Permanent Diaconate in the Tridentine Mass/communities

I have always had in the back of my mind that I may be called to the Diaconate (I still have time to discern as I am 25 and newly married). However, since I’ve become more and more involved with the Tridentine community, I figured that either I would need to not pursue this possible calling or discontinue my involvement in the Tridentine community and return to a Novus Ordo parish.

Yesterday, though, I was on the webpage of the Atlanta’s Tridentine community pastored by the FSSP. And to my pleasant shock, I found this:

Rev. Denis G. Bouchard, FSSP, Pastor
Rev. Laurent Demets, FSSP, Assistant Pastor
Rev. Mr. Douglas Anderson, Permanent Deacon
Rev. Mr. Rigoberto Santiago, Permanent Deacon

Does anybody here know, how this works? Are these Permanent Deacons married? Are they just like the Permanent Deacons that we have in the Novus Ordo? If not, how is it different? Did they receive their formation in the Diocese’s Diaconate formation program or did they go to the FSSP seminary in Nebraska?

If anybody has any answers to the above questions or any other information that could be useful, I’m all eyes (instead of ears).

No, they are most likely not married.

A well kept secret, I think, is that the Church could theoretically have permanent deacons in the past.

There was no obligation to move onto the next step, one could indefinetly postpone, especially in the minor orders, but even in the subdiaconate, and diaconate. This however, was practically never done after a certain point. They became stepping stones in the middle ages and stayed that way.

Also clerics in minor orders (porter, lector, excorcist, and acolyte) could leave to marry with no disapproval attached to this. And until very recently, they could even be married while remaining clerics (though they lost the payments of chuch benefices then). The Catholic Encyclopedia said:

Clerics in minor orders enjoy all ecclesiastical privileges. They may be nominated to all benefices not major, but must receive within a year the major orders necessary for certain benefices. On the other hand, they are not bound to celibacy, and may lawfully marry. Marriage, however, causes them at once to forfeit every benefice. Formerly it did not exclude them from the ranks of the clergy, and they retained all clerical privileges, provided they contracted only one marriage and that with a virgin, and wore clerical costume and the tonsure (c.unic., “de cler. conjug.” in VI); they might even be appointed to the service of a church by the bishop (Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIII, c. vi). This earlier discipline, however, is no longer in accordance with modern custom and law. A minor cleric who marries is regarded as having forfeited his clerical privileges.

So even the Council of Trent allowed married minor clerics to serve in church, and they could even marry AFTER ordination provided it was only once and with a virgin (at least someone who also had never married before and had no public infamy). It is only in the past few centuries that “modern custom” caused marriage to forfeit the clerical state of first-tonsureds, porters, excorcists, lectors, and acolytes.

A real reform of true traditional Catholicism that I would dream of would perhaps allowing married men to once again be tonsured in the choir of clerics, and to take up the four minor orders. Also, as before, entering and leaving the minor orders should be much easier and have much less stigma attached than leaving the Major. This could be of great help in making the liturgy more authentic and having real acolytes serve instead of “altar boys” (who were extraordinary) although perhaps the age for minor orders could be lowered so that young boys could still serve. Also, then we could have a true choir of clerics sing the Propers and restrict the Lay Chorus to simply leading the Congregation in the Ordinary. And the liturgical role of the minor orders could be expanded with more available clerics.

The Indult parish in Detroit has permanent deacons. They went throught the Diaconate program in the Archdioces and requested assignment to that parish.

They are married, one of them has a son who is a priest.

And yes, the Church has had married deacons in the past (actually, since the Maronite Church never left, the Church has always had married deacons).

But in the Latin Rite, we know that St. Patrick’s own father was a deacon

From St. Patrick’s “Confessions”

I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned, the least of all the faithful, and utterly despised by many. My father was Calpornius, a deacon.

If I recall correctly, St. Francis was a “permanent” deacon, i.e. he was never ordained to the priesthood. I believ he didn’t even want to be a deacon, but one had to be at least a deacon to lead an order.

So, I guess if St. Francis was a permanent deacon, the Church must have allowed it.

While the traditionalist communities and groups, themselves, may, perhaps, not be promoting or fostering vocations to the permanent deaconate from within their own ranks; if a man comes through the normal Archdiocesan program he could, legitimately, be assigned by the bishop to serve wherever the deacon and bishop deem appropriate. In particular, he might be assigned to minister at his home or regular parish of attendance. If that just so happens to be somewhere that those of a traditionalist group are assigned as priests, then it just is. This would appear to be the case in the notation of the OP. The deacons are not listed a members of the religious community, one will note. In fact, they might have been associated with the parish as deacons predating the FSSPs coming there for all we know. There’s certainly no reason why the two can’t work in collaboration, then.

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