PCED clarifies service of deacons in the TLM

Since Summorum Pontificum went into effect, questions about the older, pre-Conciliar form of Mass have, as was inevitable, begun to surface. 

The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" (PCED) is, at this time, the clearing house for these questions, since the Commission has competence in all things concerning the older liturgy.  

I received via e-mail a copy of a letter someone received from the PCED.  A question was raised about the service of deacons for the older forms of liturgy.

Every once in a while questions pop upo about deacons ordained with the newer books and the older form of Mass, and also about the service of permanent deacons.  For example, some people question if men ordained as deacons with the newer book De ordinatione, that is, who are not ordained with the older form of the Pontificale Romanum as deacons or subdeacons, can function as sacred ministers in the older Mass.  In a nutshell: not ordained with old book – can’t be sacred minister.

I contend that a deacon is a deacon is a deacon.  Men who were ordained with older books are no more deacons than men ordained with the newer books.

Similarly, some people think that permanent deacons are somehow a lesser sort of deacon and therefore cannot function as a sacred minister in the older form of Mass.  I respond again: a deacon is a deacons is a deacon.

Now we let us see the business part of text of the response sent by the PCED forwarded to me with my emphases.

The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, just as the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, presupposes that any deacons, transitional or permanent, may function as deacons in the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, provided, of course, that they are familiar with the rites and can function with sufficient ease.  The local Ordinary can not impede a deacon in good standing from functioning as a deacon in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite provided that the deacon is qualified.
 
With prayerful wishes I remain
 
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Msgr. Camille Perl

First, this letter clarifies that the ability of the deacon to serve does not depend on which book was used to ordain him.  Thus, men ordained with the newer book can serve as sacred ministers with the older form.

Second, it makes no difference if a man is a permanent deacon or a transitional deacon.  A "transitional" deacon usually identifies a man promoted to the holy order of the diaconate as a stage before his being ordained a priest.  So, these are usually seminarians in the last stages of their formation.  The point here is that a permanent deacons and transitional deacons are equally deacons.  This may seem like a point to simple to need clarification, but it does come up. 

Third, note the statement that the "local Ordinary" (usually the local bishop) can’t "impede" a deacon in good standing from functioning as a deacon in the extraordinary form.   This would have an impact on seminarian transitional deacons.  The idea is this: if a deacon is in good standing, he can function as a deacon in his rite.  Men ordained for the Roman Rite can function in their Roman Rite.  The Roman Rite has two forms. 

Bishops cannot tell their seminarian deacons who are in good standing that they can serve in the ordinary form but can’t serve in the extraordinary form.  If you can serve in one, you can serve in the other, provided you know what to do.

What I find interesting about this is that during the rite of ordination of a deacon, the ordaining bishop explicitly asks someone speaking on behalf of those responsible for the formation of the deacons whether or not he knows they are worthy of ordination.  That worthiness would refer not only to their reputations and moral life, but also their concrete training.  

If a man is going to be ordained for the Roman Rite, should not knowledge of the older form of the Rite be included in the formation of men to be ordained deacons, transitional or permanent?  If someone responsible for the training of deacons is going to answer that question about the worthiness of the men presented to the bishop for ordination, should he not know they were prepared for the celebration of the Roman Rite?

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44 Responses to PCED clarifies service of deacons in the TLM

  1. David Kubiak says:

    Bravo, Father. I agree completely and just said as much on Shawn Tribe’s site.

  2. Terth says:

    In fact, didn’t the PCED say that seminaries should see to it that their men are given proper training in both forms of the Roman Rite? (I remember that from a few posts ago.)

  3. Chironomo says:

    It seems to me that training of Seminarians and Deacons in both forms is inevitable and will, eventually, become the norm. Already there is talk of some kind of “mandate” that seminaries teach the older form to all seminarians, not just have it be an “optional” class or something, and the insistence in Sacramentm Caritatis that seminarians be taught Latin is closely related to this issue. It may take several years to get these programs going, but as the EF is here to stay, it will quickly become apparent that it should be taught.

