Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The Shakeup Continues

May 19th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

I have it on good authority from more than one source at Buffalo Road that Bp. Cunningham has officially reassigned Fr. Michael Mayer from his position at St. Pius X in Chili to Parochial Vicar at Holy Name of Jesus and St. Charles Borromeo in Greece for one year. Fr. John Firpo will be the Parochial Administrator of Holy Name in addition to his duties as Pastor of St. Charles. This change is effective the final week of June. Additionally, the Greece/Charlotte planning group will look into the long-term viability of Holy Name parish. I think we all know from experience what that means.

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119 Responses to “The Shakeup Continues”

  1. Ron says:

    So he goes from sacramental minister at one parish to parochial vicar at two nice parishes, and not far from where he is now. Maybe he’s not be punished – maybe this is a positive move for him in the end. Maybe he’s being moved because he can help the two Greece parishes to help with their viability, and this might mean more of a formal position for him.

  2. kbrown5199 says:

    It would be nice if it were a positive move. However, under the circumstances it is anything but. St. Pius is one of the largest parishes in the area and Fr. Mike was a positive step for them. Removing him now starts the revolving door of priests again, regardless of his change in title and duties. He balances out the otherwise liberal tendencies of St. Pius quite nicely.

  3. Diane Harris says:

    It was announced today at St. Mary Canandaigua that Fr. Peter Nkansah (from Ghana) will be leaving for St. Marianne Cope Parish (St. Joseph in Rush, Good Shepherd and Guardian Angels in Henrietta) and that then-to-be-ordained Peter Mottola will be coming to Canandaigua. Fr. Peter Nkansah has be a delight, faithful to the liturgy, friendly and approachable, has a wonderful command of Americanese and the idiom as well, great sense of humor and incredibly powerful in Scripture Study. We will greatly miss him.

  4. Diane Harris says:

    Sorry. I guess that should be Blessed Marianne Cope Parish.

  5. annonymouse says:

    You got it right the first time, Diane. She was canonized last year.

  6. Diane Harris says:

    Thanks, Annonymouse. That’s what I thought but then had “second thoughts,” and checked out the Seek and Find Bulletin publisher. Interesting, the parish is listed there as blessed so I thought I should correct it. The link is Then I clicked on today’s bulletin and it had a masthead that said only “Marianne Cope Roman Catholic Parish.” So I switched to Blessed, thinking surely if it were St. the masthead would say so. I should have pushed in a few pages to find a use of “St.” Well, at least I know why I was confused. Thanks for your help.

  7. aimeeoc says:

    If DrK knew this yesterday, why didn’t our pastoral administrator know this? He very clearly told the congregation nothing has been decided by the Diocese and not to worry that Father Mike (excuse me, “Mike”) might be leaving. Certainly he wouldn’t be misleading us on purpose. But then, could our pastoral administrator be this far out of the loop, that other parishes and ordinary folks like DrK would know about decisions first?

  8. Richard Thomas says:

    I don’t think this is simply a deacon getting a priest removed. I don’t think any deacon has special access to a bishop, especially an apostolic administrater. But he must have the ear of those who weld power in the DOR who then make recommendations to Syracuse. So what is the chain of command in Rochester? Who did the Deacon report to and who did the next person talk with?

    I am not surprised if these allegations are true for it is another example of orthodox individuals being put to the screws by the dissidents.

    We probably will never know, we can only assume.

  9. annonymouse says:

    RT, you nailed it. This man (he’s not yet a deacon) can do nothing if not enabled from higher up, and it is safe to assume that Bishop Cunningham is not close enough to the situation in Rochester to make any decisions without input from the muckety mucks on Buffalo Road.

    In terms of who that might be, well, Dr. K seems to have implied that in the tag he selected.

  10. Richard Thomas says:

    So Mouse,

    The new bishop, whomever he may be, will face an entrenched burocracy, wishing to continue the moves of the pase 33 years and will do everything they can to sabatoge any effort of the new bishop to change things.

    They will resist cleaning house, and just like what happened to Pope Benedice, will have tremendous opposition, especially concerning homesexuality. Men and women who would say yes to his face and then do the opposite when he isn’t looking.

    It tells me that change will be painfully slow.

    Perhaps one could be Machiaavolian and simply dismiss all those who signed the letters advocating homosexuality and then ask other dioceses like Lincoln Nebraska, to loan him priests while his numbers could rise through ordination.

  11. annonymouse says:

    I think it’s likely that change will be quite slow, in many areas. You cannot change much over night, especially the attitudes in the presbyterate. On the plus side, however, there aren’t all that many in the presbyterate left, sadly, so ordaining good, holy men will go a long way toward reforming the prebyterate. The deaconate might be a problem, since it seems like there have been four to eight men ordained every year, and we know where they were trained.

    Obviously, the letters you mention would provide a roadmap for the new bishop as to where his attention is most urgently needed.

  12. Bruce says:

    They need to stop ordaining deacons. You have enough of those. Too many pseudo-chiefs and not enough real chiefs nor indians.

