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Celibacy of Deacons - randomtradguy - 07-07-2010

Ever since I have been a traditionalist, people have said I should be a priest. Our director of vocations said if anyone would be a priest, it would be me. He knew this from the Latin Masses I have said with a retired priest in residence at our parish. How he knew I will never know.
I hsve no desire to be a priest, mostly because I am already committed to college to be a doctor of medicine, thats the plan at least. I am aware deacons are allowed to be married now, so I thought that would be neat. I could see myself doing that. I would wear a birretta and the cassock and everything. The traditional deacon.

Well, again my freinds, tradition and logic has slapped me in the face. I would like opinions on what the fishies here think about the SSPX's opinion. [http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/celibacy_for_deacons.htm
They say I would be latae setentiae excommunicated, if I knew I wasn't allowed to be a married deacon but did it anyway.


Re: Celibacy of Deacons - HotRod - 07-07-2010

For starters, being committed to get an MD seems like a silly reason to not consider priesthood.  I respectfully submit that you need to be sure you are following God's plan and not your own.


Re: Celibacy of Deacons - glgas - 07-07-2010

(07-07-2010, 06:12 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: Ever since I have been a traditionalist, people have said I should be a priest. Our director of vocations said if anyone would be a priest, it would be me. He knew this from the Latin Masses I have said with a retired priest in residence at our parish. How he knew I will never know.
I hsve no desire to be a priest, mostly because I am already committed to college to be a doctor of medicine, thats the plan at least. I am aware deacons are allowed to be married now, so I thought that would be neat. I could see myself doing that. I would wear a birretta and the cassock and everything. The traditional deacon.

Well, again my freinds, tradition and logic has slapped me in the face. I would like opinions on what the fishies here think about the SSPX's opinion. [http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/celibacy_for_deacons.htm
They say I would be latae setentiae excommunicated, if I knew I wasn't allowed to be a married deacon but did it anyway.

Married deacons are allowed only since teh XXI Ecumenical council, what the SSPX denies.

As far as I know the married permanent deacons do not wear biretta and cassock, only the sacred clothes for the mass (visible alba and stola), I never seen permanent deacon in dalmatics.

The Church before Vatican II and the SSPX today ordains only transitory deacons, who will be ordained priests later. The vows for the celibacy are taken before the subdeaconate.


Re: Celibacy of Deacons - The_Harlequin_King - 07-07-2010

I know one permanent deacon who's an MD and is committed to the restoration of Gregorian chant in my city.


Keep in mind that the diaconate is a separate vocation than the priesthood, and is not just being a priest-lite. That's a common mistake even trads make. The deacon is like the first-line supervisor of the clergy's ranks. Among their duties are preaching, assisting the priest in the liturgy, marriage counseling, religious education, business management of the church, promoting Gregorian chant, and praying the Divine Office. Most jobs done by laymen, and some that are done by priests, are actually more ideally done by the deacon.


According to MagisterMusicae, that article you posted isn't the definitive position of the SSPX; it's simply one person's opinion, though it might be shared with the majority of SSPX clergy. I think this is absurd for many reasons, one being that if it were true, the number one cause of excommunication worldwide would be being ordained to the diaconate as a married man, an act made entirely in service to God's Church. Excommunication no longer becomes a weapon against the most reprobate of the Church's members, but merely a legalese farce.


Still, if you want to align yourself with that position, have you thought about being a celibate permanent deacon with an MD? My Anglican Use parish has, ironically, a married priest and a celibate permanent deacon (in addition to another deacon who's married).


glgas Wrote:As far as I know the married permanent deacons do not wear biretta and cassock, only the sacred clothes for the mass (visible alba and stola), I never seen permanent deacon in dalmatics.

Unless one's diocese attempts to ban deacons from wearing clerical dress, a deacon (married or not; makes no difference) can certainly wear these. My parish's deacons wear cassock and biretta at Mass, under/over the vestments. Including the dalmatic. The dalmatic especially is proper to the deacon, and if I were a deacon, I'd buy my own set of them in order to be able to wear them at any Mass I assist at.


