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Bjoern Mandl wrote:

Hi, guys —

In Leviticus it says that a person who has some physical defect cannot (should not) do something in the Temple.

21 No man of the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, shall come near to offer the offerings made by fire to the Lord. He has a defect; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. 22 He may eat the bread of his God, both the most holy and the holy; 23 only he shall not go near the veil or approach the altar, because he has a defect, lest he profane My sanctuaries; for I the Lord sanctify them.' "

Leviticus 21:21-23 NKJV

My question is:

  • Can a person become a priest if they have some facial deformation or defect?


  { Can a person become a priest if they have some facial deformation or defect? }

Eric replied:


A facial deformation is not an impediment to Holy Orders in Catholicism.

The following are the impediments to Holy Orders according to the Code of Canon Law of the Latin Rite:

Canon 1041 The following are irregular for receiving orders:

  1. / a person who labors under some form of amentia or other psychic illness due to which, after experts have been consulted, he is judged unqualified to fulfill the ministry properly;
  2. / a person who has committed the delict of apostasy, heresy, or schism;
  3. / a person who has attempted marriage, even only civilly, while either impeded personally from entering marriage by a matrimonial bond, sacred orders, or a public perpetual vow of chastity, or with a woman bound by a valid marriage or restricted by the same type of vow;
  4. / a person who has committed voluntary homicide or procured a completed abortion and all those who positively cooperated in either;
  5. / a person who has mutilated himself or another gravely and maliciously or who has attempted suicide;
  6. / a person who has placed an act of orders reserved to those in the order of episcopate or presbyterate while either lacking that order or prohibited from its exercise by some declared or imposed canonical penalty.

Canon 1042 The following are simply impeded from receiving orders:

  1. / a man who has a wife, unless he is legitimately destined to the permanent diaconate;
  2. / a person who exercises an office or administration forbidden to clerics according to the norm of Canons 285 and 286 for which he must render an account, until he becomes free by having relinquished the office or administration and rendered the account;
  3. / a neophyte unless he has been proven sufficiently in the judgment of the ordinary.

Vatican website and Code of Canon Law: New English Translation (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1998), pp. 329–30.

I hope this helps,


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