislative, devono fare attenzione a non cadere in questi due pericoli mentre la creazione di cambiamenti amministrativi:
- Desiderio esagerato di essere tanto organizzati che non c'è spazio per lo Spirito Santo.- Essere tanto mistico da lasciare tutto alla volontà di Dio senza alcun piano precedente.
Il primo, oltre ad essere confusionale, crea una perdita di tempo e di risorse diventando meno efficace nello svolgimento della nostra missione come Chiesa. Si cerchi un'amministrazione guidata dallo Spirito Santo. Ogni chiesa è considerata dai diversi governi civili come entità di pubblico benessere senza interessi di profitto, il che implica che la Chiesa sia regolata secondo il proprio ordine amministrativo. Per questa ragione esiste il giudicatorio canonico per tutti gli affari della ECCC e deve contenere in sé le funzioni di una Commissione per l’Amministrazione, in modo che possa aiutare l'Arcivescovo Primate nell'elaborazione di norme che aiuteranno nella gestione della ECCC in generale: Come per le Risorse umane (L'incardinazione del clero in quei territori dove la ECCC non esiste, la cultura, L’orientamento e l'estensione di differenti stili pastorali secondo il bisogno di ogni territorio dove non c'è ancora un Vescovo ).
Il giudicatorio canonico deve assistere e consigliare nella fondazione degli istituti religiose, società di vita apostolica, e altre forme di vita consacrata, in quelle aree in cui la presenza della ECCC ancora non esiste in una forma giuridica. Tra le sue responsabilità che comprendono anche lo sviluppo di laboratori e incontri di formazione per il clero e seminaristi, l'organizzazione di materiale didattico per essere in uso per le Chiese locali, e quelle funzioni che saranno delegate a questo reparto dal Primate arcivescovo. (Luca 9: 51-52) (Atti degli Apostoli 6: 1-7).
Luca 8: 1-3
Giovanni 4: 8
Luca 10: 1-2
Atti degli Apostoli 2: 44-46
Atti degli Apostoli 4: 36-37
Atti degli Apostoli 18: 1-3
1Cor.1: 28
2Cor.8: 18-22
Phil 4:10, 15, 16.Articolo IAmministrazioneRibadiamo: L'ECCC è organizzata in modo tale che le norme dell’amministrazione generale e le Norme locali non si contraddicono a vicenda. Il Primate arcivescovo determinerà quelle opere che richiedono l'assistenza del giudicatorio Canonico per tutto il mondo degli affari della ECCC. Il giudicatorio canonico ha la facoltà in tal senso di assistere l’Arcivescovo Primate nella creazione di norme amministrative, di accettare le richieste di incardinazione clericale e la ricezione di ordini religiosi, le Società di vita apostolica e le altre forme consacrate di vita (monaci, eremiti, uomini e donne consacrati, vedove, e singoli voti religiosi) in quei territori in cui la presenza giuridica della ECCC non esiste ancora, o in quei territori dove non c'è Vescovo e neanche Diocesi organizzata (si deve capire che questo vale per quei vicari generali e Vicari episcopali sotto il Primate Arcivescovo. Essa non si applica ai Vicariati Episcopale sotto un ordinario diocesano). Deve anche aiutare il Primate Arcivescovo nello studio di fattibilità concernenti l'apertura o meno di Missioni Ecclesiasticche, Comunità e altri aspetti per quanto riguarda l'amministrazione e il protocollo diplomatico.Per quanto riguarda le singole diocesi, il giudicatotio canonico per la ECCC in tutto il mondo serve come mediatore o entità supervisione tra questi nuovi territori e la sede dell’Arcivescovo Primate, se necessario.Articolo II.IL FONDAMENTO DELLA COMUNITÀ E LA INCARDINAZIONE DEI CHIERICI IN ZONE DOVE LA PRESENZA DELLA CHIESA CATTOLICA DI CRISTO NON ESISTE.1. Per quanto riguarda la fondazione di comunità missionarie in quei territori in cui la presenza della ECCC non esiste (è inteso come una zona di una nuova fondazionechiesa) devono essere applicate le norme esistenti relative alla selezione dei seminaristi
e / o l'incardinazione del clero già ordinato.-prova sulla Formazione
-Applicazione Per accedere alla ECCC
-Chiesa Di ordinazione (prova)
Test -Psicologico
foto -Recente
sacerdoti e diaconi,
-sposati, una lettera della moglie dando il suo consenso, il certificato di matrimonio o documento di divorzio e le ragioni per la separazione; in caso di matrimonio civile una cerimonia di matrimonio religioso deve essere eseguita.
2. Diocesi di nuova fondazione o Vicariati seguendo le direttive del Manifesto, che dà loro maggiore autonomia sarà in grado di realizzare anche le loro norme, a seguito delle caratteristiche, esigenze e particolari idiosincrasie del paese o Stati in cui risiedono senza contraddire le norme generali fornite dal ECCC.
3. Prima di fondare una chiesa in un nuovo territorio dovrebbe essere condotto uno studio di fattibilità e la possibilità di crescita in quel particolare territorio deve essere analizzata, nonche lareale necessità per applicarla e i mezzi disponibili per la sua realizzazione, materiali, nonché aspetti umani.
4. Se è stata approvata l'apertura in un nuovo territorio, un sito sarà scelto dal collegio clericale che sarà anche responsabile per il buon funzionamento della chiesa sul sito, e di provvedere al riconoscimento da parte dello, nel rispetto delle leggi locali, della chiesa come ente no profit.5. Dopo un periodo di tempo saggio e una volta che è evidente l'intenzione e l'autenticità dei responsabili e per il bene della chiesa in quel territorio, alla fine un Vicario può essere nominato sotto la direzione della sede dell’Arcivescovo Primate.
6. Non appena sembra pastoralmente fattibile nei territori,deve essere considerata la creazione di una diocesi secondo le linee guida del manifesto. La Chiesa cresce intorno alla persona del Vescovo in quanto il clero della diocesi riceve da lui le facoltà. La crescita della Chiesa sempre da garanzia al popolo di Dio, che non si farà mai mancare l'ufficio di un vescovo.Articolo III.
1. Prima di consentire la fondazione o incorporazioni di istituti religiosi, Ordini religiosi, Società di vita apostolica e altre forme di vita Consacrata, la necessità della loro accettazione deve essere analizzata in relazione alla ECCC o di un determinato territorio fuori della giurisdizione ECCC, e nel caso in cui provengono da altre Chiese e hanno chiesto di unirsi alla nostra giurisdizione, vadano considerate le ragioni per cui si stanno staccando dalla loro chiesa originaria e deve essere chiarito prima di essere accettati.
2. Ogni istituzione di vita consacrata che non è stata creata dalla Chiesa cattolica ecumenica di Cristo deve soddisfare i seguenti requisiti quando presentano l'applicazione per l'accettazione, l'integrazione o incorporazione nella ECCC:-Nome Della Chiesa originale e l'anno di fondazione
-Il suo stato nella Chiesa originale (Pia Fondazione, di diritto diocesano, di Diritto autonomo: termine che sostituisce il termine romano di diritto pontificio).
-Nome Del Fondatore
-Progetto Di Vita (Apostolica) e il modo in cui ci si sostenta economicamente
-costituzioni O "Regulae"
-Membri (Anche il numero di novizi, postulanti, membri professi con voti temporanei o perpetui) Richiesta di un sacerdote come guida spirituale
-impegno Nel creare un ordinamento canonico per garantire lo stato giuridico ed economico -Istituti di vita Consacrata verranno classificati in base al loro stato di vita attiva
-Instituti Di vita contemplativa, monasteri e chiostri.5. Antichi ordini di vita consacrata, come ad esempio:
- Vergini consacrate e vedove (come si possono associare tra di loro)
Queste figure religiose devono avere la stessa attenzione, diritti e doveri degli Istituti di vita consacrata, ordini e monasteri.6. Chi proviene da altre Chiese avrà un periodo di prova da 1 a 2 anni nella nostra Chiesa, al termine del quale il loro processo di adattamento sarà valutato reciprocamente per acquisire lo status permanente o la dissociazione dalla nostra Chiesa.
7. I membri di altre Chiese che non hanno diritti autonomi nei territori in cui è presente la figura di un vicario, ma un Vescovo non esiste ancora, sarà sottoposto all'autorità dell’ Arcivescovo Primate fino al momento in cui un vescovo in quel territorio è nominato o eletto, in modo che saranno sotto la sua supervisione e il loro processo di approvazione è stato completato.8. Ogni Istituto religioso, che ha raggiunto lo status di diritto autonomo sarà sottoposto all’Arcivescovo Primate ma deve osservare le norme della Diocesi dove si trova e deve collaborare con il suo lavoro così come con il lavoro del suo Vescovo e il suo clero diocesano.
9. Ogni Istituto religioso ha le sue regole e regolamenti con cui sono internamente governati. Inoltre, essi devono rispettare le norme generali che legano la Chiesa in tutto il mondo nonché quelli locali (su cui una Diocesi è retta).10. Quanto sopra non si applica a quei territori con i vescovi già presenti dal momento che la maggiore autonomia è garantita da Il Manifesto; questi vescovi possono applicare le loro norme locali e regolamenti, purché siano coerenti con le norme generali della Chiesa. Ogni Chiesa deve sviluppare i propri archivi con i suoi processi religiosi.11. Ogni processo di una fondazione religiosa o di incardinazione di istituti o forme di vita consacrata, sia quelli fatti dai Vescovi nei loro territori individuali oltre a quelle svolte dal giudicatorio canonico per gli Affari ECCC, deve essere introdotta con la documentazione completa e in tempo utile per la sua approvazione o il rifiuto al Primate Arcivescovo.12. Il Primate arcivescovo sarà quello in carica di annunciare in tutto il mondo l'approvazione degli Istituti religiosi o incardinazione o incorporazione di questi Istituti o Ordini di altre Chiese che hanno aderito all’Eccc.Documento di rinvio:
Regolamento per la fondazione e lo sviluppo di istituti di vita religiosa e altre forme di vita consacrata nella ECCC:
Esempio della diocesi di Costa Rica e l'Arcidiocesi di Canada.
(Nel Documento per la fondazione e lo sviluppo degli istituti di vita religiosa e altre forme di vita consacrata -ECCC Diocesi di Costa Rica- si possono trovare i processi, passo dopo passo, per la fondazione di esperienze religiose e come bisogna strutturarle come congregazioni. Vedi anche il nostro Terzo Ordine Francescano in tutto il mondo sotto la guida spirituale dell'arcivescovo del Canada.In materia di lavoro PASTORALE
1. La pastorale sociale deve essere promossa in diversi territori della ECCC. Questo lavoro deve essere in base alla realtà oggettiva di ciascun territorio. A titolo di esempio possiamo citare servizi nel contesto della pastorale sociale: Ministero per gli immigrati, Costituzione di Centri di formazione professionale, centri per la promozione umana, agenzie di assistenza nutrizionale, Centri per le popolazioni a rischio (Centri per il trattamento della tossicodipendenza, sordi, ritardo mentale, coppie di fatto, malati terminali, gli orfani, ecc).
2. Oltre alla Pastorale Sociale altri tipi di lavoro pastorale devono essere promossi per lo sviluppo della fede e della Chiesa stessa. Esempi: La pastorale attraverso l'educazione catechetica, lavoro familiare, evangelizzazione, Liturgia, ecc
3. Il giudicatorio Canonico per gli Affari della ECCC servirà come guida per la consulenza in questo lavoro pastorale in quei territori dove la presenza della ECCC non esiste sotto forma di una Diocesi(compresi: i territori di recente costituzione, comunità missionarie dove è presente il Vicario Generale, sono direttamente sotto il Primate Arcivescovo fino al momento in cui diventano Diocesi) 

Should Lay people have a role in choosing their bishops? 

It's time for the flock to have their say when it comes to selecting the shepherds of the church.

By Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus and professor of law at Duquesne University, is a former chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Pope Francis says that he wants a special kind of bishop for our church—he wants “shepherds who smell of their sheep.” Let us take our Holy Father at his word: Who knows how the sheep smell better than the sheep themselves? No one. So then why not let the sheep make a modest proposal and ask that we laypeople have a significant say in the choice of our bishops.

This proposal is not as radical as it may seem. Once the office of bishop was clearly established in the early church, that office was filled by the choice of the local people and priests, and ratified by the neighboring bishops as a sign of the unity of the church. Even unbaptized persons were eligible to be chosen for bishop, as we know from the story of St. Ambrose, who was acclaimed by the clergy and people as bishop of Milan while he was still a catechumen. And the very first bishop in the United States, John Carroll, was elected by the priests of Maryland and confirmed by the pope. Today we are so used to the pope choosing our bishops for us without any input from those whom the bishop will serve that we forget it was not always that way. In fact the right of the pope to choose bishops was only finally settled by the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which clearly allocated that power to the holder of the papal office.

The way bishops are chosen today arguably does have some limited lay input. When a priest is being considered for appointment as bishop, the apostolic nuncio, the pope’s representative to the United States, sends out what are called apostolic letters. These letters go to select laypeople from the diocese, asking their knowledge of the candidate’s position on some very specific issues, such as birth control, abortion, married priests, female priests, the remarriage of divorced Catholics, and same-sex marriage. These questions reveal the slant of the Vatican that has given us so many culture warrior bishops, although perhaps the questions will change under Pope Francis. Maybe the apostolic letters will begin to ask new questions: Does this man have a concern for the poor? Does he dress in the best clothes, drive a fancy car, and enjoy fine food and drink? Does he spend more time with rich people than with poor people? Even better, the letters might possibly go to different people. Right now, the only folks who get those letters tend to be wealthy donors; the poor people of a diocese never get apostolic letters from the papal nuncio. Besides the limited input of such apostolic letters, however, there really is no lay participation regarding which men are chosen to be our bishops.

So then how do bishops come to be chosen today? Dioceses in the United States are divided into what are known as “ecclesiastical provinces,” e.g. every diocese in the state of Illinois is in the province of Chicago, every diocese in the state of Pennsylvania is in the province of Philadelphia , etc. Each of these provinces has a list of potential candidates for bishop, compiled from suggestions of priests favored by the bishops of that province, which they update every so often. No laypeople are given the chance to contribute any names to that list.

Supposedly, when there is a need for a diocesan bishop in the province, the papal nuncio begins the hunt by looking at the candidates on that list. And even more importantly, the papal nuncio is not bound by the list; it is only a starting point. He may place other priests’ names from around the country on the list of candidates that he prepares.

The nuncio narrows the candidates down to a final list of three names (called a “terna”) which is sent to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome. The list is vetted, perhaps rewritten with different names, and then sent on to the pope. The pope can pick any name from the list of three that the Congregation for Bishops gives him, or he can go off-list and pick someone completely different. John Paul II, who was well-traveled both before and after becoming pope, supposedly went off-list a number of times to name as diocesan bishops men whom he knew personally.

This current system can result in bishops being parachuted into dioceses by headquarters in Rome, without any knowledge of the diocese, its priests, or its people. Sometimes that works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Some bishops from outside are quick studies, and genuinely get to know their priests and people before they begin making major decisions. Others arrive thinking that they already know all they need to know and proceed from one disastrous decision to another. Usually this system gives us bishops whose only loyalty is upward—to their patrons in Rome or to the national hierarchy who campaigned for them—and not to their own priests and people.

I think that this one fact alone—the way they were chosen as bishops to begin with—helps to explain a lot about the way the American bishops mishandled the clergy child sexual abuse crisis. Recall that the national bishops conference dithered for years, looking for a solution from Rome. Being afraid to act without one, they did nothing while the situation deteriorated in the United States. Bishops who were more accountable to their people would not have acted that way.

What would it look like if laypeople had a real role in the choice of our bishops?  In the normal course of events, before a diocese is about to fall vacant—and this is not a surprise date, since bishops must retire when they turn 75, which is right after the year they turn 74—the papal nuncio or someone from his staff should actually travel to the diocese and talk to the laypeople directly. In any given year, there are less than a dozen dioceses that become open, so this will not require a lot of travel. The nuncio’s staff should visit parishes and ask people to stay after Mass to talk about potential bishop candidates; that way you will get those Catholics who actually participate in the life of the church (anywhere from 27 to 35 percent in most dioceses) to give their opinion.

The nuncio or his staff should then hold a convocation in the diocese where folks chosen by the people of each parish, not by the pastor, would be asked to attend and discuss suitable candidates. The people know who the good priests are. They are the men who Pope Francis described in his recent talk to the episcopal conferences of Latin America (CELAM), as “pastors, close to people, fathers and brothers, and gentle, patient and merciful.” They must be simple men, devoted to poverty, and not driven by ambition. They must be “men who do not think and behave like princes,” Francis said, but “men capable of watching over the flock entrusted to them and protecting everything that keeps it together: guarding their people out of concern for the dangers which could threaten them, but above all instilling hope: so that light will shine in people’s hearts. Men capable of supporting with love and patience God’s dealings with his people.”

Let the people tell the nuncio or his staff  in a convocation who these kinds of priests are. They know. And having heard the people of the diocese, the nuncio can then compose his list for Rome, which should be a public list, so that they people will know whether they were heard or not.

Some will say this leaves the episcopal office open to campaigning among the laity, and priests should not be able to campaign to be bishop—it is unseemly. Reality alert: Priests already do campaign to become bishops; the laity just do not know about it. Priests campaign with their bishop friends to get on the provincial list. They campaign with the papal nuncio to get on the list of three names sent to Rome, usually with the help of affluent donors who have direct access to the nuncio. There are even stories of the head of a wealthy Catholic fraternal organization carrying the names of priest friends to Rome for advancement.

And it does not stop there. Cardinal Gantin, who was the head of the Congregation of Bishops from 1984-1998, said after leaving office that he was amazed at the bishops who, having just been named to a diocese, would travel to Rome to lobby him for a bigger diocese. This practice gave rise to the phrase “starter diocese” among some wags in Rome.

So campaigning for bishop by priests does occur. Wouldn’t it better if this were all out in the open—if laypeople knew about it and participated in the process?  Indeed, the laity seeing a priest desperate to become a bishop might just consider such ambition, as would Pope Francis, a disqualifying factor. But the sheep do know who the right men are for the job, and the church would be better off in the bishops we get if we were consulted in the process.




Studies for Candidates for the Ordination to the Diaconate and Priesthood

Studies for a Degree in Theology
(Including ordained Clergy who have not finished there studies).

First Part:

 Introductory Courses (Four Semesters)                                 

-Introduction in Philosophy:

 History of Philosophy, philosophers and the variety of philosophies from the

 Antiques to Modern history

-Fundamental Theology: Existence of God

-Biblical Exegesis: Old Testament and New Testament

-Patristic and Church History

After completing the first part:  Examines

II. Part:

Courses: Systematic Theology (Six Semesters)

-Biblical Theology: OT and NT

-Moral Theology, Ethics (social and healthcare ethics, including political science)

-Theology of the Sacraments



-Dogmatic: Christology, Eschatology, Ecclesiology, etc.  

-Canon Law

-Theology on: Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialog.

-Liberation Theology

-Pastoral Care

-Sociology of Religions and Social studies


 After absolving Final Examines: Degree issued for Master in


Approved by the local Bishops


History of Celibacy in the Catholic Church

First Century

Peter, the first pope, and the apostles that Jesus chose were, for the most part, married men. The New Testament implies that women presided at eucharistic meals in the early church.

Second and Third Century

Age of Gnosticism: light and spirit are good, darkness and material things are evil. A person cannot be married and be perfect. However, most priests were married.

Fourth Century

306-Council of Elvira, Spain, decree #43: a priest who sleeps with his wife the night before Mass will lose his job.

325-Council of Nicea: decreed that after ordination a priest could not marry. Proclaimed the Nicene Creed.

352-Council of Laodicea: women are not to be ordained. This suggests that before this time there was ordination of women.

385-Pope Siricius left his wife in order to become pope. Decreed that priests may no longer sleep with their wives.

Fifth Century

401-St. Augustine wrote, “Nothing is so powerful in drawing the spirit of a man downwards as the caresses of a woman.”

Sixth Century

567-2nd Council of Tours: any cleric found in bed with his wife would be excommunicated for a year and reduced to the lay state.

580-Pope Pelagius II: his policy was not to bother married priests as long as they did not hand over church property to wives or children.

590-604-Pope Gregory “the Great” said that all sexual desire is sinful in itself (meaning that sexual desire is intrinsically evil?).

Seventh Century

France: documents show that the majority of priest were married.

Eighth Century

St. Boniface reported to the pope that in Germany almost no bishop or priest was celibate.

Ninth Century

836-Council of Aix-la-Chapelle openly admitted that abortions and infanticide took place in convents and monasteries to cover up activities of uncelibate clerics.

St. Ulrich, a holy bishop, argued from scripture and common sense that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry.

Eleventh Century

1045- Benedict IX dispensed himself from celibacy and resigned in order to marry.

1074-Pope Gregory VII said anyone to be ordained must first pledge celibacy: ‘priests [must] first escape from the clutches of their wives.’

1095-Pope Urban II had priests’ wives sold into slavery, children were abandoned.

