Ontological Bonds: Priesthood, Sacred Virginity, Marriage

by Therese Ivers, JCL

The existence of ontological bonds in some of the Church vocations are among the most challenged teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.  Three bonds in particular are challenged for different reasons.  They are the ordained priesthood, the nuptial bond of sacred virgins, and the nuptial bond of marriage.


Most Protestant sects do not believe in ordained clergy in the sense that Catholics do.  Catholics believe that clergy receive a special mark of the soul, an ontological bond that is unique to men who receive Holy Orders.  This ontological bond separates the clergy from the rest of the faithful.  The Church teaches that this bond:

  • Has ontological existence (it is based in metaphysical reality and not just moral or legal)
  • Comes into existence when the Sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred upon the man
  • Is restricted to baptized males
  • Is indissoluble (nothing can dissolve it; men can be priests in Hell)
  • Is essentially different from the common priesthood of the faithful

Most Protestants, however, consider this to be an elitist position and following their interpretation of St. Paul in his “one Body” analogy, do not believe that a priest is essentially different than a layperson.  They cannot conceive of a Divinely instituted hierarchy with a power given to some that is not equally given to others.  Protestant pastors are pastors by reason of their persona, education, preaching ability, by choice of the people, etc., and not because they have a special ontological bond with Christ Jesus that the other faithful do not possess.  This is especially true of the beliefs of major sects who do not accept Transubstantiation and/or other Sacraments.


The Roman Catholic Church teaches that an ontological bond is formed between a man and a woman when they are validly married.  Here are some dogmatic facts about this ontological bond:

  • Has ontological existence (it is based in metaphysical reality and not just moral or legal)
  • Comes into existence during the exchange of vows of the spouses
  • Is restricted to the unions of one man with one woman
  • The bond is indissoluble only when it is both sacramental and consummated(the bond is dissoluble by death alone; once a spouse has died the bond totally disappears)
  • Is essentially different than the common motherhood or fatherhood of the baptized faithful since it is a commitment of a specific woman to a specific man

The Catholic Church, from its very inception, has been under attack for these teachings.  Licentious Rome was all for divorce.  Polygamy, polyandry, adultery, and other sins against the bond of marriage were and continue to be quite common.  The most challenging dogma is about indissolubility of consummated sacramental marriages.  All major religions other than the Catholic Church teach that under certain circumstances, the consummated sacramental marriage can be dissolved.  Many speculate that it was not so much the primacy of the Pope or the stance on consubstantiality that led to the rift between the Catholics and the Orthodox, but the teaching on divorce with the Catholics claiming indissolubility and the Orthodox claiming dissolubility of consummated sacramental marriages.  People are very passionate when it comes to sexual matters, and we live in an age of “temporary marriages” and other aberrations.

Sacred Virginity

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that sacred virgins (female virgins who have received the Consecration to a life of Virginity from their bishop) have an ontological bond between the virgin and Christ.  Here are some facts about this bond:

  • Has ontological existence (it is based in metaphysical reality and not just moral or legal)
  • Comes into existence when the Sacramental of Consecrated Virginity is conferred upon the woman
  • Is restricted to baptized females who are virgins
  • Is indissoluble (nothing can dissolve it; virgins can be virgins in Hell)
  • Is different from the common priesthood and bridehood of the faithful

The sacred virgin’s bond, just like the bond of the priesthood and of marriage, does not come about simply by her fiat, but by the ministry of another (in marriage this is a mutual conferral).  The Church teaches that it is an indissoluble nuptial bond, which means that it cannot be dissolved by anyone.   While it may come as a surprise to some, Martin Luther was not the first person to think that consecrated life, and in particular, consecrated virginity or consecrated chastity was worthless, or even against Christian principles.  Jovinianus was one of the first to erroneously claim that all lifestyles (marriage, digamy, virginity, widowhood, etc.) were all to be given the same and equal reward in Heaven.

Because there are people who dispute these aspects of all three of these vocations with ontological bonds in the Catholic Church, no comments will be permitted that make it clear that documents such as Pastores dabo vobis, The Council of Trent Session 24, the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity, and Vita Consecrata have not been read and understood.   A working knowledge of theological terms (such as vinculum) and their significance, as well as ecclesiastical Latin may be necessary to fully understand the full import of the Church’s writings.  Any comments not in keeping with these documents will be deleted or edited.

