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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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 If some persons have been promoted to Presbyters without due examination, or when given a hearing confessed their sins to them,[17] and after they confessed, the men, acting contrary to the Canon, laid hand upon such persons, the Canon will not admit them. For the catholic Church insists upon irreproachability.

(Ap. cc. XXV, LXI; cc. IX, X of Neocaesaria; cc. III, V, VI of Theophilus).



The present Canon decrees that those who are about to be admitted to holy orders must be clear from sins that preclude holy orders, and that their life and their behavior and conduct must be looked into. If, however, some persons have been made presbyters without being examined, or upon examination confessed their sins, such as preclude admission to holy orders, and the prelates who examined them, acting contrary to the Canons, ordained them priests, such persons, I say, having been invested with holy orders unworthily, are not admitted to the privilege of performing sacred rites. For after being exposed by others, or they themselves confessed to sins incapacitating one for holy orders which they had committed before applying for ordination, they can be defrocked according to Zonaras and Balsamon. Or they may cease to perform sacred rites, according to the Anonymous annotator of the Canons. But the Canon also adds an explanation of the reason why those who have fallen into sins are not admissible to holy orders. Because, it says, the catholic Church demands and wants priests to be irreproachable, or, in other words, exempt from the charge of sins, just as St. Paul commands that a bishop should be, by saying: “A bishop then must be irreproachable” (mistranslated in the Authorized Versionblameless”) (I Tim. 3:2), or, in other words, not only unchargeable at law, but also entirely unimpeachable and free from every accusation, as touching his moral character.[18]

    Concordantly with the present Canon c. IX of Neocaesarea also decrees relevantly hereto, by saying: If any presbyter before his ordination committed the sin of carnal mingling, and after his ordination confesses it, let him function in holy orders no more. Likewise if even a deacon has thus sinned, and has confessed after he was ordained, let him serve only in the capacity of a servant, in accordance with c. X of the same Council. Canon III of Theophilus says that if anyone has been ordained a presbyter through ignorance without his being worthy of serving in this capacity, and has been exposed after his ordination, he is to be ousted from holy orders. Likewise in the case of a deacon that has been ordained in spite of his being unworthy, he is to be deposed in accordance with c. V of the same saint. It is also to be observed that all sins that entail deposition from holy orders when committed before admission to holy orders, similarly entail deposition also when committed after admission to holy orders, when exposed, or when confessed after admission to holy orders. Not only do they entail deposition, but they also act as a barrier to becoming a priest.



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