Twelfth Century

1123-Pope Calistus II: First Lateran Council decreed that clerical marriages were invalid.

1139-Pope Innocent II: Second Lateran Council confirmed the previous council’s decree.

Fourteenth Century

Bishop Pelagio complains that women are still ordained and hearing confessions.

Fifteenth Century

Transition; 50% of priests are married and accepted by the people.

Sixteenth Century

1545-63-Council of Trent states that celibacy and virginity are superior to marriage.

1517-Martin Luther.

1530-Henry VIII.

Seventeenth Century

Inquisition. Galileo. Newton.

Eighteenth Century

1776-American Declaration of Independence.

1789-French Revolution.

Nineteenth Century



1847-Marx, Communist Manifesto.


1869-First Vatican Council; infallibility of pope.

Twentieth Century

1930-Pope Pius XI: sex can be good and holy.

1951-Pope Pius XII: married Lutheran pastor ordained catholic priest in Germany.

1962-Pope John XXIII: Vatican Council II; vernacular; marriage is equal to virginity.

1966-Pope Paul VI: celibacy dispensations.

1970s-Ludmilla Javorova and several other Czech women ordained to serve needs of women imprisoned by Communists.

1978-Pope John Paul II: puts a freeze on dispensations.

1983-Revised New Canon Law.

1980-Married Anglican/Episcopal pastors are ordained as catholic priests in the U.S.; also in Canada and England in 1994.

Popes who were married

St. Peter, Apostle

St. Felix III 483-492 (2 children)

St. Hormidas 514-523 (1 son)

St. Silverus (Antonia) 536-537

Hadrian II 867-872 (1 daughter)

Clement IV 1265-1268 (2 daughters)

Felix V 1439-1449 (1 son)

Popes who were the sons of other popes, other clergy

Name of Pope    Papacy       Son of

St. Damascus I    366-348    St. Lorenzo, priest

St. Innocent I    401-417      Anastasius I

Boniface    418-422           son of a priest

St. Felix    483-492            son of a priest

Anastasius II    496-498     son of a priest

St. Agapitus I    535-536   Gordiaous, priest

St. Silverus    536-537       St. Homidas, pope

Deusdedit    882-884         son of a priest

Boniface VI     896-896       Hadrian, bishop

John XI     931-935            Pope Sergius III

John XV    989-996            Leo, priest

Popes who had illegitimate children after 1139

Innocent VIII     1484-1492    several children

Alexander VI     1492-1503    several children

Julius    1503-1513    3 daughters

Paul III    1534-1549    3 sons, 1 daughter

Pius IV    1559-1565    3 sons

Gregory XIII    1572-1585    1 son

History sources:

Oxford Dictionary of Popes; H.C. Lea History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church 1957; E. Schillebeeckx The Church with a Human Face 1985; J. McSorley Outline History of the Church by Centuries 1957; F.A.Foy (Ed.) 1990 Catholic Almanac 1989; D.L. Carmody The Double Cross - Ordination, Abortion and Catholic Feminism 1986; P.K. Jewtt The Ordination of Women 1980; A.F. Ide God's Girls - Ordination of Women in the Early Christian & Gnostic Churches 1986; E. Schüssler Fiorenza In Memory of Her 1984; P. DeRosa Vicars of Christ 1988.

Myths and Facts

Myth: All priests take a vow of celibacy.

Fact: Most priests do not take a vow. It is a promise made before the bishop.

Myth: Celibacy is not the reason for the vocation shortage.

Fact: A 1983 survey of Protestant churches shows a surplus of clergy; the Catholic church alone has a shortage.

Myth: Clerical celibacy has been the norm since the Second Lateran Council in 1139.

Fact: Priests and even popes still continued to marry and have children for several hundred years after that date. In fact, the Eastern Catholic Church still has married priests.

In the Latin Church, one may be a married priest if: one is a Protestant pastor first; or if one is a life-long Catholic but promises never again to have sexual relations with one’s wife.

Myth: The vocation shortage is due to materialism and lack of faith.

Fact: Research (1985 Lilly endowment): “there is no evidence to support loss of faith for less vocations...youth volunteer and campus ministry is rising.”


Siglo I

El Apòstol Pedro, primer Obispo de Antioquia y màs tarde, Obispo de Roma, y como dicen muchos "primer Papa", fue escogido por Jesùs junto a otros discìpulos, que eran en su mayorìa hombres casados.

Siglo II y III

En la edad del moviemiento gnòstico, que aseguraban que la luz y el espìritu son buenos, la oscuridad y las cosas materiales son malas. Una persona, no puede estar casada y ser perfecta. No obstante a esta declaraciòn, la mayorìa de los sacerdotes cristianos eran hombres casados.

Siglo IV

El Concilio de Elvira (España) del 308, dispuso: "Todo sacerdote que duerma consu esposa la noche antes de celebrar la Misa, perderà su trabajo." (Decreto 42)

Concilio de Nicea (325): "Se decreta que una vez ordenados los sacerdotes no pueden contraer matrimonio". Se redacta el Credo Niceno.

Concilio de Loadicea (325): "Las mujeres no pueden ser Ordenadas". esto sugiere que antes de esa fecha, se ralizaba ordenacion de mujeres al presbiterado.

Año 385: el Papa Siricio, abandona a su esposa para convertirse en Papa. Se decreta que los sacerdotes ya no pueden dormir con sus esposas.

Siglo V

Año 401. San Agustìn escribe: "Nada es tan poderoso para envilecer el espiritu de un hombre, como las caricias de una mujer", quizàs esto lo dice por sus experiencias de juventud, pue antes de su conversiòn llevò una vida desordenada.

Siglo VI

Año 567: En el Concilio de Tours II, se establece que, todo clèrigo que sea hallado en la cama con su esposa, serà excomulgado por un año y reducido al estado laico. Esto sugiere que habìa espìas para vigilar la vida ìntima de los sacerdotes.

Año 580: Papa Pelagio II.- Su politica no fuè de meterse con sacerdotes casados, en tanto no pasaran la propiedad de la Iglesia a su esposa e hijos. Esto indica, que, el celibato es un asunto de poder econòmico para enriquecer la Iglesia y tener màs control sobre la vida de los clèrigos.

Año 590- 604: El Papa Gregorio Magno, dice que todo deseo sexual es malo en sì mismo.

Siglo VII - Francia: Documentos demuestran que la mayorìa de los sacerdotes eran hombres casados.

Siglo VIII.

San Bonifacio, informa al Papa, que en Alemania casi ningùn Obispo o Sacerdote es cèlibe.

Siglo IX

Año 836: El Concilio de Aix la Chapelle, admite abiertamente que, en los conventos y monasterios se han realizado abortos e infanticidios, para encubrir las actividades de los clèrigos y religiosas que no practicaban el celibato.

Siglo XI

Año 1045

El Papa Gregorio VII, dice que toda persona desea ser ordenada, debe primero hacer unä promesa o voto de celibato: "Los sacerdotes deben primero escapar de las garras de sus esposas" A pesar de esta prohibisiòn papal, en el siglo XI, los sacerdotes eran casados. Notemos que, este Papa tiene un concepto terrible del matrimonio y de las esposas, olvidando que èl viene de una mujer !

Año 1095

El Papa Urbano II, hace vender a las esposas de los sacerdotes como esclavas y sus hijos son abandonados a su suerte, en realidad esto no tienen justificaciòn alguna y es un flagrante atropello as la difgnidad de la persona; esto no puede ser justificado hoy ni en el pasado, pues es una actitud completamente opuesta a las enseñanzas de Cristo y su Evangelio.

Siglo XII

Año 1123.- Papa Calixto II. El Concilio de Letràn I, decreta que, los matrimonios de los clèrigos son invàlidos... (?)

Año 1139: Papa Inocencio II. el Concilio de Letràn II, confirma el decreto del anteriro concilio de Letràn I.

Siglo XIV

El Obispo Pelagio, se queja de las las mujeres son aùn ordenadas y administran confesiones.

Siglo XV

Transiciòn. el 50% de los sacerdotes son hombres casados y como tales, son plenamente aceptados por el pueblo.

Siglo XVI

Concilio de Trento (1545-1563): Establece quer el celibato y la virginidad son superior al matrimonio (?). Se establece definitivamente el celibato, se reforma la liturgia de la Santa Misa, etc y se codifica el Derecho Canònico y otras disposiciones.

Siglo XIX

Concilio Vaticano I. El Papa Pio IX (1869), proclama la infalibilidad del Papa y reduce la autoridad de los obispos,centralizando el poder en Roma.

Resultado de esto: Varios obispos no adeptan este decreto de la infalibilidad papal. Se retiran varios obispos del Concilio Concilio Vaticano I, y surge la Iglesia Veterocatòlica u Old Catholic Church (La Iglesia Catòlica Antigua) en Holanda, los Paìses Bajos, Alemania, Suiza; y consagran al primer Arzobispo Catòlico Antiguo (Veterocatòlico) de Utrechts (Reino de Holanda) en 1892



1961: El Papa Pio XII, ordena a un Pastor Luterano casado como sacerdote catòlico en alemania.

1962.- El Papa Juan XXIII, convoca el Concilio Vaticano II. Reforma de la Iglesia Catòlica Romana, establece la celebracion de la Misa en idioma vernàculo, y afirma que el matrimonio es equivalente a la virginidad.(Juan XXIII, opina contrariamente a Papas anteriores.

1966.- El Papa Pablo VI, dà dispensas al celibato a sacerdotes que desean contraer matrimonio

Decada de 1970: Ludmilla Javorova y otras mujeres checas, son Ordenadas Presbiteras o Sacerdotisas catòlicas para atender las necesidades de las mujeres prisioneras por los comunistas.

1980: Se realiza la re-ordenaciòn de sacerdotes episcopales (anglicanos) casados como sacerdotes catòliocas Romanos en Estados Unidos. En 1994, sucede lo mismo en Canadà e Inglaterra, esto se continùa haciendo en el presente en varios paìses.

Ante esta evidencia, la Iglesia Catòlica Romana, actualmente tienen sacerdotes casados en varios paìses, pero no es èsta una ley universal. Preguntamos: Por què a unos se les permite y a otros no? Es esta una contradicciòn de la iglesia romana.

1983: Reforma del Derecho Canònico

En 1993, El Papa Juan pablo II, en visita a Estados Unidos, contestò a la pregunta que le formulara el New York Time sobre el celibato, elPapa dijo: "El celibato no es esencial para el sacerdocio, no es una ley promulgada por Jesucristo. Entoces cual es el problema para no reglamentar el celibato opcional ?


San Pedro apòstol, primer Obispo de Antioquia (Siria) y posteriormente, Obispo de Roma, Cristo curò a su suegra. Fuè martirizado en Roma (crucificado cabeza abajo en la Colina del Vaticano)

San Felix II - 483-492 (2 hijos)

San Hormidas- 514-523 (1 hijo)

San Silverio (Antonia), 867-872 (1 hijo)

Celemente IV, 1265-1268 (2 hijas)

Felix V, 1439-1449 (1 hijo)


San Dàmaso (348-366) hijode san Lorenzo (Sacerdote)

San. Inocencio I (401-348) hijo de Atanasio I. (Papa)

Bonifacio (418-422) hijo de (sacerdote)

San Felix (483-492) hijo de (sacerdote)

Anastacio II (496-498). hijode(sacerdote)

San Agapito I, (535-536). hijo de Gordiano (Papa)

San Silverio (536-537). hijo de san Hormidas (Papa)

Marino (882-884). hijo de sacerdote

Bonifacio VI (896-896)- hijo de Adriàn (Obispo)

Juan XI (931-935). hijo de Sergio III (Papa)

Juan XIV (989-996). hijo de Leòn (sacerdote)


Inocensio VIII (1484-1492) Vario hijos

Alejandro VI (Papa Birgia) (1492-1503). Varios hijos

Julio (1503-1513). 3 hijas

Pablo III (1534-1549) 3 hijos 1 hija.

Pio IV (1159-1565. 3 hijos

Gregorio XIII (1572-1585) 1 hijo

Hermanos hermanas, estos apuntes son importantes para constatar la verdad històrica del celibato.

El celibato no puede ser impuesto, los dones que el Espiritu Santo nos dà, no son para todos por igual. Hay hombres que estàn llamados a ser sacerdotes y son casados, y otros que son llamados al secerdocio solteros (celibes) Unos y otros estàn llamdos a santificarse en el estado que Dios les dà. El celibato impuesto no ha funcionado hasta el momento. Como digo, el celibato funciona en aquellos hombres que son llamados por el Señor, a ser celibe, es asì de sencillo; aunque algunos con mentes estrechas, luchan con todos los argumentos teòlogicos y anti-biblicos defendiendo el celibato impuesto, pero en la pràctica "salta la liebre".

Dios asì lo ha establecido desde el principio de la creaciòn: "No es bueno que el hombre estè solo" (Gen. 3: 18) esta es disposiciòn divina y hemos hecho lo contrario, y que ha pasado? la pobre Iglesia està sometida a escàndalos de todos los colores y tamaños. Si no queremos entender esto, es por la dureza del corazòn.

Nosotros respetamos el celibato, entendemos que tiene muchos valores esa forma especial de vida para aquellos que son llamados a èl. No atacamos el celibato, lo aceptamos como un don especial y de gran estima en ciertas personas... pero sì, estamos convencidos de que esta forma especial de vida debe ser reglamentada a la forma opcional. El celibato NO es un dogma de fe, es una disciplina temporal en la Iglesia Catòlica Romana.

With permission of Fr. Simon Smolinski, JCL, SWL



   A state of emergency occurs in the Church when there is a threat against the continuation or the essential activities of the Church. At this time in the history of the Catholic Church, a shortage and unavailability of celibate priests has caused emergency situations regarding the Christian faithful's constitutive (Baptismal) "right to be assisted by their Pastors from the spiritual riches of the Church, especially by the word of God and the Sacraments" (Can. 213). A reversal of this shortage of celibate priests and its consequent emergency situations is quite unlikely for the future. In fact, most studies and prognoses of the vocational picture for the celibate priesthood (including those sponsored by the U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops) indicate that the crisis will only grow worse in the years ahead, resulting in increasingly fewer opportunities for Christ's faithful to celebrate the Sacraments, as well as fewer and older celibate priests to serve increasingly larger numbers of the faithful. The merging or closing of parishes generally is not an acceptable answer to the crisis from the viewpoint of local faith communities. Accordingly, such pastoral emergencies call for the emergency kinds of sacramental administration that are permitted by the Code of Canon Law, such as In cases of "danger of death" (Can. 976 and Can. 883:3), "necessity or genuine spiritual advantage" (Can. 844:2), "reasonable cause" (Can. 1003:2), "grave inconvenience" (Can. 1116 and Can. 1323:4), and "just reason" (Can. 1335). Perhaps unknown to some, the Christian faithful do not need further permission to act in order to fulfill their pastoral needs in emergencies. Empowerment to act lies within the emergency Canons themselves, which flow from what must always be the supreme law of the Church: the salvation of souls (Can. 1752).


   Can. 292, which is concerned with restricting the right of a priest to exercise the power of orders (i.e. to administer the sacraments) is a merely ecclesiastical law (a man-made disciplinary law) of the Roman Catholic Church. Can.1037, which requires the obligation of celibacy for priests, likewise is a merely ecclesiastical law. Such laws are of human origin and can be altered or eliminated by human initiative in view of the changing pastoral circumstances of Christ's faithful. Can. 213 which expresses the right of the faithful to receive assistance from the sacred Pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the Sacraments, is of divine origin through Baptism in Jesus. Such a law is constitutive (essential) for the baptized and cannot be altered or eliminated by human initiative. It likewise is correct to say that fulfillment of such a law must not be neglected by those who serve as Pastors in the Church. Under the circumstances caused by a shortage of celibate priests, Can. 213 has priority over Cans. 292 and 1037. This is the reasoning and logic behind other canons which deal with the needs of Christ's faithful in emergency situations, such as Can. 976 which allows a priest without faculties to hear confessions in danger of death, even with an approved priest present, or Can. 883:3 which allows any priest to administer Confirmation likewise in danger of death, or Can. 1003:2 which allows any priest to administer the Anointing of the Sick for a reasonable cause, or Can. 1116 which calls for the presence of another priest or deacon in a Marriage celebrated before witnesses only, when the presence of or access to an authorized minister is impossible without grave inconvenience. This is the reasoning and logic likewise behind Can. 844:2 which allows reception of Penance, Eucharist, and Anointing of the Sick from any validly ordained minister (not just those of the Orthodox Church, as some would interpret), whenever necessity requires or spiritual advantage suggests it. This is the reasoning and logic also behind Can. 1335 which allows Sacramental ministry even by a censured/suspended priest who may have married without formal ecclesiastical permission, whenever the faithful make such requests out of necessity or for any just cause. Finally, this is the reasoning and logic behind Can. 1323:4 whereby a person cannot be penalized when he/she has violated a merely ecclesiastical law or precept, who acted out of necessity or serious inconvenience in regard to matters that are not intrinsically evil or harmful to souls. Regarding Can. 843:1 which is about sacred ministers not being able to refuse the Sacraments to the faithful, it seems reasonable and logical that asking for the Sacraments from a validly ordained, married Roman Catholic priest, out of spiritual need, when no celibate priest is available, is a request that is as opportune/appropriate as can be. After all, the Sacraments are the Christ-instituted, sine qua non means for accomplishing the sanctification of humankind now (Can. 840), not in the afterlife. Some, from their canonical perspective, feel obliged to defend the status quo with a more restrictive and less generous interpretation of the above canons on pastoral needs in emergency situations. The problematic consequence of such a defense, however, is a failure to fulfill the demands of Can. 213 regarding the constitutive right of Christ's faithful to the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the Sacraments. From the laity's perspective, it is like offering your car to a friend to get to the store for groceries, while simultaneously withholding the ignition key. Whether the authors of the 1983 Code of Canon Law realized the full implications of their product or not, utilization of the canons therein by the Christian faithful via married priests is certainly in keeping with Can. 1752 which states that the supreme law in the Church must always be the salvation of souls. Sometimes, perhaps especially in pastorally transitional times, we have to reply along with Peter and the Apostles: "Obedience to God (fulfillment of need for Sacraments) comes before obedience to men (singular method of ministry that is no longer effective) (Acts 5:29). We ought also to keep in mind this statement of Canon Law Professor Ladislas Orsy, SJ, of the Catholic University of America, when he addressed the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome in 1992: (Theologians) "must intuit and determine the values that the community needs to sustain its life and growth . . .The ecclesial vocation of canon lawyers is to be trustees of the values necessary for the life of the community, and to be administrators of the process by which the community can appropriate them." The sensus fidelium, the actual, Spirit-led, pastoral experience of local Christian communities of faith is a true locus theologicus-canonicus, a genuine and indispensable source of learning theology and producing appropriate canon law.


   Pope Paul Vl, on November 20, 1965, in an address to the Pontifical Commission for the revision of the Code of Canon Law stated that Canon Law must be accommodated to the new manner of thinking (novus habitue mentis) in accord with Vatican II, which stresses very much pastoral ministry. Canon Law must, therefore, consider the new needs of the people of God. The celibate priest shortage has created new needs among the Christian faithful - married priests are being asked by the Christian faithful to respond to their new needs. The preface of the Latin Edition of the 1983 Code of Canon Law states that "To foster the pastoral care of souls as much as possible, the new law, besides the virtue of Justice, is to take cognizance of charity, temperance, humanness. And moderation, whereby equity is to be pursued not only in the application of the laws by pastors of souls but also in the legislation itself. Hence unduly rigid norms are to be set aside and rather, recourse is to be taken to exhortations and persuasions where there is no need of a strict observance of the law on account of the public good and general ecclesiastical discipline." Jesus' word to John was, "Anyone who is not against us is with us." (Mark 9:39). These principles and directives of Pope Paul Vl and the Code Preface are precisely what a growing number of married priests (Worldwide there are over 100,000 married priests, over 20,000 in the USA alone.) are following and implementing in their response to the pastoral-Sacramental needs of Christ's faithful. This contemporary experience of Christ's faithful is of no small significance, because throughout the history of the Catholic Church practice leads to custom and custom leads to law-a living law both generated and received by the faithful to realistically meet their spiritual needs. The signs of the times call for listening with open mind and heart to Bishop Lawrence Burke, SJ, of Nassau, Bahamas, who delivered a pertinent message to the 1990 World Synod of Bishops in Rome on the formation of priests: "Although it is easier to achieve unity through uniformity, the challenge facing the Church today is to achieve unity through legitimate diversity. The temptation to centralize and control must be avoided. We should learn from the history of the Church. The role of bishop and priest developed as the needs of the people of God changed. There have been different theologies and different models of priesthood throughout the centuries. At one time the emphasis may have been juridical, at another time it may have been cultic, at still another time it has been monastic or pastoral. Clearly, diversity and adaptation have been staple features in the history of the priesthood. Priesthood exists to serve the Church, not the other way around. We cannot be complacent with static notions of the priesthood while thousands of Catholics throughout the world are in need of evangelization and the sacraments. The Church should not just lament the incursion of the sects, but must herself take some responsibility for that incursion. Have not our fixed notions of the priesthood and of who should qualify as priests contributed to this undesirable situation? People are spiritually hungry, and where the Church fails to provide leaders and sustenance for the flock, the flock will seek nourishment wherever it finds it...."