(c) 2013 by Therese Ivers, JCL

All rights reserved.


Posted in Consecrated Life, Consecrated Virgins, Holy Orders, Marriage, priesthood | 5 Comments

Random Thoughts on Marriage

by Therese Ivers, JCL

weddingRight now I am in the middle of reading a book on marriage by a priest.  As with many books, I think there are some solid gems in it, but I also disagree with certain sections that I believe are incorrect.  It may seem strange for some that a vocations blog would cover marriage, but I consider marriage to be a vocation.  Further, I am a canon lawyer, and most of my work is in the marriage nullity process.  My tribunal work gives me a nuanced perspective when I read marriage prep or relationship advice books because certain expectations of singles and behaviors of the married are pretty typical and surface frequently in the evidence in cases.  Reading this book reminded me of some posts I have been meaning to write on the vocation of marriage.  This post, however will be more of a collection of random musings on the subject, rather than something more focused.


Marriage is Two in One Flesh NOT Two in One Person!

Marriage exists for the very fundamental reason that most people will find it easier for themselves to get to Heaven by marrying than by remaining single or by following another Church vocation.  It is true that a bond arises in marriage between the couple and that this bond is objectively more or less firm depending on what kind of marriage it is.  It is this bond that makes for a valid marriage, not the carnal union of bodies.  But, what is not true is that the two souls meld and become one.  It is possible for one spouse to die and go to Heaven, and the other to die and go to Hell.  Each has independent thought, each has their own dignity as a human person, and each is an individual person with their own virtues and vices, strengths and weaknesses.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, many people act and behave as if they are one person, one soul, even though what they do is not the way God designed people in marriage to behave.  Some couples will tell each other confidential information that is meant for their individual ears only and not the other spouse.  This is a clear no-no, and yet people justify this all the time by saying that they are “one unit”.   No, folks, this is sinful, a breach of trust.  Other couples isolate themselves and draw all their emotional support in their spouse and children.  Very unhealthy.  God never designed one human being to be the end all be all of social interaction for another.  Probably the worst form of specious unity I have seen is when the spouses act as each others’ spiritual directors and/or go to spiritual direction together.  Again, their souls are unique and they are not a “unit”.

Men and Women have Different Expectations When it Comes to Marriage

I was reading testimony in a marriage nullity case, and this pearl leaped out at me.  Someone made the observation that  “Men marry and expect their wives to remain the same.  Women marry and expect to change their husbands.  Both are frustrated because women change and men don’t.”  I don’t quote this verbatim but I think whoever said this was on to something.  Women complain all the time that their husbands are not living up to par, and men are confused as to why their wives are different from when they got married.

Discerners take heed!  If you are a woman, do not, absolutely do not marry a man you want to reform.  99% of the time, men will not change.  Only marry a person whose weaknesses are things you can tolerate.  If you don’t know if someone’s traits are tolerable, look them up.  See the havoc heavy drinking, porn, and other habits wreak on marriages!  Not that women are exempt from these behaviors.  Men, be open to the idea that women will change for better or for worse.  If you only value women for their body and looks, then you should really reconsider getting married.

Marriage is Something to Work on Continuously

Many people find themselves going from this in their courtship


to this in marriage:


Part of this has to do with the modern notion that marriage is a 50/50 proposition.  Each spouse contributes equally to the marriage.  Not.  The. Catholic. Understanding. of. Marriage.  Another reprehensible idea of marriage is going into it for what YOU get.  Intimacy, social status, financial stability, or other motivations should not be THE reason for getting married (if one of them is, then you might be staring at an invalid marriage).  If you go into it for what you get, then complacency sets in and you get a lack of romance and a lack of trying to be spiritually perfected in the vocation of marriage.

A Bonus Thought

Continue reading

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Societies of Apostolic Life: Blessing, Myths, Misunderstandings?

by Therese Ivers, JCL

St. Catherine Laboure

Think that the woman pictured on the left was a religious sister? Think again. She was a dedicated laywoman, who was a member of what is now a Society of Apostolic Life. This particular lay person came from a simple farming family. She entered a community that was designed by its canonized founder (St. Vincent de Paul) to remain lay, rather than become religious.   Her Society of Apostolic Life (SAL) is known as the Sisters of Charity.   Sr. Catherine was not a religious or a consecrated person.  However, unlike many a religious or consecrated person, she had visions of Our Lady.  After living her call in life to the fullest, she became a saint in Heaven.  This pious laywoman’s body is incorrupt- has been for several centuries.

