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Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Precentrix] #340951 01/08/10 09:47 PM
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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The last time I saw a Solemn High Mass in the preconciliar form there were priests downgraded to deacon and subdeacon. However, to my disgust, the lead acolyte was in fact a deacon! Go figure.

So what to do?

a) recruit candidates for the diaconate (reality is better than fakery).

b) obtain permission from the Bishop or Superior for a named layman to serve as Subdeacon (since I saw this done frequently in the nineteen-fifties, it is indeed pre-conciliar). Or have some Subdeacons ordained (a better solution, but it may puzzle the bishop).

During Vatican II Patriarch Maximos IV was to serve a Pontifical Liturgy, with a deacon from Grottaferratta, who seemed a bit uncomfortable. So a Greek-Catholic priest of my acquaintance offered to "serve as deacon" instead. The Patriarch looked the priest straight in the eye and answered "I don't, my son. Do you think you can fool God?"

Then of course there is the amazing aberration of Cardinals (who are always bishops these days) dressing in deacon's vestments but nevertheless wearing mitres when they accompany the Pope (and do nothing).

All this smacks of turning Holy Orders into a Sacriligious Game.

Fr. Serge

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #340964 01/09/10 02:23 AM
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Protodeacon David Kennedy Offline OP
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Precentrix

1. In the Novus Ordo, priests are clearly prohibited from vesting as deacons. This liturgical law can be found in various post Vatican II documents, some of which are mention above.

2. As Fr. Serge has pointed out if there are no deacons recruit them. And as Fr. Serge will attest I have served as a deacon since 1978 and this is because I was asked by my pastor who needed a deacon. [And many thanks to that pastor.]

3. There are well over 35,000 "permanent"deacons [I don't much like this term] in the Catholic Church and this number increases every year. There are usually a few thousand "transitional" deacons in any given year. Where is the shortage?

4. One should not do in the liturgy what one does not do outside of the liturgy. While priests can do the functions of deacons, they have the character of the diaconate but having been ordained presbyters are no longer in the order of the diconate but rather in the order of the presbyterate. I relate to my bishop as a deacon and to the presbyters as a deacon and to the order of the laity as a deacon. A priest relates to his bishop, to deacons and to the laity as a priest. This is not something that he puts on and takes off. This is something that he is. The liturgy is not a dress up show. The priest does not become a deacon for a liturgy and then reverts to being a priest once the liturgy is over.

5. A deacon once ordained a priest is no longer a deacon. To think that he is, is to fail to recognize that his relationship to Christ and to his bishop, fellow presbyters and the laity has not changed by the ordaination to the presbyterate.

6. Some will say that the priest does not forfeit the diaconate. If they mean he has the power and character of the diaconate, I would not disagree, yet he is no longer in the diaconal order. When a man is ordained, he is no longer in the order of the laity: certainly he does not forfeit his baptism and chrismation but he now functions as a cleric in the order he has received; lector, subdeacon, deacon, presbyter, or bishop.

7. Liturgy must not only be real and truthful, it must be seen to be real and truthful. I am sure that Fr. Tim the priest who is serving as a deacon would be somewhat preturbed if he was listed in the diocesan directory as a deacon and not as a priest.

8. Fr. Serge's account of Patriarch Maximos IV says it all - God cannot be fooled . It makes no sense to speak of bishops or priests as deacons any more than to speak of them as laity.

9. The liturgy requires deacons. There are only a few services such as confession in the Byzantine rite that do not call for the active service of a deacon. When there is no deacon, the priest takes most of the deacon's functions but is vested as a priest and does not usually stand where the deacon stands. This is not really what the liturgy calls for but it is done when there is no deacon.

10. Sacrosanctum Concilium was not written with the Novus Ordo in mind but rather with what is now called the Extraordinary Form or a some call it the Traditional Latin Mass. In section 26 it says:" Therefore, liturgical services pertain to the whole Body of the Church. They manifest it, and have effects upon it. But they also touch individual members of the Church in different ways, depending on their orders, their role in the liturgical services, and their actual participation in them." It goes on to say in section 28: "In liturgical celebrations each person, minister, or layman who has an office to perform, should carry out all and only those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the norms of the liturgy." These are general norms drawn from the hierarchic and communal nature of the liturgy. They apply to all the rites not just to the Latin Church as section 3 makes clear. If people choose to ignore them, it is simply an abuse. To refer to the practice as traditional reveals that the speaker does not understand what tradition in the Church is.