  4. Breier says:

    Father,

    Doesn’t “provided that the deacon is qualified”, where “qualified” is
    undefined, leave a loop-hole to impede the 1962 Missal?

  5. Breier says:

    Does the PCED publish its responses, or is there a central
    repository of them? If the PCED is to answer these questions,
    the answers need to be promulgated to the public, not simply
    reserved for the letter writer.

  6. Ken C says:

    This is also interesting because it says a bishop “can not impede” a deacon while many bishops now feel they can impede priests who want to offer the extraordinary form.

  7. Clayton says:

    Here is a comment I left on the New Liturgical Movement regarding the same matter. It references a comment that suggested that traditionalists were “selective” in their reading of tradition.
    There are some interesting comments above regarding ecclesiology and the diaconate, but also about traditionalist views of the permanent diaconate. One assumption is that, when one traditionalist or another disagrees with an institution like the permanent diaconate, then all traditionalists must be selective in their reading of tradition. I, however, don’t buy this, not the least because I am a traditionalist, not selective in my reading of tradition, and also have both a positive and nuanced view of the permanent diaconate. I should also mention that my chaplain, who is FSSP, back home made use of the parish’s permanent deacon, however sparingly because the deacon was not trained in the Latin Mass.

    But, I do have some critiques. First, what is the deal with deacons being considered a “lower” order in the hierarchy? Of course, when one looks at the structure of the early church, one observes that in fact the diaconate was considered a separate but equal ministry to the priesthood. The only distinction is that priests COULD exercise the function of deacons, but not vice versa. In fact, however, when the first deacons were being appointed, they had charge over the temporal affairs usually of a region rather than a parish, and so, in some ways, were more powerful than the priests. The only true “sacerdos” in a diocese is in fact the bishop, who extends his sacramental authority through the priests, and his temporal authority through deacons (his temporal authority being symbolized in the reading of the Gospel). Both of these functions, the historical and the sacramental, are essential to the proper celebration of the Christian life in the Mass.

    The second critique I have is that, if deacons wish to be a full ministry in the church, they should also receive the full education required of priests, minus the non-diaconal liturgical formation and including a more in depth study of canon law and church management. Hence, I think they ought to at least have to gain a M.Div. geared for the diaconate.

    Finally, I think that, in the Western tradition, history WILL testify that in fact deacons had been taken from monastic communities and celibates for a very, very long time before the institution became defunct. Take, for example, St. Francis, who was only a deacon. Moreover, even in the early church, celibacy was considered to be a deeper commitment to Christ and his Church. So I think Permanent Deacons ought to be celibate, preferrably taken from monastic communities. This would make them, as was the case in ancient times, prime candidates for appointment to the Episcopate.

  8. Breier: leave a loop-hole to impede the 1962 Missal?

    Not really. That sort of thing can’t be spelled out in such a letter.

  9. Scott Smith says:

    A new spring time in the Church, and it includes deacons. Perhaps this will allow more Solemn High Masses!

  10. I see a corollary to this question, which I think has (especially now) been
    answered in similar fashion:

    Can a priest ordained in the newer rite celebrate the Classical form?

    If he can, then a deacon can, it seems to me.

  11. Raymundus says:

    This is all very interesting. If a transitional deacon has a right to assist at the “forma extraordinaria”, then does he not have a right to be trained (or, at least, to be permitted to be trained)?

    My seminary is making a huge fuss about this right now, and the first round of “Latin proficiency testing” will go on soon – anyone want a copy?

  12. Ken says:

    One thing I hope will improve, is the attire of deacons. In my experience, most so-called permanent deacons do not wear the cassock and collar. If they are to serve as a deacon or subdeacon in the traditional Mass, or even distribute communion as an extraordinary minister, this should be the standard practice.

    Hopefully it’s just a situation in my area — but I’d be interested to hear if permanent deacons in other parts of the country simple toss on an alb over a pair of gray pants and a button down shirt, or if they fully vest the way deacons in the traditional Latin Mass are required to dress.

