April 27, 2012 By 30 Comments
A deacon reader writes:
How does the pope preach to a morning audience on diakonia and never say the word “deacon” in his speech?Well, I tend to be less pessimistic than this deacon; I recall how the pope spoke warmly and approvingly of permanent deacons a few years ago. But I agree: the absence of even a mention of one distinct level of Holy Orders in many of the Holy Father’s public speeches is conspicuous. Could it be cultural, since an overwhelming number of permanent deacons (most, in fact) are here in the United States ?
Does this concern you that the pope has failed to mention the word “deacon” in any of his addresses in Mexico and Spain on his past trips? He even started his homily’s and speeches with “My fellow bishops, brother priests, religious, and laity.” I felt like he wasn’t even talking to me since I don’t fall into any of those categories. Why does it seem so blatantly obvious that the diaconate is being repressed by Rome . . . and even in many places in the US?
With one of the pope’s goals being the unification with the SSPX and the SSPX’s thoughts on the restoration of the permanent diaconate being extremely negative, I think the stars are starting to line up.
Also, I’m wondering if anyone knows if the pope, as Bishop of Rome, has ever ordained permanent deacons.
UPDATE: Deacon Bill Ditewig just sent me an email with his reaction:
There’s no plot to kill the diaconate by the Holy See or anyone else (well, except for those in SSPX who think Vatican II was a heretical council). The diaconate, even here in the US, has yet to break into the popular imagination of most Catholics. In church time, we’ve only been “back” for a very short time. I mean, in 1998 the Holy See referred to the guys ordained between 1968 (the first permanent deacons ordained) and 1998 (30 years!) as experiments! And, this is not due simply to numbers of deacons (the “we have more deacons than Rome” argument). The simple fact is that for about a millennium “to be ordained” meant “to be a priest”. You don’t break that paradigm in the popular imagination in just a few decades. In a hundred years or so, this won’t be a problem (for any of us!).
>>>Interesting reading over at the Deacon Bench. I understand the concern expressed by the "deacon author" of the original post. Many times there appears to be a lack of understanding, support or concern about the Permanent Deacon by the hierarchial clergy. How often do we hear of Permanent Deacons not allowed to do this or that by Father? I do believe that this is the exception, rather than the rule. Here in the Archdiocese of New Orleans I have experienced nothing but supportive words and actions from both Archbishop Hughes and our current leader, Archbishop Aymond.
I for one tend to agree with Deacon Bill; at least here in the US of A, the permanent diaconate will continue to grow and still has room for that growth.
As for me; I'll just prepare for my weekend of assisting at 1st Holy Communion, two Masses, work on 3 weddings and 3 baptisms and then fellowship with about 100 brother Deacons at a community crawfish boil!