Saturday, May 04, 2002

Nota Bene
Sean Gallagher of Nota Bene fame emailed me with a couple of comments on my Diaconate post (below). First, he corrects my observation on the sacramental role: I said deacons can perform all the sacraments except the Eucharist and Reconciliation. I did not realize that Anointing of the Sick (does it still get called "Extreme Unction" anymore?) was also out of the power of deacons. He also notes that they don't ordain, which I did know, but didn't include because I was mentally thinking of the sacraments performed by ordinary priests, whom (I thought) couldn't ordain except in extraordinary circumstances, if at all. So much for the errors of fact.

The other point he raised is that I called deacons "Neither entirely lay people nor fully clerics." Canonically, this is untrue. Deacons are "fully clerics." But what I didn't make clear is that I was more speaking about the psychology of being a deacon, rather than the canonical condition. I don't believe that anyone who is married, with three kids, a mortgage, and a crummy job with an obnoxious atheist of a boss can be "fully" a cleric in some senses, mostly the ways in which one complains of "clericalism."

Sean, who has taught in diaconate formation programs, has promised to blog some on the diaconate, to which I eagerly look forward. As I said below, I think the diaconate is a vocation with huge potential for renewing the church in a traditional way, and if a blogland discussion can help that, then so much the better.

Keep those cards and letters coming.


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