Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dispensation from the irregularity of having procured an abortion incurred by a candidate for the permanent diaconate, 2002, Private.
This entry involves a man preparing for ordination to the permanent diaconate, who cooperated in procuring an abortion many years ago. The diocesan bishop sought a dispensation from the irregularity incurred. Initially, the bishop wrote to the Congregation for Clergy, in accord with the requirements of Pastor Bonus. The dispensation request was forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as the dicastery competent to grant such a dispensation in these cases. What follows is the letter of the diocesan bishop to the Holy See and the response, in English, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith granting the dispensation.
His Eminence Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos
Prefect, Congregation for the Clergy
Pianna Pio XII, 3
I am writing to request a dispensation from an irregularity for the reception of orders. The person who incurred the irregularity is a candidate for the permanent
diaconate in the Diocese of _____. He has completed his diaconal formation and I would like to ordain him on . However, we only recently discovered that more than twenty years ago, he appears to have incurred the irregularity specified in canon 1041, 4°. The details of the matter are as follows:
_____ was born on _____. He married his wife, _____, on _____. Prior to that marriage, and while _____ was in his twenties, he assisted in paying for a young woman to have an abortion. Very shortly after that, _____ realized the sinfulness of his action. He repented of it, confessed his sin, and received sacramental absolution more than twenty years ago.
Since that time, _____ has led an exemplary Catholic life. He and his wife, _____, had _____ children who have been raised in the Catholic faith. _____ is employed in the medical field. _____ has dedicated his life to the education of youth.
During his time in diaconal formation, _____ has shown absolute adherence to the teaching of the Magisterium. He enjoys the strong support of his pastor, _____, of _____ here in the Diocese of _____. He has also been involved in numerous Catholic professional and service organizations. All of the evaluation of _____ during the diaconate formation program indicate that he is extremely well suited to serve as a deacon, and that he has the qualities which are necessary for diaconal service in the Church. In addition, his marriage to _____ is very strong, and he had her support for being ordained.
Your Eminence, I believe there is sufficient reason for granting a dispensation from the irregularity. From all indications, he has sincerely repented of his sin, and had dedicated his life to serving the Church. He is extremely faithful in the practice of his faith, and has shown total acceptance of Church teaching regarding issues related to respect for human life. He is faithful to the Magisterium of the Church in other areas as well. _____ has also demonstrated the qualities of leadership and service which are necessary for the diaconate.
For these reasons, I ask that you dispense him from the irregularity he incurred by assisting in the procuring of an abortion. I believe this dispensation will contribute to the spiritual good of the faithful of _____. With the dwindling number priests, we are in need of sacred ministers who faithfully adhere to the Magisterium of the Church and who are willing to dedicate their lives to the service of God's people.
I thank you for your kind consideration of this request and send you my own personal greetings. May this Advent season be a time of hope-filled anticipation as we await the birth of the Lord Jesus.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
CONGREGATIO PRO DOCTRINA FIDEIProt. N. _____
The Congregation for Clergy has forwarded pro competentia to this Dicastery your letter of December 7, 2001, concerning a request for dispensation from the irregularity specified in canon 1041,4° of the CIC, in favour of _____ so that he might be ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of _____.
I am pleased to inform Your Excellency that, after careful examination and taking into consideration the Petitioner's sincere repentance for his behaviour of twenty years ago and his present good reputation, the Congregation has granted the dispensation from the irregularity specified in canon 1041,4° to _____ so that he may be ordained to the permanent diaconate.
I take the occasion to convey Your Excellency all good wishes, and remain
Yours devotedly in the Lord,
+ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dispensation from the irregularity of having procured an abortion incurred by a candidate for the permanent diaconate, 2002, Private, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2002, 25-27.