Friday, February 29, 2008

Dear Bishop Malone: Deacons are different from Priests, not "better"

Here is an idea we don't want to encourage:
A deacon is one who serves, listens with diaconal heart, and is able to do this better because he is married.
According to this local report, it comes from the homily of Bishop Michael Malone of Maitland-Newcastle given at the ordination of a permanent deacon.

It should be remembered that all priests are ordained deacons also (as are all bishops), and that the charism of marriage and the charism of celibacy are different gifts that are used to serve God and his people in different--not "better"--ways.

I very strongly doubt the good bishop's judgement that one is a better "listener" simply "because he is married". Maybe the bishop's own lack of personal experience of the state of marriage is showing through in his wishful thinking.


At Friday, February 29, 2008 10:38:00 am , Anonymous TJ said...

"Maybe the bishop's own lack of personal experience of the state of marriage is showing through in his wishful thinking."

Nice, Mr Schütz. Very nice!

At Friday, February 29, 2008 12:12:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

WHAT? Correcting a bishop? Are you more Catholic than a man in apostolic succession from the Apostles in communion with Christ's universal primate of the Church, the Bishop of Rome, the supreme guarantors of orthodoxy? Creating your own Catholicism?

Oh I forgot. That's how it's done.

At Friday, February 29, 2008 3:23:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

WHAT? Past Elder being facetious? Oh, I forgot. That's how he always is.

Dear Terry, you know perfectly well that the personal magisterium of bishops does not extend to spheres outside of faith and morals--especially not in the matter of whether being married makes one a "better listener". I don't think that was ever an article of faith.

Nor do I owe Bishop Malone personal submission except in so far as I am required to respect him as a prelate of the Church, which indeed I do.

Even if the pope himself made such a statement, I think I would question it, and be free to do so without any fear of being charged with insubordination.

You would benefit greatly, Terry, from learning how to make accurate distinctions in logical discourse, Terry.

But I forget. You weren't being serious. Just facetious.

At Friday, February 29, 2008 3:35:00 pm , Blogger Rob said...

"because he is married"

So, is the bishop saying that a deacon who is unmarried (and marriage is permitted, not REQUIRED for a deacon) would be less of a deacon?

I think you are right, the bishop should rethink this statement. Perhaps it was off-the-cuff, not part of his intended homily? (I hope so).

Thank God I am more Catholic than that bishop!

At Friday, February 29, 2008 3:55:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Oh hell yes.

Just having some fun. I mean, you're clearly in line with teaching of Scripture on permanent and transitional deacons.

Think I'd look good in a dalmatic?

Maybe I should have a Dalmatian instead of a Schnauzer.

Well, like the guys in the alumni skit at freshman orientation said back at the Abbey -- let 'em get married, then they'd learn what poverty, chastity and obedience are REALLY all about.

There's a real downside to being an elder -- you don't get any funny clothes to wear.

At Friday, February 29, 2008 4:16:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Personally, PE, I think you would look good in a confessional...

That was a joke too, by the way. Nuance is never easy on the web...

At Saturday, March 01, 2008 2:09:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had breakfast with my Lutheran sister over the weekend. As we always do we traded tidbits about what is happening in our respective church bodies and I asked her what's new at Grace Lutheran. She lamented that there was a possibility they were going to lose their current pastor of about a year or so.

I asked what happened. It seems that pastor's wife is not happy in the job she accepted when they moved to Northeast Ohio from Idaho and she has been making inquiries and has received a possible new career offer back west, so they may be moving back.

My sister's congregation went through a very unhappy period with the pastor prior to the current one. He eventually left. His pastorate was very divisive in the congregation and some long-time, faithful members left because of him.

My sister says she does not look forward to another prolonged search for a new pastor who will "fit".

Now, married deacons are in a different situation, I grant. But the idea that marriage in and of itself makes a deacon (or pastor) better able to minister than a celibate priest or bishop doesn't fly with me.

At Saturday, March 01, 2008 2:12:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a real downside to being an elder -- you don't get any funny clothes to wear.

Well, actually, I've seen Lutheran clergy vested as though they were ready to step right up to the High Altar and offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass -- oh, but wait, I forgot -- they don't do that.

At Saturday, March 01, 2008 2:13:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Make those two prior posts mine.

At Saturday, March 01, 2008 2:56:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Ah, c'mon Christine. Lutheran clergy does vest, but vest or black Genevas they don't offer the Holy Sarifice of the Mass indeed, and that, and not vestments, is the point. IOW, it's the mass, not the Roman "Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" imposed on it.

Besides, elders aren't clergy. For that matter, our deacons are usually fixing something or helping somebody rather than running around in funny clothes. Speaking of which, when you gonna have deaconesses -- no reason not to.

I was just getting a little worried about old Dave -- you know, carp about a comment about deacons here, an indulgence there, and before you know it you're nailing theses to the Melbourne Cathedral door. I'll write a character reference if you want for getting re-rostered.

