The Permanent Diaconate

I have some questions regarding the permanent diaconate.

Isn’t it true that if a single person is ordained to the diaconate, he is forbidden to marry just like the priests and the bishops?

Isn’t it true that if a married person is ordained to the diaconate, he is no longer allowed to be intimate with his wife for the rest of his life?

How does diaconate training/formation differ from priesthood formation?

If a single/widowed permanent deacon decides to pursue priestly ordination, is he allowed to and what extra steps would he have to take in doing so?

If a single/widowed permanent deacon decides to marry/remarry, can he seek permission from his local bishop to do so?

Okay, I’ll make up some answers…:smiley:

Yes…he must promise to live a life of celibacy.

No this is not true…see link.

It is typically not a “degreed program” as a priestly formation would require. A priest would be required to have a Philosophy degree, bachelors, and masters of divinity and theology. Not the same in every diocese or order, but there are requirements that are Church wide. The diaconate is not the same in most cases. It is required that there be a 3 year formation with an initial year of “formal discernment” for a total of four required. My diocese requires four years plus the discernment year for a total of five; but no requirement of a college degree.

Yes with the understanding this is rare and should be. The Church must see the need and reasoning to this exception. The diocesan bishop must approve and receive approval from Rome. Requirements would generally be the same as all priestly formation. There are no short cuts. Remember this vocation is very different than the priesthood and is not an abbreviated version of it.

Yes, but the local bishop alone cannot approve it. A deacon asking to be married after ordination must receive dispensation from the Holy See.

Hope this helps.


Pretty much the same message…nice! Simultaneous posts that match…:thumbsup:

Thanks for the response Deacon. How does the vocation of a deacon differ from that of a priest? God bless

You might want to look at this:

Priests have 11 faculties and are ordained to the "head’ of the Mystical body of Christ, i.e. are “leaders” of the church.

Deacons have only 7 faculties and are ordained to a ministry of “service” not leadership.

Of the 11 priestly faculties, Deacons CANNOT: 1. Consecrate the blessed sacrament; 2.Annoint, 3. Absolve sin; 4. Confirm. We can preach, teach, marry, bury, proclaim the gospel at mass, distribute communion, and baptize.

In addition to “liturgical” functions in a parish, most deacons are asssigned by their bishop to a ministry of justice and charity. For example, hospital chaplains, prison chaplains, nursing home ministry, serving in the diocesan office, tribunal, marriage preparation program, etc.

For example, in addition to serving at the altar at my parish, which includes in addition to Mass, also leading stations of the cross, adoration and benediction, and occasionally evening prayer, I also am the advocate for parties seeking a decree of marriage nullity in our region, am coordinator for our regional marriage preparation program and work with our local Men’s Ministry. I also assist in teaching in the RCIA program.

And then again, you might not. Dr. Ed Peters is the canon lawyer I referred to above, and the vatican has said unequivocally that he is simply WRONG on this matter.

See copy of letter from Vatican on this topic reprinted here: (thanks to Dcn Lapey):

Ok. Shoot.



Priests study in seminary, which is a 6-10 year period of full time formation at a school designed to train men for the priesthood. They obtain multiple academic degrees during the course of their stuides. Deacons generally study on nights and weekends while living in the world on their own or with their families, and may or may not earn an academic degree in the course of their studies.

Yes. That decision and the program of formation needed would be up to his bishop.

No. A man who has received Holy Orders, even as a deacon, may not validly enter into a marriage unless he is laicized; that is, unless he is deprived of the rights and responsibilities of the clerical state. However, I believe that the Holy See could grant a dispensation from the law for a grave reason, such as if a deacon is widowed at a young age and still has young children.

I see that all these answers were provided above. Apparently my computer hadn’t caught up with the thread. Sorry for the duplication.

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