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Michigan bishop: deacons may not preach at Mass on a regular basis

June 20, 2011

Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette has issued a 19-page pastoral letter to the permanent diaconate, focusing on its history and spirituality.

Citing the Latin text of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, Bishop Sample stated that the Church’s liturgical norms “rule out the notion of the deacon preaching the homily at Mass on a routine or scheduled basis. He may preach the homily at Mass for some identifiable advantage for the faithful in the congregation, but not on a regular basis.”

The married permanent deacon and his wife must exemplify the truth that “marriage is a permanent covenant between one man and one woman for the whole of life, rooted in fidelity to one another and always with openness to the procreation and education of children,” he said.

"Potential candidates who have been divorced will not be admitted into the diaconate program,” Bishop Sample added. “If a candidate, already accepted, begins to experience serious marital discord, separation or divorce, the candidate will withdraw from the program.”


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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jun. 20, 2011 1:28 PM ET USA

    I am surprised that there is no discussion in this long letter of exceptional circumstances where the deacon could/should preach the homily at Mass: (a) the priest has an inadequate mastery of English or the language in which the Mass is celebrated. (b) the priest is physically impaired from effective preaching (c) the priest has already delivered (or will deliver) a homily at two other Masses on that day. Each of these might be recurring.