Hereunder are some plain and simple pointers that could explain and/or clarify certain basic questions and issues about the Catholic Clergy – specially in conjunction with their discipline as far the Church herself is concerned as represented by her legitimate ecclesiastical authorities:
a.There is an essential difference between the Priest and his Clerical State although it is standard that the two realities remain together in one and the same man, while separable in fact they remain.
b.Once ordained a Priest, a man remains a Priest always, now and forever. That is why in reality and truth, there is no such thing as an “Ex-Priest” in the whole wide world.
c.As a matter of course, a Priest embraces the Clerical State that spells out all his major and minor obligations such as praying the Breviary, obeying his Bishop and observing celibacy through a life of continence – in addition to living a life of virtues in general.
d.When a Priest proves grossly or scandalously non-observant of his obligation in the Clerical State, specially in the matter of continence and celibacy, then he undergoes either the Dispensation or Dismissal Process.
e.The substantive elements of a Dispensation Process are the following: 1st. The Priest directly and formally addresses a Petition Letter to the Holy Father to free him from the obligations appended to his Clerical State. 2nd. The required documentation of the Case is undertaken to evidence the facts of the Case, to prove the merit of the Petition and to thereafter wait for the decision of the Holy Father. 3rd. When the Petition proves justified, the opted Dispensation is granted, and the Priest loses his Clerical State - although a shamed Priest he remains as he is categorically divested of any licit and valid Priestly Ministry his whole life through.
f.The essential components of the Dismissal Process are the following: 1st. The Priest adamantly refuses to ask for a Dispensation, notwithstanding all advisories to do so on account of his amoral and scandalous behavioral pattern. 2nd. The necessary documentation of the Case is done to prove the flagrant moral errant life or erratic conduct of the Priest, and thereafter await for the papal decision of confirmation of the Dismissal Case. 3rd. When thus approved, the disgraced Priest is effectively dismissed from the Clerical State for the remaining days of his life.
09 FEBRUARY 2011