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Protodeacon David Kennedy] #340977 01/09/10 10:33 AM
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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Father Protodeacon's comments are well-taken (and appreciated).

I would add that a deacon is not ordained for power but for service - a deacon has no "power" that a layman does not have (unless the layman is illiterate, which will not be cured by ordination!), but the deacon is by nature assigned to certain forms of service.

We can appreciate the Church of the East regulation which flatly does not permit the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the absence of a deacon!

Anyone who has ever known a good deacon is well aware that the deacon is a man of considerable "importance" and weight in the Christian community. Since many presbyters are threatened by the mere existence of anyone who is by nature responsible for a good deal of the life of the parish, we find that in practice many presbyters are opposed to the presence of genuine deacons.

Fr. Serge

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #340980 01/09/10 12:16 PM
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Protodeacon David Kennedy Offline OP
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It is good to always keep in mind that all the Mysteries of the Church manifest the Paschal Mystery of Christ. These Mysteries [Sacraments] do not exist as ends in themselves but rather to bring us to salvation in Christ. Salvation in Christ is not only remission from sin but fundamentally communion with the Persons of the Holy Trinity. The communion of the Holy Trinity is diversity in a hierarchical unity. It is a communion of agape which is the very nature of the Godhead. Celebrations of the Mysteries which exclude or diminish what has been Divinely established for our salvation do not lead to communion. Sacraments are not about the importance of the recipient outside of the reality of Christ and the Church. The Mysteries are a way of becoming conformed to Christ. We want to say with St. Paul, "It is not I who live but it is Christ who lives in me."

The power of the Mysteries is the power of the Cross. It is the power of ekenosis - the emptying of the self - the power of humility. The Holy Trinity reveals the Divine power in the incarnation but especially in the Cross.

A diakonos is someone who gets something done on behalf of a superior, an assistant, one who serves as an intermediary in a transaction, an agent. Christ is the diakonos of the Father. His relationship to His Father is one of diakonia in the unfathomable Mystery of Agape. It is the deacon and is someway also those in minor orders who manifest sacramentally Christ as the diakonos. The presbyter shows forth Christ as eternal High Priest.

The presbyter who serves as deacon and not presbyter is quite simply confused and creates a sacramental confusion. The focus seems to be on function and relationship which is fundamental to communion [just think of the prayer of Christ to His Father in the Gospel of John before His passion] seems insignificant. It is relationship that brings us into communion.

The diaconate is not a stepping stone to the priesthood. Hierarchy in the Church is to be founded on the hierarchy in the Holy Trinity, not on a secular model where one ascends the rungs of a ladder.

The deacon as Fr. Serge has so clearly pointed out is without power. This is because he is diakonos, namely an intermediary or agent of the bishop and by extension of the priest. Note that in the Byzantine rite, the deacon does not serve if there is no bishop or priest. This is because the deacon has no one to be deacon to. A confusion in liturgical ministries creates a confusion in the Church and this confusion does not help to lead us to communion in the Holy Trinity.

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Protodeacon David Kennedy] #340994 01/09/10 03:22 PM
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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I may be mistaken, but my impression is that the "minor orders" are developed from the diaconate.

But I am not mistaken about just how crazy the "presbyter-deacon" can become. With my own eyes and ears I have noticed such a cleric, vested as a deacon and attempting to serve as one, nevertheless suddenly "concelebrating" (as though a deacon did not concelebrate) by joining the other presbyters in sotto voce recitation of the Institution Narrative. If that's not confusion I don't know what would be!

Fr. Serge

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #341016 01/09/10 07:12 PM
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Precentrix Offline
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Fathers,

Thank you.

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #341023 01/09/10 07:53 PM
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The minor orders of deaconess, Lector, and Subdeacon go back as far as the apostolic constitutions. (A.C. Bk VIII §III)... Putting the orders in place not later than 500, and more likely in the mid 300's.

Singers are mentioned repeatedly in both Bk VIII and the canons themselves, but their ordination is not. They are mentioned with "other clergy" specifically inclusive phrasing:

Originally Posted by "AC VIII §IV ¶XXXI"
XXXI. I the same make a constitution in regard to remainders. Those eulogies which remain at the mysteries, let the deacons distribute them among the clergy, according to the mind of the bishop or the presbyters: to a bishop; four parts; to a presbyter, three parts; to a deacon, two parts; and to the rest of the sub-deacons, or readers, or singers, or deaconesses, one part. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, that every one be honoured according to his dignity; for the Church is the school, not of confusion, but of good order.