St. Catherine Laboure, the woman who introduced us to the Miraculous Medal, was not a religious.  She was not a sister, although the members of her community and many other Societies of Apostolic Life for women are often called sister.  She was a member of a kind of institution many Catholics do not really understand.  Worse, as it turns out, some fledging SALs don’t appear to fully understand themselves either.

Let’s get some things straight from the get-go.  Members of SALs are NOT “consecrated persons”.  It is a myth to think they are.  They are either diocesan clerics or they are lay persons.  They do not receive a consecration that transforms their being to sacred persons like members of the consecrated state do.  Instead, their form of consecrated life entails a special dedication through Church approved promises or other sacred bonds for apostolic mission living in community.  They, in a certain sense, “imitate” consecrated life but are not consecrated.  How can you understand this?  Well, one example will be military boarding school.  It is not truly military but it imitates military life to a certain extent with drills and discipline.  But no one would confuse a member of the armed forces with a student in miltary school.  Likewise, SALs imitate many aspects of consecrated religious (or secular institute) life, but are not themselves consecrated or in the consecrated state.

By definition, SALs are not religious with all that religious profession and consecration entail.  A very remarkable difference lies in how the evangelical counsel of poverty is lived out.  A diocesan hermit, a religious, and a member of a secular institute give up certain rights with regard to property by their vows.  They simply give up the right to administer their property which they own, or they give up the right to own and administer property, depending on the rules.  A member of an SAL owns and administers their own property and can acquire property!  (By the way, this is something that a LOT of people misunderstood when commenting on the Corapi case.)  This is what canon law has to say about property of members of SALs:

According to the norm of proper law, members are also capable of acquiring, possessing, administering, and disposing of temporal goods, but whatever comes to them on behalf of the society is acquired by the society. 741.2

SALs are a blessing in the Church.  They allow clerics and laypersons to band together for apostolic purposes and lead lives designed for growth in charity.  There is a lot of flexibility in how they are set up and organized.  This is why they are not part of the consecrated state nor are members considered consecrated persons.  For example, true consecration entails a permanent commitment.  Did you know that St. Catherine Laboure’s commitment was one year at a time?  That she could have walked away a dozen years after entering the Sisters of Charity at the annual expiration of vows?

SALs are not religious life nor are they stepping stones to religious life (or secular institutes for that matter).  Because they are neither religious nor secular institutes, they get a lot of leeway in how they live.   Here is a SAL of Pontifical Right:


Did you notice that these women members of the Regina Virginum SAL are wearing a habit?  They were founded recently, and this is part of their statutes.


From the famous “coronette” (a headdress adapted from French peasant dress) topped habit, the Sisters of Charity have returned to their origins (no habit).  iWhy?  First, because St. Vincent de Paul did not want his daughters to wear a habit.  Second, because they are not religious, there is no obligation for there to be a habit.  Two very good reasons why they went from

to this:

From www.sisters-of-charity-federation.org

Let us now turn our attention to a well known SAL that has been in the public eye for many reasons, including the media frenzy triggered by the actions of a famous TV personality, Fr. (?) John Corapi.  The Society of Our Lady of the Trinity, or the SOLT, is a SAL of diocesan right.  They want to be of pontifical right.  However, it appears from their public statements that there is a strong possibility that they do not know what it is that they really want to be.  Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

The SOLT describes itself as a family embracing its priests, sisters, and lay members.  Unfortunately, they are blurring the lines between consecration and dedication. For example, the sisters are not religious.  But, on their website, they say things that manipulate women into thinking they are religious.  For example, they say that profession of vows makes them “brides of Christ”, and they direct “inquiries of religious life” to their sister contact.  A woman may unwittingly become convinced that these laywomen are consecrated women because of the terminology they employ.   The same goes for their dedicated widows branch.  They call their group of widows “consecrated widows”, again, misleading the good women into believing that they are truly consecrated.

It seems to me that the SOLT needs to do some deep introspection and decide whether the women groups should be religious/secular institute or if they should remain a society of apostolic life.  Given their way of life, I’d guess that it’d be much more appropriate for them to apply to become a religious institute.  Or, on the other hand, because they do have widows who do not live in common, maybe they should be a secular institute that has a common life branch and an in the world branch.

