Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem 11-13: Older and/or Married Men

The folllowing principles are mostly well-founded, but the wording seems a touch curious. The wife of a prospective deacon is part of the equation:

11. Older men, whether single or married, can be called to the diaconate. The latter, however, are not to be admitted unless there is certainty not only about the wife’s consent but also about her blameless Christian life and those qualities which will neither impede nor bring dishonor on the husband’s ministry.

These requirements for “older” deacons strike me as useful across the board for any entrant into Holy Orders:

12. The older age in this case is reached at the completion of the thirty-fifth year. Nevertheless, the age requirement is to be understood in this sense, namely, that no one can be called to the diaconate unless he has gained the high regard of the clergy and the faithful by a long example of truly Christian life, by his unexceptionable conduct, and by his ready disposition to be of service.

It’s hard not to note the bar is set higher for permanent deacons than for seminarians. I know I’ve harped on careerism in the episcopacy as a theme on this web site, but it could easily be applied to some clergy as well. Do we do the Church a service by ordaining clergy in their twenties, before individuals have had the opportunity to demonstrate a “long example,” good conduct, and “ready disposition” contributing to that “high regard.”

I understand what the pope meant by “ruling,” but there it is:

13. In the case of married men care must be taken that only those are promoted to the diaconate who while living many years in matrimony have shown that they are ruling well their own household and who have a wife and children leading a truly Christian life and noted for their good reputation.[Cf. 1 Tim. 3:10-12.]

I know wives are scrutinized, but how much are children of older candidates scrutinized by dioceses?

The diaconate posts have been lightly commented upon; any thought on this or anything in the motu proprio so far?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Ministry, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem. Bookmark the permalink.

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