Re: Celibacy of Deacons - RalphKramden - 07-07-2010

(07-07-2010, 09:03 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: Unless one's diocese attempts to ban deacons from wearing clerical dress, a deacon (married or not; makes no difference) can certainly wear these.
I know in my diocese there is definitely a ban on clerical dress. The only exception is for prison ministry, even then the deacon must be clearly identifiable (whatever?) as a deacon. I guess they're scared the laity are too stupid and might confuse a deacon with a priest. I see this a being very unlikely and too many priests go about in street cloths, but I digress.
(07-07-2010, 09:03 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: My parish's deacons wear cassock and biretta at Mass, under/over the vestments. Including the dalmatic. The dalmatic especially is proper to the deacon, and if I were a deacon, I'd buy my own set of them in order to be able to wear them at any Mass I assist at.
That must be a sight. The only permanent deacon I've come into contact with (a very holy man in fact) only wears an alb and stole to assist at mass. Only seen him in a dalmatic once at Christmas. Buying a set of dalmatics for yourself...you better get a part-time job, they're not cheep ;D


Re: Celibacy of Deacons - moneil - 07-07-2010

I had read that SSPX article previously.  Their position is not surprising ~ they would tend to be critical of anything in the post VII Church, including the restoration of the permanent diaconate (as opposed to it being a mere stepping stone to the priesthood), even if it were restricted to celibate men.

I’m neither a theologian nor a scholar of ecclesial history, but the cited article seems, IMHO, to make a rather simplistic and weak argument, with just 2 or 3 rather short quotes (i.e., “snippets”) to “prove” that the celibacy is of divine origin, rather than a useful and desirable discipline of the Latin Rite of the Church.

They did, to their credit, at least address the issue of a married clergy in the Eastern Church (married men may be ordained deacons and priests, but cannot marry or remarry after ordination; bishops must be celibate), but their argument there likewise seems less than convincing to me.  The Church has always allowed a number of very ancient traditional practices in the Eastern Churches that were / are no longer customary in the Latin Rite, for whatever reason.  Some examples are Holy Communion under both species, a vernacular liturgy, concelebrating of the Liturgy by more than one priest, “face-to-face” Confession, permanent minor and major orders (installed readers, deacons) that have visible and distinct functions in the life of a parish (as opposed to them being mere ceremonial steppingstones to the priesthood), and, allowing for a married diaconate.  As these are allowed in the Eastern Church, it would seem to me that it would be within the prerogative of the Vicar of Christ, and licit, to allow the restoration of these traditions to the Latin Rite (whether it would be prudent is another topic).

The SSPX statement that As for the popes who would grant a dispensation to the Orientals remaining Catholic, this was, ad duritiam cordis, because of the hardness of their hearts —in order to keep these clerics from becoming wholly schismatic.  doesn’t speak highly of their esteem for the pre VII popes.  I would think they would credit Popes such as St. Pius X (their patron) or Leo XIII with having a little more backbone, if the SSPX opinion were the correct one.  Using their logic (assuming that clerical celibacy is a divine mandate rather than an ecclesial discipline), it would seem that the Church could then allow divorce and remarriage, artificial contraception, homosexual marriage even, , because of the hardness of their hearts —in order to keep these (anyone) … from becoming wholly schismatic..  The fact of the matter is that the pre VII popes have always upheld the right and illicitness of the Eastern Churches having a married diaconate and priesthood.

One thought, for a more neutral perspective (rather than a traditionalist priest or a Novus Ordo priest), might be to visit with a Eastern Catholic priest regarding this topic, if there is one near you (most of them in the U.S. are celibate).
Nowadays in the Catholic Church we see deacons who step from the conjugal bed to the sanctuary. is another “gem” from the article that struck me as being over the top.  I honestly don’t know what discipline in this regard is enjoined on Latin Rite married deacons, but in the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches priests (and I would presume deacons) are to refrain from marital relations for 24 hours before celebrating the Divine Liturgy ~ hardly a case of stepping from the marital bed to the sanctuary.  I know an married Orthodox tonsured reader who refrains from marital relations the night before he performs any function at the church, including the Hours (such as leading a Vespers service).  Whether this is a canonical obligation or his personal discipline, idk.  Again, hardly a case of stepping from the marital bed to the sanctuary.




