24 January 2011

Diaconia (5) at Vatican II and later

The Diaconate did not feature particularly largely in the Decrees of Vatican II. A quick trawl has revealed to me only Lumen Gentium 29 & 41; Ad Gentes 16; Sacrosanctum Concilium 35. SC says that deacons can preside at Services of the Word, to which I can think of no objection. AG advises that those unordained laymen who are de facto fulfilling diaconal roles shoud be oradined deacons so that they can be "altari arctius coniungi", which I think implies rather nicely the essentially cultic nature of the diaconate. LG 41 gives no suggestion that deacons are philanthropically inclined; there is a hint of this in LG 29, where a sensible list of cultic activities is concluded by 'ministries of charity' (likewise, in AG the de facto deacons might have been charitably occupied). I am not concerned to argue that deacons should never have anything to do with any charitable exercises, so I don't strongly object; if it is true that here the idea of 'diaconate as service to the needy' is getting a bit of an objectionable foot in this door, well, I think this is satisfactorily outweighed by the essentially cultic job-description given for the diaconate, and by the repeated references to the performance of diaconal functions "in conjunction with the Bishop and Presbyterate". So Vatican II need cause no problems to those whose thought has been formed by the Tradition.

Neither does the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Paragraph 1569 very laudably draws upon the Tradition to remind us that the Deacon "speciatim annecti" to the Bishop, which is why only the Bishop (and not also the Presbyterium) lay hands on him. Even more satisfactorily, 1541 alludes to the Aaronic priesthood and the services of the Levites as prefiguring the ordained ministry of the New Testament, and the next two paragraphs appropriately quote the Prayers of Ordination in support of this; including a section (ancient and authentic) from the Prayer for the Diaconate.

I have discovered in these two major documents of the Magisterium of the last half-century no suggestion that the essence of Diaconate is found in service to the needy, or any determination to import S Stephen and the Seven into consideration of the Diaconate. Nothing in them contradicts the teaching of the old Roman Prayers of Ordination.

So, with no mandate from the Council to change the Church's teaching on Holy Order, what on earth were the post-Conciliar liturgical 'reformers' up to? How were they able to get away with corrupting the Roman Ordination Rites, and doing so contrary to both the oldest Roman Tradition and the consensus of 'modern New Testament Scholarship'?

A later post will suggest an over-view of the kidnapping of the conciliar decrees.


Albertus said...

''A later post will suggest an over-view of the kidnapping of the conciliar decrees.''
I can hardly wait for part VI of this scholarly detective search for the truth behind the transfiguration of the diaconate!

Flambeaux said...

I continue to be fascinated. Thank you, Father.

Tomas said...

I too am quite fascinated. Thank you, Father, for these reflections. Also, my bloglist lists a highly intriguing and tantalizing title for a post that has disappeared. Do know that I am greatly disappointed in being unable to read this post with such an intriguing title.