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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.

"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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"Obedience is the true holocaust which we sacrifice to God on the altar of our hearts."
St Philip Neri

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"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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