Life is a journey; the choices you make now will determine your eternal destination.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Deacons

Does your parish use deacons? What do you think of their role? Is this just another way to Protestantize the Catholic Church, or is there a valid need for deacons? There is the argument that there are not enough priests for the parishes. A deacon is allowed to assist the priest with the Eucharist, read the Gospel, preach sermons, teach classes, and take the Eucharist to the sick and imprisoned. He cannot consecrate the Eucharist or hear confessions.
I understand the need to take the load off priests in parishes that are very busy, and I think it's wonderful that there are men who feel the call to serve God in this way. However, I really prefer to hear the sermon from the priest. Deacons do not receive the theological training that the priest does. A case in point is the horrendous homily given by a deacon that I wrote about in an earlier post: the guitar- pickin' Jeremiah one. If a priest is present, there is no need for the deacon to assume the role of trying to advise us spiritually. That is what priests are trained to do, and should do.
One thing I am not clear on; is becoming a deacon a part of the steps to becoming a priest or is it an end in itself. Or can it be either?

5 comments:

paramedicgirl said...

There are seven orders of the priesthood, porter, reader, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon deacon and priest. The Church has recently allowed deacons to be married, which is an end in itself as far as steps to the priesthood are concerned. Many say that married deacons are better than no deacons. I agree that if a priest is present no one else should be giving the homily. Thank God I have a traditional parish to attend! I never have to worry about these things anymore.

Shirley said...

Thanks, PG. We sure could use more traditional parishes! So it looks to me like those seven orders of te priesthood can be independent of each other. Except, an exorcist must be an ordained priest, doesn't he? But the others don't? (I'm looking for some education here!)

paramedicgirl said...

Shirley, it is too much for the combox. There are minor and higher orders, and yes an exorcist is one of the higher orders. You should check out the seven orders at New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. It is a very good resource. Here is the link for deacon; they have a search bar so you can check out the other ones.

Shirley said...

Thanks for the link. It's very informative and I'll have to put that site in my sidebar. Here's what it said about deacons preaching sermons:
The second Council of Vaison (529) declared that a priest might preach in his own parish, but that when he was ill a deacon should read a homily by one of the Fathers of the Church, urging that deacons, being held worthy to read the Gospel were a fortiori worthy of reading a work of human authorship. Actual preaching by a deacon, however, despite the precedent of the deacon Philip, was at all periods rare, and the Arian bishop of Antioch, Leontius, was censured for letting his deacon AĆ«tius preach. (Philostorgias, III, xvii).

So it seems that if the priest is presiding at Mass, that he should be the one to preach the homily- and shows that we really need to get back to our roots of our faith before the whole thing gets so watered down that we don't know which way to turn.

Tom in Vegas said...

My parish does use deacons, and, yes, they are quite limited as to what functions they can perform.

I don't know, Shirley. I guess the best way to describe my position is by saying that the day I see a deacon overstep his boundaries and tread unto grounds reserved only for a priest, that's the day I have to find another parish.

When I was in discernment, I recall hearing that the former Bishop of the Las Vegas Diocese (Bishop Walsh) didn't really care for deacons..