  13. Antiquarian says:

    “Can a priest ordained in the newer rite celebrate the Classical form?

    If he can, then a deacon can, it seems to me.”

    Predictably, there are those who aren’t so sure…

    http://sspx.org/miscellaneous/conditional_ordination.pdf

  14. Flambeaux says:

    The permanent deacons I’ve known were actively discouraged from wearing distinctive clerical garb. Many were, like many priests I know, taught by their formators that such clothing was forbidden by Vatican II. We all know what a lie that is, but many of these good men do not.

    As joyful as this news is, I’m skeptical as to how the permanent deacons are going to become a source for the EF.

    While in no way representative, I recently had to walk a deacon through a NO Nuptial Mass in English. He’d never worn a dalmatic, and wasn’t sure if it was permitted to him. I assured him it was his proper vestment, then I helped him vest. He was a sweet man, but utterly clueless.

    Most of the permanent deacons I’ve known over the last 15 years had no clue 1) how to vest, 2) how to use the thurible, 3) how to chant the Gospel, 4) how to prepare the Altar for the Sacrifice, or 5) how to assist at the Altar without looking like concelebrants.

    Most of them seemed to be very nice, if henpecked, men who were poorly formed in anything relating to a deacon’s proper role.

    For many I fear the EF will be a bridge too far as, despite the juridical solution of two forms in one Rite, they really are for all practical purposes two Rites. Learning the EF for most of these guys would be about as easy as learning one of the Eastern Catholic Rites.

  15. Flambeaux says:

    Three questions I do have related to this:

    1) Does the deacon ordained under the OF wear the maniple in the EF?
    2) Can the deacon properly serve as subdeacon if a priest is serving as deacon?
    3) Birettas? Obviously, a transitional deacon should have one but is the biretta in the EF a sign of clerical dignity or academic achievement? If the latter, should a “permanent” deacon wear one at all?

    Thoughts?

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    Flambeaux: You’ve hit the nail precisely on the head, as to most permanent deacons seen nowadays not being adequately formed to do anything (though I must say that my own parish has an excellent deacon who is a startling exception to this general rule).

    Ken: If they are to serve as a deacon or subdeacon in the traditional Mass, or even distribute communion as an extraordinary minister, this should be the standard practice.

    I’ve never seen a deacon (transitional or otherwise), or anyone other than an actual priest, distribute communion at an EF Mass. The deacon and subdeacon at a solemn high Mass accompany the celebrant as he distributes communion.

  17. Boko says:

    “cannot”: isn’t it pretty to think so?

    “may not” or “must not” would be accurate.

  18. Garrett says:

    At our traditional FSSP church outside Atlanta, 2 permanent deacons always served as deacon and subdeacon for the Sunday Solemn Mass. Oddly, in the last few months they have apparently moved or switched parishes, because they’re not at St. Francis de Sales’ anymore.

  19. roydosan says:

    Permanent deacons are clerics – they are fully entitled to wear the cassock, alb and biretta and should wear the correct vestments at Mass i.e. dalmatic, stole and maniple – though the latter is optional for the N.O. I believe.

    http://www.deacons.net/Articles/Dress_and_address_of_deacons.htm

  20. TerryC says:

    The formation of permanent deacons is the responsibility of the diocese. The permanent deacons I know wear the collar, though not as often as most priests. They know how to fill the deacon’s role, at least in the ordinary form. At least two of them have masters degrees in divinity.
    As for Birettas if it is a sign of clerical dignity, deacons are clerics. If academic achievement then wouldn’t it depend on their academic qualifications?
    I too see the statement “if they are qualified” as worrisome. Hopefully PCED will issue a guideline explaining what “qualified” means for both priests and deacons, followed by instructions from the Holy Father specifically requiring that all seminaries and deacon formation programs train men to meet those requirements.
    Seminaries that don’t should be prevent from operating.

