However, your interpretation misses one key point. The diaconate did not take shape until after Jesus’ Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, deacons are not charged with confecting the Sacrifice, thus, “do this in memory of Me,” Jesus’ command to the Apostles, does not factor in the diaconate.
I haven’t missed the point. You seem not to be able to separate the diaconal character of Holy Orders from the order of deacon. The diaconal character was present at the Last Supper, not the actual order of deacon. The sacerdodal character was also there, but there was anyone who was ordained to the order of the priest. The historical implementation of these later orders is really irrelevant because the fullness of Holy Orders was present at the Last Supper. Yes, the order of the diaconate was implemented in Acts. The order of the presbyterate isn’t recorded in Scripture but is generally understood to have been implemented sometime shortly after the order of the diaconate. Does that mean that Christ didn’t institute the priesthood at the Last Supper? Of course not. In so far that the Apostles received the fullness of Holy Orders, they received both the priesthood and the diaconate. Again, this is why the bishop wears a dalmatic under his chasuble. He is both priest and deacon. The diaconate isn’t some kind of separate version of Holy Orders.
For lack of a more perfect analogy, try this on for size. Let’s say I bake muffins and I have a whole baking tin full of them. Some of them are blue berry, some of them are walnut. Then let’s say I share the blue berry half with one friend, and the walnut half with another. Can either friend claim that their muffins existed before the other? Likewise the Apostles received the whole “muffin tin” so to speak when they received the fullness of Holy Orders from Christ at the Last Supper. They then shared their diaconal character with the order of the deacons, and their sacerdodal character with the order of the priests. However both the sacerdodal and diaconal characters were “baked” on the same tin. The Apostles did not have the authority to create new orders than what they had already been given. To deny that the diaconate was instituted at the Last Supper is to deny that the Apostles possessed the diaconal character in the orders they received.
Furthermore, “do this in memory of me” is not the only command Christ gave at the Last Supper. Certainly a very important one, but one that John’s gospel omits in favor of Jn 13:15, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” This isn’t done to give any less emphasis on the sacerdodal character of Christ or the Eucharist. However it does give us a view into the diaconal character of Christ and the Holy Orders He gave the Apostles.
Originally Posted by csoup223
It is in the washing of the feet that we are shown the diaconal character of Holy Orders.
But that it is your own view.
This isn’t just my view, it is a common understanding in the Church. Here’s a quote from paragraph 10 of the Permanent Diaconate National Directory and Norms for Ireland.
Jesus insisted that service would be a distinguishing characteristic of his disciples (cf. Lk 22:16). Just as he instructed the twelve to celebrate the Eucharist in memory of him, so also he clearly explained tothem that his washing oftheir feet was an example to them of how they should act (cf. Jn 13:12-15). It is not purely a coincidence that the priestly ministry of offering sacrifice and the diaconal ministry of washing feet both have an important resonance, and indeed their model and perfection in the Lord’s Supper which itself is inseparably linked with the cross of Jesus.
Liturgy does not adapt to our understanding of theology; we adapt ourselves to the Liturgy.
I think you might be misunderstanding the word “our.” I’m not referring to the personal sense, but to the context of the Church as a whole. There is a reason the liturgy saw such change after Vatican II. It was because Vatican II had advanced our understanding of doctrine, and the liturgy needed to be adapted to to reflect that understanding. Trent was the same way. Liturgy changes. Not in its essential elements, but in the nonessentials, it does. To believe otherwise put one in some rather poor company.
Where is the theological-liturgical inconsistency?
If the deacon is the “living icon of Christ the Servant” and the model of diaconal ministry is the washing of the feet, then why would you have the priest do the diaconal ministry of washing the feet when his proper role is the sacerdodal offering of the Eucharist. To me this stands out as an inconsistency.
Again, I’m not inviting anyone to abuse the current ritual, but I think it is a valid question. I don’t feel that having a preference to have the deacon do this is any more offensive to the priesthood than mandating the deacon read the Gospel. There are different roles at mass and it just seems to me that this one ought to be the role of the deacon.