QUAERITUR: permanent deacons taking role away from priests

From a reader:

I’ve noticed recently that permanent deacons seem to be taking over the roles of priests during Mass with anything and everything they are permitted to do, even what should normally be done by priests when one is available (ie, giving the homily, Holy Thursday foot washing, reading the parts of Jesus on Good Friday, giving the blessing at the end of Mass, etc).

This has me concerned because it’s beginning to appear as though the deacon is the main celebrant at Mass, and the priest is “just there to do the consecration.”

Furthermore, because every permanent deacon I’ve ever known is married, I find myself (epically failing at) defending the celibate priesthood to people who think deacons are the equivalent to priests. I’ve actually been told quite recently by a family member the parish deacon “is better than the priest because he is married, has children, and keeps the congregation entertained during the homily with his guitar.” (YouTube example of one of his songs during the homily from his prior parish.)

This makes me fear that priests are going to get further pushed off to the side during Mass, while the deacon takes over until the consecration. Seeing how many people don’t know why they come to Mass, I worry Mass is going to further disintegrate into something worse, and priests are going to be even less respected.

What role are permanent deacons supposed to have within the Church, and how do we get the priest back as the main celebrant?

The roles of deacons during Mass are in many respects described in the GIRM for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  They in every way described in the older, Extraordinary Form.

I think I will let well-informed readers chime in on this, including any permanent deacons out there who care to comment and clarify.

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46 Responses to QUAERITUR: permanent deacons taking role away from priests

  1. Melody says:

    I think this stems from the obsession with involvement from the laity. In my experience this is particularly frequent when the Celebrant is aging and infirm, and ends up just sitting there through the whole mass until the Consecration prayers. That is, they take advantage of his ill health to reduce him to a completely passive role. It makes me angry to see a beloved older priest treated like nothing more than a machine to consecrate hosts.

  2. Frank H says:

    A couple of years ago, a young couple we know told our daughter that they were getting married and that Deacon X was saying the Mass. Knowing that a deacon could officiate at a wedding, our daughter thought they had mis-spoken. Further conversation revealed that this young couple, each with twelve or more years of Catholic education, actually thought the deacon could celebrate Mass.

    How poorly our Catholic schools (and many parents) have performed !

    Fortunately, our parish makes good use of the deacon. As far as I have seen, at Holy Mass he performs exactly what the rubrics indicate for a deacon, and complements the priest’s celebration quite nicely.

  3. Paul says:

    I’ve noticed this trend, too. I was taken aback when a RCIA student recently asked me, “Why doesn’t the Church just consecrated hosts and mail them to the parishes. That way, every parish wouldn’t need a priest.” I was able to help her understand the correct role of the priest, but the fact that someone raised in the Church (she is here to complete her sacraments) would ask that, shocked me.

    While we do not yet have a guitar playing deacon, we do have one who regularly sings country Western songs and tells somewhat off color jokes during his sermons.

  4. APX says:

    @Melody

    I’ve seen plenty of younger (40ish y/o) priest sit on the sidelines while the deacon takes over the Mass.

    The problem I see is that when the laity see a married deacon performing the majority of the priest’s functions, they begin to wonder why a priest can’t be married and do the same thing. I think it creates confusion among the ill-catechized laity.

  5. This is truly an unfortunate situation, as it not only denigrates the ministry of the priest but also the ministry of the deacons. As a man who is in formation for the permanent diaconate, it has been drilled into me from the start of my formation that we are not to think of ourselves as ‘mini-priests.’ There is a unique grace and charism associated with the diaconate, and the argument at the Second Vatican Council for allowing its restoration involved the recognition that the Church was possibly depriving itself of available graces because this ministry had fallen out of use as a stable part of parish life.

    There are certainly legitimate roles for the deacon in the liturgy — proclaiming the Gospel, ministering the chalice, dismissing the congregation, etc. Even *occasional* preaching for those who are granted the faculties to do so can be a good thing (we have a ‘deacon sunday’ at our parish every month where the deacons give our priests a well-earned rest from preparing Sunday homilies). However, the deacon is not called to be at the center of the parish — he exercises his unique charism when he is focused on ministering in the bishop’s name (and on the pastor’s behalf) to those on the margins of parish life: the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the uncatechised. Of course the priests (and the bishop for that matter) were all deacons first and have that same calling — however a permanent deacon is able to extend the reach of the Church into areas where the bishop and pastor simply don’t have the opportunity to go because of the demands of their priestly duties.

