the deacon, “a minister of the threshold”

the deacon, “a minister of the threshold”

Missions very different from those entrusted to the deacons of the first centuries?

We delude ourselves by talking about “restoration”. The reestablishment of the diaconate does not constitute a step backwards. The texts of Vatican II on the subject remain to be interpreted, and as a result the diaconate has been implemented in very diverse ways. Or not at all, as in the Churches of the South.

In France, the deacon is often presented as a minister of the “threshold”, the presence of the Church in society. But the great pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes on “The Church in the world of our time” doesn’t talk about it!

The baptized lay people, too, are in society and in service. What distinguishes the deacon?

Indeed, we must not confuse the diakonia offered to all the baptized (the social commitments of Christians) and the diaconate. The latter is a degree of the sacrament of orders. How to articulate it with the presbyterate and the episcopate, on the one hand? And to the ministries entrusted to lay people, women and men, on the other hand? This is what theology must work on.

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