THE CANONS OF THE 217 BLESSED
FATHERS WHO ASSEMBLED AT CARTHAGE
- Of the different orders that should abstain from their wives.
- Concerning bishops and the lower orders who wait upon the most holy mysteries. It has seemed good that these abstain from their wives.
- What clerics should abstain from their wives.
- Of the prayers to be said at the altar.
- That virgins, even when minors, should be given the veil.
CANON IV.FAUSTINUS, the bishop of the Potentine Church, in the province of Picenum, a legate of the Roman Church, said: It seems good that a bishop, a presbyter, and a deacon, or whoever perform the sacraments, should be keepers of modesty and should abstain from their wives.
By all the bishops it was said: It is right that all who serve the altar should keep pudicity from all women.
CANON XXV. (Greek xxviii.)AURELIUS, the bishop, said: We add, most dear brethren, moreover, since we have heard of the incontinency of certain clerics, even of readers, towards their wives, it seemed good that what had been enacted in divers councils should be confirmed, to wit, that subdeacons who wait upon the holy mysteries, and deacons, and presbyters, as well as bishops according to former statutes,(1) should contain from their wives, so that they should be as though they had them not and unless they so act, let them be removed from office. But the rest of the clergy are not to be compelled to this, unless they be of mature age. And by the whole council it was said: What your holiness has said is just, holy, and pleasing to God, and we confirm it.
CANON LXX.(Greek lxxiii.) MOREOVER since incontinence has been charged against some clergymen with regard to their own wives it has seemed good that bishops, presbyters, and deacons should according to the statutes already made abstain even from their own wives; and unless they do so that they should be removed from the clerical office. But the rest of the clergy shall not be forced to this but the custom of each church in this matter shall be followed.
CANON CIII. (Greek cvi.) THIS also seemed good, that the prayers which had been approved in synod should be used by all, whether prefaces, commendations, or laying on of the hand, and that others contrary to the faith should not be used by any means, but that those only should be said which had been collected by the learned.
CANON CXXVI. (Greek cxxvii.)ITEM, it seemed good that whatever bishop, by the necessity of the dangers of virginal purity, when either a powerful suitor or some ravisher is feared, or if she shall be pricked with some scruple of death that she might die unveiled, at the demand either of her parents or of those to whose care she has been entrusted, shall give the veil to a virgin, or shall have given it while she was under twenty-five years of age, the council which has appointed that number of years shall not oppose him.
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