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Majority of US deacons over 60, uncompensated

May 31, 2010

A new study of America’s 17,000 permanent deacons has found that 62% are 60 or older, while only 18% receive financial compensation for their ministry. The study, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, found that 21 dioceses have more than 200 deacons, with Chicago (646), Trenton (442), Galveston-Houston (383), Hartford (355), and New York (316) having the most. 92% of deacons are currently married, while 4% are widowed.

The study also found that in 2009, 215 deacons retired, 14 deacons became divorced or separated, 15 requested laicization, and three married without a requisite dispensation.


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  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Jun. 01, 2010 4:54 AM ET USA

    Any wonder? In my diocese it takes longer to become a deacon than attend medical school, serve an internship, become licensed and start a medical practice! About as long as becoming a lawyer after high school graduation! And you can be "cut" any time! No wonder deacons get upset when priests forget and say, "The Mass is ended.." thus usurping one of their few Mass functions! This is not the Eastern Church, where the deacon functionally says the Mass and the priest only consecrates! You grow old!

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Jun. 01, 2010 12:29 AM ET USA

    Do not forget that canon law actually forbids the compensation of deacons unless they are directly employed by the Church. It is, after all, service.