For a person to be ordained, he must enjoy the requisite freedom. It is absolutely wrong to compel anyone, in any way or for any reason whatsoever, to receive orders, or to turn away from orders anyone who is canonically suitable.
Aspirants to the diaconate and the priesthood are to be formed by careful preparation in accordance with the law.
The diocesan Bishop or the competent Superior must ensure that before they are promoted to any order, candidates are properly instructed concerning the order itself and its obligations.
Only those are to be promoted to orders who, in the prudent judgement of the proper Bishop or the competent major Superior, all things considered, have sound faith, are motivated by the right intention, are endowed with the requisite knowledge, enjoy a good reputation, and have moral probity, proven virtue and the other physical and psychological qualities appropriate to the order to be received.
The proper Bishop or the competent major Superior may, but only for a canonical reason, even one which is occult, forbid admission to the priesthood to deacons subject to them who were destined for the priesthood, without prejudice to recourse in accordance with the law.
§1 The priesthood may be conferred only upon those who have completed their twenty-fifth year of age, and possess a sufficient maturity; moreover, an interval of at least six months between the diaconate and the priesthood must have been observed. Those who are destined for the priesthood are to be admitted to the order of diaconate only when they have completed their twenty-third year.
§2 A candidate for the permanent diaconate who is not married may be admitted to the diaconate only when he has completed at least his twenty-fifth year; if he is married, not until he has completed at least his thirty-fifth year, and then with the consent of his wife.
§3 Episcopal Conferences may issue a regulation which requires a later age for the priesthood and for the permanent diaconate.
§4 A dispensation of more than a year from the age required by §§1 and 2 is reserved to the Apostolic See.
§1 Aspirants to the priesthood may be promoted to the diaconate only when they have completed the fifth year of the curriculum of philosophical and theological studies.
§2 After completing the curriculum of studies and before being promoted to the priesthood, deacons are to spend an appropriate time, to be determined by the Bishop or by the competent major Superior, exercising the diaconal order and taking part in the pastoral ministry.
§3 An aspirant to the permanent diaconate is not to be promoted to this order until he has completed the period of formation.
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