   In view of a shortage and unavailability of celibate clergy, the use of married priests to provide pastoral-Sacramental ministry to Christ's faithful is a measure that is valid, lawful, and appropriate for our time. Perhaps just as important, the return of a married priesthood ministering to the faithful, side by side with a celibate priesthood, in the third millennium of Christianity, is a pastoral development and wholesome balancing whose time has come. St. Paul put it well: "As your co-workers we beg you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For God says, 'In an acceptable time I have heard you, on a day of salvation I have helped you.' Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!"(2 Corinthians 6:1-2) Father Delmar S. Smolinski, JCL, SWL, Canon Law consultant for CITI, Inc.


  The Ordination of women

July 4th, Saint Elizabeht of Portugal, A. D. 2011

Peace, brothers and sisters in Christ!

Thank you all for your responses to this Move of the Holy Spirit!

Thank you for your overwhelming support!

As I said it in the past, this will not happen overnight.

So many in the laity are more informed of the historical facts about women in the early church. More educated people are more and more disturbed by the politics that are being played when it comes to women in church and society...

Rome even ordained as recently as the 1960s in Tchechoslowakia women in order to sustain the RC there.

To all of us, and to those among us who disagree with the ordination of the women in the Church:

We shall always keep and exercise our mutual respect for each other that no one is, has, nor shall condemn, nor judge the other who differs in their view about women in the Church.

This also means that when we encounter women priests of bishops to show our respect for them!

Again, as theologians, biblical scholars, clergy, and laity: We all need to distinguish between Jesus and Paul.

The historical, cultural, religious and sociological experience of a Paul cannot be equated with the essential teachings of Christ.

Please keep in mind:

"Christians must distinguish between Jesus (a historical figure) and Christ (the experience of God-in-all-things)." Matthew Fox 

 I have prayed so much about this issue of women in the church, and I was so compelled by the Holy Spirit to no longer let our sisters be on the sideline in the Kingdom of God.

I have became deeply convinced that gender equality in the Kingdom of God cannot be voted on.

If we would do so, we merely fall into the politics of earthly matters that has alienated so many people from basic human rights as well.

 This is the hour and the Might of the Holy Spirit that has shown in many ways:

That in the Spiritual Realm of our Lives: there can be no gender discrimination, and that the gifts people have received in the Holy Spirit can be shared by whomever the Holy Spirit moves, and for all.

There can be no inequality between races and gender in the church.

 Mary Magdalene and so many followers were true Apostles of Christ as well.

There is a Litany of reading materials out there, showing historical facts of women priests and women bishops.

1. If one thinks only in the scheme of the Roman Church, then politics will have their way!

2. Cultural Machismo cannot be a guide in these spiritual matters. It would be an affront to the Holy Spirit to see creation as a male dominated world. 

I have spend much time with different women clergy, and deep in my heart, I do not see any reason, nor obstacle to our good faith tradition that women shall be barred from serving the people of God, preaching and spending the sacraments!

A cultural, historical concept of societal order may appealing to some, yet the spiritual matters are deeper, and we do have to recall the all overriding momentum for all of uswe are created after God's image, male and female. God is according to all great theologians: Father and Mother.

 We need to spend time with those gifted women in order to appreciate the beauty of their gifts, and to experience that all of God's children being equal in God's Kingdom.

The church can never be a political institution, nor a full democratic entity, it is always drawn to the spiritual realm!

 Time, reflection, appreciation, and love for all of God's children will open our eyes to the inner beauty of God's Kingdom in which we all share our gifts.

May we all learn to see more and more:

"Jesus, not unlike many spiritual teachers, taught us that we are sons and daughters of God and are to act accordingly by becoming instruments of divine compassion."

Fr. Matthew Fox

 Please see also the attachments.

Thank you all for your growing understanding!

Be very blessed



PS: I posted some pictures from the ordination to the episcopacy of +Dr. William Manseau outgoing president from CORPUS (25,000 married American priests) at our Cathedral, in the presence of women bishops and women priests. It was a very moving experience!

 Under "Activity" at our local website:

Here are just a few of the worldwide movements

Women’s Ordination Conference (USA)

Founded in 1975, the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) is the world’s oldest and largest organization working solely for the ordination of women as priests, deacons, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic Church. To this end, WOV works to: a)renew church governance to be inclusive, accountable and transparent, b) bring about justice and equality for women in the Church, and c) incorporate women-centered theologies into every-day Catholicism.


Is a coalition of autonomous Catholic-rooted groups raising a feminist voice and committed to an ekklesia of women which is participative, egalitarian, and self-governing; a discipleship of equals working to eradicate patriarchy, especially racism and sexism in order to transform church and society

Prophetic women in Ministry

Assosiation for the Rights of Catholics in the Church

Paz, hermanos y hermanas en Cristo!

Gracias a todos por sus respuestas a este movimiento del Espíritu Santo!

Gracias por su apoyo abrumador para esta situacion de nuestras hermanas!

Como lo dije en el pasado, esto no ocurrirá de un día.

Así que muchos creyentes están más informados de los hechos históricos sobre la mujer en la iglesia primitiva. Las personas más educadas son más y más preocupado por la política que se está reproduciendo cuando se trata demujeres en la iglesia y la sociedad ...

Por eso, no era sopreso que Roma ordenado mujeres en la década de 1960 en Thechoslowakia a fin de mantener

la RC ahi. Para todos de nosotros que no están de acuerdo con la ordenacion de la mujer en la Iglesia:

Siempre deberá mantener y ejercer nuestro respeto mutuo el uno al otro que no se es, tiene, ni condenar, ni juzgar a los demás que se diferencia en su punto de vista acerca de las mujeres en la Iglesia.

Esto también significa que cuando nos encontramos con mujeres presbiteras y las obispas para mostrar nuestro respeto para ellas!
Como teólogos, estudiosos de la Biblia, el clero y los laicos:
Todos tenemos que distinguir entre Jesús y Pablo.
La experiencia histórica, cultural, religioso y sociológico de un Pablo que no se puede equiparar con la enseñanzas esenciales de Cristo.
Por favor, tenga en cuenta de nuevo:
"Los cristianos deben distinguir entre Jesús (figura histórica) y Cristo (la experiencia de Dios en-todas-las-cosas)". Matthew Fox

He orado mucho sobre este tema de la mujer en la iglesia, y me vi obligado así por el Espíritu Santo para que ya no a nuestras hermanas que en la banca en el Reino de Dios.
He llegó a estar profundamente convencido de que la igualdad de género en el Reino de Dios no puede ser votado.

Si queremos hacerlo, nos limitamos a caer en la política de los asuntos terrenales que ha alejado a mucha gente de los derechos humanos, hoy y en el passado.Esta es la hora y el poder del Espíritu Santo que ha demostrado de muchas maneras:Que en el Reino espiritual de nuestras vidas: no puede haber discriminación de género, y que las personas han recibido regalos en el Espíritu Santo puede ser compartida por quien el Espíritu Santo se mueve, y para todos.No puede haber una desigualdad entre las razas y de género en la Iglesia.
María Magdalena y tantos seguidores fueron verdaderos apóstoles de Cristo.
Hay una larga lista de materiales de lectura que hay, que muestra los hechos históricos de las mujeres sacerdotes y obispos mujeres.
1. Si uno piensa sólo en el esquema de la Iglesia Romana, entonces la política se salen con la suya!
2. Cultural El machismo no puede ser una guía en estos asuntos espirituales. Sería una afrenta al Espíritu Santo para ver la creación como un mundo dominado por los hombres.
He pasado mucho tiempo con el clero de diferentes mujeres, y el fondo de mi corazón, yo no veo ninguna razón, ni obstáculo para nuestra tradición de buena fe que la mujer no podrá optar al servicio del pueblo de Dios, la predicación y el gasto de los sacramentos! Un concepto cultural, histórico del orden social puede apelar a algunos, sin embargo, los asuntos espirituales son más profundas, y tenemos que recordar el impulso de todas primordial para todos nosotros:
que se crean después de la imagen de Dios, hombres y mujeres. 
Dios está de acuerdo con todos los grandes teólogos: Padre y Madre. Tenemos que pasar tiempo con aquellas mujeres dotados con el fin de apreciar la belleza de sus dones, y la experiencia que todos los hijos de Dios en igualdad de condiciones en el Reino de Dios.
La Iglesia nunca puede ser una institución política, ni una entidad plenamente democrático, siempre es atraído por el mundo espiritual! 
Tiempo, la reflexión, el aprecio y amor por todos los hijos de Dios nos abrirá los ojos a la belleza interior del Reino de Dios en el que todos compartimos nuestros dones.
Que todos aprendamos a ver más y más
"Jesús, no a diferencia de muchos maestros espirituales, nos enseña que somos hijos e hijas de Dios y actuar en consecuencia al convertirse en instrumentos de la compasión divina." Fr. Matthew Fox

 Por favor vea también los archivos adjuntos.
Gracias a todos por su comprensión cada vez mayor!

Sean muy bendecido
+ + Karl
PS: He publicado algunas fotos de la ordenación al episcopado de + Dr. William Manseau el presidente saliente del cuerpo (25.000 sacerdotes estadounidenses casados) en nuestra Catedral, en presencia de los obispos de las mujeres y las mujeres sacerdotes. Fue una experiencia muy emocionante!
  En "Actividad" en nuestro sitio web local:

Éstos son sólo algunos de los movimientos en todo el mundo.

Women’s Ordination Conference USA)

Founded in 1975, the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) is the world’s oldest and largest organization working solely for the ordination of women as priests, deacons, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic Church. To this end, WOV works to: a)renew church governance to be inclusive, accountable and transparent, b) bring about justice and equality for women in the Church,and c) incorporate women-centered theologies into every-day Catholicism.


Is a coalition of autonomous Catholic-rooted groups raising a feminist voice and committed to an ekklesia of women which is participative, egalitarian, and self-governing; a discipleship of equals working to eradicate patriarchy, especially racism and sexism in order to transform church and society

Prophetic women in Ministry

Assosiation for the Rights of Catholics in the Church

June 20th, A. D. 2011 

Peace to you brothers and sisters in Christ!

From June 10th through June 11th, 2011, I was attending the nationwide conference of the American Catholic Council which consists of many Roman Catholic organizations, and also some valid independent movements.

As I talked to the Nationwide association of Corpus ( 25,000 married priests in the USA), and as they told me that they will have an episcopal consecration of their outgoing President, I offered them our Cathedral. In the meantime, I had some deep spiritual conversations with different Roman catholic women bishops and women priests from the USA and Europe at the conference (they do not see themselves outside the church, but being castigated only by the hierarchy. Corpus also invited them for the consecration. I could not say no, and I was at the end filled with joy!


 After the consecration here at our cathedral the President of the Roman Catholic Married Priest MovementCorpus, and having with me Roman Catholic Archbishop Brennan (consecrated by Archbishop Milingo, former Roman Catholic Archbishop), and  2 women bishops, 4 women priests, and others at the altar, I was deeply moved that the Holy Spirit is making a move throughout the world, and that the time has come that we can no longer discriminate against the women in the church by denying them the gifts they have equally with men, to preach and to spend the sacraments in pastoral care.

This can never be dominated by cultural means alone!

 Women shall no longer be 2nd class citizen in the Church.

Christ in the New Covenant showed us that Christ's resurrection was witnessed first by women, and that he had women followers all along...Mary Magdalen was the greatest Apostle among them.

Again, the inclusion of women priests and bishops being part of our Church can no longer be denied.

I am aware that a few of you might move away from our Church, yet we can no longer deny the historical facts.

The Roman Hierarchy can no longer use the Body of Christ, the Church, to be more equal for some and less for others.

This is not about a mining company, or about the front-line of an ongoing military operation...

This is about the spiritual consciousness of the entire church! 

I have talked to many, many lay people, and they are ready everywhere to make this move.

Just a little sign of the decline of the RC in the USA: it is even very sad that hundreds of beautiful Catholic Churches, and basilicas are being closed, because the male vocations have dwindled so much, the average age of the priests in ministry is of high, and so many lay people moving out of the church, away from the church!!

I have already received encouragements from so many lay members, and from our clergy in different parts of our worldwide church who are in support about women being equally treated in the Church.

We will no longer deny women the holy orders, because they have the vocation, and the spiritual training as men do.

This is not an issue that needs to be voted on by the clergy of our Church. This is an issue that is so fundamental for the existence of the Church of Christ that everything contrary is pure politics.

    Let Christ reign throughout Christendom!

Let the Church live, let not Church politics dominate.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."


Be blessed and be a witness of God's Kingdom!

In Christ


Junio 20, A. D. 2011

Paz y saludos, queridos hermanos y hermanas en Cristo!
Del 10 de junio al 11 de junio, 2011, asistí a la conferencia nacional del Consejo Americano católica, que se compone de muchas organizaciones católicas, y también algunos movimientos independientes válida.

Como ya he hablado con la asociación nacional de Corpus (25.000 sacerdotes casados ​​en los EE.UU.), y como me dijeron que van a tener una consagración episcopal de su Presidente saliente, les ofrecí nuestra Catedral. Mientras tanto, tuve algunas conversaciones espiritual profunda con diferentes mujeres obispos católicos y sacerdotes a las mujeres de los EE.UU. y Europa en la conferencia (que no se ven fuera de la iglesia, pero ser castigado sólo por la jerarquía. Corpus también se les invitó a la consagración. no podía decir que no, y yo estaba al final llena de alegría de su presencia!


Después de la consagración aquí en nuestra catedral, el Presidente del Movimiento de sacerdote católico casado, Corpus, y tener conmigo el arzobispo católico Brennan (consagrado por el Arzobispo Milingo, ex arzobispo católico romano), y dos mujeres obispos, y cuatro mujeres sacerdotes, y otros en el altar, me sentí profundamente conmovido, y veemos mas y mas que el Espíritu Santo está haciendo un movimiento en todo el mundo, y que ha llegado el momento de que ya no se puede discriminar a las mujeres en la iglesia, al negarles los dones que han igualdad con los hombres, a predicar y para pasar los sacramentos en la pastoral.
Esto nunca puede ser dominado por los medios culturales!

Las mujeres ya no serán los ciudadanos de 2 ª clase en la Iglesia.
Cristo en el Nuevo Testamento nos muestra que la resurrección de Cristo fue visto por primera vez por las mujeres, y que había seguidores de las mujeres a lo largo de ... María Magdalena fue el apóstol más grande entre ellos.
Una vez más, la inclusión de mujeres como sacerdotes y obispos de ser parte de nuestra Iglesia ya no puede ser negada.
Soy consciente de que algunos de ustedes se alejan de la Iglesia, sin embargo, ya no puede negar los hechos históricos.
La jerarquía romana ya no puede usar el cuerpo de Cristo, la Iglesia, para ser más igual para unos y menos para otros.
No se trata de una empresa minera, o acerca de la primera línea de una operación militar en curso ...
Se trata de la conciencia espiritual de toda la Iglesia! 
He hablado con muchas personas, numerosos laicos, y están dispuestos en todas partes del mundo para hacer este movimiento.  Solo una pequenia notizia para iluminar eso: Es aún más triste que aquí en los EE.UU., cientos de hermosas iglesias católicas, las basílicas y se están cerrando, porque las vocaciones masculinas se han reducido tanto, el promedio de edad de los sacerdotes en el ministerio es de alta, y muchos laicos en moven fuera de la iglesia, lejos de la iglesia! 
Ya he recibido estímulos de manera que muchos laicos, y muchos de nuestro clero en diferentes partes de nuestra iglesia en todo el mundo están a favor de las mujeres son igualmente tratados en la Iglesia.

Ya no vamos a negar a las mujeres las órdenes sagradas, porque tienen la vocación y la formación espiritual de los hombres.
Esto no es un tema que debe ser votado por el clero de nuestra Iglesia.

Este es un tema que es tan fundamental para la existencia de la Iglesia de Cristo que, al contrario todo es pura política.
Por la presente, pedir a todos que usted está en el apoyo.

Que Cristo reine en toda la Cristiandad!
Dejar vivir a la Iglesia!

Que no dominan las cosas políticas eclesiales.
"No hay ni Judio ni griego, ni esclavo ni libre, ni hombre ni mujer, porque todos vosotros sois uno en Cristo Jesús."

Sean bendecidos y ser testigo del Reino de Dios!

en Cristo


Apostolic Letter

From the Primate

++Dr. Karl Rodig 

Women Deaconesses


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

We have seen the suffering of women in the church and support their rightful cause and place in the Church as many of them have the vocation and the gift to serve the Lord as spiritual and educated leaders.

The reality of gender politics in most of the western world has fostered a more critical and imaginative engagement between Scripture and present-day reality.

The attitudes toward women already shown in the creation narratives, and the NT injunctions to women to be silent in the church (1Cor 14:34) and to wives to be submissive to their husbands in all things (Eph 5:21-33) have been incorporated into the life of churches to the point where many women have felt to no longer see a place in mainstream churches.

And jet the Bible offers resources which can be liberating and lead the church and society to embrace more egalitarian and less hierarchical forms of associations. I will address this new faith experiences also again at the end of this Letter on two renown and well respected biblical women scholars.

Let us state first, we are not here to change the essential truths about our Salvation. Most scholars and historians agree that the historical development and the existence of ordained women in the church which is evident in the first eight centuries is not in contradiction to the Lord‘s redeeming sacrifice.

I. A General Approach

Let me a little explore and go with you into a deeper biblical mode as to how in different ways a reader can look more thoroughly at some of the interpretations of our inherited biblical texts.


We do need to keep in mind that when reading the Bible literally, and then draw a binding canonical statement from it, the consequences can be devastating.Faith and reason need to keep the balance. Reason is needed to assist divine faith. “In Faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with divine grace: ‘Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.’” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Sth II-II, 2-9; cf. Dei Filius 3: DS 3010) 

“’Faith seeks understanding’ (Anselm of Canterbury, Prosl. Prooem.L PL 153, 225A), it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put faith and to understand better what God has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love…’” (Catholic Catechism 2705)

“I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.” (St. Augustine, Sermon 43, 7,9:PL 38, 257-258).

“Though faith is above reason (because faith cannot be just a mind’s blind impulse either, ’the certainty that the divine light gives is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives‘ St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 171, 5, obj. 3 -’then thousand difficulties do not make one doubt‘ John Henry Cardinal Newman, Apologia pro vita sua-London: Longman, 1878, 239), <yet> there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” (Dei Filius 4: DS 3017)

“Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” (Gaudium et Spes 36, 1)

It is evident that within the biblical texts there are meanings of different voices being present, and this can also be said for texts outside the biblical canon…

We always have to remember who were these writers and who were the church leaders at the councils who put the Canon of the NT and AT together, etc? As you know for examples, some of Paul's letters were never intended to be published, but the historical significance of it has put some of his letters into the Canon as inspired letters.

And yet we do cannot forget that Paul and others of his time were heavily influenced by his Judeo zealot traditions; we are also aware that there are different theologies evident in the NT itself, johannine theology, Pauline theology, etc...

 Also, we shall not discard the historical and cultural ambiance that dominated much of this time after Jesus, especially the ancient Roman influences where women were seen as less to the men. And, remember, not Jesus wrote the NT Scriptures (He only wrote once into the Sand), but they were written many years after him after an oral tradition...

Again, he did have women followers in his fellowship...

 Let us never forget the deep love Jesus had for Mary Magdalene who was there till the end of his suffering and death on the cross, and was at the tomb, encountered the Lord first and was the first to announce to the Apostles HIS Resurrection.

Jumping a little ahead in Church history, we do realize that: There is a difference between the status of "Cleric (clergy)" as the political position of the status of the minister's authority in the institutional church, but what is more important to realize is that there is the permanent seal of ordination which is about spirituality and treating people as Jesus did in the Gospels! (Therefore, the meaning of ex-priest is incorrect as it should say, ex-cleric). 

I do hear sometimes from people a familiar way of argumentation against women in the church as it happened in the history of the church, mostly people who are afraid of the women in ministry, and did not like the idea -because of the argument of the physical weaker concept of her. Yet these are some of the false fears that were also part of the insecurities of the men driven historic-cultural decisions that had sometimes wide-ranging consequences.

The whole argument that a man shall not have a woman as teacher, or that a women cannot be a minister "over" (what ever this means...) men , like we see in Paul‘s antiquated sentiments did not hold up back then for many in the church as they can no longer hold up today.

Again, some of our own insecurities toward women are similar of the biblical historical environment that saw women less as equal, and the long perpetuation of a male dominated history, sadly to say, that also has produced more

wars and disasters to the human race (including the Church wars) contrary to Christ’s teaching on Love, Peace and forgiveness.

 It is helpful to study biblical anthropology and anthropology in modern times in order to understand certain concepts and constructs of human nature...I do see that some people come from an era where the women has to be at home cooking, raise children, and leave the rest to the man of the house. The liberating reality for women has changed long time ago as has the right of the women to vote, etc.