    So, I will pray that your deacons start letting the priest be priests and get themselves into the highways and by-ways to call more people into the Lord’s banquet instead.

  6. Ben Yanke says:

    The things that the deacon does: aren’t they proper to the deacon, and when the priest does it, isn’t he just doing the “deacon’s jobs”?

  7. Titus says:

    Well, the deacon is ordained to perform liturgical functions: there was an extensive discussion here (or maybe at the New Liturgical Movement—probably at NLM) sometime back about the heavily liturgical nature of the diaconate. There are numerous things the deacon (and a permanent deacon is still a deacon, even if he is, well, a somewhat puzzling deacon) is supposed to do during the Mass.

    For instance, the deacon is supposed to say the ite missa est at the end of Mass: a part that often sort of runs together with the “final blessing.” The deacon may give the homily—with some priests you want the deacon giving the homily. He traditionally was directed to read the Epistle. I don’t recall if there is a rubric about who may read the role of Christ when the passion is read.

    The part about the guitar and the deacon being “better”: well, that’s clearly not right. But some of these are things that are entirely appropriate to deacons.

  8. Stephen says:

    Lately I’ve seen the deacon at my home parish preach sermons less than he has ever before.

  9. Random Friar says:

    The GIRM states:

    66. The Homily should ordinarily be given by the priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to the deacon, but never to a lay person.

    The only situation I can imagine a deacon “regularly” substituting for the priest would be if the priest himself was too inform to perform those duties.

    As to the Washing of the Feet, from the Sacramentary for Mass of the Lord’s Supper:
    “The men (viri) who have been chosen are led by the ministers to chairs… Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man.”

  10. Melody says:

    @APX Yes indeed that is true. I was a bit distracted, reminded of abuses that had me personally fuming in anger. Three priests I care about have been completely sidelined in this way.

  11. Arieh says:

    At a Traditional Latin Mass or a Byzantine Divine Liturgy the role of the deacon is clearly spelled out and I think actually adds to the solemnity of the mass as well as elevating the role of the priest. At every NO mass I have been to with a deacon he just seems to wander about the sanctuary carrying things.

  12. priests wife says:

    Ben- I think you are correct!

  13. Choirmaster says:

    Unless I am way off-base here, the things described above (Gospel, Homily, and Dismissal) are permitted to the Deacon of the Mass. Indeed, I was also under the impression that the Deacon was preferred to read/chant the Gospel (and give the invitation to the Kiss of Peace and the Ite Missa Est) in cases where he is available.

    This is not to say I haven’t seen deacons wearing chasubles and, as Arieh observed, wandering around the sanctuary.

    I have had the opposite impression, though, when attending a N.O. with a deacon. It always seemed to me that neither the priest-celebrant nor the deacon had any clear idea why the deacon was there or what he should be doing, which, in my experienced, meant that the deacon wasn’t doing much at all.

    I would also like to give a hat-tip to one of the big-name catholic publishers for releasing a “Diaconale” of chants proper to the deacon at Mass.

  14. Ben Yanke says:

    @ RandomFriar:

    Another reason I see around here frequently is the deacon preaching because of a language barrier of the priest. In the case I’m thinking of, the priest knows english, and celebrates Mass worthily in english, but I think it’s too much to try and prepare and preach a homily in english. So the deacon does.

  15. Ben Yanke says:

    @priests wife

    It even says in the missal many places: The deacon, or the priest, says XYZ. The assumption is that the deacon is doing the action, or the priest does it, since there is no deacon. But the point is that the things that the deacon does are the proper role of the deacon.

  16. Tom Ryan says:

    Been discussed in LMM

    http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/articles/articles_emasculation.html

    Also, can we stop referring to these men as “Deacon Smith”? This isn’t the Abyssinian Baptist Church.
    Reverend Mister sounds better considering they’re actually clergy unlike the highest ranking of protestant ministers.

  17. Scott W. says:

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to stir up the hornets nest again and mention that there is still a giant matzo ball hanging there that needs to be delt with and that is canonist Ed Peter’s solid case that even married deacons have to practice continence. It needs resolution frankly because if it is resolved by the Church toward Ed’s view, then watch permanent married deacons become substantially reduced.

  18. JonM says:

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to stir up the hornets nest again and mention that there is still a giant matzo ball hanging there that needs to be delt with and that is canonist Ed Peter’s solid case that even married deacons have to practice continence. It needs resolution frankly because if it is resolved by the Church toward Ed’s view, then watch permanent married deacons become substantially reduced.

