Why does the church accept persons 35+ to enter into deaconate?

Hey all,
I have been reading a fair bit about the deaconate of late and this questions been bugging me for while - Does anyone know why the church only accepts persons 35+ to become Deacons?.

Thank you in advance for any help.


Canon Law says they must be 25 or older if they are single, 35 or older if they are married although the conference of bishops may establish an older age. I would imagine it is to ensure sufficient maturity. I think it also presumes that the married man will have had a significant period devoted to the marriage alone before embarking on this ministry. I’m not sure how a bishop would view a 35 year old newlywed seeking ordination to the diaconate.

The church assumes that by that age most married men will be free from there dependents and then fully able to put there focus on their ministry of being a Deacon. The church hopes by then that your kids(if you have kids) will be old enough to take care of themselves. It is different for a 25 year old deacon because he can put all his focus on his job while a married man with kids will have a harder time.

Many decades ago that might have been realistic but at 35 today many men are just starting their families. I don’t think I’ve seen any Catholic marriages lately where the groom was under 25. When DH was 35 (some 25 years ago) we had a 5 year old, a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn.

Then the bishop would consider this and not accept him.

I think this is a very correct observation. Different dioceses seem to respond to this fact in different ways. I have seen pictures of men at their diaconal ordinations holding their young children in their arms (toddler age). On the other hand, I know of dioceses (in New England anyway) that skew much older - and a man isn’t considered if he has any child younger than high school. Our diocese doesn’t appear to ordain anyone younger than around 50+, and late 50’s is pretty common here.

Depends on the bishop. I have known a few deacons who still had young children.

And just a quick note.

It is diaconate, not deaconate.

As others have suggested, the age requirements are usually taking marriage into account.

By age 35 most men are married, if they are going to marry. And by that point a married man will likely have settled into marriage. The Church --with good reason-- does not want her deacons to be distracted by marital problems. Such is a bad witness to the Church, for one thing.

In many dioceses the wife is also expected to attend deacon preparation classes. Even where this is not the case the wife and any minor children will definitely impacted by the time the deacon candidate will devote to his additional studies (on top of any regular job he holds.) Preparation for the diaconate is often about six years long. The preparation can take a toll on the best of marriages.

I think that in practice, most deacon candidates (at least in the United States) are considerably older than age 35 when they begin training. More like 45-60.

Because older persons, for the most part, have their act together. They were formed in the world, not in a plush seminary from 12+ age. We’ve seen where the latter has gotten the Church…:rolleyes:

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