Until then, while it remains a Society of Apostolic Life, they need to drop the religious life terminology (they aren’t religious), the bride of Christ terminology (they aren’t brides of Christ the way consecrated persons are), and the consecration terminology (they aren’t consecrated persons).  Interestingly, if you take this away, they will have nothing substantial left to describe their life on their website because they haven’t tapped into the theology of dedicated life as a Society of Apostolic Life!  Either there is a profound lack of understanding of their own way of life in the Church or there is a deliberate deception for luring women into their way of life under the pretense of them being just as consecrated as consecrated persons!  I prefer to think that it is a lack of knowledge that prompted their fuzzy theology on their website.

Non Religious Laywomen in a Society of Apostolic Life http://www.soltsisters.org

Very seriously, SOLT needs to rethink its theology!  Here’s another example of erroneous theological categorization.  Under LAITY tab are listed PERMANENT DEACONS!  Since when are DEACONS with HOLY ORDERS lay men?  They are clerics!!!  Their “brothers” are not consecrated any more than their “widows”.  As for consecrated widows, Our Lady was not one.  You can’t be Virgin, Bride, and Mother and simultaneously be a consecrated widow (goes against being a bride!).

While we’re at it, I should also point out in advance that to my knowledge, there is NO such thing as a consecrated widow in the Latin Rite unless you’re referring to a widow who is a member of a religious institute of diocesan/pontifical right, a secular institute of diocesan/pontifical right, or a diocesan hermit.  A widow who is a member of an association of the faithful, or a society of apostolic life is a dedicated widow.  Period.  By definition a member of an association of the faithful or a society of apostolic life is not a consecrated person (even if they make vows or promises).  Therefore, they cannot be consecrated widows!  On the other hand, the Eastern Catholic Churches do have consecrated widows.  They make a vow of chastity (unlike consecrated virgins who make no vows) in the hands of their bishop and receive the consecration of widows, thereby entering the Order of Widows.  It is to be hoped that one day Rome will open the door to this to the Latin Rite widows/widowers as well.


(c) 2013 by Therese Ivers, JCL

All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Canonical Requirements, Catholic Widows, Consecrated Life, Consecrated Widows, lay widow | 2 Comments

What is the consecrated layperson?

by Therese Ivers, JCL, OCV

The phrase “consecrated layperson” can refer to one of two realities.  The first is a generic reference to anyone who has received consecration into any of the four forms of consecrated life that is mediated by the Church:  religious, hermits, sacred virgins, or members of secular institutes.  In other words, generically, a religious monk can be said to be a consecrated layperson.  A hermit can be called a consecrated layperson.  A consecrated virgin can be called a consecrated layperson.  This use of the word “layperson” is used to differentiate from “cleric”.  It is a hierarchical reference to consecrated people who are not also clerics.

The phrase can also be specific.  When it is used specifically, it refers to men and women who have professed the evangelical counsels as members of secular institutes.  Such persons unite in themselves being both lay and consecrated.  This phrase is used to help differentiate the different forms of consecrated life.   It is a description that refers to a very particular kind of consecrated life.  It is this sense that the phrase will be used for the remainder of this post.

At best, only 5% of the faithful know what a consecrated layperson is.  For this reason, it is good to review the essential characteristics of a consecrated layperson:

1) The consecrated layperson professes the evangelical counsels by means of vows or sacred bonds.   Either the bishop or the authorized leadership of the secular institute can admit the person to such a profession.  These vows or sacred bonds are NOT private.  They constitute the person into a public state and vocation in the Church- the status of being a consecrated layperson in a secular institute.

2)  The consecrated layperson professes the counsels according to statutes of the institute of diocesan or pontifical right.  God in His turn, consecrates the layperson as a consecrated layperson.  (For what it’s worth, the consecrated layperson’s counterpart is the consecrated diocesan priest member of the secular institute.  But we are discussing consecrated laypersons.)  This consecration is true.  It is equal to religious consecration, eremitic consecration, and virginal consecration as a consecration.  It is different in its form or kind of consecration.

3)  The consecrated layperson may live in common (often secular institutes have some houses of common life in addition to having members who live by themselves), but this is not a defining characteristic of the vocation unlike the religious vocation.