(AC VIII §IV)



The emergence of taper-bearer, porter and acolyte are apparently of later origin; the roman excorcist is also of later innovation.

Even in the Apostolic Constitutions, there is a clear distinguishing of major/minor, tho not as such terms, in how the instructions are phrased, and that deacons presbyters and bishops are grouped together, whilst Deaconesses, Subdeacons, and Readers are not mentioned in those admonitions, tho' their forms of ordination are.

The key, however, seems that, as is now Roman Theology, the orders of Deacon, Presbyter, and Epsipcopos are of biblical origin.

Last edited by aramis; 01/09/10 08:07 PM.
Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Paul B] #341050 01/10/10 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul B

Say there is a vacancy in the Supreme Court, or Secretary of State or some other prestigious office, a former Supreme Court, Secretary of State, etc could not properly step into the vacancy even though they were previously approved.


For any court other than the US Supreme Court, this would not even be unusual. It's common for state courts. I've seen local District Court Judges sit in to hear calendars for Justice Court (although most won't). If memory serves, it was the prior Chief Justice of the USSC that presided at at least one trial every year to stay in touch; sitting US Court of Appeals judges can hear cases as District Court judges as well. Conversely, it's common in state courts for judges to sit *up* a level to get a full court for appeals.

While I'm at it, I believe that the Subdeacon ordained last Sunday at OLoW is a permanent Subdeacon; I'll have to ask Father this weekend.

Originally Posted by Precentrix

3) Outside of the very few traditional seminaries, you won't find a subdeacon, since we seem to have accidentally abolished the subdiaconate.


"I'm not a subdeacon, but I play one on Sunday mornings."

smile
Originally Posted by Fr Serge Keleher

We can appreciate the Church of the East regulation which flatly does not permit the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the absence of a deacon!

Wow. Intriguing.

[/quote]
Anyone who has ever known a good deacon is well aware that the deacon is a man of considerable "importance" and weight in the Christian community. Since many presbyters are threatened by the mere existence of anyone who is by nature responsible for a good deal of the life of the parish, we find that in practice many presbyters are opposed to the presence of genuine deacons.
[/quote]

I know a deacon who, moving into his current parish, reported to the Pastor. He was greeted with, "We've never had deacons, don't need deacons, and never will!"

In discussing this with a religious brother, I learned that this deacophobia is common among small orders.


hawk

Last edited by dochawk; 01/10/10 01:54 AM.
Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: dochawk] #341069 01/10/10 07:12 AM
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My dad (a Roman Deacon) was in a car accident some 20 years ago, driving to Sunday Mass at the Cathedral, where assigned; it was his parish of registry, as well, despite not living within the territorial bounds. Dad approached the territorial parish in the suburb where he lived, and got told "I'm not interested in having a deacon, I don't want or need an ordained altarboy."

Mom went and talked to the bishop about Dad needing to not be driving 20 miles each way.

The Bishop trumped the local priest. Some years later (about 8), said pastor was transferred from his now two deacon parish... to a parish without a deacon. First request from the priest to the bishop? A deacon.

So a good deacon can show even the die hard anti-permanent deacon priests a thing or two... by preaching the gospel... and once in a while, using words.

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Precentrix] #341173 01/11/10 06:31 PM
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Epiphanius Offline
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Originally Posted by Precentrix
1) There are actually very few celebrations of High Mass in the traditional form of the Roman Rite at the moment. Sadly.

I agree, with some qualifications.


Originally Posted by Precentrix
3) Outside of the very few traditional seminaries, you won't find a subdeacon, since we seem to have accidentally abolished the subdiaconate. Well, not technically, but they just stopped ordaining people to the subdiaconate and minor orders and skip straight to the diaconate.

Actually, this was no accident. The sub-diaconate was abolished for the Latin Rite, along with the minor orders of Porter and Exorcist, while the minor orders of Lector and Acolyte were demoted to canonical institutions. (Obviously, this presents no problem for the celebration of the traditional High Mass, since these offices were not used for that function, anyway.)


Originally Posted by Precentrix
This has led to an awful lot of debate about instituted lectors and (other) laymen ... acting as subdeacons ...

It has? That's the first I've heard of it.


Originally Posted by Precentrix
... none of that debate has been at all useful because no one has actually bothered to look at the origin of the role.

Good insight. In an age where more historical data is available then ever before, we continue to act as if any practice of more than 100 years standing is from time immemorial, and thus immune to such investigation.


Originally Posted by Precentrix
4) Even in the Pauline liturgy, it is not unusual at all to see a priest acting as deacon ...

