From a reader…
From my brief experience, it seems that most traditionalist parishes are not interested in the permanent diaconate. This seems odd to me, since permanent deacons would be readily available for Solemn Masses, and many parishes are not able to have solemn masses as frequently as they might like. Promoting the permanent diaconate would alleviate that problem. Why does there seem to be such apathy to well trained permanent deacons in traditionalist circles?
“Not interested… apathy…”.
I’ve heard downright hostility sometimes.
This both baffles me and it doesn’t puzzle me at all.
First, there is a problem with understanding that permanent deacons are not less deacons than transitional deacons. A man who is ordained to the diaconate is a deacon. Period. A deacon is a deacon is a deacon. Hence, they can take the role of DEACON in a Solemn Mass, as well as the role of Subdeacon.
Second, there is the problem of the formation and performance of permanent deacons. I have zero doubt… ZERO… that the men who offer themselves to be permanent deacons are good men, well-intentioned. Alas, over the last decades, many of them have not been given adequate formation. Some were given terrible formation, including a lot of confusion about the role of their wives, if they are married.
On the other hand, I have also known a few permanent deacons whom I would have made BISHOPS!
Third, with a few exceptions in my experience, permanent deacons seem to know very little about liturgy, and what they do know depends on the quality of formation they received… often deficient. There’s plenty of bad to go around in this matter since the priests with whom they are assigned generally know just about as much.
I am all for permanent deacons being involved in Traditional Liturgy. THEY ARE DEACONS. But there is a huge challenge on both sides of the altar rail.
For some people, their hesitancy or hostility toward permanent deacons seems to come from the fact that most permanent deacons are married. In the matter of continence for permanent deacons, I refer the readership to the thoughts of canonist Ed Peters, who has written about the matter.
Ideally, all men pursuing permanent diaconate should be well-schooled in the Church’s sacred worship. There should be as high an expectation for them to know their Roman Rite as there is for priests and bishops. Of course, there’s the rub, isn’t it?
If the Roman Rite is, at least juridically, in two forms, any cleric in the Roman Church who doesn’t know both forms is quite simply ignorant of his own Church’s sacred worship. That’s dreadful.