You don't think Catholics get all steamed and/or leave a parish over some of the priests the bishop sends? Then again, maybe not any more -- in the parish where I grew up four priests was standard, now they're lucky to have a pastor and assistant. Renewal's working out real well.

Speaking of renewal, so how does it go: if Christ himself instituted a three-part ordained priesthood of bishop/priest/deacon was it a deeper understanding of deacon that led to its atrophy in the Western church to a last stepping stone to being a priest, or was it a doctrinal development of the same thing.

And what's this mediaeval confessional thing. There ain't no confessionals, we got rid of all that me-and-God hellfire and damnation stuff. It's reconciliation room now, even says so on the door. Gotta watch those lapses mate, or one of the black shirts from the Intergalactic Congregation for the Observance of Vatican II will be calling.

Curial congregations aren't "sacred" any more. Well, at least they got that one right.

At Saturday, March 01, 2008 4:11:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Speaking of which, when you gonna have deaconesses -- no reason not to.

Speaking of Deaconesses, I knew some very fine Deaconesses in the ELCA. They were very gifted women, much loved by their congregations. Wouldn't it be a hoot when you get to the pearly gates and the Lord says, now, Terry, about those deaconesses -- you kinda got it wrong on that one.

Didn't I read somewhere that the Orthodox are also looking into the issue of Deaconesses?

One of the most interesting articles I ever read during the whole civil rights movement was by Protestant clergy who praised the Catholic bishops for keeping Catholic parishes open in urban areas when many non-Catholic bodies had entered into "white flight".

And elders aren't clergy ?? Omigosh, I had NO idea !! Gulp !! How did I miss that in all my years of being Lutheran?

My point exactly was that for Lutheran clergy to adopt the Eucharistic vestments of a Catholic priest doesn't make sense.

At Saturday, March 01, 2008 8:36:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Triple Judas in a trireme.

Who's the one who brought up Lutheran clergy when I mentioned Lutheran elders don't have clerical attire?

God bless me. Ten times.

How did I come across as against deaconesses when chiding the RCC for not having them despite hauling the diaconite out of the seminary's dust bin where they hid it for centuries? WE got them and I'm all for them, for jumping up and down.

Bless us and save us, Mrs O'Davis.

As to vestments, personally, if I ran the "Lutheran Church" I'd get rid of all of them. Right after the idea that there's some sort of rite you have to do to please God, the idea that you have to get into some sort of special get-up to do it seems to be part of all Man's idea of religion, and our guys just look like one more of the world's ideas about that in their vestments. How dressing up in stylised versions of garb from the Roman Empire contributes anything to the liturgy is beyond me -- for which view I have been taken to task by my confessional brethren, including sisters, Kelly, if you're reading.

So I've backed down on that. Vestments are part of the church's culture and the Confessions do say we seek to retain the usual customs and ceremonies insofar as they are compatible with the Gospel. So perhaps it's fitting that we should retain the usual garb as we return to the real mass as opposed to the "Mass" as in Holy Sacrifice thereof. Credit Father Hollywood for that change. It all started when he mentioned going to the ice cream parlour after mass in a cassock with his wife and kid and having the locals say Hiya Fodda without batting an eyelash. I'd love to do that, then find someone batting an eyelash like Father's pretty open about having a little on the side, and say "Relax, we're Lutherans, the real catholics". From there it was a short step to a more exalted spiritual basis for retaining vestments and other clerical garb.

Still, a while back our host ran a picture of some goof in full episcopal garb sitting on his ruddy chair, and I though what a totally ridiculous picture this made, a man would have to be damn near certfiable to dress up like this in public rather than at home with the blinds drawn unless it's Halloween, Mardi Gras or a costume party.

You know, some of the worst listeners I know are married men, and if Nancy were still alive she might just say on any given day I might be one of them!

At Tuesday, March 04, 2008 2:12:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

As to vestments, personally, if I ran the "Lutheran Church" I'd get rid of all of them.

Ah, spoken like a true Calvinist!!

How dressing up in stylised versions of garb from the Roman Empire contributes anything to the liturgy is beyond me -- for which view I have been taken to task by my confessional brethren, including sisters, Kelly, if you're reading.

. . .

So I've backed down on that.

Heh, you found out that Lutherans LIKE vestments. Why am I not surprised. But we do have a lovely little Wisconsin Synod congregation a couple miles from home -- the Pastor wears some real spiffy suits!!

Please don't tell me your next idea will be an iconoclastic rampage, kicking out the art work et al.?

"Relax, we're Lutherans, the real catholics".

Uh huh.

At Tuesday, March 04, 2008 7:28:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Some Lutherans like vestments, some find them "Romanising" along with the word catholic, the sign of the cross and other things Luther commends in fact, some frankly don't notice enough to care one way or the other, and some think they will be off-putting to seeking souls for Christ.