My mother was a staunched roman catholic, but she was early on working in the city on her own -and we talking the years of the late 1930s...I always admired her spirit, and her kindness toward everybody, and the deep respect she earned from people of different opinions. She was a forerunner for many in our little country village. One of her best female friends was a Lutheran, and they kept their friendship until her death 6 years ago...

Among other changes of biblical traditions has been the treatment and the view of the long and oppressive history of slavery first in the early church (letter to Philemon), then slavery again being sanctioned, accepted, and defended for 250 years in the USA, and also parts of the British empire for a long time, justified within the biblical context, including the cruelty, abuse and countless deaths brought by the slaves’ landlords, and the lynch mobs in the southern states of the US against Afro Americans. The continuous segregation in society, the discrimination against minorities, all that had in many instances the support of biblical views. Yet it has been seen as wrong and immoral. It is one of the sinful chapters of church history.The public burning of women by the Roman Inquisition, and so many others who endured persecutions by the Church, suffering torments, and being executed, and this all in the name of the God of the Bible... The Church’s strong biblical believes towards the earth being the center with every planet including the Sun going around it, and those who were banned by the Church, like Galileo and others, it has been proved wrong after centuries.The American civil war (1861-1865) in which the north fought the secession of 7 southern states, both sides with God on their sides seeing the other as wrong. Abraham Lincoln later during the war saw it as a punishment of God because of the sin of slavery, he finally abolished it by law, an yet it continued for some time.So is the positive recognition of reading the Bible in the light that oppression of a people suffering under dictatorship is not God‘s Will.
The historical cultural context of the ancient world’s environment and its influence is evident in some of the NT texts of the Bible. The same happened with the OT being influenced by the Babylonian and Assyrian culture and environment, etc 

One enlightening and positive experience of our own faith experience can help and enlighten us, when we ask ourselves, how do I personally treat women, how do I see them in my own environment? Is she for me and you an equal spiritual partner as wife, friend, congregant...why can I not see some woman that have the vocation, the gifts, the quality of education as a spiritual ordained minister? What forces do guide me in this?

Women like St. Catherine of Sienna who by her spiritual authority admonished the pope to come back from Avignon, France to Italy; and other great women, like Hildegaard from Bingen who had a Monastery where married men and women were living equally the monastic lives side by side; the list is long...and more examples are out there who show gifted women, less to forget powerful women and prophetesses of the OT, like Abigail who averts the threat of the destruction of her people (1 Samuel 25) or the prophet Judith, including great women in today’s politics…

Let alone all the many nuns I have met who were well educated, and some do have the vocation to ministry and are frustrated with the hierarchy's relentless denunciation of them...

We need to live with women, talk with them, study with them, experiencing their great God given gifts! in order to appreciate their equal spiritual existence.

The entire "Role" thinking attitude towards women needs to be readdressed in the light of a wider early Christian tradition that included women in ministry.

The general exclusion of women in history is almost the same argumentation as of celibacy that was made church law after having had 1100 years married priests, bishops, and 39 married popes…After more thorough research the reasoning making celibate church law shows that it was more the issues about inheritance, church properties, that finally called the real shots...and it is not a divine law!

The NT writings and how decisions were made, show already the ways of changes that brought the gentile world into the young church as the need for circumcision was no longer relevant, as was certain foods which one can eat or not...What is seen as the Inspiration of the OT equally to the NT by the Church Fathers, has in itself seen changes thereafter...

Walk with me just a little -on a quite different subject- through biblical study in order to demonstrate of how vague, diverse, or strong interpretations of readings can be…

II. The ambiguity of biblical texts and the diverse interpretations of it

Let us use the example of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac, called, the Akedah (Abraham's binding)
Gen 22:

In general, we are aware that the history of the reception of the biblical texts provides an almost inexhaustible fund of evidence of the vitality of these ancient writings Old and New Testament alike. They have been read by very different faith communities in widely different circumstances and have generated readings of

 remarkable divergence as well as remarkable convergence.

Explanations for this kind of fruitfulness are not easy to provide. The story of Abraham and Isaac have received so many different interpretations (like by Philo of Alexandria who saw so much suffering around himself and wants therefore to make a statement of human suffering and affliction by bringing out the allegorical significance of the story: Isaac's name means "laughter". So Abraham sacrifices laughter, or rather the good emotion of the understanding, that is joy out of a sense of duty to God. This is proper because a life of pure joy and happiness is for God alone. Nevertheless, God will allow those who are faithful to share a measure of such joy, though even so it will be admixed with sorrow <De Abrahamo 200-7>. Or in the middle ages where the interpretation went as far that Isaac was really killed and sacrificed. Then in contrast the great Danish Philosopher Kierkegaard who celebrates Abraham as the man of faith and called Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son the "theological suspension of the ethical" ...).

Critics ask themselves, what is it that lies in the diversities of these biblical contexts in which such texts are read?

It is not surprising the story of ‘Isaac's binding’ will resonate differently with those under attack from marauding soldiers than with those who have to face the rigors of life in a mountain village in Catholic Austria. And then the difference in the literary context of the Isaac story, as it is read by Jews and Christians.

For Christians, with the massive concentration on the cross of Jesus in the NT writings, it is inevitable that the themes of the Akedah should be subsumed in their reading of the Passion. Isaac becomes the type of the one who was to come and the various motifs of the story are taken up and used sometimes by way of contrast, in the narrative and discursive development of the Passion. For the Jews there is more cause to reflect on the meaning of the story in the light of the history of Abraham's descendants...

And yet the diversity of the context will not explain all of it. The story of Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac has had, and still has many different interpretations, because there is in the texts themselves a richness and an ambiguity which invites diversity of interpretation.

Images like Abraham's stretching out his hand, or his laying the wood on his son, strike profound chords in later writers and interpreters. The richness of imaginary and metaphor in the biblical writings, in its narrative, poetry, and more discursive writing, is such that it is bound to lead to readings which draw freely on the experience of the readers.

Here are stories and texts which widely diverse communities have been able to make their own, precisely because of their evocative nature. These are not closed, neatly tied up texts. They leave gaps and contain ambiguities which beg to be filled out and resolved.

The canonical status of the texts must account not only for the diversity and richness of the readings, but also for the way in which the narratives and discourses have themselves been reshaped. As mentioned above, the most striking example of this, like the medieval retelling of the Akedah (Abraham's binding) in different communities actually claim that the scriptural story relates to Isaac's death. More often it is a matter of emphasis, of selective reading:

Those elements in the biblical writings which resonate with a particular community over a particular period of time are the one which will be stressed, to the exclusion or neglect of others. (This seems also to be applied in familiar tendencies for certain communities under Paul in the NT to keep the woman quiet…) 

The results can be almost as dramatically different as the direct alteration of Isaac's story. But in either case what drives the process of interpretation is the same conviction:

that these texts are normative for the experience of the community and that therefore the community's experience must somehow be reflected and represented in them.

So it is that the Christian interpretation of the Akedah (Abraham's binding), is refracted through its own central narrative of the crucifixion of Jesus in the Gospel narratives. When Jesus prays to God in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his crucifixion, we may hear distant echoes of Isaac' questioning of his father and the subsequent traditions of his willing acceptance of his father's purpose. Of course the plot is different: there is no human father as mediator of God's purpose; no relenting on the part of the heavenly father; no mere testing of the victim's father.

 Rather it is the victim himself who must struggle to accept freely the heavenly Father's unwavering will (a motif which does indeed occur in some of the versions of the Akedah). Is it too much to see some of these points reflected in the Gospel retellings of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden?

The Evangelists Matthew and Luke somehow stumble over Mark's bald "all things are possible to you", a traditional ascription of omnipotence. Matthew, faced with the enormity of God's killing his own son, seems to raise the question whether there is not some higher necessity controlling the action.

Luke seems more concerned with the question of the unity or constancy of the divine will: how can the Son of God pray to God in order to change his mind? John omits the whole episode of Jesus’ prayer in the garden, replacing it with a comparable scene of anguish immediately before the Last Supper (12:27). He makes this a more public scene at which not only Jews but Greeks are present. Jesus’ acceptance of his mission will glorify the divine name, just as Abraham's obedience had done before. This acceptance is echoed in Jesus’ remark to Peter at his arrest (18:11). All that is left now is Jesus’ affirmation of his complete acceptance of his Father's will: as he said earlier, "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me" (John 4:34).

In both cases, of the Genesis story of Abraham and of Jesus seized by the mob and handed over to the foreign tyrant for execution, it is God who will these events. In the one case, Abraham's testing serves as the final act in a drama between God and Abraham in which Abraham's will is tested and he is prepared to be the father of a multitude of nations in accordance with God's promise to him (Gen 17:4); he is to be the type of ethical monotheism, of radical obedience to the will of God. Abraham becomes the type of all faithful Jews, and indeed beyond all ethnic boundaries, of any righteous person.

In the other, Jesus who has been proclaimed God's "beloved Son" (Mk1:11) is singled out as the instrument of God's will in the conflict with human wickedness.

The sacrifice of Jesus is not so much the test of obedience (though it is that too) as the point of engagement between the divine agent and the forces of destruction and death in the world. It is the point of transition from the world of death to the new age of life, which is anticipated in Jesus’ resurrection.

A little hint, to compare the different ways how Mark, Mathew and Luke write how Jesus finally accepts his coming death in the Garden of Gethsemane after the last Supper. In John this scene is set earlier, after the entry into Jerusalem. Here Jesus’ words are spoken publicly before the crowds and are met with the approving voice from heaven. John, however picks up the same theme of the cup in his account of Jesus’ arrest.

Mark 14:36

Matthew 26:39

Luke 22;42

John 12:27

John 18:11

The way we read and study the Bible, is often in a literally sense, sometimes forgetting or not seeing the context in which it was written, sociological, economical, political, etc.

III. Reading the Bible critically

Church history has shown over and over how much the Biblical writings and interpretations have been abused for power and also for missionary adventures that brought destruction and death, like the killing of thousands of indigenous in the Latin Americas.

The following has been a bitter pill for John Paul II at his visit to Peru in 1990 as he received a letter form indigenous groups,

"John Paul II, we Andean and American Indians have decided to take advantage of your visit to return to you your Bible, since in five centuries it has not given us love, peace, or justice. Please take back your Bible and give it back to our oppressors, because they need its moral teachings more than we do.

Ever since the arrival of Christopher Columbus a culture, a language, religion and values which belong to Europe have been imposed on Latin America by force.

The Bible came to us as part of the imposed colonial transformation. It was the ideological weapon of this colonialist assault. The Spanish sword which attacked and murdered the bodies of Indians by day and night became the cross which attacked the Indian soul."

(Richard 1990a)

The abuse of the Bible in the history of Christianity, like the massacres of wars with the long history of blessings of canon-weapons by Christians fighting against each other as a biblical righteous attitude, has been and still is a dark stain on our salvation history.

The Bible yet can also bring comfort and strength, and liberation to people living under oppression, or as it has enriched the culture of both Jews and Christians.

How shall we use the Bible then?


We need to be aware both of the different voices in the Bible and of the different emphases which readers can put on it.

We need to learn to discriminate between these different voices and readings and to exercise our own moral judgment. Secondly, we should read charitably, meaning, we need to allow the creative liberating, and constructive voices in the Bible to shape our understanding of the text, rather in the manner in which we should also not allow our own moral judgment to be overwhelmed by the darker side of the Bible.

A critical and attentive reading of the Bible can inform and sharpen our moral sense and provide a moral and religious vision which can transform individuals and communities. (See the example that Archbishop Desmond Tutu who drew positive forces together in the situation of apartheid in South Africa viewing the Bible in a different lens...contrary to what white members of the protestant reformed church preached that Africans of a lesser race…)

The Bible has shaped and transformed societies, it also has been interpreted for a long time very narrowly, and caused by abuse and confusion, unnecessary deaths to many people...

The Bible has the potential for generating different meanings. It can also be a strength of it.

Indeed it has serious consequences:

The normative function of the Bible for any community is significantly weakened. If the Bible is recognized as essentially capable of many meanings, its use as a code of conduct or indeed as a rule of faith will be limited. And yet we ask ourselves, has this not always been the case? 

The fact that Jews will appeal to the Talmud for rulings on matters of practice and belief, and that Christians have appealed to some rule of faith or to the Canons of the Ecumenical Councils to regulate their affairs suggests clearly enough that in practice it has always been accepted that the Bible was either too rich or too diverse or too vague to do the job of a ‘Code Napoleon‘. 

On the other hand, as the Bible has the potential for generating different meanings does not mean that its formative function is weakened in the same way. The history of its use shows how powerful the influence of the Bible has been in the formation of a whole range of Church communities.

As we all know such power is not without dangers. It has generated some deeply oppressive settler communities, as it has produced reformers, liberationists, politicians, and peace-makers.

We all have to learn to read the Bible more critically. We have to become better attuned to the different voices within the biblical texts. Equally, we also need to be aware of the different kinds of uses to which the Bible may be put and to learn to discriminate among them.

Various approaches to the Bible, all have their tasks to enlighten us and to be critical in a positive faith minded way.

The historian of religion precisely by discerning different tendencies and influences in the texts may help us to be more aware of its complexity.

Patriarchal tendencies in Luke alerts us to the way that certain traditions have been marginalized in the Bible -and indeed in subsequent readings of the Bible -in ways which enable us to hear voices which we might otherwise have missed.

Some theologians imaginative use of different motifs may serve to inspire people to live through the toils of a church emerging from patriarchy and to discover forms of communal living which are more integrative, more human.

For the situation of the woman in the Church, you do not need to be a feminist in order to understand this, or experience such possibilities the Bible does offer...Yet, the reluctance of the church to give the women a greater voice, did leave for many women no other choice as to become biblical scholars themselves and show the inclusiveness of Scripture for women.

Readers are guided by the rules and interpretative practices of the communities they belong to, like forms of the Christian Canon.

IV. Christian Communities and the reading experiences of biblical texts

As readers of the Bible we are therefore rarely alone, we belong to communities which have been shaped by the text and which have in turn schooled our own moral senses. 

Thus a thoughtful reader is always engaged in a process of testing inherited moral senses against the texts, even at times against his/her own experience.

Still we ask, are there other senses among the readings which are possible form a particular perspective which will lead out of seeming impasses, which can bring renewal to traditions which are dying up or, worse, leading to oppression and self-deception?

Again, as long as we are able to learn to discriminate between the different voices in the texts, between different readings and constructions of the text/s, our moral and religious imagination and judgment is informed and sharpened.In a healthy way it helps to see the inherited values in their genesis and see them also critical. We do can say with experience that where such discriminating and attentive reading occurs, communal traditions will be nourished and kept alive; where they are absent or marginalized, the tradition will wither. And from time to time, there emerge moral and prophetic figures in whom ideas and images of the texts have taken deep roots, who may renew their inherited traditions or else generate new communities of their own...I do believe that our Church as a whole has this prophetic voice. 

The argument that a women can only have this Role is part of a thinking that hears only one voice, that of the man, and marginalizes without hearing the other voices in readings. Views of ancient times with set realities have been challenged, and we have come to terms with valid different interpretations.

Are we still making Scripture responsible to dictate a power control issue men over women, and see the women as being less equal in the body of Christ to man?

We have learned that she can equally share and offer spiritual gifts and use her vocation of holy ministry as it has been proven in many churches for a long time.

 Fortunately, we have so many women being teachers in the Catholic Church at universities, being Pastoral care takers in Parishes, being educators, etc. This would also again contradict St. Paul and some of his followers that a man cannot be thought by a women, etc...

When men and women gather at the table of the Eucharist, we shall not see it as much as a gender issue, or as merely the political "Cleric-model” who shall lead in an institutional way, because this is in the end not the important issue, but really the spiritual nurturing and the celebrating of communion with Christ being present in this Holy Sacrament in our midst, and with each other.

I deeply believe that at the last Supper there were women present, especially Mary, his mother, and others who were present in Jerusalem going with him all the way to Golgotha....

On a similar yet different note, to take it a little with humor, no one complains that Queen Elizabeth II would not be fit for her task and position, and being the head of the Anglican Church...

V. Then and now, women do have their place in ordained ministry 

We are an Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ, we are not just a copy of the Roman, or the Anglican, nor the Orthodox Churches, and we are not above them either, but we are part of,

The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. 

We are in a wider sense universal, called to see the whole spectrum, including the historicity of our older Churches experiences, and the common experience of God's people in the Church as living communities at the “aggiornamento“ (the dawn of a new day) of Blessed John XXIII.

Again, we shall not be afraid to see the spiritual equality of men and women as more evident, and that we distinguish between the political "cleric" that has a "political sugarcoating" of the past.

 We need to see the deeper meaning of vocation for both genders, and that the spiritual ordination as a permanent expression is the essence of Christ's discipleship!

 The heated discussions over the words of Paul and some of his followers who saw it in their inherited view as this is the only way, and subsequently some of the early church teaching, i.e. the women has no other "role" as to be quiet in church, etc. is a model of a more bias construct of a "male-biblical-ideology" and is a marginalizing attitude...

Again, this has been revisited and interpreted anew by great theologians (including Hans Kung, John Wijngaards, and many others…), in the given historical, socio-economical context, etc.

It would be hard to believe that anyone could say that the Holy Spirit spoke to Paul "expressis verbis" about the women in the church that she only can be that way and no other...

If this would have been the only way for a woman, like Paul and his fellow colleague Timothy saw it so absolutist, then we would have been instructed by Christ's authority himself in a direct way in the NT-Gospels who in his "ipsissima verba Christi" would have for that matter stated no women shall be in his order to make this a binding dogmatic statement. He did not. Let me go back to the beginning of this letter that there are liberating experiences within the Bible for women as we discover so much of a maleness over the femaleness in readings, and how we can overcome a patriarchal dominance by looking at the “wholeness of all” as the central vision of Jesus

As we share greater awareness of the oppressiveness of many of the biblical narratives, which show how women were treated there, like in the book of Judges 11, Jephthah is vowing to God that he will sacrifice the first person that meets coming out of his house after his forthcoming battle (will succeed)…and it makes no difference that it is his own daughter, just to keep his vow. Many of these examples are present in the Bible. We need to see these examples in order to find a consciousness-raising exercise in order to find alternatives to patriarchy.

Where are the positive resources for it?

I would like to share with you two different complementary biblical scholars who approach it thoroughly. One I met in person during my studies in Miami at a symposium, and with whom I had lunch, Professor Dr. Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, a NT scholar.

She has done immense studies to rewrite the history of early Christianity to demonstrate the importance of Jesus’ egalitarian attitude.

Jesus preaches the kingdom and that salvation is dawning. This salvation is symbolized in his meals, “It is the festive table-sharing at a wedding-feast, and not the askesis of the ‘holy man’, that characterizes Jesus and his movement…Not the holiness of the elect, but the wholeness of all is the central vision of Jesus.

” (Schussler-Fiorenza 1983, pp119)

Jesus invites all, women and men, prostitutes and Pharisees. Jesus’ vision is in opposition to patriarchy, he does not want to divide the united community, that one acts against the other…One key to this is Galatians 3:28

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

She also stresses the importance of the Gospel traditions that see discipleship away from the patriarchal family relationship in favor of the equal discipleship of those who “do the will of God”, “they are the ones who are to be called ‘my brother, and sister, and mother’” (Mark 3:35).

All title with the hierarchical distinctions are set aside, ”And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.” (Matthew 23:9-10). She does discover that the egalitarian ethos is present in the early Christian mission, women played a full role together with men.

There is also the experience that such traditions were contested, already in the NT itself. A tendency to suppress evidence of the role of the women in the earliest communities and of the growing patriarchalization of the community in the second and third generation.

Despite the clear evidence in the Gospel of ‘discipleship equals’ being part in key events, remaining at the cross, being primary witnesses to the Resurrection (John 20:11-18), 

Luke rather excludes women from the witnesses: the apostles alone see the risen Jesus, and so did Paul not make an attempt to explicit mention women.

Luke emphasizes the appearance to Peter, and this must have been “situated within the early Christian discussion of whether Peter or Mary Magdalene qualifies as the first resurrection witness.” 

(Schussler-Fiorenza 1993, p. 164)

The reconstruction of Christian origins is an ongoing attempt to see the obscured patriarchal tendencies within the NT itself and the subsequent historiography of the church. 

It is the critical reading and discovery driven by the struggle for women’s liberation from oppression . (Ibid 1983, p. 32)

The church that is represented in the NT is treated not as a timeless archetype of the ideal form of church life, but as a prototype “which is critically open to the possibility of its own transformation.” 


An other scholar of the Bibles is the Catholic Theologian Mary Grey from England, who sees the stories, images and metaphors as imaginative resources for the refashioning of the church’s traditions.

In her book, “Beyond the Dark Night”, she explores in the chapter of journeying the, “condensed symbol of exodus from oppression, wandering in the wilderness -while experiencing the presence of God in a way -and hoping for the Promised Land” (Grey, p. 48) For her using such symbols of “creative imaginations is a key tool in the journeying from alienated forms of Christian living”.

