Trends in Parish Administration: Are Deacons the New Black?

Trends in Parish Administration: Are Deacons the New Black? October 24, 2019

Deacon Greg Kandra* links over at The Deacon’s Bench on the growing use of deacons as parish administrators. This is exactly the kind of thing people like to fuss about, so I’ll go ahead and toss in three thoughts:

#1: Keep in mind it’s the bishop who’s ultimately in charge — though read here for some fun stuff about pastors and parish administrators.  Assuming canon law is satisfied (since disorder engenders more disorder), those of us who willingly ream the bishops when they fall short on their responsibilities should also cede to them the right to administer their dioceses as the Holy Spirit guides.  Responsibility and authority go hand in hand.  If you told me we were moving to a strategy of non-bishops administering dioceses? We’d have an apostolic problem.  But parishes?  Parishes are an ancient innovation, but they are, all the same, an innovation that serves the diocese, not the other way around.

#2: There’s a bigger question here: How come no priestsYou can argue all afternoon (rightly) that not all priests are brilliant administrators.  The part where we demand our priests be masters-of-all-trades is foolish in the extreme. Likewise, there can be good reasons for a temporary mismatch between the ratio of clergy to laity.  But if your long term plan expects not enough priests?  You’re doing it wrong.

#3: Thus we get to a point a friend made when I was griping the other day: The gift of administration won’t do you any good unless you know what your goal is.  It matters not that you lack a captain if you are still unclear on your destination.  Why is the Church today an absolute shipwreck?  It’s not because it’s run by sinful men.  That was the plan all along.  It’s because many in the Church, both in leadership and in the pews, have gotten the idea that the Church is a celebration of something other than the saving lordship of Jesus Christ.


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Photo courtesy of the ever-inspiring Diego Delso,, License CC-BY-SA

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*FYI Deacon Greg is not just a respected colleague but a respected friend, and so if you head to the blog discussion group to post an ad hominen, not only will I mock you privately for your lack of intellectual rigor, I also won’t like you.

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