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?