    I endorse such nest stirring.

  19. DcnDoug says:

    I certainly agree with Jason that what was described in the original post and by a few of the other participants is unfortunate and denigrates both the role of the priest and the deacon. The GIRM clearly spells out the role of the deacon at Mass and it is NOT to draw attention to himself or take anything away from the role of the priest. A deacon is a servant. His role is to serve the priest, the altar (at least the actions of the priest at the altar) and the people.
    I oversee the formation of the Permanent Deacons in our diocese. I can testify to the fact that the formation of deacons is very inconsistent from diocese to diocese and is often very poorly done. If a deacon is washing the feet during the Holy Thursday Liturgy, he has been badly formed (so has the priest who allows this). If a deacon is “wandering around the sanctuary”, he has been badly formed.
    A deacon should do what is outlined in the GIRM for him to do. He has a legitimate role in the Mass staring with the penitential rite (leading the Kyrie for form A or the trophes for form C), in the proclamation of the Gospel, in giving the homily “occasionally” at the direction of the Celebrant, leading the general intercessions, preparing the Altar, mingling the water into the wine before the consecration, raising the chalice at the doxology, extending the invitation to share the sign of peace, administering communion to the faithful (especially the chalice if used) as an ordinary minister, purifying the vessels, and giving the dismissal. The deacon should also assist with incense when it is used (far too infrequently in my book). The deacon should kneel from the epiclesis to the showing of the chalice immediately following the consecration. He also should NOT be doing any of the gestures of the priest such as the orans position (hands open and extended), or bowing/genuflecting/sign of the cross (Euch. prayer #1), etc. Especially, no holding hands during the Our Father.
    A deacon who knows the rubrics and serves the Ordinary Form well adds to the solemnity and beauty of the liturgy. One who is poorly formed and does not serve well is a distraction. The problem is not with the existence of Permanent Deacons in the Latin Rite, it is with the formation of these men AND the terrible catechesis for the faithful on the part of both priests and deacons.
    BTW, the Chiormaster has probably never seen a deacon in a chausable but in a dalmatic, the normal vesture for a deacon at Mass. If a deacon is wearing a chausable, he was very, very poorly formed. The basic difference between the two is that a dalmatic has sleeves while a chausable does not.

  20. SimonDodd says:

    Isn’t the the link provided the elephant in the room here? There’s value to permanent deacons, but what a horrible mess this particular deacon is—playing guitar during the Mass at all is bad enough, but from the pulpit? During what’s supposed to be the homily? Yeesh.

  21. digdigby says:

    I have experienced the Argentine Tango performed with considerably more reverence and dignity. My idea of a better deacon:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stWn45DiE7c

  22. DWB says:

    Ben Yanke,
    We have the opposite language problem. Our pastor is able to celebrate the Mass in Spanish but does not speak Spanish well enough to prepare and deliver a homily in Spanish. We are fortunate to have a Spanish speaking deacon.

  23. edm says:

    A deacon COULD wear a folded chasuble, though. Maybe that is what was seen.

  24. APX says:

    this particular deacon is—playing guitar during the Mass at all is bad enough, but from the pulpit? During what’s supposed to be the homily? Yeesh.

    Ironically enough, his homily is on Catholic Identity and tradition.

    About deacons wearing chasubles, i’ve once walked into a parish and completely mistook the deacon for the priest because he was fully dressed in a chasuble and a black clerical collar.

  25. Hank_F_M says:

    I think the bigger problem is that the Deacon was a member of the Parrish for years, before being ordained and is likely to die or retire as a Deacon at that parrish. he knows where everthing is, he knows everyone. The priest pastor comes in for a ssix year (extenable) term. It depends a lot on personalalaties, but it seems that in many places the pastor is a figure head.

    Restoring the Deaconate is good idea but how it was done it needs rethinting.

  26. priests wife says:

    the ‘hornets’ nest’ of perfect continence- do you, JonM, mention this because you wish the whole married clergy problem would go away? Why not instead, clarify and enforce the liturgical rubrics ie. the deacon instead of just wishing away an entire group of clergy (those married deacons who might do more than hold hands with their lawful wives)

    I have to smile about the whole- is he a priest or isn’t he because you happen to see a man in a cleric collar— just ASK! We strange Byzantine types- deacons are called Fr Deacon and men who are simple monks are called just Father!

