Now the Guardian is a paper I seldom readm but it usually is reasonably up to speed on the idea of research however one of the people I was in conversation with made the comment when I brought up the problems of being married and a priest retorted that "Well I read it in the Guardian they could be married", She would not be swayed in her belief, something that is in the Guardian is to be believed more that the internal rules that govern the Catholic Church .. aka "Canon Law".
For all you Guardian readers out there who may have read that and are now defending the idea that the Catholic Church has done a U-Turn on this policy .. here are some facts the Guardian missed.
Up until 1139 all the clery could be married (Infact 39 popes where offically married). The Second Lateran council changed the rules. All existing priest marriages were declared invalid and future priests were required to maintain celibacy.
Celibacy as defined by the 2nd Lateran council is quite rigidly defined (in Latin) Priest are not allowed to be married or have sex with females, males, self, animals, etc... it makes an interesting and funny if it were not the document that sentenced the priesthood to centuries of misery really for no good reason other than they didnt like sex getting in the way.
The Church resists to this day married priests. For a priest to legally get married under canon law he must be granted a special dispensation to release him from the rule of celibacy, (in fact if a priest wants to have an offical period of "self love" he needs to have this permisson as well)
However the process to grant the dispensation and the actual wording of the dispensation are problematic. When applying for the dispensation a priest must put together a lot of paperwork. Part of the paperwork almost requires him to say that he never should have been ordained a priest in the first place.
The document that grants dispensation from celibacy is called "a rescript", and it includes wording that says the priest loses rights to
1. the clerical state
2. loses his office of priest
3. is no longer bound by the duties of the clerical state.
The priest is then allowed to marry under Church rules.
However, the rescript wording also includes a prohibition of exercising any sacred ministry. Thus the priest may not participate in a parish as a lector/reader, eucharistic minister, or any functions of a deacon or priest.
So, when Anglian priests decide to jump ship and are all ready married will all of them have to apply for and get the dispensation? Yes if they want to stay offically married then yes they do.
The canon law that applies is number 1394 which is
"Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 194, ß1, n. 3, a cleric who attempts marriage, even if only civilly, incurs a latae sententiae suspension. If, after warning, he has not reformed and continues to give scandal, he can be progressively punished by deprivations, or even by dismissal from the clerical state"
However there is a "get out" rule in Canon law 1335
"Provided it is not reserved to the Apostolic See (the Vatican), a penalty which is established by law and has been imposed or declared, can be remitted by the following:
Provided it is not reserved to the Apostolic See, a latae sententiae penalty established by law but not yet declared, can be remitted by the Ordinary in respect of his subjects and of those actually in his territory or of those who committed the offence in his territory. Moreover, any Bishop can do this, but only in the course of sacramental confession."
So basically as long as no-body says anything and the priest do not apply for permission to be married and the See does not declare or impose a "latae senentiae" then everything is fine, the priest remains as he was before, cept he is no longer lonely in bed.
Aint it grand to see the high-heejin-god-bothers being clever?
So in answer to the the lady who queried me on why i believed Anglican priests cannot remain married, No they can't if they want to follow the rules of the organisation they belong to, they will become "latae senentiae" if they do.
But if they want to just keep on going and ignore that particular rule then they can, but you do have to then question any stand they make on Abortion, Divorce etc etc etc, which are also against canon law.
Another case of "Do as I Say not as I do" from the men in the funny frocks!