What happens to the subdeacons?

I was a subdeacon in the anglican church. Six years ago I became cathoilc. Is it possible to become a catholic subdeacon under the new ordinariate?

The subdiaconate was suppressed by Pope Paul VI. The remainders of it are found in traditionalist orders/societies such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

The equivalent to subdeacons in the OF are instituted acolytes, which, per the Holy See and a bishops’ conference mandate, can be called subdeacons.


The subdiaconate was removed from the clerical state. A cleric is any person who is consecrated taking certain vows or promises. Priest, deacons, brothers, monks, nuns and sisters take clerical vows. They are all kleros; set-apart.

The subdiaconate continues to exist. This is plain to see in the original document. When expounding of the roles: Acolyte, Cantor, and Lector, Pope Paul VI writes that these ‘men’ may be known and called sub-deacons.

The roles of acolyte, cantor, and lector are an instituted office participating the ordained priesthood in non-Sacramental way (Aka It is not a big ‘S’ sacrament but a little ‘s’ sacrament). The office must formerly instituted upon a candidate by an ordinary bishop.

It is a very common misunderstanding that it has been abolished when nothing of the sort can ever happen. The office continues to exist even if it goes un-used, or little-used, or even not employed according to the will of the Pontiff. The sub-diaconate is a Monument of the Faith. It is permanent and always on the books. Certain disciplines can change regarding it, but the monuments themselves always stay in place.

And… there are sub-deacons in the Ordinary Form. They do exist and they do vest (optionally). They are addressed as Sub-deacon Mr. Smith (for example).

To answer the question of the original post:
An Anglican sub-deacon becomes a regular joe without a job until he seeks institution, just as an Anglican bishop or priest, or sister, or friar, et cetra become regular folks until formal institution by way of the authority of an ordinary.

It would be nice if people could answer this question only based on their knowledge of the ministries of the Anglican Ordinariate. I don’t have any such knowledge, so I have refrained from typing sentences that, although true in their own context, may or may not have anything to do with the Anglican Ordinariate.

Also in the Eastern Churches

Not sure if minor orders are part of the Ordinariate. I know deacons will be deacons, priests will be priests, and bishops will be bishops unless the bishop is married, thus he will only be a priest in the Catholic Church.

Pope Paul VI

the major order of subdiaconate no longer exists in the Latin Church

It no longer exists.

Is it proper or allowable to celebrate solemn high Mass without a sub-deacon?

Or is solemn high Mass gone too?

Formerly there were 3 steps to the altar for SHM, one for the celebrant, one for the deacon, and one for the subdeacon.

Correction, it no longer exists as a major order. (And even then, by dispensation it can.)

Yes, one can be celebrated without a subdeacon, although another cleric (not excluding a priest or deacon) or an instituted acolyte must step in for the subdeacon. If you ever see FSSP Solemn Masses, many times the deacon and subdeacon are just two priests. A cleric may step in for any lower-ranking cleric in a mass.

I have never heard of Anglican subdeacons. Who ordains them?

It has been my understanding that, at this time in the Latin Rite at least, “clergy” by definition is limited to those who have receved Holy Orders - specifically : deacons, priests, and bishops. Vowed religious, brothers, etc. may in fact be “set apart” through their vows but do not receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders and thus are not properly regarded as “clergy.”

In the affirmative. You are correct.

I was using the concept to illustrate the point of who is subject to the clerical laws.

I suppose it’s like the all too misunderstanding of the word Sacrament and sacrament. I have an intuition, and it’s only an subtle inuition. In obtaining my history degree I noticed a particular trend starting about the 14-th century. Regine Pernoud writes about it at length. That is the trend of classicalism, where the role of women and others not in professional capacities were played down. A Lay person literally means anyone without a professional degree (doctor, engineer, lawyer, et cetra). That is a fairly new concept. I could imagine with the emergence of Protestantism combined with Classicalism a product of the preacherman or priest being lettered with advanced degrees is inaccurately referred to as a cleric. Modern language use often drives me up a wall only to see me bang my head against same wall repeatedly in frustration. Bulky phrases like ‘consecrated religious’ remind of words we have to use around the butchershop like, “Are you going to the harvest facility?” (meaning: Are you going to the slaughterhouse?).

Abbot Vonier does a good deal in one of his books distinguishing ‘kleros’ . Creepily he also speaks of modern ‘mythologising’ of certain mysteries of the Faith.

I was ordained by the local bishop. We referred to our church as being traditional anglocatholic, and mainly had a high mass.

The subdiaconate has never officially existed within the official Anglican Communion. Anglo-Catholics began using them in the late 1800s and early 1900s–first in religious communities, then later in high parishes–but these were almost always priests or deacons acting in this role, just as they were, and still are, in EF communities.

Beginning in the inter-war period, the practice of allowing a layman to act as subdeacon began, and gained in popularity after WWII. There were a few dioceses (e.g., the West Indies, and some midwestern American dioceses, as well as a handful in England) where the bishop actually “ordained” men to the subdiaconate, but this was relatively rare, and stopped when the liturgical forms obviated the need for a subdeacon in most places. Even in the few places where the bishop did so, it was generally low-key, because it was also controversial: No such holy order officially existed in any Anglican province, and no such ordination rite was provided by the BCP or any other authority. Roman forms, translated into English, were typically used–hence the controversy and rarity of the practice.

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