Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 04 December |

From the BBC: 'Permanent deacons - a solution to the priest shortage?'

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/13/17

Most of us know the answer to the question in the headline is “No.” But permanent deacons are still a relatively new phenomenon in Ireland, which is evidently what prompted this piece from the BBC:

While the Catholic Church in Ireland tries to address a shortage of priests there has been a concerted move to re-introduce an ancient ministry – that of permanent deacons.

One hundred men, many of them married, have been ordained to serve the community and assist priests in parishes across Ireland. The Vatican has set up a commission to consider women serving in that role and the history of women deacons in the Church, signalling an openness to ending the practice of all-male clergy. The Reverend Malachy McElmeel was ordained as a permanent deacon three years ago. He is married and has nine children. As a permanent deacon he can perform baptisms, marriages and funerals, in the same way a priest, but cannot celebrate the Eucharist or hear confession. Speaking to BBC News NI Reverend McElmeel said being a priest was not for him, but felt a calling to ministry as a permanent deacon. “I am a married man, I have a lovely family, and being a priest was never on my scale,” he said. The Armagh man also has a business involved in adapting cars for people with disabilities. He preaches sermons, assists the priests at Mass, and is involved in pastoral work in the parish of the Holy Family in Coalisland, County Tyrone. Father Paul Byrne says the ministry of permanent deacons is not a response to the shortage of priests. He says the role is independent of the work of the priest, but acknowledged that by carrying out functions at baptisms and weddings, the permanent deacon has “freed-up” his time and he can focus on taking a more active role in other areas.

Read more. The piece is expected to air today. I’ll see if I can post it after.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Andrea Bocelli
J-P Mauro
Andrea Bocelli to perform live Christmas conc...
FATHER JOHN FIELDS
John Burger
Priest who volunteered for COVID-19 vaccine t...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
Theresa Civantos Barber
Walk with Mary this Advent as a sweet alterna...
THOMAS A KEMPIS IMITATION OF CHRIST
John Burger
12 Historical figures who read 'The Imitation...
See More