For Dr. Grey,

it is not about the exodus from the Church but to show that exodus symbols focusing on ‘alienated relationships’.

It is important to show that,

“Sacramental life which alienates large categories of believers from the table of the Eucharist is in danger of being alienated sacramental life…A theology of sexuality which condemns to the status of deviants…a large proportion of human beings is alienated sexually. Understandings of power, priesthood and authority which reduce the pilgrim people to disempowerment and passivity are alienated understandings”

(Grey p. 50)

She sees the contextualized biblical imagery and symbolism to find again wholeness and inclusion in contrast to the alienating forces in church and community that has harmed human relationships. The Bible is less the set of norms, but a resource that can shape people’s life experiences.


Liturgies for the installation of Deaconesses are identical to those for male Deacons.

Thurston, Herbert (1908). "Deaconesses"The Catholic EncyclopediaIV. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2007-06-23.Currently, the Roman Catholic Church does not ordain women to the diaconate, although Vatican statements have declined to state that this is not possible, as they have in the case of priestly ordination. The Russian Orthodox Church had a female diaconate into the 20th century. The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece restored a monastic female "diaconate" in 2004. The Armenian Church has a long history of deaconesses.

While women deacons had virtually disappeared by the ninth century, discussion of the restoration of women in the diaconate in Orthodoxy began in the latter half of the 20th century. Two books on the topic by Evangelos Theodorou, Heroines of Love: Deaconesses Through the Ages (1949) and The "Ordination" or "Appointment" of Deaconesses (1954), documented the sacramental ordination of women in the early church. His work was complemented in the Catholic Church by an article published by Cipriano Vagaggini, a Camaldolese monk, in Orientalia Christiana Periodica in 1974.

The most significant scholarship on the topic agrees that women were sacramentally orda

ined to the diaconate, inside the iconostasis at the altar, by bishops in the early church. Women deacons received the diaconal stole and Communion at their ordinations, which shared the same Pentecostal quality as the ordination of a bishop, priest or male deacon. Despite the decline of the order of deaconesses in the early Middle Ages, Orthodoxy never prohibited it. In 1907 a Russian Orthodox Church commission reported the presence of deaconesses in every Georgian parish; the popular 20th-century Orthodox saint Nektarios (1846-1920) ordained two women as deacons in 1911; and up to the 1950's a few Greek Orthodox nuns became monastic deac

onesses. In 1986 Christodoulos, then metropolitan of Demetrias and now archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, ordained a woman deacon according to the "ritual of St. Nektarios"-the ancient Byzantine text St. Nektarios used. Multiple inter-Orthodox conferences called for the restoration of the order, including the Interorthodox Symposium at Rhodes, Greece, in 1988, which plainly stated, "The apostolic order of deaconess should be revived." The symposium noted that "the revival of this ancient order should be envisaged on the basis of the ancient prototypes testified to in many sources and with the prayers found in the Apostolic Constitutions and the ancient Byzantine liturgical books."

Even the document on the diaconate issued by the Vatican's International Theological Commission in 2002 admits that "Canon 15 of the Council of Chalcedon (451) seems to confirm the fact that deaconesses really were 'ordained' by the imposition of hands (cheirotonia)." Despite the pejorative use of quotation marks here and elsewhere in the document when historical ordinations of women deacons are mentioned, this Vatican commission seems unwilling to deny the history to which the Church of Greece has now newly returned. Further, the Vatican document points out that the practice of ordaining women deacons according to the Byzantine liturgy lasted at least into the eighth century. It does not review Orthodox practice after 1054. The rejuvenation of the order of deaconess in the Church of Greece is expected to begin during the winter of 2004-5.

The contemporary ordination (cheirotonia) of women provides even more evidence and support for the restoration of the female diaconate in the Catholic Church, which has acknowledged the validity of Orthodox sacraments and orders. Despite the distinction in Canon 1024-"A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly"-one can presume the possibility of a derogation from the law, as suggested by the Canon Law Society of America in 1995, to allow for diaconal ordination of women. (The history of Canon 1024 is clearly one of attempts to restrict women from priesthood, not from the diaconate.) In fact, the Catholic Church has already indirectly acknowledged valid ordinations of women by the Armenian Apostolic Church, one of the churches of the East that ordains women deacons. There are two recent declarations of unity-agreements of mutual recognition of the validity of sacraments and of orders-between Rome and the Armenian Church, one signed by Paul VI and Catholicos Vasken I in 1970, another between John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin I in 1996.

These agreements are significant, for the Armenian Apostolic Church has retained the female diaconate into modern times. The Armenian Catholicossate of Cilicia has at least four ordained women. One, Sister Hrip'sime, who lives in Istanbul, is listed in the official church calendar published by the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey as follows: "Mother Hrip'sime Proto-deacon Sasunian, born in Soghukoluk, Antioch, in 1928; became a nun in 1953; Proto-deacon in 1984; Mother Superior in 1998. Member of the Kalfayian Order." Mother Hrip'sime has worked to restore the female diaconate as an active social ministry, and for many years was the general director of Bird' s Nest, a combined orphanage, school and social service center near Beiruit, Lebanon. Her diaconate, and that of the three other women deacons, is far from monastic. The future Catholic response to the documented past and the changing present promises to be interesting. The tone of the International Theological Commission document reveals an attempt to rule out women deacons, but the question is left remarkably open: "It pertains to the ministry of discernment which the Lord established in his church to pronounce authoritatively on this question."

It is becoming increasingly clear that despite the Catholic Church's unwillingness to say yes to the restoration of the female diaconate as an ordained ministry of the Roman Catholic Church, it cannot say no.

Prayer for the Ordination of a Woman Deacon, "O Eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of man and of woman, who replenished with the Spirit Miriam, and Deborah, and Anna, and Huldah; who did not disdain that your only-begotten Son should be born of a woman; who also in the tabernacle of the testimony, and in the temple, did ordain women to be keepers of your holy gates - look down now upon this your servant who is to be ordained to the office of a deaconess, and grant her your Holy Spirit, that she may worthily discharge the work which is committed to her to your glory, and the praise of your Christ, with whom glory and adoration be to you and the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen." -Apostolic Constitutions, No. 8 (late fourth century)

Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D. is the Aquinas Chair Professor of Catholic Studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, NY and Senior Research Associate-in-Residence at Hofstra Universty, Hempstead, NY. She is the author of Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church (Crossroad, 2000). America (, Vol. 192 No. 4, February 7, 2005. Copyright © 2005 by America Press, Inc.

Dear brothers and sisters,

I hope that the biblical critical approach to biblical study and readings will help to shed some light on our views of the women in the church and how interpretations are a sensitive task...

We are living in an ongoing struggle to discern those plenty elements in the Bible that provide resources in the search for renewing the church without giving up the essentials of salvation.

The issues of women ordination or optional celibacy are a vital part of the Christian community living toward wholeness.

We do see in the biblical tradition after all two different conceptions of the canon,

that the canon is still seen as normative, yet this needs to be first established by historical discernment of the truly binding elements within the texts. We can understand at the same time also more that the canonical authority of the Bible is first and foremost formative. We see the tools and imagery in the Bible which can both enslave and liberate. Discernment is and remains necessary: and yet for the sake toward our communities the test is practical rather than historical. 

After all, Jesus preached, healed, and showed and thought us the Love of God that is about the two commandments, the Love for God and the love for your neighbor…

“All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

(Matthew 22:40), and many followed him, among them were women who were also with him till the end under the cross when all the apostles left him but one, the younger John.

In all, let us always distinguish between what is the overall message of Christ Jesus toward mankind, and to see anew that a woman as ordained minister is equally able to serve God's people as men do. Let not false fear deter us to see all of us as one before God, the Almighty. I like, what one of our priests from Canada put it poignantly, “What we believe in? VS Who we believe in?”

We need to see what is the deeper message of Christ toward humanity, and cannot let a certain culture of gender bias, or domination one over the other, determine it. 

Again, women ordination to the diaconate will not take away from our salvation, yet the continuous oppression of women in the church will continue to shed a dark light on the Church that needs to live toward wholeness!

We therefore, in accordance with the unanimous voice of our worldwide church members who accept this decision,

solemnly declare that the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate is hereby re-instated as it was present during the history of the first 7 Ecumenical Councils in the East and the West.

In Heaven there will be no longer an “earthly” hierarchy co-existing to God, but all will live in the presence of God in eternal Praise, Peace and Glory.

Given this day, October 23rd, 

A. D. 2010

At our Holy See of the ECCC in Detroit 



With my prayers and benedictions

In Christ



Following texts: With permission of Ms. Joanna Dixon

The historical Mary Magdalene

The Gospels mention three women who played a role in Jesus’ life:
* Mary of Magdala, who was a disciple of Jesus, who was present at the crucifixion and who visited the empty tomb.
* Mary who lived in Bethany, sister of Lazarus and Martha. She listened to Jesus’ teaching and anointed his feet with ointment two days before his Passion.
* the repentant woman in Simon’s house (Lk 7,36-50).
Authors are divided on the question whether these women were, in fact, identical, with different strands of oral tradition retaining various aspects of the same woman disciple.
But Christian imagination took a firm line. In the course of time, perhaps under influence of Gregory the Great’s writings, the two Marys and the repentant woman were assumed to be one and the same person: St. Mary Magdalen. In later tradition, the three personalities simply became one.

Mary Magdalen and the Fathers of the Church

The Fathers of the Church presented Mary Magdalen as a model disciple and an important witness to the risen Lord.
We find her praised by Tertullian, Hippolitus, Origen, Dionysius, Pseudo-Clement, Ambrose, Augustine and Gregory the Great. Gregory of Antioch gave this as Jesus’ message to women: ‘Announce to my disciples the mysteries you have seen. Be the first teacher of the teachers. Peter who has denied me, must learn that I can also choose women to be my apostles.’

Read:* fragment from the Gospel according to Peter;
Mary meets Jesus by St. Augustine;
* summary by Esther de Boer.
* Leo the Great mentions Mary Magdalen in Sermon 74.

Mary Magdalen in the Middle Ages

It is especially in the Middle Ages that St Mary Magdalen functioned as a ‘counter-heroine’ amidst an oppressive male culture. She was admired
* as a woman who was the first witness of the resurrection;
* as a woman who had taught the apostles the truth when they went astray;
* as a woman who preached - when women were forbidden to preach;
* as a woman who defied male opposition.

Devotion to Mary soared. We find her on statues, paintings, friezes, altar panels and manuscript illustrations. Usually she is presented either as receiving her commission from Christ, as reading Scripture or as preaching to townsfolk. A twelfth-century Psalter of St. Albans in England shows her addressing the assembled apostles who respectfully listen to her, their heads bowed. She obviously functioned as an expression of people’s deep conviction that a woman could share the full priestly ministry.

Read the Life of Mary Magdalen in the 13th-century Legenda Aurea. This was a very influential text. See also The Conversion of blessed Mary Magdalene. The devotion to Mary Magdalen was also important to the Order of Dominicans, founded in the 13th century. Read Mary Magdalene - The Apostle of the Apostles and The Order of Preachers, by Guy Bedouelle, OP. Visit also the series of Picture Meditations on Mary Magdalen.


Is it possible to go beyond the accounts about Mary Magdalene in the New Testament Gospels and envision her as a historical person? Most scholars are convinced that historically virtually nothing can be known of Mary Magdalene. One of the difficulties to be encountered is the perplexing diversity of early representations of her. This article focuses on the question why the accounts of Mary Magdalene vary so much, examines their historical setting and argues that through this process it is possible to sketch the contours of a historical Mary Magdalene.(1) Mary Magdalene, historical reconstruction, women, early Christianity



Exactly here the discussion starts with those who object to the possibility of a historical reconstruction of Mary Magdalene, since these earliest testimonies about her role are seen as unhistorical literary inventions.(4) The fact that the New Testament accounts of Mary Magdalene are interwoven with the narrative of the empty tomb of Jesus makes her role historically untrustworthy, because the empty tomb tradition would be a later one to symbolize belief in Jesus’ bodily resurrection. First there would have been the testimonies of appearances of Jesus like those mentioned by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15.1-11), in which he does not refer to an appearance to Mary Magdalene. The early narratives about Mary Magdalene’s role in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, which tell very little about her, would have provoked other narratives like the Gospel of Mary which fill in the spaces and are thus labelled unhistorical too.

In this line of argument the search for a historical Mary Magdalene can be very short and only one conclusion is to be drawn: nothing can be said of Mary Magdalene historically. She is and remains a literary figure. This view is strengthened by the fact that the representations of Mary Magdalene in the early texts are very different.

But why would Mark invent a story about Mary Magdalene if there was a story about an appearance to Peter or James, as Paul suggests? Perhaps, this is the case because Peter and the twelve disciples as a whole are criticized in Mark. But in Matthew Peter in particular is held in high regard. Why should Matthew embroider Mark’s invented story and moreover even make the risen Lord appear to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when a comparable story about Peter was going the rounds? Instead of inventing their accounts, it is far more probable that Mark and Matthew are picking from a broad stream of oral and written tradition before them and mention those people who are important figures in the environment and tradition from which their Gospels originated. The fact that Paul does not mention an empty tomb or Mary Magdalene does not mean that there would not have been such narratives already in his life time. Even so does Paul’s silence about the earthly life of Jesus not mean that accounts about Jesus’ life did not already circulate. They are simply not important to Paul’s arguing in the situations his letters speak about.

That believers picked and chose their own apostolic leaders is already clear from Paul himself when he speaks of various divisions and leaders (1 Cor. 1.10-13). The second century pagan philosopher Celsus is the only early author from whom a text is preserved that seems to mention followers of Mary Magdalene. Celsus in his True Doctrine ridicules the great differences in belief among Christians and their appeal to various leaders (Against Celsus 5.62). In contrast to Paul, who refers to followers of respectable Jewish men like Apollos, Peter, and Paul himself (1 Cor. 1.10-13), Celsus mentions Marcion and Simon, both notorious for their ideas contrary to Jewish belief, as well as groups claiming to follow certain women, among them Salome, Mariamme and Martha. This suggests that Celsus knew of Christians, who applied to women leaders. Mariamme, who in other texts often is Mary Magdalene,(5) here, situated between Salome and Martha, could be Mary Magdalene too perhaps already assimilated to Mary the sister of Martha.(6)

Origen, reacting to Celsus’ claim, indignantly rejects the existence of such groups and insists, after pompously emphasizing his great knowledge that he never heard of them. This does not mean that they did not exist, since Origen was as vigorously opposed to women leadership as Celsus.(7) In this particular case Origen’s knowledge might have been somewhat limited. It would have been almost impossible for him to acknowledge that women, known from the Gospels as pious and faithful, in his view would have disobeyed Scriptural law by having authority over men.

If then it is not that incredible to think of Mary Magdalene as a historical figure there still remains the fact that early texts present quite a confusing picture of her. To be sure, Mary Magdalene is portrayed as a witness of the crucifixion, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus. But already the earliest texts differ in their accounts about what exactly it is that she is a witness of(8) and whether that would be important.(9) In addition, according to some texts she has kept silent about her experiences, but in other texts she tells about them.(10) She reminds the disciples of what Jesus said to all of them earlier or brings a new message which was revealed to her alone.(11) After that, she either withdraws and nobody hears of her any more or she sets out to preach the gospel and to found Christian communities.(12) The character of her gospel is either Gnostic or it is more orthodox and ascetic, so that girls remain virgins as a result of her teaching and married women leave their spouses.(13) Or, it is about the new identity of the disciples after the ascension of the Lord and of their way upwards to the Divine without any special emphasis on asceticism or Gnostic belief.(14)

Is there a way to argue from these contrasting early images of Mary Magdalene to the contours of a historical figure? Before this question can be answered first another question must be posed. Why are the early texts so different in their presentation of Mary Magdalene? Several texts explicitly demonstrate that the perception of the authority of women over men determines how Mary Magdalene is seen.(15) The study of the early discussion about this theme helps to detect something of the historical background of the different images of Mary Magdalene and of the debate involved.

The historical setting of the various representations of Mary Magdalene

Already from the Deutero-Pauline tradition in the middle of the first century it is apparent that the opinion is held that Christian women should not have authority over men. On the contrary, they should be ready to serve, to be silent and to be obedient.(16) At the end of the first century the Pauline letters begin to belong to sacred Scripture and the Deutero- Pauline view on the behaviour of women becomes a divine commandment. In the next centuries the opinion that women should be silent is repeated over and over again.(17) According to ‘orthodoxy’ women are not allowed to teach, to baptise, to write books in their own names, nor hold positions of prophets, elders or bishops, because they are women. Women may not undertake anything in which they would appear to hold authority over men. Whoever behaves differently clearly does not have the ‘right’ faith.(18) Active women are thus reduced to silence. Not because they say unholy things but simply because they are active and not male.(19)

In this developing milieu it is not surprising that the first ending of the Gospel of Mark presents a Mary Magdalene who remains silent instead of a Mary Magdalene who confidently proclaims the resurrection of the Lord as she was told to do.(20) In addition, it is not surprising that the Gospel of Matthew distinguishes between Mary Magdalene’s proclamation to the apostles and the proclamation of the apostles to the masses.(21) The Gospel of Luke is also at home in this milieu with its picture of Mary Magdalene belonging to a large group of women who are not even given the command to preach the gospel.(22) As in the Gospel of Peter, also according to Luke it is no longer Mary Magdalene who is the first witness. In Luke, Peter replaces her as the first witness of the resurrection as he replaces Mary Magdalene as an apostle in later versions of the Acts of Philip.(23) Ambrose of Milan even emphasizes that his representation of Mary Magdalene’s role is based on the (Deutero-) Pauline texts which say that women should be silent, as does the orthodox writing The Apostolic Constitutions.(24)

However, the Christian discussion on women having authority over men first of all gives the impression that women had quite an active part in the growth of the early church. And indeed, as the letters from Paul already suggest, also later texts testify to the fact that women taught, preached the gospel, baptised and wrote letters and books.(25) They were deacons, prophets, elders, and bishops.(26) They were learned women who explained and applied Scripture in the face of less learned brothers who had more important functions in the church.(27) From the texts it appears that this was not only true for heterodox circles like the Montanists and then maybe more especially in the area of Phrygia, where the movement of the ‘New Prophecy’ began with the revelation of Priscilla. No, Origen of Alexandria also knew of women who said holy things and people who held that Paul allowed unmarried women to speak in the assembly. Tertullian from Carthage in his own circle knew women who baptised and gave instructions, appealing to the Acts of Paul and the example of Thecla. And within the orthodox Church Jerome of Rome praised Marcella’s learning and her teaching of men. (28) Thus, not only in Asia Minor but also in Egypt, Africa and in the heart of the Roman Empire women appear to have been active, both in heterodox Montanist as in more orthodox circles. The choice to silence women is a reaction to the historical reality in which women choose to speak. Not only women from heterodox, but also from orthodox circles, not only in a far corner of the Roman Empire, but in several important regions.

Against the background of the situation that women had active roles in the development of the early church, the suggestion in the earliest account about Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Mark that she was one of the core disciples,(29) a key witness,(30) and in the end the first to bring the news of the resurrection of Jesus and thus an example to the readers to overcome their own fear, to break their silence and do the same,(31) sounds historically plausible. The later representation of Mary Magdalene in the Acts of Philip as a woman apostle, who bears witness of the words of Jesus, explains them, preaches and baptises, fits in with this historical plausibility.(32) From this perspective it is also credible that Mary Magdalene could have had disciples of her own who wrote down her testimonies, as the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of John suggest.(33)

This is confirmed by the texts that describe Mary Magdalene’s active role as disciple and apostle as well as the masculine attack on this and the ambiguity about it, which is clear from the gospels of Thomas and Mary, from Pistis Sophia and also from the Acts of Philip.(34) In these texts the Lord himself is shown as the person who has made Mary Magdalene worthy to play her active role. This is the general line of argument of those who defend Mary’s active role. The church father Hippolytus, too, emphasizes that Christ himself sent Mary as an apostle and also his later colleagues Ambrose and Augustine explain the role of Mary Magdalene from a special vocation of the Lord himself.(35)

To summarize this part, not only is the choice to silence women a reaction to the historical reality in which women choose to speak. But from these different choices and the conflict between them we can explain the variety of early-Christian representations of Mary Magdalene.

