Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
October 24, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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October 24, 1998

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000 Advancing the Ministry of Christ- p M Donald restores permanent diaconate Deacon John Duke and Yvonne Lerner, OSB enewal of the permanent diaconate is among the legacies of Vatican II. The Service of deacons in the i Church is documented from times. A strong tradi- attested by St. Irenaeus and influencing the liturgy of sees the origin of diaconate in the institution the "seven" mentioned in the of the Apostles (6:1-6). Thus, at the initial grade of Sacred hierarchy are deacons, Vhose ministry has always been esteemed in the Church. 3Ctober 24. 1998 St. Paul refers to the deacons and bishops in his Epistle to the Philippians (Phil 1:1) and also to Timothy (1 Tim 3:8-13). He lists the qualities and virtues they should possess. St. Ignatius of Antioch considers a Church without bishop, priest or deacon unthinkable. He underlines that the ministry of deacon is noth- ing other than "the ministry of Jesus Christ:' Up to the fifth century the diaconate flourished in the Church. But after this period it experienced, for various rea- i sons, a slow decline which ended in its surviving only as an intermediate stage for candi- dates preparing for the priest- hood. The Council of Trent dis- posed that the permanent dia- conate be restored as it existed in ancient times; however, it was not carried into effect. The fathers of the Second Vatican Council formulated an important principle for renewal, which is applicable to the redis- covery of the unique mission, identity and ministry of the restored permanent diaconate. This principle of renewal was consistently and progressively developed by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. During years following con- clusion of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI imple- mented a proposal restoration of the diaconate. The council left restoration of the diaconate to deliberations of individual epis- copal conferences and in the spring of 1968, the bishops of the United States petitioned the Holy See for permission to restore the diaconate in our country. The service of deacons in the Church is documented from apos- tolic times. 57