Skip to main content

Permanent Deacons

All Catholic catechisms state that a deacon is 1) a man in Holy Orders, 2) consecrated to the ministry of service, 3) may lead and conduct services except the Mass and hearing confessions. He can solemnize weddings and conduct funerals and is the cleric that proclaims the Gospel at Mass 4) may have a wife.

There are two kinds of deacons, the transitional one and the permanent one. The transitional deacon is in a sort of probationary training for the priesthood. Later on he will be ordained as a priest. The permanent ones will remain deacons for the rest of their lives.

All the deacons I know are permanent ones and one is married. Deacon Jody in Baton Rouge is a lawyer with a flourishing practice. He is married and with two grown-up kids. Deacon Paul in Australia is unmarried and is involved with university and crisis ministries.

If a deacon is ordained as an unmarried man, he is vowed to celibacy. If a deacon is ordained as a married man, he is vowed to matrimony. Perhaps nothing shows the equal dignity of celibacy and the married state as well as a deacon accepts it. It is a sort of perversion that many Catholics or people in general think that the celibate state is "holier" than the married state. The two states can be holy and have their inherent difficulties.

(Deacon Jody is THE ONLY cleric I know that convinced me that NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING is doable!)

While the Latin Church's law requiring most priests live a celibate life has its advantages, it has its downside. The most obvious is the disconnect between priests and families (husbands and wives trying to live a Catholic Christian life in a secular society). That's why almost no Catholic takes a bishop's suggestion that they "practice self-control in the bedroom".

The deacon's role in the Eastern Church is more extensive in the liturgy and in ministry than in the Latin Church. In the Latin Church, the permanent diaconate died out until it was restored by Vatican II. That's why there are many permanent deacons in the US.

The Philippine Catholic Church hasn't instituted the permanent diaconate although this was considered in the last plenary council. Perhaps the bishops are worried on how to support the deacons (who need to have secular jobs) as they are having difficulty supporting priests.

But with a lot of qualified men who are now serving as "lay ministers", there can be deacons. I don't think the laity will confuse the deacons for priests. I honestly think the lay ministers sometimes can be confused with people in holy orders. The ministry of deacons is much wider.

The Church once ordained women as permanent deacons. The debate is whether this ordination is sacramental or not. But the fact is women were ordained. Some Orthodox Churches are on the way to restore women deacon ministries.


Popular posts from this blog

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

Flame trees in bloom

The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom!
In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced.
It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.