Of late, there has been a great deal of discussion over the issue of whether or not Catholic priests should be allowed to marry. Sexual scandals dating back for years have been hitting the church in waves and the Vatican and those lower down are finally coming to terms with this problem and are doing something about it.
Like all problems that face our society, people often look for the ‘silver bullet’ answer or the one sweeping answer to cure all these problems. Allowing priests to marry may seem (on the surface) to be one of those answers.
Oftentimes, people feel vaguely sorry for the priests to have to give up their sex lives. There is a feeling that marriage, will be a ‘cure’ for sexual frustration and ‘cure’ for pedophilia. Research shows that pedophilia is a deep seated psychological disorder that is not cured by marriage. In fact, many perpetrators are married with children.
Lastly, people not familiar with the church may not understand the role of deacons in the church. These are men, usually married, frequently with children, who are high up in the running of the church and do many of the things that a priest does. They preach at the pulpit, they do counseling, they teach classes and are heavily involved in the daily running of the church. For those feeling sorry for men ‘who can’t marry’ look no further than your local deacon to see the vital role they play in church activities on a daily basis.
- THE ROLE OF DEACONS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCHhttps://www.dummies.com/religion/christianity/catholicism/the-role-of-deacons-in-the-catholic-church/
THE ROLE OF DEACONS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
In the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, you have the Pope at the top (well, after God), cardinals, bishops, priests, and then deacons. Catholics recognize two types of deacons:
- Permanent deacons are men ordained to an office in the Catholic Church who normally have no intention or desire of becoming priests. He can be single or married. If the latter, he must be married before being ordained a deacon. If his wife dies before him, he may be ordained a priest if the bishop permits and approves.
Permanent deacons, especially those who are married, have secular jobs to support their families and also help the local pastor by visiting the sick, teaching the faith, counseling couples and individuals, working on parish committees and councils, and giving advice to the pastor.
- Transitional deacons are seminarians, students in the last phase of training for the Catholic priesthood. After being a deacon for a year, they’re ordained a priest by the bishop.
Deacons can baptize, witness marriages, perform funeral and burial services outside of Mass, distribute Holy Communion, preach the homily (which is the sermon given after the Gospel at Mass), and are obligated to pray the Divine Office (Breviary) each day. (The Divine Office, Breviary, or Liturgy of the Hours are all the same thing. These are the 150 Psalms and Scriptural readings from the Old and New Testament that every deacon, priest, and bishop must pray every day and a few times during each day.) This way, in addition to the biblical readings at daily Mass, the cleric is also exposed to more Sacred Scripture each day.
April 16, 2007 –
What are the responsibilities of deacons in the church?
Question: “What are the responsibilities of deacons in the church?”
Answer: In the New Testament, the word usually translated “serve” is the Greek word diakoneo, which literally means “through the dirt.” It refers to an attendant, a waiter, or one who ministers to another. From this word we get the English word “deacon.” We first see the word “deacon” used this way in the book of Acts. “And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables” (Acts 6:2). The men who were giving themselves to feeding the flock by preaching and teaching realized that it wasn’t right for them to leave those activities to wait tables, so they found some other men who were willing to serve, and put them in place to minister to the church’s physical needs while the elders or pastors ministered to their spiritual needs. It was a better use of the resources they were given, and a better use of everyone’s gifts. It also got more people involved in serving and helping one another.
Today, for the biblical church, these roles are essentially the same. Elders and pastors are to “preach the word…reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2), and deacons are to be appointed to take care of everything else. In a modern church, this might include taking on administrative or organizational tasks, ushering, being responsible for building maintenance, or volunteering to be the church treasurer. It depends on the need and the gifts of the available men.
The responsibilities of a deacon are not clearly listed or outlined; they are assumed to be everything that does not include the duties of an elder or pastor, which is to preach, teach, and exhort. But qualifications for a deacon’s character are clearly outlined in Scripture. They are to be blameless, the husband of one wife, a good household manager, respectable, honest, not addicted to alcohol and not greedy (1 Timothy 3:8-12). According to the Word, the office of deacon is an honor and a blessing. “For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 3:13).
Demetra Fergerstrom said:
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Thanks so much, Demetra! CW