Vatican City, Sep 16, 2016 / 11:38 am
Pope Francis has confirmed that the impediments preventing one from being ordained – such as homicide, abortion, or attempted suicide – apply whether or not the man was Catholic at the time the act occurred.
As the law is written, a doubt existed that the "irregularities," as they are called, applied only to those who were Catholic – and thus those who were under the law – at the time they were committed.
Pope Francis affirmed the definitive interpretation, that the law does apply to non-Catholics who have performed the acts, in a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts on May 31. The letter was made public by the Vatican Sept. 15.
The purpose of the law is to provide extra protection to the sanctity of the Sacrament of Holy Orders – in the episcopate, priesthood, and diaconate – Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, said in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. He clarified that it is not a punishment for the irregularizing act, but merely an upholding of the dignity of Holy Orders.