Why so few Deacons among famous Catholic teachers?


I’ve been wondering… Among a number of our famous US based Catholic teachers why are so few of them Deacons?

*Examples: Tim Staples, Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Tim Gray, Dr. Edward Sri, Jimmy Akin, Steve Ray, Patrick Madrid, Dr. Taylor Marshall, Mike Aquilina, Dr. John Bergsma, Jeff Cavins, Jason Evert, Matt Fradd, Dr. Mark Giszczak, Marcus Grodi, Matthew Kelly, Ralph Martin, Curtis Martin, Dr. Brant Pitre, Scott Powell, Scott Sollom. Christopher Stefanic, etc.
Of course, each has their own individual reasons, but some of the converts (like Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Taylor Marshall, Tim Staples, Jeff Cavins, etc) were ministers in their protestant communities, and even they did not become a Deacon.

And I’m not saying that one needs to be a Deacon in order to be a good Catechist, Apologist, and/or Theologian. However, I am wondering if there a common theme regarding why many of these apologists/theologians/etc do not become ordained?

Do they feel they are more free to properly do their job if they refrain for ordination, etc? Or do they feel that their travel schedule may make it difficult to be a dedicated Deacon?

Of course, there are some who are Deacons, like Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, but there are not many.

Just something that I’ve been wondering as I slowly discern my own future.

God Bless!


Good question! I’m curious to know what the Holy Spirit is up to. I’m sure each individually and carefully discerned their vocation as they entered the Church. Many of those items may have been answered by the particular policies in the diocese in which they reside, their age, etc. It was in St. Augustine’s day no secret that aside from bishops, many catechists at the “ground level” (lol just got done speaking well at an event now I can loose my language skills lol) were deacons, as far as I understand. In particular I know that St. Augustine wrote to a particular deacon, sharing what best to teach with such short time. No doubt a perennial problem of Catechists lol. My spouse and I as well have been actively discerning the deaconate. Prayers for you! Please pray for me!



Being a deacon involves a promise of obedience to one’s Bishop (or, more rarely, other Ordinary) as well as incardination into a particular diocese. Both of these may well prove problematic for Catholic teachers who want the freedom to travel extensively for speaking engagements, etc and who also want to maintain their freedom to choose where they want to live / work as well as they type of work they want to do.


I asked my pastor and the formation committee the same thing when I applied for aspirancy; if someone like Dr Hahn isn’t called then why would I be called? Both times I was told that being a Deacon isn’t something we chose, but rather each is called for God’s reason. I was told that if I am called (I’m still in discernment) then my concern should be how to server the Lord and not to worry about why he does or doesn’t call others. One thing I was told is that fame can be a detriment to the call to service. Not that it would disqualify someone, but rather that it could get in the way of serving the Church as your ordinary requires.

  1. Deacons cannot be ordained to the permanent diaconate until they are 35 years old.
  2. Most permanent deacons have families, jobs and after ordination, ministries to attend to.
  3. Most well known Catholic “teachers” (i.e. the names you gave) were established before the permanent diaconate become “common” again. Their lives were already committed to the church in different way.
  4. Most permanent deacons are called to lives of service in very practical ways, i.e. in jails, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. Not to an academic type of service. That “hands on service” is what the permanent diaconate is INTENDED to be.


BTW, in addition to Harold Burke-Sivers, there is Ralph Poyo, Mark Miravalle, Bill Ditewig. and Greg Kandra among others.

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