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Leaving aside the issue of marriage, what do folk think of the reinstated Permanent Deaconate in the Western Church?

Why did Latin Christianity develop in such a way that the position of a Deacon, who was originally intended to do the heavy work of a priest (i.e.: caring for the poor, parish finances), ended up becoming a more spiritualized post? Is the work of a Brother basically the role of a Deacon of ages past?

What is the role of a Deacon in the East?
I like the idea of permanent deacons, actually. It shows that its not just some made up stepping stone like the Minor Orders. It is the first stage of Holy Orders instituted by Christ. I'm sure the Church had a good reason for making it transitional only, but I like the idea of a permanent one too.
I've just been thinking about this the last few days, I'd like to hear what people think.
I do think the marriage thing could be seen as a problem, but I really don't see a problem. If I understand correctly, a single man vows celibacy and a married man vows conditional celibacy, that is once his wife has died he may not remarry. I think that if this is understood and the difference between the priesthood and diaconate are properly understood the marriage issue is more of a catechetical issue than anything else, that's how I see it anyway.
I do think that the role of the deacon would be helpful if used properly, they could take some of the pressure off or our over worked priests. I do not however see the deacon as a solution to the vocation shortfall, I just think they could be a grace to the faithful. The only deacon I've ever known was a great man and I must say I enjoyed him and his ministry.
I look forward to hearing what others think
Reinstating the permanent diaconate (let's assume for the purposes of this post that all Latin deacons are celibate) was something that just had to be done (really, I don't know why it wasn't done at the Council of Trent). As didishroom said, it's one of the holy orders instituted by Christ Himself, and shouldn't be relegated to only a 6-month/1-year "senior year" in the seminary. The deacon exists partially to keep financial and business matters of the Church in the hands of the ordained clergy, but not in those whose time is better spent by administering the sacraments or leading divine services. Hence ideally, every parish's business manager should be a deacon, not the priest. Furthermore, having a deacon and subdeacon in every parish would just make every priest's life much easier, in every way. Then you could also have solemn Mass all the time.

I also firmly believe the office of archdeacon should be restored.
The SSPX has kept to Tradition and transitional deacons are part of the minor orders - one of the steps on the way to the ultimate goal of being ordained a priest. In my opinion, the surest way to kill priestly vocations is to allow a married permanent diaconate to gain hold. In my diocese last year we had nine deacons ordained (with their wives alongside them) and only two priests. One of the couples called themselves a "deacon team". Think about it...do you really want a bunch of married deacons instead of holy, celibate priests who have sacrificed all for Holy Mother Church? The concept of permanent married deacons seems awfully close to protestant ministers to me.
(06-07-2009, 09:08 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: [ -> ]Reinstating the permanent diaconate (let's assume for the purposes of this post that all Latin deacons are celibate) was something that just had to be done (really, I don't know why it wasn't done at the Council of Trent). As didishroom said, it's one of the holy orders instituted by Christ Himself, and shouldn't be relegated to only a 6-month/1-year "senior year" in the seminary. The deacon exists partially to keep financial and business matters of the Church in the hands of the ordained clergy, but not in those whose time is better spent by administering the sacraments or leading divine services. Hence ideally, every parish's business manager should be a deacon, not the priest. Furthermore, having a deacon and subdeacon in every parish would just make every priest's life much easier, in every way. Then you could also have solemn Mass all the time.

I wholeheartedly agree. 

A substantial re-invigoration of the permanent diaconate could further help to counter the "social worker model" of the priesthood that seems to be so prevalent today, in which the priest adopts many of the servant roles traditionally reserved for the deacon.  (I speak, of course, from an Anglican standpoint here; however, I assume that many of the same problems exist in the Catholic Church, as well.)  Having our priests spread across so many different areas of parish and community life diminishes the vocation of the priest, whose sole and essential ontological role is to administer the sacraments.

However, I do wonder how the Church would institute a large-scale deployment of deacons and subdeacons.  It seems to me that today most people who would desire to enter into the clerical state would feel called to "go all the way" and be ordained priests.  Is this a problem of discernment? 

