-or- Why we have chosen a Josephite Marriage by Deacon Angel Cuesta and Jazmin Cuesta
The upheaval of so many things in the world and in the Church over the past couple of years led us to study, pray and reflect on many aspects of Holy Mother Catholic Church including her traditions, her laws, her teachings. Even 26 years after ordination to the diaconate, there had always been a disquietude for us regarding the acceptance of a married Catholic clergy. Amidst our research, we then became aware of the official and unchanging teaching in regards to celibacy/continence for all clerics. Some of these teachings include:
- In 390 AD the Council of Carthage explained the universality and inviolability of the discipline pertaining to celibacy among all clerics decreed by the Nicean Council. The Fathers made clear that celibacy is of Apostolic tradition. St. Epiphanius wrote, “It is the Apostles themselves who decreed this law.”
- St. Jerome stated, “Priests and deacons must be either virgins or widowers before being ordained, or at least observe perpetual continence after their ordination…If married men find this difficult to endure, they should not turn against me, but rather against Sacred Scripture and the entire ecclesiastical order.”
- Pope St. Innocent I (401-417 AD) confirmed this: “This is not a matter of imposing upon the clergy new and arbitrary obligations, but rather of reminding them of those which the tradition of the apostles and the Fathers has transmitted to us.”
- The 1983 Code of Canon Law reads Can. 277 §1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity. §3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.
Pope Benedict’s words in Summorum Pontificum confirmed to us what God seemed to be revealing to us: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”
It became apparent to us that we had no choice but to follow what had always been taught. We would take a vow of perpetual continence. After moments of darkness, confusion, discussions and prayer, followed by counsel from trusted priests, on August 24, 2021, in a private ceremony in the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, in High Springs, Florida, we vowed an oath to God and each other of perpetual continence.
It has been a watershed of graces both in our marriage and in our relationship with Our Lord. There has been an infusion of love for each other and expression that transcends the physical and is hard for us to put into words. The wisdom of the Church and its teachings guided by the Holy Ghost continues to guide us, and for this we are truly thankful.