4)  The consecrated layperson lives IN THE WORLD, and not separated from the world.  Again, this is a huge difference from religious life, which by definition is separated from the world.  It is a matter of Church teaching that the evangelical counsels DO NOT require in themselves, separation from the world.  For this reason, consecrated laypersons live externally like other people.  They do not live separately, nor are their forms of recreation, style of dress, work commitments, or other details of life greatly altered as they would be for religious.  This bears repeating.  Secular consecration DOES NOT require separation from the world.  None of the trappings of religious life that serve to visibly separate them from others are a part of this vocation and are not supposed to be lived in this vocation.

5)  The consecrated layperson remains in the lay state!  This is the extremely unique aspect of secular institutes.  Even though the lay members remain lay, they receive a true consecration from the Church.  This makes them “consecrated + lay” or “consecrated laypersons”.  It is the Church who determines what vocations are in the clerical state, the lay state, and the consecrated state.  In this vocation, the person receives a true consecration equal to the consecrations of other forms of consecrated life, but unlike those other forms, receiving the consecration does NOT put them into the consecrated state.

6) A female virgin member of a secular institute can add the consecration to a life of virginity.  A sacred virgin living in the world can add the consecration of the secular institute, just like secular priests can add the consecration of the secular institute.  The consecrations of holy orders and sacred virginity are not incompatible with the consecration of secular institutes per se.  Religious and eremitic consecrations are by definition incompatible with the consecration of secular institutes.  Both require separation from the world as part of their definition whereas life in the world is part and parcel of the secular institute lifestyle.

In summary, a professed member of a secular institute of pontifical or diocesan right is a consecrated layperson.

For discussion:  Using the six points above, demonstrate why members of Regnum Christi and other lay movements are not consecrated laypersons but are dedicated laypersons.

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Overview, Ever Ancient Ever New, Part II

Table of contents for Ever Ancient Ever New

  1. Overview: Ever Ancient Ever New, an Introduction to consecrated Life and the Ordo Virginum by Caroline J. Nolan
  2. Overview, Ever Ancient Ever New, Part II

Part II

by Therese Ivers, JCL, OCV

In Part I of this overview, I gave a general outline of Dr. Nolan’s work on consecrated virginity.  For the second part, I will focus on some of the key concepts presented in this book that are questionable.

The most striking feature of Dr. Nolan’s book on consecrated virginity is that with a few minor exceptions, it could be read as a description of the vocation to secular institutes and not consecrated virginity per se.

In the first place, Nolan states that the vow of chastity is made.  She claims that it is the propositum and the consecration prayer proper that makes the virgin a consecrated virgin.  This is incorrect.  Nolan does not recall that in ancient times, there were often two ceremonies.  One was for the propositum, and the other was for the veiling (consecration). Sacred virgins living in the world and consecrated with the 1970 Rite do not make any vows as the propositum is not a vow but a resolution.  Members of secular institutes, on the other hand do make vows (or sacred bonds).

Second, the description of virginity given in this book could be used to describe chastity, even marital chastity.  Secular Institute members (consecrated lay men and women and consecrated priests and deacons) also are to exercise purity of heart.

Third, it is quite striking that although Nolan once or twice fleeting refers to virginity as being necessary for the consecration in the Ordo Virginum, she has hundreds of references to “celibate chastity”.  Consecrated laymen/laywomen in secular institutes are called to celibate chastity, as well as others in the consecrated state.  The vocation to sacred virginity is not about celibate chastity, it is about consecrated virginity.  All consecrated forms of life call for celibate chastity but only sacred virginity calls for virginal chastity consecrated by God.

Because Nolan does not delve into the theology of virginity, she does not link the concept of virginity with the spousal identity of the sacred virgin.  This spousal identity differs from that of religious, hermits, and consecrated laymen/laywomen of secular institutes  in that the sacred virgin is a bride with eternal marriage bonds with Christ.  A sacred virgin is a virgin bride forever in the Marian Order just as a priest is a priest forever in the Order of Melchizedek.

Nolan identifies consecrated virgins as consecrated laypersons.  “It is not a vow, canonically speaking, neither is it a promise, but a unique resolve that changes the canonical status of each of the women from being a layperson to becoming a publicly consecrated layperson.”  This is incorrect, because consecrated laypersons are laymen and women who have received the consecration given to professed members of secular institutes.  These are the people the Church refers to as consecrated laypersons.  Consecrated virgins, on the other hand, are no longer in the lay state.  They join the consecrated state upon being consecrated by the bishop with the prayer of Consecration.