The reasons behind the choice to silence women

What is at stake in this conflict? Why were women not allowed to have authority over men? The early Christian authors who answered this question share that they refer to Scripture, to the creation narrative in Genesis in which Eve leads Adam astray, to the modest behaviour of Mary the mother of Jesus and other women, and to Pauline texts.(36) However, those who defend the freedom of speech of women appeal to Scripture too. For Paul himself the creation story functions as a means of indicating the equality of men and women (1 Cor. 11.11-12). The Montanists appeal to the knowledge of Eve and other women from Scripture, and to Paul when they explain why they admit women to be prophetesses, elders and bishops.(37) The church order The Instructions of the Apostles suggests a discussion in which certain others appeal to Mary Magdalene and other women disciples in order to defend the right of women to give teaching.(38) Jerome uses Scripture to encourage women not to experience their femininity as a hindrance. He refers to a number of outstanding women in Scripture, including Mary Magdalene and the other female followers of Jesus.(39) Jerome also praises Marcella, because, while teaching men, by her modest attitude she spares their feelings, since she emphasizes that she is teaching as a pupil and thus respects the prohibition against women instructing men.(40)

The question precisely which books belong to Scripture also plays a role in the appeal to Scripture. Didymus the Blind points out that no biblical writings are attributed to a woman. Rightly, he says, for according to ‘right doctrine’ women may not have authority over men and thus may not write books under their own name.(41) Tertullian refers to the Acts of Paul and Thecla as untrustworthy, because in it Paul allows a woman to teach and baptize and be an apostle, whereas in his letters he says that he does not allow women to do so.(42) In as late as the twelfth century Theophanes Kerameus still uses that argument in the opposite way. He explicitly refers to the example of Thecla to show that Paul did allow women to teach, and labels the thought that Mary Magdalene obeyed Paul’s so-called rule that women were not permitted to teach by refraining from evangelizing ‘not as honest opinions but as fabrications of childish souls’.(43)

Thus the appeal to Scripture is not an objective matter. Before that the choice is made which standpoint Scripture must defend. It is not Scripture that determines whether women must keep silent. The choice whether women should be silent or not has already been made before the appeal to Scripture.

What is behind this choice? The early Christian texts show that the choice against the freedom of speech of women was not made on a clear set of well-considered arguments; instead sentiments played a decisive role.

There is a sense of superiority. Women are associated with the body and men with spirit. The ultimate consequence of this idea is expressed by Peter in the Gospel of Thomas: ‘Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life.’ (logion 114). Likewise the Deutero-Pauline letter to the Ephesians tells male readers to love their women as their own bodies, but women may not love their men as their own bodies, far from it, they must acknowledge the authority of their men in every respect as the authority of Christ himself.(44)

Men have greater knowledge than women. Andrew points out to his brothers in the Gospel of Mary that Mary’s words seem to differ from what the men already knew.(45) It is impossible that a new thing could derive from a woman.

Men are more important than women. Jerome argues that Jesus’ positive attitude towards women is an example of his humility.(46)

Men are stronger than women. Ambrose points to the stamina and the bodily force of men to explain that evangelization is a command for them and not for women.(47)

As well as the sense of superiority there is the sense of rivalry. In the Gospel of Mary Peter says:

After all, he did not speak with a woman apart from us and not openly.
Are we to turn and all listen to her?
Has he chosen her above us? (GosMar 17:18-22)

And Origen speaks his mind when he says:

For women can be excellent teachers,
but not so that men should sit at women’s feet and listen
as if men who serve the word of God do not count. (Commentary on 1Cor. 14:34-35)

In the Instructions of the Apostles we hear the rivalry of the apostles against the women who have told them about the Resurrection. Later women must not think that they therefore are allowed to teach:

For the Lord, our God, our teacher Jesus Christ, has sent us, the twelve, to teach peoples and pagans. Amongst us there were women disciples, Mary Magdalene and Mary of James and the other Mary, but he did not send them to teach the people. For, if it were necessary for women to teach, the Master himself would have instructed them to teach together with us. (Instructions of the Apostles 3:6) ``

The rivalry is also expressed in the Gospel of Philip when the disciples ask Jesus about Mary: “Why do you love her more than all of us?” (GosPhil 64.1-2) And in Pistis Sophia Peter says:

My Lord, we are not able to suffer this woman, who takes the opportunity from us and does not allow any one of us to speak, while she is speaking all the time. (PS 36)

As well as the senses of superiority and rivalry, feelings of a sexual kind also play a role. In the Acts of Philip Mary Magdalene is seen as a prostitute because she travels and works with men who are not of her family, although sexual continence is part of her teaching and on Christ’s advice she goes clothed as a man.(48) In the same writing Philip relates that Peter flees every house in which there is a woman because of the Lord’s words: ‘Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart’ (Mt.5.28). Moreover Peter has prayed to God to make his daughter paralyzed so that through her paralysis she may no longer be an object of desire.(49) Pseudo-Clement warns men not to live unmarried with women and allow themselves to be served by them. Otherwise men put their self-control too much to the test.(50) According to Gregory of Antioch the nameless sinner from Luke is a prostitute and according to Gregory the Great Mary Magdalene burns with passion.(51)

These feelings of men about women of a sexual nature, of rivalry and superiority, produce a sense of shame in the men who see women as their equals or more than their equals, shame not towards women but towards other men. Jerome expresses this feeling when he speaks of the ignorance of men in interpreting Scripture. He then says: ‘Yet others – I am ashamed to say it – learn from women what they have to teach to men’ (Letter 53.7). And when Jerome praises Marcella in his obituary of her he is aware of the scorn of other men that he is provoking with it.(52)

When the early texts are talking about the choice of men not to regard women as equals in the building up of the church, they mention the sentiments of superiority, rivalry, sexuality and shame instead of balanced arguments These sentiments led to the appropriate appeal to Scripture and determined which books began to belong to Scripture; they also determined the picture that was painted of Mary Magdalene.


It is commonly taken for granted that virtually nothing can be said about Mary Magdalene as a historical person and to explain all the views of her in church history as mythic representations of the culture and wishes of the time. I want to argue instead that it is possible to detect the contours of the historical figure, when one reads the various representations of her in early Christian texts against the historical background of the active part women played in the early development of the church and the fury ignited by this in a culture in which women were not to have authority over men.

Because the theme of authority of men over women did not arise from any definite time in the first century of Christianity or later, but rather already belonged to the culture in which Mary Magdalene and Christianity were born, it is not possible simply to assume that the oldest sources which tell something about her paint the most reliable picture of her. On the contrary, I want to suggest that it is likeliest that those representations of Mary Magdalene that seem to be defined by this theme are furthest from historical truth, even when they occur in the oldest texts.

If we take this criterion as a starting point it is more likely to assume that Mary Magdalene was important as a witness than that she would not have been. It is more likely that she belonged to the core team of disciples that to a large group of women. It is more likely that she has spoken about her experiences than that she would have kept silent. It is more likely that she told something new than that she affirmed what the eleven knew already. It is more likely that she set out to preach the gospel than that she withdrew. It is more likely that she preached a fresh gospel, than that she defended certain existing teachings like the Gnostic and ascetic ones.

On the basis of these considerations I want to argue that it is historically plausible that Mary Magdalene became a disciple of Jesus, at an early stage, when he had only just appeared with his teaching and his preaching as Marks suggests (Mk 15.40-41).(53) From the beginning to the end she was a witness to his ways with people. She witnessed his crucifixion, as well as his burial, and after a few days, to her bewilderment, she received a revelation. ‘I have seen the Lord,’ she later related, ‘and this is what he told me.’ (Jn 20.18; GosMar 10.7-11).

She first approached her fellow disciples and then went away, perhaps to Syria and Asia Minor as the Acts of Philip relate and the Gospels of John and Mary seem to affirm, to tell others about her experiences with Jesus. She encountered resistance, not only because of her message, but also because she was a woman. Nevertheless, what she taught was handed on and written down. Unfortunately we cannot get closer to the content of her teaching than the Gospels of John and Mary. They suggest that she told of life, despite death and the constant threat of suffering. She told of the new identity of the disciples, the inner presence of the Son of Man, of the Human One, and of the lifestyle which belongs to that insight. She comforted and encouraged people to seek and follow the Human One and to go from darkness to light, from death to life and from confusion to stability. And above all, she bore witness to the joy which accompanies the soul on this journey, whatever happens. The Gospels of John and Mary also suggest that there may have been communities based on Mary’s teaching.

No diary or early biography of Mary Magdalene has been preserved. There are only the early Christian fragments about her which diverge so much in their images of her. But when one reads them patiently and in their context, one is rewarded with an insight into an intriguing discussion about the role of women in rising Christendom. And exactly this early discussion enables one to see the contours of a historically plausible picture behind the various images of Mary Magdalene.



(1) This article is based on a comparison of early Christian images of Mary Magdalene (canonical, apocryphal, gnostic and patristic) until the end of the sixth century, when through the sermons of Gregory the Great one image of Mary Magdalene, the reformed prostitute, becomes the predominant one. For the translation and explanation of early Christian texts about her, see my book

De geliefde discipel. Vroegchristelijke teksten over Maria Magdalena

. Zoetermeer: Meinema 2006. Translation in English by John Bowden:

The Mary Magdalene Cover-Up. The Sources behind the Myth

. London/New York : T and T Clark (Continuum imprint), 2007. The greater part of this article was presented as a lecture in the Christian Apocrypha Session at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2006 in Washington.(2) For a recent discussion about the images of Mary Magdalene, see R. Burnet

 Marie-Madeleine (I-XXI siècle): De la pécheresse repenti à 1’épouse de Jésus. Histoire de la réception d'une figure biblique, Paris: Editions du Cerf, 2004. In Burnets view nothing can be said of Mary Magdalene historically and the most inspiring and timeless image of her must be held in esteem. According to him this is the classical portrait of the reformed prostitute, although he admits that this representation is based on a medieval mixture of several biblical women. (3)

(4) A nice example of such a debate is the article of S. Heine, ‘Eine Person von Rang und Namen. Historische Kontouren der Magdalenerin.’ In: D.A. Koch, G. Sellin, A. Lindemann (eds)

. Jesu Rede von Gott und ihre Nachgeschichte im frühen Christentum. Festschrift für Willi Marxsen

. Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1989, 179-195, in which Heine discusses the contrary views of L. Schottroff and W. Marxsen. For a survey and evaluation of problems and different solutions defended by several modern scholars (F. Bovon, R.M. Price, A. Marjanen, K.L. King and J.D. Crossan) see the thorough and detailed work of J. Schaberg.

The Resurrection of Mary Magdalen. Legends, Apocrypha, and the Christian Testament. Sheffield: Continuum Press, 2002, 204-253.

(5) See for instance the Gospel of Mary and Pistis Sophia. ‘The mother of Jesus or the Magdalene? The identity of Mary in the So-Called Gnostic Christian Texts’, 33-34. In: F. Stanley Jones (ed.).

Which Mary? The Marys of Early Christian Tradition. Symposium Series 19.

Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature 2002, p.31-42.

(6) As seems to be the case with the Mariamne in the Acts of Philip (ActsPhil 8.2). See also F. Bovon F. Bovon, ‘Mary Magdalene in the Acts of Philip’, 79-80 and 82 note 33. In: F. Stanley Jones Jones (ed.).

Which Mary? The Marys of Early Christian Tradition (Symposium Series 19).

 Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002, p.75-90.

(7) Origen, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14.35-36. For Celsus’ view on women see M.Y MacDonald,

Early Christian Women and Pagan Opinion. The power of the hysterical woman,

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1996, 102-120.

(8) She is a witness of a man in white and his words about Jesus in the Gospels of Mark (Mk 16.5-7) and Peter (GosPet 55-56) and in the Gospel of Luke, where she sees two men in shining garments (Lk. 24.4-7). In the Gospels of Matthew and John, the second ending of Mark and the Epistle of the Apostles she is a witness of the risen Jesus and his words (Mt. 28.9-10; Jn 20.14-17; EpAp 10; Mk. 16.9). Before that, in Matthew, she first sees and hears one angel (Mt. 28.2) and, in John two angels (Jn 20.12). In Mary she tells that she has seen the Lord in a vision and has spoken with him about this phenomenon (GosMar 10).

(9) Mary Magdalene’s witness that Jesus lives is not necessary in the narratives of Matthew, Luke, Peter, the second ending of Mark and the Epistle to the Apostles, because there are other witnesses next to her and/or Jesus appears to the other disciples himself. Her witness is necessary in the narratives in the first ending of Mark, in John and in Mary. In Mark she is the only one who witnesses and the crucifixion, and the burial and the message at the empty tomb (Mk 15.40-41.47; 16.1; she is one of four instead of three women). In John she is the only one who receives Jesus’ message about his disciples now being his brothers and sisters (Jn 20.17; cf. 15.14-15). In Mary she is the only one who knows who the real adversaries are: not the still unbelieving people as the disciples think, but the powers darkness, desire, ignorance and wrath that try to keep people (including the disciples themselves) away from God (GosMar 15.1-17.7; cf. 9.6-12).

(10) She keeps silent in the first ending of Mark and in Peter (Mk 16.8; GosPet 57). She is said to have spoken, but is not described as speaking in Matthew and Luke and the Epistle to the Apostles (Mt. 28.8-11; Lk.. 24.9-10; EpAp 10). She is described as speaking in John and Mary (Jn 20.18; GosMar 9.13-20; 10.7-23; 15.1-17.7).

(11) In Mark and Matthew she is told to repeat what Jesus said to all the disciples before his death (Mk 16.6-7 cf. 14.28 and Mt. 28.7,10 cf. Mt. 26.32). She is not asked to deliver a certain message to the others in Luke and Peter, but in Luke she remembers Jesus’ teaching and decides to repeat the words of the two men about Jesus, which are quotes of what Jesus said before his death, to the disciples (GosPet 55-56; Lk.. 24.8-10 cf. 9.18-21). In John she brings a new message, which is only entrusted to her (Jn 20.17 cf. 15.14-15). In Mary Peter asks her to tell what she knows and the others do not, which she accordingly does (GosMar 10.4-8).

(12) She vanishes in Mark, Matthew, Luke, John and Peter and the Epistle of the Apostles. Implicitly John suggests that her message is important to the Johannine community (Jn 20.17 cf. 1.12). In GosMar17.8 the author emphasizes the fact that Mary’s words derive directly from the Saviour, and in the narrative her teaching is in answer to the deep fear of the disciples to preach the gospel. In the Acts of Philip she is described as apostle in the company of Philip and Bartholomew (ActPhil 8.16, 21; 13.1-2,4) and as travelling, baptizing, and preaching (ActPhilMart 2; ActPhilMart 3 and 9-10 in Vaticanus Graecus 808).

(13) In Pistis Sophia her teaching is Gnostic and in the Acts of Philip ascetic.

(14) See for an argumentation for a non-Gnostic interpretation of the Gospel of Mary, E.A. de Boer.

The Gospel of Mary: Beyond a Gnostic and a Biblical Mary Magdalene (JSNTS 260): London/New York: T&T Clark (imprint Continuum), 2004, 30-55 and idem ‘A Gnostic Mary in the Gospel of Mary?’ In: M. Immerzeel, J. van der Vliet (eds.).

Coptic Studies on the Threshold of a New Millennium. Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Coptic Studies Leiden 27 August – 2 September 2000 (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 133). Leuven / Paris / Dudley, MA: Peeters, 2004, 695-708.

(15) For instance the GosThom logion 114; GosMar 17.15-22; PS 72; Ambrose, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 10:165; Apostolic Constitutions 3 6.1-2.

(16)Col. 3.18; Eph. 5.22-24; and later 1 Tim. 2.12; Tit. 2.3-4 ;1 Cor. 14.34-35 (taken as a deutero Pauline insertion).

(17) Origen, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14.35-36; Tertullian, On Baptism 17.1-5; Didymus, On the Trinity 3 41.3; Epiphanius, Medicine Chest 49.1-3.

(18) See note 16 and Tertullian. On the Veiling of Virgins 9.1 and also the Dialogue between a Montanist and an Orthodox.

(19) See for instance Origen, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14.35-36.

(20) Mk 16.7-8.

(21) Mt. 28.7, 16-20.

(22) Luke 8.1-3; 23.55-56; 24.1-7.

(23) Luke 24.12.34; for the later versions of the Acts of Philip see A. Brock.

Mary Magdalene the First Apostle: the Struggle for Authority (Harvard Theological Studies 51). Cambridge, Masachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2003, 127-129.

(24) Ambrose, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 10:165; Apostolic Constitutions 3 6.1-2.

(25) Romans 16.1-16 and 1 Corinthians 11.5. For teaching and preaching women see Origen note 13. For baptizing women see Tertullian note 13. Women who wrote letters were for instance Marcella and Paula, which are mentioned in Jerome’s letters to them. Books were written by for instance Prisca and Maximilla, see the Dialogue between a Montanist and an Orthodox. See also the writings of Perpetua, Egeria, Proba and Eudokia in P. Wilson-Kastner, G. Ronald Kastner, et al.

 A Lost Tradition: Women Writers of the Early Church. Washington D.C.: University Press of America, 1981. For a history on early Christian women activities mentioned in early writings, see A. Jensen,

Gottes selbstbewusste Töchter. Frauenemanzipation im frühen Christentum? 

Freiburg, Basel, Wien: Herder Verlag, 1992. See also U. E. Eisen.

Amtsträgerinnen im frühen Christentum. Epigraphische und literarische Studien (Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte 61). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996.

(26) See for instance Instructions of the Apostles 3.12-13 and Epiphanius, Medicine Chest 49.1-3. See also note 24.

(27) See Marcella in Jerome’s necrology about her in his letter to Principia, 127.7. See also Macrina in Gregory of Nissa’s

Life of Macrina and On the Soul and the Resurrection.

(28) See Origen, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14.35-36; Tertullian, On Baptism 17.1-5; Jerome Letter 127.7.

(29) She used to follow and serve him already in Galilee (Mk 15.40-41). These verbs denote the activities of a disciple, see K. Rengstorf, ‘Didaskoo’ in ThDNT II, 153-154, especially note 40 and ‘Manthanoo’ in: ThDNT IV, 434-435. See also H.L. Strack, P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch IMünchen, 1965, 527-529; W.D. Davies,

 The Setting of the Sermon on the Mount. Cambridge: University Press, 1964, 422-425 en 455-456, as well as M. Jastrow,

 A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature, New York: The Judaic Press, 1982, 1601-1602 and J.N. Collins, Diakonia. Re-interpreting Ancient Sources

, New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990, 60. The four women disciples in Mk 15.40-41 (Mary Magdalene, Mary of James, Mary the mother of Joses and Salome) reflect the four named male disciples at the beginning (Simon, Andrew, James and John, Mk 1,16-20). For the historical probability of women disciples, see E.A. de Boer, "Discipleship of equals and historical 'reality'." In: K. Biezeveld and others (eds.) Proeven van Vrouwenstudies Theologie, deel VI. (IIMO Research Publication 53).  Zoetermeer: Meinema, 2000, 99-122.

(30) Mary Magdalene is named first and is, in the case of four women in Mk 15.40-41, although Mark portrays Mary Magdalene in the company of different women, the only one who witnesses and the crucifixion, and the burial and the revelation of his resurrection and the tomb being empty (Mk 15.40-41,47; 16.1). These three ingredients form the earliest creed Paul received: that Jesus died, was buried and raised (1 Cor 15.3-4).

(31) L. Schottroff, ‘Maria Magdalena und die Frauen am Grabe Jesu’, Evangelische Theologie 42 (1982), 3-25 also published in: L. Schottroff.

 Befreiungserfahrungen. Studien zur Sozialgeschichte des frühen Christentums. München: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1990, 134-159. See also J.D. Hester, ‘Dramatic Inconclusion: Irony and the Narrative Rhetoric of the Ending of Mark, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 57 (1995), 61-86.

(32) See note 11 and

F. Bovon, ‘Mary Magdalene in the Acts of Philip.’In: F. Stanley Jones Jones (ed.).

Which Mary? The Marys of Early Christian Tradition (Symposium Series 19)Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002, p.75-90.

(33) See the author’s reference to Jn 20.17 in the formulation of the core belief of the Johannine community in Jn 1.12. See in GosMar the author’s conclusion that Mary’s teaching is reliable (GosMar 17.8) and the fact that in the flow of the narrative her teaching on the powers is important in answer to the fear of the disciples to preach the gospel. De Boer, Gospel of Mary, 64-65, 96-98, 174-176.

(34) In GosThom 114, GosMar 17.10-22 and PS 36, 72 the attack comes from her fellow disciples, namely from Peter and Andrew. In ActPhilMart 19 the Roman officials attack her.

(35) GosThom 114; GosMar 18.6-16; PS 36, 72; ActPhilMart 20 and ActPhil 8.1-3. See also Hippolytus, Commentary on the Song of Songs 25.6; Ambrose, On the Trinity 3 11.74; Augustin, Sermon 232.2.

(36) 1 Tim. 2.12-14 appeals to Gen. 3.26. Origen in his Commentary on the Letter to the Romans 10.20 appeals to 1 Tim. 5.10; Tit. 2.3-4. Didymus the Blind in his On the Trinity 3 41.3 appeals to Lk. 1.48; 1 Tim. 2.12-14 Epiphanius in his Medicine Chest 49.1-3 appeals to Gen. 3.26; 1 Tim. 12-14; 1 Cor. 11.8.

(37) The montanist in The Dialogue between a Montanist and an Orthodox appeals to Acts 21.9; Ex. 15-20; Judg. 4.1; 1 Cor.11.5. This writing also shows that the interpretation of 1 Cor. 11.5 is discussed. The orthodox defends a symbolic meaning (women are not allowed to write books in their own name), the montanist argue for a literal interpretation (women are allowed to prophesy). According to Epiphanius the Montanists appeal to Gen. 3.6; Ex. 15.20; Acts 21.9; Gal. 3.8.

