Friday 9 November 2018

Why Deacons The Teachings of Pope John Paul II - Michael Evans

Why Deacons
The Teachings of Pope John Paul II
Michael Evans
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9780851839431
ISBN 0851839436
CTS Booklet Do630


This is another of the CTS books that I have stumbled across that is out of print, but I really wish was still available. I know a few dozen men who are considering the diaconate, or who are deacons that I would want to get this book into their hands. I have read this through twice now and know I will read it again. The description on the back of the booklet is:

“The Second Vatican Council restored the diaconate as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy. This 'permanent diaconate' is, unlike the priesthood, open to married men; it has importantly enriched the life and mission of Christ's Church.”

The chapters in this booklet are:

The teaching of Pope John Paul II
Selected official and liturgical texts

The introduction is really an overview of the diaconate, and its restoration within the Roman Catholic Tradition. It is also about half of the length of the book. So it is not a traditional introduction, but is truly an introduction to the topic of Deacons. The Sections in the Introduction are:

An Exalted Office
A Sacrament of Jesus Christ
A Service Person in a Servant Church
What Kind of Service?
The Bishops Man
A Distinctive Ministry
Priests and Deacons
Unity and Diversity
A Three-Fold Ministry
The Ministry of Love and Justice
Raising the Dust
Treasure the Poor

The Primacy of Love
A Bridge Person
The Worlds of Work and Family
A Ministry of the Cross
An Important Enrichment of the Church’s Mission

From that broad overview it moves on to excerpts from three of Pope Saint John Paul II’s addresses. The specific Addresses drawn from are:

Address to the Deacons of the United States and their Wives – September 19th, 1987
General Audience ‘Deacons serve the Kingdom of God’ - October 5th, 1993
General Audience ‘The Deacon has many pastoral functions.’ – October 13th, 2993
General Audience ‘Deacons are called to a life of holiness.’ – October 20th, 1993

And finally, the chapter ‘Selected official and liturgical texts’. This chapter contains

Article 29 from Lumen Gentium
Pope Paul VI Apostolic Letter, 1972
Homily for the Ordination of a Deacon
Examination of the Candidate
Prayer of Consecration (Second Part)
Presentation of the Book of the Gospels

Over the past two years I have read several books about the Diaconate. This one is the shortest. I have been praying about the diaconate even longer. This year I started the formal application process, and this book convinced me even more so of the value of pursuing this.

This little volume is a treasure trove of information on the diaconate. It draws from sources spanning 20 years. And I found it very moving and stirring. The book inspired me to be praying for the deacons I know, their families, and for the men discerning the vocation.

If you can lay you hands on this, it is an excellent read.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For all reviews and articles about the Diaconate click here.

Books by Bishop Michael Evans:
Why be Confirmed?
Is Jesus Really Present in the Eucharist?
Mary, Mother of the Lord, Sign of Grace, Faith and Holiness
Being a Catholic

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