Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Minor Proposal

I lurk over at Fisheaters every now and then. The poster there named "The Harlequin King" made a point the other day on a topic that has long been a cause of my own, namely, the restoration of the minor orders.


Used to, the steps to the priesthood looked like this:


Of course, only the deacon and priest remain. Paul VI abolished the others in 1972. I have asked lots of people about this, but nobody seems to know why he took that step. It seems like this would be a pretty valuable thing, especially in the days of a priest shortage. Give men these kinds of offices and responsibilities to fill. We see a lot of permanent deacons, and a lot of guys who left the seminary. There is still a role for them to fill. Why not put them in a position to do it?

And maybe, just maybe, a return to this older model of preparation for Holy Orders would lend itself to more and better priests.

What say you, dear reader?

4 comments:

Mark of the Vineyard said...

I noticed Easterners make better use of the "minor orders" than we Latins do.

One thing I don't get though is why certain traditionalists don't seem to like married permanent deacons.

Deacon David said...

The story I have heard is that, by the '60s and clearly contrary to their intended use, these offices only existed in seminaries. Actual parishes didn't have the service of any of the minor orders. And even in the seminaries, those who held the offices of the minor orders never (or at least rarely) actually exercised them, since priests would more or less always fill those roles. If that's true, that's a pretty bleak indication of the extent of erosion of the Church's life that had already taken place, even before the Council. (I blame the Enlightenment, by the way.)

In general, I agree that some form of minor orders could and should be reintroduced, in such a way that they actually serve the life of the Church in parish and diocese. If they were reintroduced and remained a dead letter, that would be bad.

Anonymous said...

QUOTE: "One thing I don't get though is why certain traditionalists don't seem to like married permanent deacons."

Leftover Manichaeism, which infers that any sexual expression is incompatible with holiness.

Alexander said...

Leftover Manichaeism, which infers that any sexual expression is incompatible with holiness.

Strawman. The state of celibacy is higher than a state of marriage not that marriage is incompatible with holiness.