(38) Instruction of the Apostles 3.5-6.

(39) Jerome, To Principia, Letter 65. See S. Letsch-Brunner,

Marcella, Discipula et Magistra. Auf den Spuren einer Römischen Christin des 4. Jahrhunderts, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 91, Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter 1998, 202-204.

(40) 1 Tim. 2.12 in Jerome, To Principia, Letter 127.7.

(41) Didymus the Blind. On the Trinity 3 41.3.

(42) Tertullian, On Baptism 17.5.

(43) Theophanes Kerameus , Sermon 31.

(44) Eph. 5.21-33.

(45) GosMar 17.10-15.

(46) Jerome, To Antony. Letter 12.

(47) Ambrose, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 10.157.

(48) ActPhilMart 3 and 19 and ActPhil 8.4.

(49) ActPhil 36. See also ActPet 130-135 in the Berlin Codex (Papyrus Berolinensis 8502).

(50) Pseudo Clement, Two Letters on Virginity 2.15.

(51) Gregory of Antioch, Discourse on the Anointers 10; Gregory the Great, Sermon 25.10.

(52) Jerome, To Principia. Letter 127.5.

(53) See note 28.

Women Deaconesses in Historical Records

Literary sources have left us ample records of deaconesses in different parts of the Byzantine Empire. Constantinople's main cathedral, the Hagia Sophia, counted among its clergy 6o priests, 100 male deacons and 40 deaconesses (Justinian, Novella 3.1)

For a full list of deacons from the early church see here records

Here are some deaconesses we know by name, often because of their connections with Church leaders. They represent thousands whose names remain hidden, like those of the ordinary priests and deacons.

  • Olympias in Constantinople, ordained by Bishop Nektarios, friend of St. Gregory of Nazianze and later of St. John Chrysostom whom she greatly helped during his conflict with the Emperor and exile. Died in 418 AD.

  • ‘Anonyma’ about whom we know that she ministered in Antioch during the persecution of Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD).

  • Procula and Pentadia, two deaconesses to whom St. Chrysostom wrote letters.

  • Salvina whom St. Jerome knew and who later became a deaconess in Constantinople.

  • The deaconess Anastasia whom Severus, Bishop of Antioch, mentions in his letters.

  • The deaconess Macrina, sister of St. Basil the Great, and her friend and deaconess Lampadia.

  • The deaconess Theosebia, wife of St. Gregory of Nissa.

The names of some deaconesses have also been preserved on tomb stones. At least 28 have been identified. Here are some typical examples:

Tomb stone of Sophia

Sophia of Jerusalem (4th cent. AD?). The Greek inscription reads: “Here lies the servant and virgin of Christ, the deacon [!], the second Phoebe [Rom 16,1], who passed away in peace on the 21st day of March . . . May the Lord God . . .” (Revue biblique, New 1 (1904) pp. 260-262).

Theodora of Gaul (present-day France) carried this latin inscription on her tomb: “Here rests in peace and of good remembrance Theodora the deaconess who lived about 48 years and died on 22 July 539.”

Tomb stone of Athanasia

* Another tombstone found in Delphi, Greece, and belonging to the 5th century remembers a certain Athanasia. “The most devout deaconess Athanasia, established deaconess by his holiness bishop Pantamianos after she had lived a blameless life. He erected this tomb on the place where her honoured [body ?] lies. If soneone else dares to open this tomb in which the deaconess has been buried, may he receive the fate of Judas, who betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Nothing less the clerics who were found gathered . . ” (H.Leclercq, Dictionnaire de'Archéologie Chrétienne, Paris 1921, vol. IV, col. 570-571).

Tomb stone of Eneon

* Another tomb stone at Jerusalem remembers the deaconess Eneon who ministered to the sick: “Tomb of Eneon, daughter of Neoiketis, deaconess in this hospital” (Maffei, Museum Veronense, Verona 1749, p. 179).

More detailed information can be found from these authors:

  • Kristin Arnt, Die Diakonissen der armenischen Kirche in kanonischer Sicht, Vienna 1990.

  • Eva Maria Synek, Heilige Frauen der frühen Christenheit, Würzburg 1994.

  • Ute Eisen, Ämtsträgerinnen im frühen Christentum, Göttingen 1996.

Read also: Deaconesses in Late Antique Gaul.
Deaconesses in Late Antique GaulBY MATTHEW SMYTHPUBLISHED ON WWW.WOMENPRIESTS.ORG WITH PERMISSION OF THE AUTHORDeaconesses in the restricted sense — that is to say women officially ordained as deaconess by the laying on of hands as they were to be found in most Eastern churches in the patristic age — were not as widely represented in the Latin West. North Africa and Spain seem to have been unaware of their existence. And for the rest of the Latin world, we have no mention of deaconesses before the 4th century. According to the British monk Pelagius († circa 420), who spent a long time in Rome, deaconesses are an institution fallen into disuse in the West, though remaining in the East (In Rom. 16:1). Worst, for the Ambrosiaster, an anonymous Italian of the end of the 4th century, while commenting on I Tim. 3:11, considers them to be the fruit of a new heresy “that dares ordain deaconesses.”As a matter of fact, Gallic canonical legislation, mainly issued by synods, only seems to have mentioned deaconesses to condemn them (they ought not to be mistaken for diaconissae who are only the deacon’s wife mentioned by the 20th canon of the Synod of Tours held in 567). Apparentelly, female diaconate was victim of a lengthy process which modeled woman’s image in the Church on the secular Late Antique feminine ideal; an ideal highly incompatible with non-codified usages inherited more or less directely from early-christian times allowing women to be entrusted with ecclesiastical responsibilities.But, precisely, those conflict should be analysed not only from the point of view of triumphant legislative authorities, but also from the angle of the ancient customs local churches were clinging to, and whose abolition the synods had in mind. Custom, although naturally faithful to tradition, has been too long considered as a negative foil to more recent written legislation edicted by synods or individual bishops. Furthemore this new legislation would have been uterly pointless if a few Latin churches had not at some point agreed to formally ordain deaconesses by laying on of hands.SYNODSThe best proof of the existence of Western deaconesses is found in the very effort which was made to stop them from spreading, once the custom of ordaining deaconesses was accepted here and there. In this respect, our first witness, the Synod of Nimes in 396 (canon 2) rejects vigorously the ordination of women to the diaconate: “it has been made known to us that — a thing unheard of until now —, against the apostolic discipline […], women raised to the office of deacons had been seen; this is not acceptable to ecclesiastical discipline because it is indecent.”In spite of all this, the 26th canon of the 1st Synod of Orange (441) is obliged to recognize the existence of an apparently well established custom, despite the decisions issued previously in Nimes. This is another attempt to abolish deaconesses and to oblige them to take their place among the ordinary faithful: “Deaconesses should by no means be ordained. If there are already some, let them bow their head during the blessing given to the people.”Next century, the legislation seems still without effect, for the Synod of Epaon (517), canon 21, states that: “We abrogate totally within all our territory the consecration granted to widows called deaconesses. Let them receive only a penitential blessing if they desire conuersio” (that is to say if “entering ascetic life”).The 17th canon of the 2nd Synod of Orleans (533) bears witness, in spite of itself, to the vigour of the female diaconate, which is able to survive despite more than a century of hostile synodical legislation: “Let the women who have received the blessing of diaconate up to the present day, despite the canonical prohibition, be excommunicated, if it is proven that they have gone back to married life.” Deaconesses who are found “defaulting” are to be excommunicated (as a matter of fact, since they are recruited among widows and virgins, deaconesses came under the same measures inflicted on fallen female ascetics and adaptated of the 15th canon of Chalcedon). As for the 18th canon, it tries one more time to supress the female diaconate: “It has also been decided that, henceforth, diaconal blessing will not be any longer granted to any women, because of the fragility of their condition.” The same fear is at work here of “fallen” widows and virgins among whom the deaconesses are recruited — a fall explicitely linked with alleged weakness of woman confronted with temptation.These directives do not seem to have been yet universally followed, as is shown by the 21th canon of the 2nd Synod of Tours (567): “[…] everyone knows that a particular blessing for widows is not to be found in the canonical books, because their personal decision is enough […] as it is stated by the canons of Epaon, Pope Avitus and all the bishops: ‘We totally abrogate in all our ecclesiastical discipline the consecration of widows called deaconesses’.”DEACONESSES IN HISTORICAL RECORDSMeanwhile, we have this time two positive testimonies of great value:
  • the Testament of Remigius of Reims († 533) mentions “my daughter Hilary the deaconess”;

  • and, according to the Vita of queen Radegunde († 587) written by the Italian Venantius Fortunatus bishop of Poitiers († circa 600), bishop Medardus of Noyon, after some hesitations because of the youth of Radegunde, “consecrated [her] deaconess laying the hands upon her (manu superposita),” after she had left her husband King Clotaire to take the religious habit.

One cannot use Frankish legislation to undermine those testimonies: on the contrary, the case of Radegond illustrates the very usage which the Synods opposed. However, it is to be noted that in the case of Radegond, the female diaconate is in fact linked to monastic life, in the Eastern fashion.As for Ireland, whose ecclesiastical institutions (especialy liturgical) are in many respects very close to that of Gaul, we have the testimony of a gloss in the Epistolary of Wurzburg Universitätbibl. M. th. 12 (8th century) which mentions a deaconess (bandechuin in Gaelic); the Liber Angeli of the Book of Armagh (7th century), refers even to women in matrimonio legitimo ecclesiae servientes.In Italy, where legislation did not oppose the female diaconate, a Roman liturgical book of the 8th century known as the Gregorian Sacramentary contains the sole surviving Western formulary for the ordination of a deaconess, simply reusing the formula for the ordination of a deacon but in the feminine (n·994).It is unnecessary to adduce more documents to prove the strength of a custom which met so well the need for an official recognition of the dignity of this commitment and lasted in some places until the 11th century before it up fell into dissuetude.WERE DEACONESSES NUNS?It is to be noted that Latin deaconesses were in those days de facto linked to the state of continent widow or voluntary virgin, since this ministry was usualy recruited among women who have chosen sexual continence. Accordingly, to a state of mind inherited from Judeo-Christian Encraticism, most churches held celibate life in great favour, therefore widows and virgins were considered more able to be entrusted with female ministries. Canon 21 of the Synod of Epaon (517), seems to indicate that in Gaul, contrary to the East at the time, deaconesses were recruited mostly among widows; already traditionally entrusted with female ministries. According to some scholars, such a blessing, was thought to underline the dignity of a status now devalued in comparison with that of virgins who were, from the 4th century on, granted a an episcopal consecration of their commitment bestowed during a solemn veiling modelled upon the Roman wedding ceremony (a consecration that widows were usualy not allowed to recieve in Gaul before the 8th century).This does not at all imply that the female diaconate was meant to be purely honorific, since widows, as well as consecrated virgins, were entrusted precisely with ministries, as is shown in the Statuta Ecclesiae Antiqua, a canonical collection composed in Provence at the end of the 5th century. This document, which enjoyed a wide reception, states that instituted widows and voluntary virgins were entrusted with the ministry of preparing female catechumens for baptism: “Widows and nuns who are chosen to minister to women about to receive baptism, must be well prepared for this office, in order to be able to teach clearly and correctly unlearned and rustic women when they are to receive baptism; how those women ought to answer the questions asked by the one who baptises them, and how they should live after their baptism” (canon 100). It is not much of a surprise since female ascetics, who were recognized as a highly priviliged ecclesiastical rank, benefiting from special care on the part of the bishop and his clergy, enjoyed a great prestige and played an important role within the community, especially if they came from the aristocraticy. Voluntary virgins notably personified in a way the local church. Furthemore, they were not prevented to fulfil ecclesiastical ministries as long as they carried on to take part in ordinary daily life, dispose of their own property, live in their family’s home, their own house or in common with other women sharing the same ideal, or under the roof of a wealthier sister-member. Genevieve of Paris († 502), for instance, does not belong to a monastery (as a matter of fact, she gathers unformally a few friends around her), uses her own possessions, recieves visitors at home (and even meets Germanus of Auxerre at an inn), calls on people, dabbles in civil and Church politics, travels the country, has a basilica built, and of course takes part in parish services.Thus the female deaconess appears as a justified development that had been lacking too long, although the Statuta clearly refers to a female diaconate in the etymological sense — that is to say the service accomplished by women within the assembly (presumably, what Pelagius had in mind when he mentions the former Latin deaconesses). To grant an ordination bestowed by the laying on of hands to women entrusted with a ministry, meant that deaconesses were able catch up a little with the male diaconate or presbyterate raised long ago to the status of “ranks” within a hierarchy of dignitaries.But in the meantime the Gallic episcopate, strongly influenced by cenobitical monasticism and its ideal of fuga mundi, became growingly hostile to a female asceticism rooted within the Christian baptismal community. An ideal of complete separation (much stricter for consecrated virgins than for men) spread rapidely in the wake of the Regula virginum imposed by Cesarius of Arles († 543). Nuns, henceforth provided with their own oratory and ministers, are severed from the life of the assembly of the baptised, symbolically identified with the “world”. This segragation goes hand in hand with the ending of the freedom enjoyed formerly by consecrated virgins. They no longer form an haphazard gathering of pious persons, but an institution shaped to lead an autonomous life in the long term, clearly situated at the periphery of the local assembly, in whose eucharist it does not share any longer.Synods followed the movement: canon 19 of Orleans V (549) submits nuns to a “perpetual enclosure,” and excommunicates those who flee to marry, as well as the non-cloistered ascetics who go back on their former commitment. A little later, the 3rd canon of the Synod of Lyons (583) and the 14th canon of the Synod of Paris (614) excommunicate nuns who leave the monastic enclosure, even without marrying. Legislation displays a striking fear of what is looked upon as a fall. This new strategy of reclusion and this fear of any “fall” — that is to say marriage — betray a growing lack of consideration for the freedom proper to Christian commitment, and more generaly a latent pessimism inherited from Encraticism hanging over relationship between sexes doomed by flesh. By the way, it is to be underlined that this pessimism was hanging much heavier on women. Previousely, legislation tended only to inflict a penance on women who marry after commitment to an ascetic life, but by the end of the 6th century, it goes further and excommunicates virgins and widows who marry, even if they do not live in a monastry. The Austrasian Synod of Saint-Jean de Losne (circa 675) states that: “if [widows] are unmindful of chastity, they […] should be put behind walls in a monastery.”“FEMALE FRAGILITY” SUCH AN EVOLUTION OF FEMALE ASCETICISM WAS INCOMPATIBLE IN THE LONG RUN WITH MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITIES ENTRUSTED FORMERLY TO WIDOWS AND VIRGINS. OBVIOUSLY, IN THE EYES OF THE ESPISCOPATE, DEACONESSES (OR ANY ASCETIC WOMEN) IN CHARGE OF AN ECCLESIASTICAL OFFICE WITHIN THE ASSEMBLY, WAS FAR TOO MUCH AT RISK OF “FALLING”, CONSIDERING THE ALLEGED “FRAGILITY OF THE FEMININE CONDITION”.Actually, even before the complete triumph of the ideal defended by Cesarius of Arles and his followers, along with the shift of mentality that it reflects, other sources of tensions between usages and episcopal directives existed, resulting from a hostility towards female ministries that existed well before the expansion of the monastic movement. Nonetheless, these very conflicts between custom and legislation unwillingly lift the veil that covers the range of ministries actually entrusted to women.Since Tertullian (De Virginibus Velandis 9:2, De Baptismo 17:4-5, and De Praescriptione Haereticorum 41:5), a further series of negative testimonies enables us to say that until the 6th century, some Western communities on the outer limits of the Great Church (for one reason or another) were in a position to retain female ministries inherited from paleochristian usages. Most certainely, those ecclesiastical ministries did not correspond completely to the one fulfilled by male deacons. Women were not expected to look after the finance of the domus episcopi, nor to present candidates to the priesthood in front of the bishop as the archdeacon did. All the same, the functions they were entrusted with remained very wide.As a matter of fact, female ministries which remained under the form of a help to the priest ad altare (at the altar), of a baptismal ministry, or other functions performed coram populo (in public), have from time to time given rise to harsh criticism. Their formulation suggests that those ancient usages persisted in groups which stayed apart from churches where a self-affirmation of hierarchical authority was under way. Within the cultural context of the Roman Empire or its remains, this effort of hierarchical structuration was in fact incompatible with the appointement of responsibilites to women.We find such recriminations in the decretale Necessaria Rerum (494) of Gelasius to the bishops of Southern Italy. Unfortunately omitting to specify who were to blame, Gelasius complains that “holy things have been held in such contempt that some have approved of women who perform a ministry at the holy altars and take part in functions reserved to a sex to which they do not belong”.Without letting us know any better which communities he was thus targeting, the compiler of the Statuta Ecclesiae Antiqua is also found confronted to comparable usages as he asks women “not to dare to baptise” (canon 37).On the other hand, in the case of the 1st canon of the Synod of Saragossa (380) against the conventicles inspired by the preaching of Priscillian of Avila, this is a clearly marginalised movement which gives rise to the prohibition: “that no women belonging to the catholic Church […] should join the women who read publicly, following a desire to teach or to learn.”As for the Letter of Licinius of Tours, Melanius of Rennes and Eustochius of Angers to the Briton Priests Lovocatus and Catihernus written around 520, it scorns the same type of usages, this time within Celtic churches (which were not doctrinally but geographically marginalised): “it has been made known to us,” write the Gallic bishops, “that you do not cease to carry among your fellow-countrymen, from one hut to another, certain tables on which you celebrate the divine sacrifice, with the help of women to whom you give the name of conhospitae (lit. assistant hostesses). While you distribute the eucharist, they take the chalice and have the audacity to administrate the Blood of Christ to the people. This is a novelty and superstition unheard of before. We have been deeply distressed to witness in our time the resurgence of an abominable sect which had never been introduced previously in Gaul: the Eastern Fathers call it the Pepodian [i.e. Montanist] sect, named after Pepodius author of the schism.”If the origin attributed to Montanism is fantastic — “Pepodian” refers in the first place to the town of Pepuza in Phrygia where the parousia was supposed to take place according to Montanists —, the parallel is not without any ground, since this movement was favorable to female ministers (although, paradoxically, one of the first to bear witness that a tradition has been recieved in the Church forbidding any kind of female ministry inter mysteria [during the sacred mysteries], is the Montanist Tertullian). Furthermore, their conservatism was notorious and their tiny marginal assemblies were ardent enough to feel free from an overwhelming carnal concupiscence. Judging by these two last sources, we have a confirmation that marginal groups felt the need to keep important female ministries, whether their situation arose from ecclesiastical (such as for the Priscillianists) or geographical reasons (such as for the Celtic churches).This description of Celtic deaconesses (in the wider sense) suggests that their institution did not result from ideology but was due to an actual ministerial necessity, inherent to the concrete needs of assemblies without a numerous clergy. Moreover, the choice of a conhospita to help the priest, that is to say a virgo subintroducta [virgin/religious drawn in]living in an Encratite union with a male ascetic, confirms that, if these offices were allowed to be entrusted to women, it was not done in contempt of tradition, but because of a particularly conservative institutional context making the way to the survival of customs forgotten elsewhere: Encratite unions were already criticized in the time of Cyprian (cf. Ep. 4) before their official condamnation by the 3rd canon of Nicea (325). Beside, the Catalogus Sanctorum Hiberniae Secundum Diversa Tempora (8th century) testifies that this way of life was quite in favour among the first Irish ascetics. Celtic churches had been evangelised already at the begining of the 5th century from Great Britain (where Christian centres were present at least since the 3rd century). Offset communities appear thus as a haven to a kind of gender equalitarianism inherited from that of the primitive Church, and which displayed a certain unconcern towards Late Antique social prejudices common to the larger assemblies set in an post-Constantinian urban context. Celtic churches, unaware of the disciplinary transformations led by the great centres, did not allow social relationship between the different sexes to be dominated by fear in the same fashion.Far from a novelty, these female ministries known in the Western fringes, are one example among many others of those ancient traditions erased from the memory of more “advanced” churches. What is in fact traditional henceforth seems to contradict general ecclesiastical discipline. As usual, wild accusations of “novelty” thrown in on those occasions should not be taken into account without further examination. Actually, first because of the fear of a “fall” (into marriage!) and a contempt for women (alleged to be “fragile” in front of carnal temptation), hierarchical authorities sought to abolish these female ministries within the assembly, that is to say female deacons or female ascetics still taking part in the local assembly.It is certain that our Western sources do not provide a very clear picture of female deacons in regard of the responsibilities they were entrusted. However, as for the range of ministries actually entrusted to women, whether they were deaconesses (in the narrow sense) or not, does not help to judge how churches regarded female ministries. Phoebe, diakonos of the church at Cenchreae, the women mentioned after the deacons in I Tim. 3:11, and the ministrae put to torture by Pliny the Younger (Lib. X, Ep. 96, 8) performed an ecclesiastical office, which constitutes them ipso facto as “deaconesses,” irrespective of a diaconate granted through the laying on of hands. This is what Origen seems to allude to, commenting on Romans 16:1 (In Epist. ad Rom. 10, 7), when he mentions the “women in charge of an ecclesiastical ministry.”We have a well known example of these ministries — in a fashion that the Great Church does not seem afterwards to have encouraged — in the Acts of Paul and Thecla, where a virgin, Thecla, assumes the responsibility of catechising and baptising. Beside, the 1st Council of Nicea (canon 19) testifies that deaconesses constituted a well established ecclesiastical reality though remaining longer than other ministries without an institution performed by laying on of hands.However, that this recognition, especialy in the West, came only after a somewhat hesitant and lengthy evolution does not change anything to the nature of the female diaconate. It simply betrays an aspect of the mentality that dominated the espiscopal hierarchy during the first centuries of the Church, in conformity with ambiant rules regarding women’s role in society. Furthermore, the desire to endow every ecclesiastical ministry with a solemn liturgical blessing is difficult to imagine before the establishment of the Church, except may be for the great ecclesiastical centres. Indeed even the need to ratify the most prominent ecclesiastical ministries with a particular blessing through cheirotonia was by no means universal and immediate. In apostolic and sub-apostolic times, it would be a complete anachronism to think of deaconesses in terms of a sacramental “rank” or dignity instituted by the laying on of hands. It would be even a stranger mistake to try and read those facts in the light of medieval Latin sacramental dogmatics with the idea of setting apart the female diaconate from the other main holy orders. History does not provide any ground for this kind of artificial distinction.Matthew SmythSOURCES:A. Souter, Pelagius’ Expositions of Thirteen Epistels of st. Paul II, Cambridge, 1926, (Texts and Studies 9).Ambrosiaster. In Rom., Ed. H.J. Vogels, Vienne, 1966, (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 81, 1)Concilia Galliae A.314-506, Ed. Ch. Munier, Turnhout, 1963 (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 148) and Concilia Galliae A.511-695, Ed. Ch. De Clercq, Turnhout, 1963 (CCSL 148 A)Vitae sanctae Radegundis, Ed. Br. Krusch, MGH, Auct ant. IV, 2, Berlin, 1881, p. 41Testamentum Remigii, PL 65, col. 971Thes. Palaeohibernicus. A Collection of the Oldest Monuments of the Gaelic Language I, Ed. Wh. Stockes—J. Strachan, Cambridge, 1901, 683 (Wurzburg Universitätbibl. M. th. 12)The Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick with other Documents Relating to that Saint II, Ed. Wh. Stockes, Londre, 1887, 354 (Liber Angeli), quoted in L. Gougaud, “Celtiques (Liturgies),” in Dictionnaire d’Archéologie Chrétienne et de Liturgie II—2, Paris, 1910, col. 2998 .Ed. Ch. Munier, Les Statuta Ecclesiae Antiqua, Paris, 1960 (see also Concilia Galliae A. 314—506).A. Thiele, Epistulae pontificum romanorum genuinae I, Braunsberg, 1868, 376-377 (Necessaria Rerum).L. Duchesne, “Lovocat et Catihern,” Revue de Bretagne et de Vendée 57 (1885) 6-7 and L. Gougaud, Christianity in the Celtic Lands. A History of the Churches of the Celts, their Origin, their Development, Influence and Mutual Relations,2 Dublin, 1992, 870 (Letter of Licinius of Tours…).J. Deshusses, Le Sacramentaire Grégorien d’après ses principaux manuscrits I, Le sacramentaire, le supplément d’Aniane, 2 Fribourg/CH, 1979 (Spicilegium Friburgense, 16).A.W. Haddan—W. Stubbs, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents relating to Great Britain and Ireland II, Oxford, 1878, p. 292 (Catalogus Sanctorum Hiberniae).Studies :For recent studies on the matter see:
  • R. Gryson, Le ministère des femmes dans l’Église ancienne, Gembloux, 1972 (Recherches et Synthèses; Section d’Histoire 4);