  21. Flambeaux says:

    Roydosan,

    I’m not disputing this. But try telling that to a guy who’s been a permanent deacon for 20 years, was explicitly told he was not to wear the vestments proper to his station when he was formed and ordained, and is still actively discouraged by Chancery Rats from learning anything about that which is proper to his station.

    I think the thrust of my comments is that we have a very hard row to hoe with the permanent deacons before we could begin to seriously expect them to function in the EF, assuming they would be permitted by their Ordinary to do so.

    The PCED document may clarify that they cannot be impeded canonically, but they could be assigned elsewhere by the Ordinary, effectively preventing them from assisting in the worthy celebration of a Solemn High Mass.

  22. Ken:

    In my diocese, “permanent” deacons are not allowed to wear clerical dress; and it may be the same in your diocese; so it may not be their fault that they don’t.

  23. In the Archdiocese of Washington, permanent deacons wear clericals, and are addressed as “Reverend Mister.” In the Diocese of Arlington, they are permitted neither, for reasons that have always escaped me, and which have never been competently explained.

    On another matter, as I understand it, a deacon (transitional or permanent, married or celibate, whatever….) was once an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, which is why they simply accompanied a priest at that time. But in the current discipline, he is the ordinary minister, and this would apply currently to the Traditional Mass.

    At least that’s my understanding.

  24. Federico says:

    Fr. Fox: In my diocese, “permanent” deacons are not allowed to wear clerical dress; and it may be the same in your diocese; so it may not be their fault that they don’t.

    This attitude is unfortunate. Deacons have a unique sacramental character which makes them quite different from the laity. I also believe it’s illegal.

    Relevant universal law:
    Can. 284: Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs.

    and

    Can. 288: The prescripts of cann. 284, 285, §§3 and 4, 286, and 287, §2 do not bind permanent deacons unless particular law establishes otherwise.

    Couple of comments:
    By default (can. 284) all clerics (that includes deacons) are required to wear ecclesiastical garb. It is for the conference of bishops to define proper ecclesiastical garb.

    Permanent deacons are not required to wear ecclesiastical garb (can 288) although they have the right to do so. Particular law may be promulgated (can. 288 authorizes it) to require them to wear ecclesiastical garb.

    Nowhere does the universal law have any provisions for any particular law to prohibit deacons from dressing as clerics, a right provided by universal law.

    I’d like to see a permanent deacon in your diocese wear ecclesiastical garb, get a dressing down, and then initiate a hierarchical process against their particular law. I bet they would find plenty of canonists to represent them…

    By the way, any question about differences between sacred ministers based on the books they were ordained with implies a difference in the sacramental character. This implies the questions are raised by one questioning sacramental validity which, in my opinion, is a schismatic view and one held by many a sedevacantist.

  25. “While in no way representative, I recently had to walk a deacon through a NO Nuptial Mass in English. He’d never worn a dalmatic, and wasn’t sure if it was permitted to him. I assured him it was his proper vestment, then I helped him vest. He was a sweet man, but utterly clueless.

    Most of the permanent deacons I’ve known over the last 15 years had no clue 1) how to vest, 2) how to use the thurible, 3) how to chant the Gospel, 4) how to prepare the Altar for the Sacrifice, or 5) how to assist at the Altar without looking like concelebrants.”

    BINGO. I blame formators. There are some diocese where I have NEVER seen a deacon wear a dalmatic – albs and stoles hold sway…

    And I don’t blame it on these men, who doubtless never asked to recieved BAD formation – it is the formators. Who has been in charge of that? I think we all know.

    What is odd to me is that this question needed to be answered. I mean, I know why it needed to be answered – there were people attending FSSP parishes that were adamnant that married men who were ordained deacons could not serve at what has come to be known as the EF on the grounds that “we do it the way it was done in 1962, married men were not ordained in 1962, ergo…” (I had first hand experience in a parish where a man ordained a deacon in the 70s now attended, but the pastor – and congregation – would not HEAR of him serving as such…) But I am curious how it was that such thinking so often went uncorrected. Why did we get to the point where it was needed for the ECD to point out that deacons are deacons are deacons?