What? I've never so much as heard of this being done! Not one time in 40 years! (Of course, given that concelebration is now permitted and priests serving as deacons has been specifically prohibited, one might expect that. confused )


Originally Posted by Precentrix
That said, since the reinstitution of a permanent diaconate in the West, no one quite knows what a deacon is actually for. Seriously.

You've got that right!


Originally Posted by Precentrix
6) Most of the legislation about the liturgy that comes out of Rome, such as Redemptionis Sacramentum, is patently about the 'New Rite', the Pauline liturgy. As such, we tend to ignore it.

That's obvious! wink (Unfortunately, there were some good things in the reforms ...)


Peace,
Deacon Richard

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: aramis] #341175 01/11/10 06:56 PM
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Hi,

I believe this discussion has flip-flopped between the issue of priests vesting as deacons (or sub-deacons) for the liturgy and who should perform the liturgical actions designated to deacons (or sub-deacons, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite).

The first question has a simple answer: NO!

The priest should vest as priest and the deacon as deacon. Every baptized may wear an alb, if it seems pertinent, but I can hardly imagine why would this be required for anything (it is customary for Altar Servers, though).

Now, if there is no deacon present at Mass, who should perform the offices assigned to a deacon? There are very few of these, but the Gospel and the Litanies (like the Kyrie) should be done by the celebrant or another priest. The intentions for the prayer of the faithful can be read or sung by a lay person.

When Pope Paul VI abolished the minor orders and the major order of the Sub-Diaconate and also established in their place the instituted lay ministires of Lector and Acolyte, he said that all things that the Sub-Deacon could do, the Acolyte could also do. He also established that all things that instituted Lectors and Acolytes could do, lay people may also do if needed.

Needless to say, anything that a lay person can do, a priest might also do, even if he is a concelebrant or even the main celebrant.

Therefore, if the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite requires a Sub-Deacon, my first choice would be a properly trained lay person (I have no gender preference for this, but I understand some people would prefer to see a male in this role). Even better if we have an actual instituted Acolyte available (even if I am not the biggest fan of the Extraordinary form, I'll be an instituted Acolyte at least for the next year and a half or so, and I would volunteer, call me wink ).

My next choice would be a second Deacon (the first Deacon would be doing the Deacon "stuff").

The third choice would be a non-concelebrating Priest.

Lastly, a concelebrating Priest.

But again, a priest vests like a priest, a deacon vests like a deacon and a lay person vests like a lay person (optional alb included).

With all due respect for the CDW and its most eminent prefect, what the pictures from that celebration depict, is, in my opinion, just wrong.

Shalom,
Memo

Last edited by Memo Rodriguez; 01/11/10 06:56 PM.
Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Memo Rodriguez] #341228 01/12/10 10:31 AM
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Protodeacon David Kennedy Offline OP
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Dear Memo,

Very well put. "With all due respect...is,in my opinion, just wrong." Can you tell us why it is wrong theologically?
In Christ,
David, Protodn

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Protodeacon David Kennedy] #341233 01/12/10 04:32 PM
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Dear Fr. Protodeacon David,

I am not an expert in Pre-V2 vestments, but it seems to me that the two ministers next to the main celebrant are at the very least priests, and they appear to be vested as deacon and sub-deacon.

If my interpretation of the pictures is incorrect, then my remark about that being wrong would also be incorrect.

Thanks.

Shalom,
Memo

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: Memo Rodriguez] #341234 01/12/10 05:08 PM
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Looking at many of the sites that feature the old mass, such as The New Liturgical Movement, at most all of the solemn masses in old form pictured, the deacon and sub-deacon are 99% of the time both priests. Granted, there are no Roman sub-deacons anymore, but it seems to me that there are plentiful amounts of deacons around who could be utilized as deacon and maybe even sub-deacon at these masses. WOuldn't that be better than a priest pretending to be a deacon?

Re: Should priests vest as deacons and serve as such? [Re: John K] #341240 01/12/10 08:00 PM
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My experience is that latin mass types generally view the permanent diaconate as an abuse of the post vatican II era.

There may well be a cohort of Trad Mass permanent diaconate supporters around the place who will come out and argue with me, but so far I haven't met a trad priest who thinks the diaconate is a good move.

Otoh, I have also not met any permanent deacons who think that the Tridentine liturgy is good.

I am guessing in most cases FSSP transitional deacons etc serve as subdeacons - that was the case with transitional deacons I know who served the extraordinary form.

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