  13. annonymouse says:

    Bruce, I love it when people who claim to be orthodox Catholics spout out stuff that is completely at odds with orthodox Catholic teaching, as you’ve just done.

    As we discussed ad nauseum awhile back, this opinion of yours contradicts the teaching of the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, Lumen Gentium. In LG 28 and 29, like it or not, the Council Fathers teach quite clearly that the ecclesial ministry is exercised in three sacred orders – bishop, presbyter and deacon. So whether you know it or not, you are arguably interjecting heresy into this conversation.

    There are many good deacons out there. Please don’t let the actions of one or even a few tarnish all these men’s self-sacrificing ministry.

  14. Bruce says:

    Nope. Never had deacons growing up and never needed them. In the future, I will need a priest for confessions and anointing, as deacons cannot do those. I have little to no use for them. That is not heresy. It is simply true. Priests can provide all that deacons can, and more. Give me more good and holy priests and less of these arrogant super lay men.

  15. Bruce says:

    I’ll add that I do not think you can see what is really going on here. This is nothing more than an end run around celibacy. This is about lay men who are married looking to get paid as “pastors” on the backs of parishioners who have a right to a priest who can cut ally BE a pastor to them. These guys have collar envy and want to be in charge without giving up sex and family and with an easy income. They are Protestant pastors. This is what is happening. Are there good and humble deacons? Yes, a few.

  16. Richard Thomas says:

    How about severing all ties with St. Barnyards. Deacons will have to get their training elsewhere. Now that would be a radical move.

  17. annonymouse says:

    Bruce, you probably didn’t have Lumen Gentium growing up either. Yours is the consumer mentality (whereby the Church is but a sacrament dispensary) which George Weigel decries. Your understanding of the Church couldn’t be much more mistaken.

  18. Monk says:

    I think that Bruce brings an interesting perspective to the deaconate especially as it is implemented in the DoR. How many deacons do we really need? I believe the DoR has hundreds. How many receive income or salaries from parishes and the DoR? At what cost does this program bring to the DoR? My understanding is that the norm is that deacon do not work for a salary. I was recently at a baptism presided over by a deacon. There were several babies being baptized. The deacon gave a talk about baptism to the families present. Not once did he mention original sin. Thank you St. Bernards! Wow! Do we really need this?

  19. Gretchen says:

    Anonymouse, currently 43% of all deacons worldwide are from the USA. That alone should give pause for thought. Additionally, Bruce is simply vocalizing the situation in the DOR with permanent deacons who do indeed act as protestant pastors in some cases, which is the least of some of the things that get pushed. At All Saints Parish in Corning we have four deacons, one of whom is the pastoral administrator. One would think that the parish would be running like a well-oiled clock with that much ‘pastoral’ help around. One would think…

  20. annonymouse says:

    Monk – it is my understanding of the deaconate that there is basically not a limit on “how many deacons we really need.” The call of the deacon is to represent/be configured to Christ the Servant (while the priest is configured to Christ the High Priest), particularly to the poor and disenfranchised – as such the Church cannot have too many such servant leaders. With respect to the deacon’s talk about baptism, I just checked the rite and the rite itself speaks of original sin – why does the deacon’s talk need to reiterate that?

    Gretchen, with all due respect, what does 43% in the USA have to do with anything?

    Bruce’s point about deacons running parishes is (even if uncharitably worded) accurate – parishes are supposed to be led by priests (according to Church law). Perceived necessity (dearth of priests) is probably why the DoR has deacons and lay running parishes. On this point, I will not disagree, nor will canon law. The fact that the DoR has deacons running parishes does not merit a general attack on the deaconate, though, does it?

  21. Rich Leonardi says:

    It does seem more than coincidental that dioceses with trouble attracting men to the priesthood often have no difficulty attracting them to the diaconate. Rochester and Cincinnati are cases in point. I would argue that it’s a result of an overemphasis on the ministerial functions of the priesthood at the expense of its priestly, i.e., sacramental and sacrificial, character. So Bruce’s thoughts here are worth pondering.

  22. Diane Harris says:

    Almost 2 years ago I posted “In Defense of the Diaconate”

    I just re-read that post and still stand by everything I posted, including the caution that deacons are not laity; they are ordained. However, the numbers may well now be higher than I estimated for DoR, and one of the deacons of whom I wrote should now be spoken of in the past tense. One other point I had not included was a reminder that Acts 6:2-4 includes a directive from the Apostles to choose 7 men; i.e. it was not a willy nilly call “Ya’all who wanna be deacons, come on in!” No, rather it was a specific number to reply to a specific need adn be validated in the judgment of the community, and there was much discernment about the choice:

    “And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Thus, the initial understanding of the office of deacon was not liturgical presiding, but rather was care of community.

    It is my understanding that most deacons are not paid to be deacons. However, a deacon is not prohibited from applying for other jobs in the diocese and, when so employed, are entitled to a just salary. I agree with the questioning whether or not we need so many deacons to be liturgical presiders, or filling jobs that interfere with priestly service or with laity emerging as viable volunteers. That too is a good reason to limit the numbers; and, is a topic for another day.

