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39. The Impediments to Orders

1. No woman may receive the sacrament of orders. St. Paulsays (I Tim. 2:12): "I suffer not a woman to teach (in theChurch)." The nature of this sacrament, the example of Christ,and the constant law and practice of the Church, make it abundantlyevident that the female sex is an absolute impediment to thereceiving of the sacrament of orders.

2. The Church sets a definite age for the ordaining ofcandidates. As regards minor orders, very young boys might bevalidly ordained. Prudence and reverence demand, however, that thecandidate for any order be old enough to discharge its duties withseemliness and with an appreciation of the dignity and theresponsibility it lays uponhim. {-Thecanonical age is the age set by the laws or canons of theChurch as minimal for ordination. For example, a man is notordained to the priesthood until he has entered his twenty-fifthyear, that is, has passed his twenty-fourth birthday.-}

3. One who is enslaved cannot lawfully be raisedto orders. Yet, if he be actually ordained, the ordination isvalid. The same is true of those who are under the burden of heavydebts, and of those who are bound to the exacting care ofothers.

4. One who has been guilty of homicide, though penitentand pardoned, cannot lawfully be ordained. Still, if he wereordained, the ordination, though illicit, would be valid.

5. Legitimate birth is required in the candidate forlawful ordination. Here again, the impediment is one of licitness,not of validity. For lawful ordination, an illegitimate person mustfirst be dispensed by the Church from his impediment ofillegitimacy.

6. Any notable and noticeable deformity of body is animpediment to lawful ordination.

"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."
St Nicholas Flue

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"It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come."
Thomas á Kempis

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"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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