  27. biberin says:

    Well, I must be part of the enviable minority, then–we have a fantastic deacon who spends a great deal of time visiting the sick and serving the parish in concrete ways (with his wife!). He serves at every weekday Mass and two of four weekend Masses. His presence adds a great deal of solemnity and dignity to our OF Masses, and his preaching is a real treat.

  28. Daniel Latinus says:

    Some of this talk of priests being “sidelined” by deacons bothers me. The problem all too often is not that a priest is being “sidelined,” but that too many priests are too willing to shirk their responsibilities, and let others do their jobs. Until there is some soul searching on this matter by priests and bishops, the improper use of deacons, and the plague of lay Eucharistic ministers is not going to go away. (Please remember, those ordinary “extraordinary ministers of the Holy Eucharist are not only giving Communion at Mass; a lot of them are bringing Communion to the sick and homebound.)

    Obviously, my comments don’t apply to priests who really are infirm, or really are overwhelmed with responsibilities. But I’ve run across a number of instances where priests seem to have their own agendas, and neglect the work for which they were ordained.

    And then you run into the parish that held a lunch hour Ash Wednesday service. A deacon presided at the ceremony; a priest sat in one minister’s chairs (as did the Eucharistic ministers, assisting in the distribution of ashes). I could understand Father allowing the deacon to preach; to to preside when a priest is available for what is a priestly function is just wrong. (I have reason to believe that the priest in this incident was not infirm or otherwise impaired.)

  29. James Joseph says:

    The permanant diaconite won’t mean beans without a more well-established sub-diaconite (i.e. an army of formally instituted men)

  30. Dafyd says:

    A few points:

    1) In the early church, say, around AD 350 forward, we have stats on the amount of clergy in the city of Rome. There’s the Bishop of Rome, a handful of priests in the individual chapels of the city, more deacons, more subdeacons, and so on down to the porters at the door. In a thriving parish, you’d expect to see more deacons than priests. You’d also expect adult converts to be catechized for three years prior to baptism, chrismation, and laying on of hands by the bishop.

    2) At a Solemn Mass like you’d expect to find detailed in Fortescue or, as an Anglican, Ritual Notes, it’s very clear that the celebrant has a much reduced role. He’ll pray the collects and most of the Ordinary, but the rest of the Propers are handled by choir, deacon, and subdeacon, possibly including the sermon. Deacons are tasked, after all, to preach and to read the Gospel, and so this is hardly unusual.

    3) Frankly, the current translation of the Novus Ordo, especially compared to the Ordo, is so watered down, there isn’t that much for the celebrant to do. It’s a very short canon, and with many priests’ tendency to blaze through it in rapid pace rather than savoring it, what is already thin fare appears even shorter.

    Realistic solutions, I should think, are a) slow down. This is the sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. Let it sink in. Savor it. b) Catechise, catechise, catechise. How many people can point out a priest, deacon, and subdeacon just by the vestments? How many know what these do? How many have even seen a subdeacon?

  31. APX says:

    @Dafyd

    Does the NO even have subdeacons?

  32. dcs says:

    The basic difference between the two is that a dalmatic has sleeves while a chausable does not.

    I think it is sometimes hard to tell whether a vestment has sleeves — modern vestments tend to be so voluminous that sleeves are hard to distinguish. Nevertheless, a dalmatic can often be distinguished from a chasuble by the pattern of the orphreys.

  33. everett says:

    The NO does not have subdeacons because the subdiaconate was suppressed.

  34. SimonDodd says:

    APX, Everett,
    Isn’t that simply a matter of terminology not substance? Ministeria Quaedam says that the ministries to which the functions of the subdiaconate were transferred could be called the subdiaconate (at the bishops’ conference’s discretion), and those functions do exist in the NO, so one could argue that the NO has subdiaconal functions performed by persons who can be called subdeacons, even if we would usually refer to them as instituted acolytes and readers. A rose by any other name…

  35. everett says:

    The primary difference that I’d think is that the subdiocanal orders were just that, orders on the path of holy orders, while the office of acolyte and lector do not require that path. On the other hand, pretty much the only acolytes and lectors in the US that I’m aware of are seminarians, priests, or former seminarians. To be honest, it’d probably be a good issue to get further clarification regarding. As 20-something Catholic, I know very little about the theology of the subdiaconate prior to its suppression.

  36. ajbasso says:

    @APX, while the order of the subdiaconate was suppressed following Vatican II, when a formally instituted acolyte & lector functions as such, it is appropriate to refer to him as a subdeacon. The question I have is would a “subdeacon” in such circumstances wear the maniple and tunicle? I had a priest tell me there was no reason he couldn’t except that the perm. deacons would have a fit.