Nothing Calvinistic about it. Luther himself wrote that at first the abominations of Rome severe as they are make one think of just throwing everything out and starting over, but in the end that does not serve what we are doing, which I said too.

Then again, sticking to what is actually said is not a strong point for those using Roman drugs, like the theological algebra in which this equals that, that equals the other, so this, that and the other are the same.

In my years in WELS I never once saw a pastor in a clerical collar, and for mass, another term that may get some reaching for their pills, a black Geneva robe was the choice for those more in tune with the Pietistic origins of the synod and alb and stole for those more in tune with Vatican II for Protestants infecting the brothels in imperfect union with the Great Whore.

Clothes don't make the man (generic). The "Roman collar" on the ELCA priestess a Catholic hospital sent to care for my Catholic dad made her neither a Catholic priest nor for that bloddy matter a Lutheran minister.

Which reminds me -- I missed Melissa Scott's show! Crap. Though I liked her late old man more, Gene.

At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 3:26:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see no reason for Rome to adopt "deaconesses," since it is pretty clear that that the "Church of Rome" never, ever had deaconesses (like the North African Church), and that in Gaul and Spain (like Egypt) they appear to have been a very late Fourth- or early Fifth-Century innovation.

On this subject, please see *Deaconesses: a Historical Study* by Aime-Georges Martimort (San Francisco, 1986, 1996: Ignatius Press), which wa soriginally published in French in 1982. It is incomparably the best and most historically-informed book on the subject (and so ignored and despised by those advocates of "women deacons," both Catholic and Orthodox alike).

William Tighe

At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 3:47:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, PE, I was being a little bit facetious calling you a "Calvinist" -- my tongue was firmly in my cheek!

It may surprise you to know that I do know a bit of what Luther wrote. My home library is still well stocked with Lutherana (some in the Kaiser's Deutsch).

Nor, as it were, does it much matter to the ELCA whether or not the LCMS recognizes women clergy.

I've seen the gamut in the Lutheran world from "high" vestments to the Geneva robe to suits.

Makes no difference to me how Lutherans choose to vest -- or not.

At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 3:48:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Me, of course.

At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 2:56:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well the Romans didn't have deacons either for hundreds of years except as a stepping stone, so what the heck. When was the unchanging church right -- when it had them, when it didn't, or now that it does again; which deeper understanding was right, which development true.

Rome is its own excuse for anything and everything. It's the only thing Rome really believes in, then idenitifies it with God, Christ, Scripture, whatever.

Where did I say a thing about ELCA opinions of our opinions on them? Great Zeus cloudgatherer, the point was about clerical costumes.

Speaking of the Kaiser, I have lost track of whether there are pretenders for either Kaiser, German or Austrian. In the Spanish speaking world, we have the king back in Spain in the most wonderful Juan Carlos, with Felipe and her most radiant excellency Letizia in the wings. I LOVED la boda real, which I watched on Univision -- although it reminded me that the last time I saw these places Franco was still there. And I LOVED the visit of Felipe to President Morales' inauguration. But I digress; maybe we'll be told to get some sleep here too.

Last I knew, Austrian royalty could not set foot into Austria.

At Thursday, March 06, 2008 2:04:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

The "Roman collar" on the ELCA priestess

It's your running sarcasm of everything in the ELCA (I have my concerns about the management, but I still know some very fine Lutheran Christians in that body).

As for the "Kaiser's Deutsch," leave it to you, Terry, to turn what is a very common cultural phrase into another historical dissertation.

Germans have a lot of "Kaiser" paradigms. That was one of them.

Nothing to do with Austria, Spain, or anything else.

At Thursday, March 06, 2008 3:46:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Where did I ever say there aren't some fine Lutheran Christians in the ELCA.

It may take rehab to get you off those Roman drugs.

Judas on a raft, even speaking "Stearns County Dutch" instead of the Kaiser's German I get the phrase, much like "the King's English" (well, Queen's at present) in English. I was just asking if there are any pretenders to either the German or Austrian throne, I've lost track. So are there?

Gott hilf mir. Read some Nietzsche (the only philosopher worth reading) and start dancing.

At Thursday, March 06, 2008 5:24:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

OK forbloodyget it. Wiki to the rescue.

Prince Georg Friedrich for the Hohenzollerns, Otto von Habsburg for them (having renounced any claim to the throne in 1961) -- still around, I remember him! -- we got the Borbons back in Spain, but God bless me ten times if I could quickly find anything about the Wittelsbachs beyond Rupert who died in 1955. Now those guys, Mad Louie in particular, sponsored two of the great influences in my life, the Abbey and Wagner (who for a time thought of locating the Festspielhaus in Minnesota), so I gotta know! Can we beat our swords into plowshares for a moment and help me out here, Christine?

Hey Lucian, any chance for King Michael (speaking of Hohenzollerns)?


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