Diaconate


#1

What different types of deacons are there, and what makes them different? What are their roles? Faculties? Duties? Sorry I'm so uninformed! :(


#2

There are 2 types of deacons.

Transitional deacons are in the process of becoming priests.

Permanent deacons are will not become priests. Since they will not be priests, permanent deacons may be selected from married men.

Other than that distinction, there is no difference between them.


#3

Where Holy Orders are concerned, there is only one kind of deacon, and that is the deacon.

In terms of state of life, there is the transitional deacon and the permanent deacon. Both are the same in the sense that they are ordained to the first degree of Holy Orders and in this, there is absolutely no difference between them. Both vest and serve at Mass and other services in exactly the same manner. Both can officiate at weddings and baptisms. Both can confer certain blessings that the Church has expressly granted to them. Both read the Gospel at Mass can preach the homily at if deputed to.

The main difference is that the transitional deacon is on his way to being ordained a priest, and as such, takes a vow of celibacy upon ordination. The permanent deacon is a deacon for the rest of his life and is not working his way toward priestly ordination. Married men can be ordained to the permanent diaconate.


#4

Deacons: ordained ministers (with the Sacrament of Holy Orders), their vocation is “to assist the priests and to serve [ministrare] in all that is done in the Sacraments of Christ, in baptism, to wit, in the holy chrism, in the paten and chalice, to bring the oblation to the altar and to arrange them, to lay the table of the Lord and to drape it, to carry the cross, to declaim [proedicare] the Gospel and Epistle, for as the charge is given to lectors to declaim the Old Testament, so it is given to deacons to declaim the New. To him also pertains the office of prayers [officium precum] and the recital of the names. It is he who gives warning to open our ears to the Lord, it is he who exhorts with his cry, it is he also who announces peace (Epistle to Leudefredus, St. Isidore of Seville).”

Transitional deacons: their vocation is the priesthood, and they fill the office of deacon temporarily before they “transition” to the office of priest.

Permanent deacons: their vocation is the deaconate, they will not become priests as they are not called to that. In the West, these men are married with families.


#5

[quote="AlexPetrosPio, post:4, topic:280303"]
Permanent deacons: their vocation is the deaconate, they will not become priests as they are not called to that. In the West, these men are married with families.

[/quote]

I know that a permanent deacon can not re-marry if his wife passes away, but could this in a sense change him to that of a transitional deacon if he wishes?


#6

[quote="Jerome22, post:5, topic:280303"]
I know that a permanent deacon can not re-marry if his wife passes away, but could this in a sense change him to that of a transitional deacon if he wishes?

[/quote]

If a man's wife dies, he is able to discern the priesthood. I am sure that includes permanent deacons. I'm not sure I'd call such a man a transitional deacon, however.


#7

[quote="Jerome22, post:5, topic:280303"]
I know that a permanent deacon can not re-marry if his wife passes away, but could this in a sense change him to that of a transitional deacon if he wishes?

[/quote]

I guess that would a case-by-case scenario. I know plenty of permanent deacons that remain permanent after the loss of a wife. Theologically, yes, but a bishop may have a reason not to grant that wish depending on the deacon in question.


#8

Are either of yall deacons or discerning the diaconate?


#9

I’m currently in formation to be a Conventual Franciscan. The next step in my formation would be my novitiate. After novitiate, then I would decide to continue formation as a Franciscan Brother or as a Franciscan Priest.

I strongly feel that I would choose Franciscan Priest, but one day at a time :wink: lol.


#10

Very nice! :) I will be praying for you!


#11

Thank you!


#12

[quote="Jerome22, post:8, topic:280303"]
Are either of yall deacons or discerning the diaconate?

[/quote]

I presently teach catechism. Previously, I served in other apostolates but have not yet felt called to the diaconate (I have read various literature written for discernment but would need to consult a spiritual director to determine whether there might be a calling).


#13

I have been told that in regards to widowed deacons discerning the priesthood, the U.S. Bishops operate with a bias towards the “Permanent” in “Permanent Deacon.” Deacons are not “junior priests” and the deaconate isn’t a consolation prize for married men who can not become priests; accordingly, it is good to respect the distinction between the two vocations.

There probably are practical concerns in discerning whether a permanent deacon should become a candidate for the priesthood. I personally know two widowed deacons who became diocesan priests. In their cases, both were widowed relatively young (mid-to-late-50s) and were in full-time ministry as deacons for over 10 years before being widowed. Thus they still could provide at least a decade of full-time priestly ministry and were already in full-time parish or institutional ministry.


#14

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