  26. Ken says:

    David wrote:
    “In the Archdiocese of Washington, permanent deacons wear clericals, and are addressed as ‘Reverend Mister.’ In the Diocese of Arlington, they are permitted neither, for reasons that have always escaped me, and which have never been competently explained.”

    This is an area where the Diocese of Arlington has conflicting information. In the handbook for deacons, on page nine, it indeed says “Save for that of “deacon,” no title is attached to his name…”:
    http://www.arlingtondiocese.org/offices/vocations/documents/2008%20Deacon%20Handbook.doc

    But throughout the diocese’s official directory and on most diocesan websites, “Rev. Mr.” is used.
    http://www.arlingtondiocese.org/offices/communications/directory_2008.html

    This is what happens when a diocese attempts to make up rules on its own contrary to the universal Church’s.

  27. Flambeaux says:

    Frederico,

    My understanding, which I admit may be in error, is that most permanent deacons are told that the “norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs” clause is what prohibits them from wearing clericals.

    But then, many priests in my diocese refuse to wear clericals, so I’m not sure why I would expect more of a deacon. *sigh*

    How long, O Lord? How long?

  28. In pre – conciliar days the practice developed in some religious communities that only those who were fully ordained to the priesthood could assist at high mass as deacon and sub – deacon, even though there were those who had reached these orders as transitional stages! The suggestion that permanent deacons cannot assist at high mass in the 1962 missal does strike as being a return to this practice…

  29. Stephen Morgan says:

    The notion that clerical dress is a privilege is where this nonsense about deacons not wearing clerical dress comes from. The code (at canon 284) makes it abundantly clear that it is obligation (the term used in the canon is “deferant” – “are to wear”). Permanent deacons are subsequently excused the obligation in canon 288. The obligation is imposed and relaxed by the Supreme Legislator, not the Ordinary. The ordinary simply doesn’t have the authority to do so.

    The canon makes it clear that it is possible for either a binding resolution of the bishops’ conference or “legitimate local custom” (which could indeed include a proper act by the bishop creating particular law)could mean that “suitable ecclesiastical garb” (“decentem habitum ecclesiasticum”) for permanent deacons was different to that for other clerics. It is doubtful whether mandating a form of dress different in no significant way from ordinary lay dress would properly be considered “suitable ecclesiasticalo garb” but a grey (or if you must “gray”) clerical shirt with roman collar certainly could. It would, of course, constitute the most dreadful sartorial mistake but, as we know, de gustibus non disputandum. Of course for the dress to achieve the stated aim in the Diocese of Manchester, it would be necessary for the Ordinary to establish a legitimate local custom by which bishops, priests and transitional deacons were forbidden to wear grey clerical shirts. I suspect that was not what was anticipated.

    I am employed as the Secretary of the Trustees and Financial Secretary of a Diocese, as well as assigned to pastoral ministry in three parishes of the diocese. In my day job at the diocese, I would rarely wear clerical dress, not least since I did the job for three years as a layman. However, when engaged in pastoral ministry, it seems appropriate that I dress, look and comport myself as a cleric. The sacramental difference between a deacon and a priest, whilst of ontological and functional importance, is lost on the vast bulk of the plebs dei, who simply want what pastoral care you can give them. Except where explaining that I am unable to anoint them, say Mass of them or hear their confessions (or “celebrate reconciliation” as the argot of the times has it), the difference between a deacon and a priest is of little importance to them and they are not looking for a CCD class in the sacrament of orders. I could wear a grey shirt (except that they are simply ugly) or a little diaconal stole-shaped badge or a large billboard with a sign saying “Permanent Deacon. Not Priest” but what on earth for. Mrs Mary Bagodonuts, whose husband died last year after fifty years of marriage last year and who calls me Father no matter how many times I tell her not to, couldn’t care less about what are to her in her pain and loss irrelevant ecclesiastical nuances. She wants someone who looks like a Catholic cleric and can pray with her and help her to make sense of her faith, not someone engaged in some stupid semantic and sartorial powergame.

