The following comment appeared today in a post on married priests. I’d like to hear what deacon readers think:
I am currently in formation for the permanent diaconate. I have often thought in the back of my mind that, at some point in the not-so-distant future, the door will open wider for a married priesthood in the Latin Rite, with permanent deacons an obvious source of potential candidates. This post made me realize that I’m probably wrong.
While I thought that the permanent diaconate would be a way to serve the Church, I’m quickly becoming frustrated by the one-size-fits-all approach to formation in my diocese, which completely ignores the fact that I already have a graduate degree in theology from a reputable and accredited Catholic institution. I just as well not have it as far as the diocese is concerned. I am now repeating many of the courses that I successfully completed in grad school for the diocese’s formation program. I am bored to death in most of my formation classes.
I also get the sense that permanent deacons are only reluctantly considered clerics. In my diocese, transitional deacons may preach at Mass, but permanent deacons may preach at Mass only after completing an additional three years of post-ordination classes; even then, there’s no guarantee. Additionally, priests, deacons, and those in formation seem to have little contact with one another, as if each group was its own separate club. Wouldn’t it be great if we could come together once in a while to pray and support one another? Have I invested my time, energy, and financial resources only to be able to do little more than I did as a grade-school altar boy? I hope not.