From a reader…
Father, I know priests are allowed to vest for Mass (chasuble, stole, etc.) together and concelebrate. It’s not a good thing, but it makes theological sense because many priests can consecrate one host as St. Thomas Aquinas says.
However, at an ordination and chrism Mass (OF), all of the Diocesan deacons vest. Why are they vested? Is there some theology behind this, a concelebration of deacons of sort, or is it a bunch of liturgical hodgepodge?
Without getting into the question of concelebration (which I think should be safe, legal and rare), deacons are deacons and deacons have their proper vestment, which is the dalmatic.
What’s with the vestimentary and liturgical stinginess when it comes to deacons? Deacons are clerics, but NO! they can’t wear clerical clothing unless its gray or in some other way altered. Deacons are liturgical ministers, ordained for service at the altar, but NO! they can’t put on their proper vestments.
This is absurd. Deacons should be able to wear the dalmatic when serving at the altar.
Consider this outside of the context of concelebration. In the traditional way of doing things, when there is a procession, as for example in the case of the upcoming Corpus Christi, priests and deacons would wear, respectively, their chasuble and dalmatics over their choir dress. You put on an amice and you put on the chasuble or dalmatic and off you go!
Let’s not be pusillanimous when it comes to our deacons.
As far as deacons at a concelebration are concerned, if they don’t have specific liturgical roles as sacred ministers, then in the Roman way of doing things they should – just as priests or bishops would – attend in their proper choir dress, which is cassock and surplice with biretta. They would need a stole (worn in the manner of a deacon) if they are going to receive Holy Communion. Priests and deacons don’t wear their stoles if they are in choir, unless they are going to have something to do with the Blessed Sacrament (e.g., receive or distribute or translate). This is not to pick on deacons, of course. As I wrote, that would apply to priests and bishops as well: proper choir dress.
We must bring back these distinctions of roles as sacred ministers in the liturgical action and as otherwise “full, conscious and active” participants in the action. Both modes of participation have their proper place in the sanctuary and their proper garb.