    Reverend Mr Stephen Morgan,
    Deacon of the Diocese of Portsmouth, who knows how to assist at Mass in the EF in its various stages of solemnity, is quite idoneus, has administered baptism with the permission of the pastor according to the Rituale Romanum of Pope Paul V as amended by Pope Pius XI, as our own dear FrZ knows, looks fine in black clerical dress, believes that albs look ugly if not worn over a cassock and has a fine collection of clerical hats, no matter how daft his bishop think that is.

  30. Brian Mershon says:

    Father Z,
    Could you clear up a matter that the always astute Black Hat, David A., brings up.

    In the pre-1983 Traditional Latin Mass and code of canon law, deacons were “extraordinary” ministers of Holy Communion. Since this distinction has been washed by the wayside by ordinary ministers of Holy Communion in pant suits and plunging necklines for the Novus Ordo distribution (Eucharistic mistresses), does this apply any more in the TLM.

    Is a deacon, permanent or not, an ordinary minister of Holy Communion. Pastorally, is it wise of prudent to use a deacon in the distribution, even if it is deemed pastorally “necessary” as in my former parish?

  31. Fr. WTC says:

    Dear Fr. Z:
    I have always believed that an acolyte instituted according to the reform rites of Pope Paul VI is in substance the equivalent of a sub-deacon ordained in the Ancient Use, because the matter and form of the “ordination rite” of a sub-deacon is the same as the rite of institution of an OF acolyte. Please Fr. Z, shed some light on me. Is my belief erroneous?

  32. Federico says:

    Flambeaux: My understanding, which I admit may be in error, is that most permanent deacons are told that the “norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs” clause is what prohibits them from wearing clericals.

    Particular law (from a conference where authorized by law, or from a bishop) cannot contravene universal law (canon 135 §2: “A lower legislator cannot validly issue a law contrary to higher law.”) The law gives the conference the power to define clerical garb; it does not give the conference (or the bishops) the power to eliminate clerical garb. That would appear a significant abuse seem ripe for a recourse.

    Federico

  33. Fr Martin Fox says:

    Ken:

    You referred to deacons acting as “extraordinary ministers” of holy communion. If memory serves, that’s impossible–a deacon is an “ordinary minister” of holy communion. But it’s been awhile since I looked at that.

  34. Fr. WTC: I have always believed that an acolyte instituted according to the reform rites of Pope Paul VI is in substance the equivalent of a sub-deacon ordained in the Ancient Use, because the matter and form of the “ordination rite” of a sub-deacon is the same as the rite of institution of an OF acolyte. Please Fr. Z, shed some light on me. Is my belief erroneous?

    Summorum Pontificum does not turn the clock back.  Present legislation about who is a cleric, and who is an acolyte, and who and acolyte is (and who can substitute for an acolyte) is still in force even for celebrations of the older form.

    Paul VI, in Ministeria quaedam, laid down that instituted acolytes assume the role, and even title (if memory serves) of the old subdeacon. 

    I think from this we can conclude that instituted acolytes can vest and fill the role of subdeacon in the older form of Mass.

  35. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf:

    I agree entirely with you on this matter, even if it does mean agreeing with someone who might be associated with that rag, “The Wanderer” (!).

    One thing that worries me, though, is this reference in the P.C.E.D.s decision to the term ‘qualified’. We all remember that nasty little word from S.P. I am wondering is this is leading to a statement that the Bishop can make deacons and priests write Latin exams before proceding. Let’s deprecate that.

    P.K.T.P.

  36. Flambeaux says:

    Fr. Z wrote:
    *I think from this we can conclude that instituted acolytes can vest and fill the role of subdeacon in the older form of Mass.*

    Father,

    Would this include wearing the maniple?

  37. PKTP: Let’s deprecate that.

    Rather, let’s just calm down and be happy the PCED sent the letter, which is pretty clear and reasonable. 

  38. Flambeaux: Would this include [the acolyte as subdeacon] wearing the maniple?

    If I remember correctly, the “straw” subdeacon did not wear a maniple.

