What are the conditions to become a deacon?
In the strictest terms, A calling to Holy Orders that is recognized by both the man and his Bishop.
In practical terms, it varies by Diocese.
For the Permanant Diaconate, most diocese require that the man be at least 35 years old at Ordination, Baptized and Confirmed, and married at least 10 years if he is married. The Marriage must be recognized as valid by the Church.
If he is married, Canon Law requires the written consent of his wife. (in addition to the other Legal requirments for Holy Orders)
There is usually a period of training taking 4-5 years.
here is the program I am in (Archdiocese of Detroit)
For more specifics, you should probably contact your diocese’s Vocations Office.
I know here in Detroit, they regularly conduct information seminars on the Diaconate.
i am not sure what you mean by conditions. i hope this helps.
each diocese employs a process with its little nuances, but they are pretty much all the same. they might not use the same assessment methods, but they all have the same goals. canon law says that each candidate for orders must be examined for fitness. this is usually exercised in three general areas: 1) physical, emotional, spiritual, which includes a battery of secular tests, letter from pastor, investigation by diocese, etc. 2) impediments to the sacrament: the person cannot be under censure, etc. if the man is married, he must be validly married, chaste, etc., and the wife will be interviewed, etc. if he is not married, he will vow celebacy (promise to never marry) prior to ordination. the law lists a variety things too, which are commonsense, good Churchman things. 3) education: the Church requires that the man be capable of obtaining education suited to the ministry. if not already educated, he will be educated, but he must show the capability and disposition.
i don’t think i am forgeting anything but i probably am. other than from books and my vocation interviews, my experience with the diaconate is second hand (friends and parish aquaintences.) maybe one of the deacons will be online and clarify.
as far as variation from diocese to diocese, you will find that sometimes the wifes of deacons are given undue, excessive attention. it is almost like the wife is going to be ordained also. while the wife must be involved with the husband and agree to the ordination, you may see the wife treated almost like a partner in the ministry, like a ‘co-deacon’ so to speak. it is another sign of the liberal attack on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, IMO.
[quote=JustSomeGuy]as far as variation from diocese to diocese, you will find that sometimes the wifes of deacons are given undue, excessive attention. it is almost like the wife is going to be ordained also. while the wife must be involved with the husband and agree to the ordination, you may see the wife treated almost like a partner in the ministry, like a ‘co-deacon’ so to speak. it is another sign of the liberal attack on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, IMO.
I’m not too sure what ‘undue’ attention would be. As mentioned above, I am in formation to the Diaconate in Detroit.
Here in Detroit, the wives are encouraged, almost expected to take the theology courses we do. They don’t take things like the various liturgical practica.
It is very much a ministry for both, and Ordination for one.
Having the wives involved is by no means a liberal attack. It’s a very traditional part of married Holy Orders.
The fact remains that the wife of the deacon, by definition, has a ministerial role. In many cases, women of the parish will seek the wife out for advice or to request assistance, specifically because she is the wife of the deacon. For good or ill, they are just plain expected to be able to answer questions on Church teachings and theology based entirely on who their husband is.
A woman who has questions on NFP, or might be considering an abortion or maybe found out her husband is cheating often seeks out the deacon’s wife. She is female, obviously married and is veiwed as part of “The Church”. The wife needs the training to be able to handle this.
In the Eastern Catholic Churches, which have always had married Priests and Deacons, this roles are actually even solidfied. The wife of the priest is the Presbytera and the wife of the Deacon is the Pina (Russian) or Diakonia (Greek).
The Roman church lost those traditions and is in the process of regaining them. That is hardly ‘liberal’
like i said earlier, i have no direct experience of the diaconate. i don’t doubt your reasoning. i don’t know how often a deacon’s wife is approached by others. any person should be able to be confided in, so why not a deacon’s wife. i get that part.
what i am saying is that it is not right to cloud the relationship between ordination and ministry. we are all responsible for the pastoral care of each other, but there needs to be clear line between the ordained and the non-ordained. your wife needs to be involved. how could she help but be involved with what her husband does? but it is the Church’s responsibility to distinctly show that this is not the ordination of a couple. appearances speak louder than words. the appearance that the wife is vicariously ordained with the husband is wrong.
in my diocese, they have deacons’ wives process into Mass with their husbands. that is wrong. that is an example of what i am talking about. in order to make a statement about the ordination of a married man, they trash on the Mass. only ministers who are serving at the Mass should process into the Mass.
i also know a person, who is older and single. he applied to the diaconate and found that every aspect of the process assumed that he would be married. he felt alienated. he is also getting the cold sholder from the diocese. there’s no “yes” or “no”. while i have no proof, i suspect an agenda being played out. but that’s just my suspicion.
just because there is something in another rite, doesn’t mean that it belongs in the latin rite. given the vow to never marry by priests of the latin rite, i think the atmosphere encouraged in the eastern rites may not be healthy for us. it is something to consider. i understand reclaiming practices of the past (RCIA, etc.) but not all practices of the past need to be, nor should be, resurrected. at somepoint we have to respect the wisdom of our brothers and sister of the past. they examined circumstances too. some practices were abandonned in favor of other, more suitable practices for a reason. i hope we are wise enough to consider all the ramifications of altering practices in the present.
i say all this without any disrespect for deacons’ wives. i hope that’s how i come across.
I see where you are coming from. Yes, a wife processing in with her deacon husband would be very wrong ( If she was the reader at that Mass, she would process in as Reader, if not, she would have no business in the procession )
I have heard that in some diocese, the wife vests the husband at the Ordination. We do not do that and it would be just wrong to do so. In Detroit, the vesting is done by a priest, generally the Canidate’s Spiritual Advisor, or another close priest.
As far as the Eastern Practices, the Western Church lost it’s tradition of deacon, let alone a married one. The East is the best place to rediscover those traditions in a theologically sound way.
I am afraid that if we don’t follow the Eastern practices, then the real theology behind it will be lost, and ‘PC’ practices (like those you mention) will creep in.
The wife of a deacon has a ministrial role, but NOT a liturgical one and certainly NOT a Sacramental one either.
In our diocese the deacon’s family helped him vest at Ordination. This was one of the most beautiful parts of the ceremony. The deacon learns quickly that his family responsibilities and his paying job (If he has one) come before his ministry. This point was stressed over and over in formation and those who ignored it, had some serious family problems.