  • A.-G. Martimort, Les diaconesses. Essai historique, Rome, 1982 (Bibliotheca “Ephemerides Liturgicae” Subs. 24);

  • D. Ansorge, “Der Diakonat der Frau. Zum gegenwärtigen Forschungsstand,” in Liturgie und Frauenfrage, Ed. T. Berger—A. Gerhards, St. Ottilien, 1990 (Pietas Liturgica 7), 31-665;

  • M. Metzger, “Le diaconat féminin dans l’histoire,” in Mother, Nun, Deaconess, Munich, 2000 (Kanonika 16), 144-166;

  • M.B. Smyth, Widows, Consecrated Virgins and Deaconesses in Antique Gaul Magistra 8 (2002) 53-84…

The History of Women DeaconsThe involvement of women in the apostolate of the early Church is indisputable. We can only give a brief summary which shows how women deacons fitted within the wider picture.THE WOMEN WHO ASSISTED PAULOn account of sociological circumstances the early Church could not immediately draw the consequences from the revolutionary new priesthood of Christ. Paul knew that Christ’s baptism had in principle abrogated the distinction between slaves and free people (Galatians 3, 38) and in one text he draws the logical conclusion that slaves should be liberated (1 Corinthians 7, 21-23). Yet the prevailing social system brought him to accept the institution of slavery as a necessary evil. In the same way the prevailing world of thought made it impossible for him to realize to its full extent the equality in Christ between men and women he so firmly believed in (Galatians 3, 28). In this light it is all the more significant that already in Paul’s time women were involved in the ministry of the Church.
  • ‘Phoebe, our sister, who is a servant (diakonos) of the Church at Cenchreae. She has often been a helper both to myself and to many others’ (Romans 16,1) The word diakonos applied to Phoebe, does not really carry with it the sense of a precise ministerial function which it will have later where women are concerned. It has here the general sense of ‘servant,’ which is normal in the New Testament (cf. Ephesians 6,22).

  • ‘Greet Prisca and Aquila my fellow workers in Christ Jesus’... ‘Greet Mary who has worked so much among you.’ In the same way ‘Tryphaena, Tryphosa and Persis labour in the Lord.’ (Romans 16,1-16) Paul certainly refers here to apostolic tasks.

  • ‘Euodia and Syntyche who have struggled together with me in the Gospel with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers.’(Philippians 4,2) ‘In the Gospel’ surely implies participation in the work of evangelism.

  • Compare also: “The apostles, giving themselves without respite to the work of evangelism as befitted their ministry, took with them women, not as wives but as sisters, to share in their ministry to women living at home: by their agency the teaching of the Lord reached the women’s quarters without arousing suspicion’. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 3, 6, §53.

  • Pliny in a letter to the Emperor (111 AD) mentions that he arrested two Christian women, who held an official position. “All the more it seemed necessary to me to find out the truth from these two slave women, who were called ‘ancillae’ [=diakonous, deaconesses?], even by applying torture.”

  • And compare the story of Thecla, who by her confession before the judge at Antioch, converted Tryphaena and a group of women. ‘She went to Tryphaena’s house and stayed there for eight days, instructing her in the Word of God, so that most of her servants believed’ (Acts of Paul and Thecla, § 38-39).

As women had joined Christ in his ministry (Luke 8,1-4), so also women participated in the building up of the earliest Christian communities. Did they have precise tasks?WOMEN'S ROLE AS ‘PROPHETS’The prophet, in the New Testament sense, was not simply someone inspired; he or she was someone who filled an office within the community. S. Paul placed the prophet between the apostle and the teacher: “God has appointed in the Church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles . . . Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? . . . (1 Corinthians 12,28-29). The Didache (11-13) puts the prophet in close connection with the missionary apostle.
  • Philip the Evangelist had four daughters who ‘prophesied’ (Acts 21,9).

  • ‘Every man who prays or who prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head. Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonours her head’ (1 Corinthians 11,4-5). Prophesying by a woman is here on the same plane as prophesying by a man. The word bears the same sense for the one as for the other.

  • The prophet clearly had a function within the liturgical assembly. ‘Let the prophets give thanks as they will’ [=they could express themselves clearly during the Eucharist] .(Didache 10,7).

THE MINISTRY OF WOMEN AS ‘WIDOWS’In the New Testament the word ‘widow’ can denote different but not unrelated entities. The Acts of the Apostles (6,1-2; 9,39) inform us that the ‘aged widows’ were cared for by the community. Here it is simply a question of widows in the ordinary sense of the word. But as early as in the Epistle to Titus we see these widows playing a particular role in the community: ‘The aged women must conduct themselves as befits a holy calling; they must not be given to slander or drunken habits; they must teach what is good and train the young women to love their husbands and children’ (Titus 2,3-4). Here the widowed state seems to imply a demand for perfection and some kind of a mission directed to the young women of the community. This was later to grow into organised apostolate.
  • Origen compares the Phoebe of the Epistle to the Romans with the widows of the Epistle to Titus (Commentary on Romans 10,17)

  • ‘Honour widows who are “widows indeed”.... A widow indeed is one who has put her trust in God and perseveres day and night in the intercessions and the prayers. Before she can be inscribed on the role, a widow must be sixty years old at least, once married, one who has practised hospitality, washed the feet of the saints and been given to all good works’ (1 Timothy 5,3-10. The interesting point is the enrolment on a register and the conditions it implies, for this makes it plain that we are concerned here not with all the widows, but with some of their number who constitute a special category of the community. This is the first indication we have of an order of widows, parallel to the clerical orders in the Church.

  • Ignatius of Antioch greets ‘the virgins and the order of widows’ (Philippians § 15).

Although the ‘diaconate’ in a wider sense existed from the beginning, it is clear that during the second century AD it was the ‘order of widows’ who exercised their function, in a rather undefined sense.WOMEN DEACONSRight from the Apostolic Age, the Church has known deaconnesses. The classical passage from 1 Timothy expresses this clearly:“Deacons must be men of grave behaviour; they must be examined and if found blameless may afterwards serve as deacons.
The women must be of grave behaviour, not slanderers, temperate, in every respect faithful.
Deacons must be married only once’ 1 Timothy 3,8-12.“The word ‘deacon’ is here used in its technical sense. It also seems clear that by ‘the women’ in question, who are clearly distinguished from the wives of the deacons while the description of them is parallel to that of the deacons, we must understand deaconesses. It indicates a ministry which forms part of the ordained ministry itself. ” Jean Daniélou, The Ministry of Women in the Early Church, Faith Press, Leighton Buzzard 1974, p. 14.During the first centuries, however, confusion in terminology and practice remained. In 517 AD the Synod of Epaon speaks of ‘widows whom they call deaconesses’. Deaconesses are sometimes referred to as ‘widow and deaconess’. It is likely, however, that the two roles have always been somewhat distinct.It is only in the third century that the Church clarified the position of deaconesses with more precision, possibly because of problems with the less organised widows. In the Didascalia (3rd cent.) and the Apostolic Constitutions (4th cent.) the distinct roles of ‘widows’ and ‘deaconesses’ are spelled out. Councils laid down conditions for their sacramental ordination. The ordination rituals were laid down.In the Byzantine part of the Church diaconesses flourished until well into the 8th and 9th centuries. Many women deacon saints are venerated in the calendar of the Orthodox Church.The ultimate decline of the diaconate of women has been attributed to two main causes:
  • the fear of the ‘ritual uncleanness’ due to her monthly periods; so Balsamon and Blastares.

  • the decline in the baptism of adults. This decreased the need of help by women deacons, as mentioned in some ancient Syrian rituals.

There has always been much opposition to women deacons in the Latin speaking regions of the Church: Italy, North Africa, Gaul and Brittany. The main reasons were (a) the influence of Roman Law according to which no position of authority could be given to women, and (b) the fear of ritual uncleanness.Read on this: Deaconesses in Late Antique Gaul.By the time of the Middle Ages few people knew what the diaconate of women had meant to the Early Church.
Church Councils on Women DeaconsThe institution of ordained women deacons has enjoined the support of a number of Ecumenical Councils.At the First Council of Nicea, 325 AD, deaconesses are only mentioned in passing, in a canon referring to the the reconciliation of ex-members of the sect of Paul of Samosata (260–272 AD). Paul was a Syrian Christian theologian who became the heretical patriarch of Antioch. He was a friend and high official of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. Paul denied the three Persons of the Trinity. He taught that the Logos came to dwell in Jesus at baptism, but that Jesus possessed no extraordinary nature above other men, the Logos being entirely an attribute of God. Paul was repeatedly challenged and finally excommunicated ny the local Council of Antioch (268 AD).“With regard to Paulianists who take refuge in the Catholic Church, it has been decided that they definitely need to be [re]baptized. If, however, some of them have previously functioned as priests, if they seem to be immaculate and irreprehensible, they need to be baptized and ordained by a bishop of the Catholic Church. In this way one must also deal with the deaconesses or with anyone in an ecclesiastical office. With regard to the deaconesses who hold this position we remind [church leaders] that they possess no ordination [=cheirotonia], but are to be reckoned among the laity in every respect.” Council of Nicea, canon 19.Note. The interpretation that the Council did not recognise the validity of any woman's ordination to the diaconate is contradicted by the clear judgment of later Councils.At the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, 451 AD, an earlier minimal age of 60 years for women deacons was relaxed to 40 years. The earlier practice was based on 1 Timothy 5,9: ‘Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age.’ Voluntary celibacy was understood to be a condition.“A Woman shall not receive the laying on of hands as a deaconess under forty years of age, and then only after searching examination. And if, after she has had hands laid on her and has continued for a time to minister, she shall despise the grace of God and give herself in marriage, she shall be anathematized as well as the man united to her.” (Chalcedon, canon 15.The Council of Trullo, convoked in Constantinople in 692 AD, re-affirmed the minimum age set by the Council of Chalcedon for women deacons. Notice that the Council speaks of a real ‘ordination’ [cheirotonia] for women deacons, using exactly the same term for priests and male deacons! Though this term is occasionally also applied to minor orders, it is significant that the ordination of women deacons is mentioned in one breath with that of priests and male deacons. The Orthodox Theologian Evangelos Theodorou has pointed out that the use of the technical term ‘cheirotonia’ in these Council documents is highly significant ('E "cheirotonia" e "cheirothesia" ton diakonisson', Theologia 25 (1954) pp. 430-469, 576-601; 26 (1956) pp. 57-76.The “Ordination” or “Appointment” of Deaconesses? [in Greek], German synopsis: US 33 (1978) pp. 162-172). Together with other indicators it confirms the sacramental nature of the ordination.“Let the canon of our holy God-bearing Fathers be confirmed in this particular also; that a presbyter be not ordained before he is thirty years of age, even if he be a very worthy man, but let him be kept back. For our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized and began to teach when he was thirty. In like manner let no deacon be ordained before he is twenty-five, nor a deaconess before she is forty.” Council of Trullo, canon 14

The Second Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 787 AD also endorsed the Apostolic Canons, previous General Councils and local Councils to the extent they were in agreement with the General ones. This means that all the provisions regarding women deacons were re-affirmed.

“The pattern for those who have received the sacerdotal dignity is found in the testimonies and instructions laid down in the canonical constitutions, which we receive with a glad mind, . . . . and press to our bosom with gladness the divine canons, holding fast all the precepts of the same, complete and without change, whether they have been set forth by the holy trumpets of the Spirit, the renowned Apostles, or by the Six Ecumenical Councils, or by Councils locally assembled for promulgating the decrees of the said Ecumenical Councils, or by our holy Fathers.” Council of Nicea II, canon 1

It is true that two local Synods in Gaul tried to suppress the diaconate of women ‘for their region’.

“Altogether no women deacons are to be ordained. If some already exist, let them bend their heads to the blessing given to the (lay) people.” Synod of Orange (441 AD), canon 26.
. “We abrogate the consecration of widows whom they call ‘deaconesses’ completely from our region. If they wish to convert, no more than the blessing of penance should be imposed on them.” Synod of Epaon (517 AD), canon 21.

These local Church Councils had no universal authority and by their opposition show that the institution clearly flourished elsewhere in the Church. Even in Gaul the suppression was not immediately successful. St. Remigius of Reims (533 AD) makes mention in his last will of his daughter, the deaconess Helaria.

Such local opposition as we find in Gaul cannnot unnerve the fact that Ecumenical Councils endorsed the ordained diaconate of women for over six centuries.

For a historical record of some of the many women who were ordained as deacons in the early church click here






St Radegunde




St. Tryphena



Nonna (of Galatia)

St Xenia



Nonna (of Palestine)

Seven martyrs




Severa (of Jerusalem)




Severa (of Phrygia)









Anastasia (Palestine)

Eugenia (?Syria)



Anastasia (?Syria)

Eugenia (Greece)











Athanasia (Asia Minor)




Athanasia (Greece)

Jannia (?Syria)



Aurelia Faustinia






St Apollonia




St Domnika




St Genevieve




St Gorgonia

Two women deacons


Manaris (of Gaza)

St Irene

Unnamed (of Thrace)


Maria (of Archalais)

St Justina

Unnamed deacon

Celerina (Constantinople)

Maria (of Moab)

St Macrina

Unnamed deaconess

Celerina (Novae)


St Melania

Valeriana (?Syria)



St Nonna


Daughters of Count Terentius


St Olympias



Matrona (of Axyfos)

St Platonida



Matrona (of Cosila)


Soplán los vientos de cambio y con ello también el Espiritu Santo se derrama sobre la Iglesia propiciando los cambios necesarios para ella. Estamos viviendo épocas en las cuales la igualdad de género nos obliga a dar un vistazo a la historia que nos muestra que en los primeros siglos, la ordenación de mujeres diaconisas en las diócesis de habla griega y siríaca, era una verdadera ordenación sacramental, equivalente a la de los diáconos varones. En los rituales de ordenación, tanto la ordenación de un diácono como la de una diaconisa, reciben el nombre de cheirotonia o cheirothesia, nombres griegos que significan “imposición de manos”, “ordenación” y eran llevados a cabo por un Obispo.

Ejemplo de esto lo siguiente:

Barberini gr. 336, fol. 170v. : “Os rogamos Señor que mireis a vuestra sirvienta, guiadla en la tarea de su diaconado y derramad sobre ella el don rico y abundante de vuestro Espíritu Santo. Preservadla de manera que siempre pueda cumplir su ministerio con una fe recta y una conducta irreprochable, según lo que os es agradable.” etc.

(un ritual greco-bizantino, encontrado en el manuscrito Barberini gr. 336(siglo IX o anterior)

Texto traducido del griego y del latín y disponible en Internet por John Wijngaards. Traducido en espagnol por Carme Alegre.

Otras fuentes:

- An ancient Syriac ordination ritual is found in a manuscript of the 16th century (Codex Syriacus Vaticanus, no 19), copied through the care of Joseph, the Metropolitan of India. The content is obviously much older, dating to well before 1000 AD.
Aunque algunos teólogos tradicionales niegan el carácter sacramental de la Ordenación de las Diaconisas, las pruebas aportadas por parte de muchos otros investigadores expertos en esta materia nos comprueba de una u otra forma que la Ordenación de Mujeres al Diaconado pertenece sin duda al Sacramento del Orden. En este rito de ordenación diaconal de mujeres existen ciertas diferencias que no afectan la esencia de la ordenación.

También recordemos las siguientes palabras escritas en la historia de la Iglesia:

“ Si alguno declara que, a través de la sagrada ordenación, el Espíritu Santo no se comunica, y que por tanto el Obispo dice en vano : “Recibid el Espíritu Santo”, o que a través de esta ordenación, el caracter (de las órdenes sagradas) no se imprime..., sea anatema!"

Concilio de Trento, Canon 4. Denzinger n° 964

Es bueno volver la vista a lo básico. Los sacramentos en su definición son signos sagrados. En la extensa historia, la Iglesia ha aceptado dos aspectos del “signo” en cada sacramento: la materia (un objeto o una acción) y la forma (las palabras que se dicen). En el bautismo el lavado con agua es la materia, las palabras”Yo te bautizo en el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo” es la forma. Estos dos elementos hacen la sustancia del signo sacramental. Cuando los encontramos presentes sabemos que el sacramento ha sido administrado en forma válida. Y ser aquí precisos en los detalles, no es un lujo, como siempre ha insistido la Iglesia Católica. En el caso de las Santas Ordenes, desde tiempos inmemoriales la imposición de las manos ha sido considerada como la “materia” del sacramento, la invocación del Espíritu sobre el ordenado como la “forma”. Estas constituyen la esencia del signo sacramental, mediante el cual todos saben que esta persona ha sido realmente ordenada.

 A lo anterior se adicionan otros aspectos como son conferir el Sacramento dentro de la Misa, la imposición de los ornamentos correspondientes al diaconado y la entrega de un signo visible (el copón) para llevar a cabo la función de su ministerio. Mediante todos estos signos externos la Iglesia universal públicamente imparte el sacramento de las Santas Ordenes a fin de que el que las recibe y la gente de Dios sepa que se ha cumplido el sacramento.

Ahora nos podemos preguntar ¿Si en siglos pasados la Iglesia Ordeno a Diáconos y Diaconisas utilizando los mismos signos sacramentales como se pretende decir que la ordenación de varones diáconos es sacramental y la ordenación de diaconisas no lo es? Entonces el Obispo habría invocado en vano al Espiritu Santo: "recibid al Espíritu Santo......"