Re: Celibacy of Deacons - The_Harlequin_King - 07-07-2010

(07-07-2010, 09:42 PM)RalphKramden Wrote: I know in my diocese there is definitely a ban on clerical dress. The only exception is for prison ministry, even then the deacon must be clearly identifiable (whatever?) as a deacon. I guess they're scared the laity are too stupid and might confuse a deacon with a priest. I see this a being very unlikely and too many priests go about in street cloths, but I digress.

The "you might confuse a deacon for a priest" line is the usual reasoning for that ban. I find such a ban to be as outrageous and insulting as if a bishop banned his priests from wearing clericals. A deacon is just as much a part of the clergy. If I were a deacon there, I'd complain until the bishop changes the rule, or move to another diocese. Any diocese which has that ban doesn't respect deacons for who, and what, they are.

I've even heard of dioceses which ban deacons from wearing the dalmatic; something which I think is downright liturgically illegal. I'd wear it in any case and see what the bishop does about it.


Quote:That must be a sight. The only permanent deacon I've come into contact with (a very holy man in fact) only wears an alb and stole to assist at mass. Only seen him in a dalmatic once at Christmas. Buying a set of dalmatics for yourself...you better get a part-time job, they're not cheep ;D

I saw that suggestion from a permanent deacon on another forum. He bought his own dalmatics and recommended his fellow deacons do the same in order to avoid the old "sorry, we don't have any dalmatics in that colour" line from priests. It sounds like a good idea to me.

Around 84% of deacons go completely uncompensated for their ministry, so most deacons have secular careers. My parish hires our celibate deacon full-time as business manager and teacher in the school, much like a priest in residence. Our married deacon is an assistant principal at a Catholic boys' high school during the week. But for the most part, other deacons are doctors, lawyers, or whatever else.


moneil Wrote:I honestly don’t know what discipline in this regard is enjoined on Latin Rite married deacons, but in the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches priests (and I would presume deacons) are to refrain from marital relations for 24 hours before celebrating the Divine Liturgy

There is no discipline on this for married Latin Rite deacons, or even married Latin Rite priests. My pastor is married but celebrates Mass every day of the week.

If stepping "from the bed to the sanctuary" is bad, then wouldn't the same thing apply to a lay master of ceremonies at sung Mass? The deacon and lay MC do a lot of the same things, but I've never heard of the Society telling an MC to abstain the night before sung Mass.


Re: Celibacy of Deacons - Historian - 07-09-2010

(07-07-2010, 06:12 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: Ever since I have been a traditionalist, people have said I should be a priest. Our director of vocations said if anyone would be a priest, it would be me. He knew this from the Latin Masses I have said with a retired priest in residence at our parish. How he knew I will never know.
I hsve no desire to be a priest, mostly because I am already committed to college to be a doctor of medicine, thats the plan at least. I am aware deacons are allowed to be married now, so I thought that would be neat. I could see myself doing that. I would wear a birretta and the cassock and everything. The traditional deacon.

Well, again my freinds, tradition and logic has slapped me in the face. I would like opinions on what the fishies here think about the SSPX's opinion. [http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/celibacy_for_deacons.htm
They say I would be latae setentiae excommunicated, if I knew I wasn't allowed to be a married deacon but did it anyway.

Randomtradguy, when I was your age (which really wasn't that long ago), I was exactly the same.  Little MeaMaximaCulpa was dead set on being a physician.  Sure I thought about priesthood, but that could wait until after I got the MD.  I applied to the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine out of high school, got accepted, and was on the path to earning my BS and MD in one program.  Well, that lasted for about a year, before God wouldn't let me be at peace until I discerned the seminary.  So I got my BS, passed my MCAT, and had to turn down entering med school.  A year later, giving up one dream stings sometimes, but I don't regret it.  I know I wouldn't have been able to be at peace or even begin to discern marriage if I hadn't done this first.  I'm still in the seminary, and even though I'm not 100% sure about being a priest, I'm not worried about my future.  I could always re-apply to med school and take the MCAT if I need to.