    However, in the spirit of those who insert the things they like into traditional forms of liturgy, I cannot see why we shouldn’t put maniples on “straw” subdeacons.

    Seriously, in the old days, the “straw” subdeacon did not use the maniple. It would be better to stick to that, even though we all really like maniples and want them to be uses as often as possible.

    We should start a Maniple Defense League.

  39. Paul Goings says:

    What about the “ordained subdeacons” of the F.S.S.P., etc.? May they wear the maniple? They are not instituted Acolytes (although they have previously received the “minor order” of Acolyte). What is their status? It would appear that they are, in every sense, ordinary laymen. So, if they can wear the maniple, then any layman can. What are your thoughts, Father?

  40. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Fr. Z:

    Calm down about it? Come, come, Father. How calm were *you* when you had to write your Latin exams. I faced one situation in university in which I had to write a mediæval Latin exam at 2.00 on the first day of exams, and then a classical Latin exam the next morning at 9.00 a.m. I was not calm! (Oh, to be young and stupid again.)

    But to my point. I wonder if this ‘idoneus’ term will mean mind-numbing Latin exams imposed by bishops (often Latin-subliterate bishops) now on deacons who want to assist at the old Mass as well. I suppose that we shall soon know. This was one of the dubia I submitted in August last. I am hoping for an answer soon. It takes longer for letters to get from Rome to Canada, I suppose.

    P.K.T.P.

  41. Paul: What about the “ordained subdeacons” of the F.S.S.P., etc.? May they wear the maniple? They are not instituted Acolytes (although they have previously received the “minor order” of Acolyte). What is their status? It would appear that they are, in every sense, ordinary laymen. So, if they can wear the maniple, then any layman can. What are your thoughts, Father?

    First, whatever happens when the FSSP “ordains” subdeacons, I am not sure they are “ordained”. I am not sure what they are, and I would really like an explanation. Paul VI said in Ministeria quaedam that the subdiaconate was suppressed. Also, it was always a point of debate what the “minor” and “major” orders were even in the old days. So, I confuse my confusion.

    Second, I like maniples, so let’s have lots of maniples. Seriously though, in a fairly specialized environment like a seminary or parish of the FSSP or the ICK, which are in a sense like hot houses or the proverbial “seed bed” (which is what “seminary” means, after all), I don’t see any harm in using maniples one way or another.

    Perhaps this is one of the things that the PCED will clarify someday. I hope, as a matter of fact, the PCED says “Viva il manipolo! Evviva!”

    I want to be able to see instituted acolytes or subdeacons or whatever they are with blue maniples when the Holy See finally approves blue vestments, too!

  42. PKTP: I wonder if this ‘idoneus’ term will mean mind-numbing Latin exams imposed by bishops (often Latin-subliterate bishops) now on deacons who want to assist at the old Mass as well. I suppose that we shall soon know. This was one of the dubia I submitted in August last./b>>

    I am fairly certain that this will be clarified in the Holy Father’s upcoming document on Summorum Pontificum. It really has to be, doesn’t it.

    Based on my knowledge of the people who would have done some of the preparatory work on this, I suspect the document will reflect a sound understanding of idoneus, that is, that it speaks to MINIMUM qualifications, not expertise. For example, as we know the canonist Card. Egan of NY, said that idoneus meant that the priest had to be able to pronounced the words properly. I think that is the basic direction this has to go even if it is not that easy.

    Perhaps you should spend your energies writing to the Congregation for Catholic Education about the obligation in Canon Law that seminarians should be very well trained in Latin, and ask when they will put out an instruction on that, or perhaps to the Council for Interpretation of Legislative Texts to see if we have to pay any attention to that canon at all. Perhaps someone should ask why John XXIII’s Apostolic Constitution about Latin studies is being ignored.

  43. Fr. Fox,

    The previous law was that deacons were extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. The current law is that they are ordianry ministers of Holy Communion. This holds for both forms of the Roman Rite given that it is a question of law (such as when one becomes a cleric in the Roman Church).