    Also, in terms of wearing the roman collar, i believe that is the appropriate attire for a deacon, particularly when functioning in his ministry (though I would think it would be covered by an amice when vested.)

  37. APX says:

    @Ajbasso

    Also, in terms of wearing the roman collar, i believe that is the appropriate attire for a deacon,

    It wasn’t so much the collar, as it was the color. Around here priests wear black (if they do wear one) and the deacons wear gray collars.

  38. BLB Oregon says:

    We have an extremely good deacon, and he not only makes the distinction between priest and deacon clear, but also the distinction between clergy and laity. You will not find a more staunch advocate of a celibate priesthood than this deacon and his wife. The truth is, when he says, “I have been ordained, I have been married, and trust me, a priest and especially a pastor ought to have no responsibilities save to his flock,” it carries extra weight. He also carries the advantage of having been a “late vocation” compared to the priests who went to seminary as young men. Again, he can vouch that he’s been in the business world, and that the priest knows what he’s talking about, thank you very much. On top of this, he keeps St. Stephen’s example, and devotes as much of his work hours as he can to the poor.

    Our deacons also do many things that a layperson would be doing, if there were no deacons around, because the priests have only so many hours in a day. With two clergymen in our parish, for instance, the training of all the altar servers, extraordinary ministers, lectors, and so on can be overseen by at least one of them. We don’t have enough priests to do that.

    I have heard from deacons in other situations that some of the priests do let the deacon do anything the law allows. I would not go so far as to say they are lazy, though, as the priests are all spread so thinly in our archdiocese. The priests don’t normally retire until 70, years after their biological brothers and sisters are finished working, and some heroically carry on as pastors even after that. I know of at least one who regularly said Sunday Mass at a remote parish until he literally did not have the legs to stand through the whole thing. Would they do more if there were no deacons? Perhaps, but there are also some could not carry on their work for as long as they do, without that help.

    I think that these questions have a great deal to do with formation of the permanent deacons, just as it does with the priests, and with the leadership coming from the bishop. Do we have deacons giving a decent fraction of the homilies? Yes, but the practice of letting the laity do it is finally becoming rare, and I would say the priests give the homily over 3/4 of the time, unless they are beyond the retirement age.

  39. Fr. Basil says:

    \\reading the parts of Jesus on Good Friday,\\

    Nothing new about this.

    Acccording to the full rubrics for the EF, the Passion was chanted in dialogue by three separate deacons who were NOT one of the “deacons of the mass”. I believe that the revised rubrics at the time of Ven. Pius XII allowed the Priest and Deacon of the Mass and one other deacon to chant the Passion in dialogue.

    \\I find myself (epically failing at) defending the celibate priesthood to people who think deacons are the equivalent to priests.\\

    Not all Catholic priest are or have ever been celibate. I know several–both Eastern and Latin–who are married and live in my city.

    However, the confusion of deacons and priests in the minds of many is not the deacons’ fault.

    ||The basic difference between the two is that a dalmatic has sleeves while a chausable does not.||

    Someone on another blog described a dalmatic as “a chasuble with sleeves.” This is incorrect, as they are entirely separate vestments with different origins.

  40. I think several commentators have pointed out that the role of the deacon is fairly well made clear in the GIRM – he has many parts to play, and it is a shame when the deacon does things reserved for the priest, or the priest (or layperson) do things which should be done by a deacon (most obviously, the prayers of intercession).

    I thought it was really nice this year when a sub-deacon chanted the Epistle at the Pope’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper – of course, it was an Eastern Rite Sub-Deacon (since they did not suppress the minor orders). Sadly, in the west we have something called a “Candidate”, which is a seminarian in his last year of formation. Why not just call it a sub-deacon, and return him to his liturgical role? But I digress.

    I think a more important issue when talking about deacons taking on the tasks of priests is outside of the sanctuary. For an order that came into being because the Apostles did not want to “wait table”, it seems many priests delegate important pastoral tasks to deacons in order to free up time for the priest to attend more meetings. Many parishes regularly assign baptisms to deacons, marriages to deacons, funerals to deacons, etc. etc. etc. But the priest is definitely at the planning meeting for the installation of the new bathroom in the parish rec centre! Although deacons should have a proper theological grounding, shouldn’t we be ordaining men with MBAs, Law Degrees, Accounting Degrees, Social Work Degrees, etc, into the diaconate, and let them do some of the managerial tasks taking up so much of the time of our priests?