Again, please keep in mind that I am writing from an Anglican perspective here; if anything is in error, please correct.
What I wonder about is the fact that most deacons (to my knowledge) are only part-time clergy.  They have jobs in the real world, etc.  In the East, do the permanent deacons have day jobs?  Has it ever been the custom in the Church for someone in major orders to perform his clerical duties only part-time?  Do permanent deacons in the East wear clerical garb?  I'd support the permanent diaconate more if these guys worked full-time for the diocese filling roles now filled by nuns and/or lay people (usually lay women).  The diocese already pays people to do these things, and since so many of these employees are married lay people, replacing them with married deacons might not cost all that much more.  The problem then would come with parishes with full-time married, permanent deacons and full-time celibate priests.  To my knowledge, traditionally where priests are celibate, permanent deacons too were celibate, and where married men can be ordained permanent deacons, married men can also be ordained priests.  To require celibacy of priests but not of permanent deacons seems anomalous in Church history.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I am also unsure about the claim that having married deacons cuts down on the desire for priests.  It seems to me that most permanent deacons get ordained fairly late in life, long after they've decided to marry.  Do we know if anyone has really refused a priestly vocation by thinking, "Gee, I can always get married and become a deacon"?  It seems that if one really did desire to become a priest, the desire actually to say Mass and to hear confessions would outweigh the appeal of the married diaconate.  Besides, other than reading the Gospel at Mass, in this country in the Novus Ordo there is virtually nothing that a permanent deacon does that isn't already done by lay "extraordinary ministers."  I think that having extraordinary ministers cuts down on the desire to become either a deacon or a priest.  

Faithful Catholic,

By capitalizing "Tradition," do you just mean that not having permanent deacons is a longstanding tradition (small "t") of the Latin Church?  Also, I think that you are using somewhat loaded language when you contrast married deacons to *holy* celibate priests.  Who says that married deacons aren't holy? In any case, I still would rather see many more holy priests than many more permanent deacons, even if they were quite holy.  Because what we really need are more priests.  But if we can also have permanent deacons, why not?  I'm just not sure if it's very traditional for people in major orders to support themselves by practicing a trade instead of working "full-time" in their clerical office.
(06-07-2009, 09:43 PM)FaithfulCatholic Wrote: [ -> ]The SSPX has kept to Tradition and transitional deacons are part of the minor orders - one of the steps on the way to the ultimate goal of being ordained a priest.

The diaconate is not, nor has ever been, one of the minor orders.  It is one of the major orders, and more than that, is Sacramental, whether the deacon be transitional or permanent.
(06-07-2009, 08:20 PM)Credo Wrote: [ -> ]Leaving aside the issue of marriage, what do folk think of the reinstated Permanent Deaconate in the Western Church?
I'm in favor of it. Deacon is from diakonos, helper. Pastors do need helpers. I'd rather someone else worry about the budget. At one of my former parishes, the pastor's homilies always included some sort of pitch for money. Somehow he'd always work it in. Imagine if he could put that kind of thought into teaching the gospel!

I'd rather see someone else worry about the facility.

And I'd like those someone elses not to be some busybody layperson who begins to think he or she (usually) derives infallibility from a paycheck. I'd like to see them pledged to obedience to the Bishop, not the whims of the parish council and their bright ideas.

It doesn't require a degree in theology to handle finance or facilities maintenance. It doesn't require a priest to baptise, or marry, or teach RCIA, or carry Communion to the sick. Leaving those to the deacon would free up time for hearing Confessions. For writing solid homilies.

I know a few retired priests, and they love it. They get to do Priest-stuff now. No budgets, no meetings, just Sacraments. We shouldn't torment them for 40 years or more so that they can enjoy the final few years.   

Quote:Why did Latin Christianity develop in such a way that the position of a Deacon, who was originally intended to do the heavy work of a priest (i.e.: caring for the poor, parish finances), ended up becoming a more spiritualized post? Is the work of a Brother basically the role of a Deacon of ages past?

What is the role of a Deacon in the East?
I don't know.

I stand corrected per the minor vs. major orders for deacons.

Here are a couple of articles by authors with much more knowledge than I expressing why married deacons are a bad idea...common sense tells me a permanent married diaconate is a vocation killer for the priesthood. Ditto for altar girls.

http://www.fisheaters.com/holyorders.html      Scroll down to "Changes in the Rite"

http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/celiba...eacons.htm

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