Traditional Mass

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Role of the Deacon in the Traditional Latin Mass

A chasuble between two dalmatics in the Museo del Carmen de Maipú, Santiago de Chile (Photo Credit: Jorge Barrios, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
As anyone who has ever attended a Solemn High Mass according to the Extraordinary Form knows, the role of the deacon is integral. In fact, it is indispensable: without a deacon, you cannot celebrate it properly. Or at all, actually.
And as we are all well aware, the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) “restored” the clerical order of the diaconate to a “permanent” role in the triad of Holy Orders—while, strangely, dispensing all the minor orders, as well as tonsure which led up to it.
The restoration of the diaconate has turned out to be a real boon for the Church on a number of levels: Deacons provide a return to the balance in the three ancient orders (diaconate, presbyterate, episcopate). Of course, deacons existed all along from the very earliest days of Christianity: the proto-martyr St. Stephen was a deacon. However, over the centuries, the order as a discrete group languished and became “transitional”, as in transitioning into a priest.

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