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Canon Law & Vocations


At the time of the consecration of the Evangelical Catholic Church, we, like many other Independent Catholic jurisdictions, embarked on a mission to foster vocations and to provide a ecclesial home to the countless numbers of inactive clerics and religious.  Like many of the other Independent Catholic jurisdictions of that time, we accepted a low bar of standards to just allow anybody to apply and become a priest - and for many years the ECC paid a high and painful price for that policy.

Many years ago the the pool of vocational prospects was very shallow and inhabited by a majority of individuals who lacked the psychological, emotional, educational and spiritual standards necessary to don a collar or habit and engage in any form of public ministry and by doing so we became guilty of contributing to the glut of feral clergy and religious that contributed to the discreditation of the overall Independent Catholic movement.

We have learned that the People of God deserved better and the ECC had to become a better steward of the gifts which God had entrusted us with.

In recent years, the Evangelical Catholic Church has celebrated the incardination of several fine and outstanding clerics who have brought pride and who have contributed to the growth and maturity of our community.  Because of their insights, we began seven years ago to revamp and reform our formation policies for candidates for formation and incardination that has enabled us to embrace the highest of professional and ecclesial standards - second to none.

We are now pleased to be to proclaim that the Evangelical Catholic Church is not, nor will it ever permit itself to be a clerical or religious repository for dysfunctional individuals.


According to Canon 12.25 of the Code of Canon Law for the Evangelical Catholic Church, the following are irregular regarding the reception of Orders:

1 A person who labors under some form of mental illness or other psychic defect due to which, after consultation with experts in the medical field, are judged incapable of rightly carrying out the ministry.

2 A person who has committed the delict of apostasy, heresy, or schism within the Church.

3 A person who has committed voluntary homicide.

4 A person who has committed sexual assault.


The following outlines the procedures and steps required by potential candidates for Ordination to the Priesthood and Diaconate and also for Candidates for Secular Incardination:

1.  Canonical Reception as a member of the Evangelical Catholic Church prior to submitting a application for entrance into any of our formation programs.

2. Completion of a application for entrance into any of our formation programs with all necessary documents completed.  These included:

Certificates of baptism, confirmation, marriage and reception into the Evangelical Catholic Church.  Also decrees from any divorces.

Paperwork from any criminal background check and evaluations from psychological testing.

3.  Upon acceptance of a completed application, the proper authority shall convene a review panel for the valuation and recommendation of the candidate acceptability.

4. Diocesan bishop then accepts or rejects the candidate. (Note: this acceptance is provisional only. The Diocesan bishop reserves the right to dismiss any candidate from the program for a canonical reason, even if occult. Cf. Can. 10.18 & 10.19).

When a candidate for Orders either must begin their academic formation program or has come to us with previous academic credits earned, the following policies apply:

5. Reception of Minor Order of Lector at the beginning of graduate studies, unless previously administered.

6. Reception of Minor Order of Acolyte mid-way in the academic program, unless previously administered.

7. Candidacy will be celebrated at the discretion of the Diocesan bishop (note: reception of the Minor Orders will be at the discretion of the Diocesan bishop if the candidate has completed the required academic studies prior to entering our formation program).

8. After all required academic studies have been certified as completed and prior to beginning the internship, the candidate shall be ordained to the Order of Deacon.

9. Completion of any pre-arranged required internship program.

10. Ordination to the Presbyterate.


The requirements for clerical Incardination are very identical to those for other candidates. A cleric seeking Incardination normally has already completed the required studies and received all the Minor Orders. After the Diocesan bishop accepts the candidate for Incardination, the bishop will grant the candidate temporary faculties as a "cleric-in-residence." The length of time of this required "probationary" period is at the discretion of the Diocesan bishop after consultation with he clergy of the Diocese.

Prior to the celebration of Incardination, the Diocesan Bishop or any other delegated authority shall seek the evaluation and counsel of the parish or mission where the candidate has been working for their impute and contribution of this process.

Any deviation from those norms and policies hereby stated are prohibited for any reason.  Any candidate for any of our formational tracks who fails for fulfill or respect any part of this process will not be considered as a suitable candidate and will dismiss from consideration.


Come, follow me

Canon Law and Formation Policies of the ECC

The Diocesan Deaconate

The Diocesan Priesthood

Process for Clerical Incardination

Religious Orders and Religious Societies

Welcoming Women to the Deaconate and Priesthood

Welcoming Back Inactive Deacon, Priests, Religious and Bishops 

Sample Application for the ECC Secular Formation Program


Saint John the Evangelist Seminary



National Church Office for Vocations
Father Mark Hebert, Director