    Perhaps if we had a clearer idea of the Diaconal vocation outside of the sanctuarly, the role inside the sanctuary would come more naturally.

    As a final aside, Ed Peter’s view on “continence” among married clergy is Ed Peter’s view, and held by no other canonist of any reputation. If you read Pope John Paul II’s messages to permanent deacons, you realize he is not assuming them to be not having sex. No one in any of the Pontifical faculties of Rome even think this is an issue – let alone in any Vatican dicastery. Really, people, just because he wrote an article does not mean the Church must “answer” him. As I mentioned in an earlier rant, why is it we are so keen on Scripture being read “with the mind of the Church”, and complain that our Protestant friends err in their belief of Sola Scriptura, but because one canonist found a canon which read by itself (and ignoring the plain meaning of words in other canons), scream “But, But, But Canon Law says!!!” When, a) no, it really doesn’t, and 2) but even if it did, it is not what it really means, since it is not what the legislator means (the mind of the legislator being of paramount importance in canon law). The legislator was Pope John Paul II, and he obviously thought married clerics in the West could have sex.

  41. We have an excellent deacon who performs his permitted parts of the Mass very well. He is allowed to preach monthly. He is our best homilist and I am glad we have him. Oh, and he’s single, never married.

  42. Dr. Eric says:

    Permanent Deacons no more take away roles from priests than the wymmynpriests do. If the Deacon is properly performing his role, he enhances the Liturgy.

    Mary/Joe Twelvepack Catholic needs to be better catechized on the role of the Deacon in the Church. We could all use better catechesis.

  43. steve51b31 says:

    I have noted in our Diocese that the priests have probably discussed these issues among themselves.
    While our director of the Diaconate insists that we deacons wear the dalmatic, our priests seem to prefer us to wear the alb and stole only. We may not hold a “Communion Outside of Mass” service without permission from the Chancery at each instance. We do not wear “clerical dress” without permission, (usually reserved for access to prisions, where the wardens are difficult). and so it goes. As one poster stated before, it is embarassing to be called “Father”, and we try to gently and quietly correct them, ” No, It is just Deacon”.
    I have found that if we deacons follow the GIRM and defer to our Priests, when present at all times, then we have few problems.

    As a Priest acquaintence, (who I hope to claim as “friend”), frequently states, ” We do not have a crisis in vocations to the Priesthood; We have a crisis in formed and faith filled families”.
    Amen…

  44. BLB Oregon says:

    The truth is, we know from Acts that the bishops needed deacons before they needed priests, to direct the work of serving the poor. There is a great deal of M-F work in a parish, including seeing to the needs of the poor, that we wish the priests could have a hand in, but they have too much to do. That is work that is truly suffering due to our shortage of priests. Attending to the load of it leaves the priests with insufficient time to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word or else leaves the practical work of the parish entirely up to the laity. If the Apostles thought the work of “serving at table” in this way was a job that called for clergy, that is something well worth considering, as well.

  45. A place for everything, and everything in its place. To fix the problem of the confusion of roles and the usurpation of duties all that needs to happen is that the faithful should be suddenly smitted with zeal for the Beatitudes. The sick will be tended, the poor fed and clothed, and the lonely comforted. The deacons will serve their priests well and appropriately without burn out. The priests will be freed up to do their job rather than shirk it. The women who want to be priests will get over it, and realize that God loves women even if they aren’t priests. The men who want to be priests but were not called will get over it, recognizing that they can be men of God wherever life has led them. The priests–very few in number regardless of weirdo homilies–who are lazy will ‘man up’. And, all over the earth, the kingdom of God will reign. The fix begins with each individual Catholic ‘manning up’ to the awesome responsibility of being a Christian. Who cares about chausables!! There’s more important stuff to be concerned with. Thank God for our deacons, wise and foolish! Now, let’s get on with it.

  46. canon1753 says:

    The basic difference between the two is that a dalmatic has sleeves while a chausable does not.

    I think it is sometimes hard to tell whether a vestment has sleeves — modern vestments tend to be so voluminous that sleeves are hard to distinguish. Nevertheless, a dalmatic can often be distinguished from a chasuble by the pattern of the orphreys.

    Interestingly, at Seminary, I once wore a “fiddleback” dalmatic where the sleeves were basically fabric points on the shoulders and the sides wrapped around the centerline of the vestment, but it still was a kind of clamshell shape, with the sides tied together, not a seamless garment. Best fitting Dalmatic and coolest Dalmatic ever!!!