So in short, don't discount the priesthood, especially if people are telling you that they think you're called.  If your vocations director thinks you're called, that means something (it certainly isn't absolute, but it is significant).  And if God wants you, he'll get you, just like he got me.  And if God doesn't want you to be a priest, then he'll let you know, and he'll provide for you so that you can achieve your other goals.


Re: Celibacy of Deacons - Historian - 07-09-2010

(07-07-2010, 09:03 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: Unless one's diocese attempts to ban deacons from wearing clerical dress, a deacon (married or not; makes no difference) can certainly wear these. My parish's deacons wear cassock and biretta at Mass, under/over the vestments. Including the dalmatic. The dalmatic especially is proper to the deacon, and if I were a deacon, I'd buy my own set of them in order to be able to wear them at any Mass I assist at.

While the canon law's regulations on clerical dress apply to deacons as well, I think the bishop/episcopal conference can publish its own norms.  To my knowledge, this is the case, and deacons are only allowed to wear clerical dress when involved in ministry (so they're not supposed to wear blacks in the home).  In addition, some dioceses have tighter regulations.  While my bishop is a supporter of the Latin Mass, he was not supportive of the married, permanent deacon at the Latin Mass parish marching around in a cassock at various events.  So that, and some internal strife in the parish caused by people who didn't like deacons, led him to get a meeting with the bishop and ultimately a reassignment (and I believe he asked for it).

Thus, deacons are at the bottom of the totem poll.  You take a promise of obedience to the bishop, and thus, you do what he says.  If he doesn't want deacons is cassocks, then you're not in a cassock.  Priests are really in the same boat, but they have more bargaining power (since the bishop's conference doesn't make any restrictions on priests wearing the cassock) and the bishop really wants to keep priests happy.

P.S.  And the idea that you would be excommunicated if you were a married deacon is only valid if you don't believe the post-Vatican II Popes have the authority over the law of the Church.  If you believe Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI are Popes, then you have to accept that they can legitimately re-institute the permanent diaconate, and also legitimately remove the restrictions against ordaining married men.  Anything less denies that the Pope has full power over the law of the Church.  And I sometimes doubt the SSPX actually believes that the Pope is Supreme Legislator, because they continuously allow articles like this, and continuously refer to the old Code as if it were still in force (they go far beyond comparing the old law and new law).

P.P.S.  And the article makes some factual errors.  First, it equates celibacy with continence.  I don't think this is correct.  Celibacy is the promise not to contract marriage.  For the unmarried man, this means he will ideally practice perfect continence, since sex is illicit outside the married state.  However, even married men can be true to the promise they make to the bishop if they promise not to contract marriage in the future.  When the author of the article divides married men who separated from their wives before ordination and married men who were ordained, he neglects to mention that they took the same vow (or promise): not to contract marriage.  Thus, they can not get remarried ("a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once...He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the church of God?" 1 Tim 3:2,4-5), but he still is not divinely prohibited from keeping prior vows (like those he made to his wife).  The practice of the early Church in which ordained husband and wife separated was the early practice, the modern practice is that they stay together.  However, if the wife dies, the deacon can't get remarried.  He makes his promise of celibacy clearly and audibly in the ordination rite (and the article makes the absurd claim that this promise isn't made because the subdiaconate was suppressed).


Re: Celibacy of Deacons - glgas - 07-09-2010

May married men be ordained deacons?
Yes. The Second Vatican Council decreed that the diaconate, when it was restored as a permanent order in the hierarchy, could be opened to "mature married men," later clarified to mean men over the age of 35. This is in keeping with the ancient tradition of the Church, in which married men were ordained into ministry. Also in keeping with ancient practice is the expectation that while a married man may be ordained, an ordained man, if his wife should die, may not marry again without special permission.
http://www.nccbuscc.org/deacon/faqs.shtml