It is not surprising that given the profound lack of insight on the spousal and bridal nature of the vocation to sacred virginity that Nolan’s suggestions reflect a view that is more appropriate for consecrated laywomen (members of secular institutes) than sacred virgins.  For example, she doesn’t think a veil should be given to the sacred virgin because modern religious have dropped its use.  The Church calls for sacred virginity to be understood in light of marriage, not in light of the sequela Christi proper to religious.  The Rite itself calls the veil “bridal insignia”.  This using the religious vocation as the paradigm for understanding the virginal vocation also arises in her treatment of the bridesmaids in the consecration Rite.  She claims that candidates don’t need bridesmaids because “the canonical form that they are entering into is not communal in nature, unlike religious orders and congregations”.  Again, she fails to understand that the origin of the bridesmaids is both biblical and nuptial, and does not come from religious life.

Another intriguing notion that surfaces about two thirds of the way into the book is the idea that the sacred virgin “must be content with the role and function the consecrated virgin plays in the Church, i.e., prayer and service in a spirit of humility and peace.”  The role that the sacred virgin has in the Church is more profound than being a person who merely prays and serves.  The consecrated virgin represents the Church in a visible way.  She shares with the Church the role of virgin, bride, and mother.  Her role is essential to the very nature of the Church, just as the role of the clergy is essential for the Church in time.  It is remarkable that the author calls for an understanding of why only men can be clerics, but she omits to say that only women can be consecrated virgins.

The charism of the sacred virgin is the charism of the Church herself.  Other forms of consecrated life partake in limited expressions of this charism, but the sacred virgin is graced with the entirety of the Church’s own charism gifted by the Holy Spirit. This is not a matter of resignation to being content with some kind of inferior role.  This is a major role, not less essential than the clerical role!  It is specific to consecrated virginity, however, which may be a reason why Nolan may have  missed it, as she concentrated on celibacy rather than on virginity.

Although the biblical section of the book was very good, and many suggestions Dr. Nolan offers are worthy of consideration, there are numerous texts which indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of certain forms of consecrated life.  Nolan almost entirely misses the boat on diocesan hermits.  She does not appear to realize that secular institutes are different from other lay ecclesial movements because they are a form of consecrated life (as opposed to dedicated life).  She does not demonstrate a firm and authentic understanding of the differences between private vows and the vows made by religious, diocesan hermits, and secular institute members.

With regard to specific claims about the vocation made about sacred virginity, there are several major factual errors that appear in the book.  In the first place, Nolan assumes that the Ordo Virginum is comprised of women who have received the Consecration to a Life of Virginity who are living in the world.  In point of fact, the Ordo Virginum also embraces nuns who have received the same consecration to a life of virginity.  This is similar to ordination.  Ordination may be received by men in secular life (diocesan priests), but it can also be received by monks.  Both religious and secular priests belong to the Ordo Presbyterum.

Another erroneous claim made is that virgins make implicit vows of obedience to their bishop “since they are at the service of their bishop and diocese where they reside permanently”.  One cannot make an implicit vow.  A vow is an explicit thing promised to God as a vow.  Just as one is either pregnant or non-pregnant, so too one either makes an explicit vow or does not make a vow at all.

Further, a sacred virgin is not at the service of their bishop.  Sacred virgins are at the service of the Church and of God.  To say that virgins are at the service of their bishop would be like saying religious are at the service of their superior.  Neither is true.  In addition, the service due to the Church is not limited to the diocese of one’s residence.  The Church is speaking of service to both the diocesan Church and the universal Church.  Many virgins have more than one diocese they reside or work in, and quite a few have international apostolates.

While Nolan may be an expert in Sacred Scripture studies, she is not a canon lawyer.  Several things she claims as “canonical” are simply her own opinion.  For example, sacred virgins do not have a canonical obligation to wear a consecration ring daily, despite the assertions made twice to the contrary in the book.

There are a number of really great things about the book, but also serious errors,as has been noted in this overview.  Reading should be done judiciously and one should keep the Church’s teaching and praxis of consecrated virginity over the two millenia in mind when discerning the weight to be given to individual statements made by Nolan.


(c) 2013 by Therese Ivers, JCL

All Rights Reserved.  You do not have permission to republish this in any format including on the internet.

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