  23. Richard Thomas says:

    That’s the BIG question in the DOR. Do we need people whose job is to interfere with the priestly service. It seems that that was the intent of the past administration and that will persist unless a new bishop changes the course of the diocese.

  24. annonymouse says:

    As I understand it, it is NOT the role of the deacon ever to “interfere with priestly service,” but rather to serve and complement the presbyterate. If a deacon is interfering with priestly service (or a prospective deacon, as in the SPX case), that is an abuse and not what the Council intended, for sure. The intended role of the deacon is (as I understand it) quite different from that of the Church, and not just sacramentally, but the deacon should have a different focus than that of the priest.

    I think Bruce and others are correct that if a deacon puts himself on a level with a priest, or siezes the rightful duties of a priest (ESPECIALLY to puff his ego), then that is an abuse.

    But I think it does a disservice to these men who devote considerable time and effort to humbly serve (and shows a lack of understanding of Orders as well) just to lump them all together and say because of the words or actions of one or a few that “we don’t need them.”

  25. annonymouse says:

    “Quite different from that of the priest” that should say

  26. Gretchen says:

    Annonymouse, I would think that high USA percentage of deacons points to, perhaps, several possible issues, including the point Rich Leonardi makes. I appreciate your defense of the diaconate and believe deacons, in their proper sphere, are needed. However, I can personally attest to hearing a deacon speak about the need for deaconesses during an RCIA class a couple years ago. I have attended many masses where the deacon pretty much presided over the mass, except for the actual consecration, for no discernible reason (priest not ill, old, etc). I have had a priest in the DOR actually relate to me that at least one permanent deacon told him it was unfair that he could not consecrate the host when he felt it was his calling.

    So, I don’t believe anyone is attacking the role of a deacon; they are addressing the incorrect expression of that role in the DOR in particular. The extremely high percentage of deacons in the US points to an imbalance that may or may not have several causes–among which is a certain theological/ideological bent that has been present for decades in the DOR.

  27. annonymouse says:

    On balance, I have to think having more deacons is a very good thing. That’s what the Council Fathers desired. If deacons are going to do what they’re called to do, they enrich the Church and further her mission. I understand the concern – if they think they replace priests, are on a theological par with priests, or confuse the Faithful, then they’re mistaken and it’s an abuse. If a deacon is advocating for deaconesses or wanting to consecrate, those deacons must have confused their role with that of the Pope.

    Now Bruce did, indeed, attack the role of the deacon (“don’t need ’em, don’t want ’em) as he’s done before, and it’s clear that Bruce neither knows nor cares to know why Holy Mother Church disagrees with him.

    It goes without saying that having more priests would also be a wonderful thing.

  28. Monk says:

    ….I just checked the rite and the rite itself speaks of original sin – why does the deacon’s talk need to reiterate that?

    If the deacon takes it upon himself to give a talk (instruction of the faithful) on the meaning of Baptism and doesn’t once mention original sin, it is a disservice. Would a priest give a homily on Easter Sunday and not mention the Resurrection? Would a homily on Pentecost not mention the Holy Spirit? Shouldn’t his talk expand on the rite?

  29. Bruce says:

    Mouse, you say I’m uncharitable…

    I digress. As a layman, I don’t need deacons and never have. Would you I rather lie? Also, I am actually discerning it myself specifically to serve my bishop and the priests, as well as widows and single mothers, not to be a pastor in disguise. But the Church is fine without me in the diaconate, and the vast majority of the laity here will not notice either way. Even if I m not ordained I I’ll still do those things to best of my ability.

    Without priests and bishops, and moms and dads, there is no Church. Deacons are nice to have but not essential to our survival.

  30. Bruce says:

    I’ll add that we did just fine prior to V2 and many parishes, like mine, have never had a deacon and have done just fine without one. They are not essential in the same way a priest is, sorry mouse, but confession, the Eucharist, and anointing are more important to me and most than any thing a deacon can do. And this is from one who might be a deacon!

  31. annonymouse says:

    Bruce – the Church did NOT do “just fine” prior to Vatican II. Vatican II was largely a response to an out and out FAILURE on the part of the Church. What was that, you ask? The holocaust, an atrocity perpetrated by Catholics and Lutherans just 20 years prior. From what I’ve read, the restored deaconate was a response to that atrocity, in that the clerics of the age had been blind to the horrors going on. The Council thought that a cleric out in the world might speak out against such things were they to happen again.

    Now it can be argued that the number of deacons speaking out against the moral outrages of our day is few, so the jury is out as to whether this move of the Council Fathers will have borne fruit. The number of deacons preaching (at least in the DoR) about the horror of abortion, homosexual marriage, contraception, etc. is, sadly, quite small.

  32. Bruce says:


    You act as if V2 was the first council the Church ever had. It wasn’t and it won’t be the last. I tend to agree with some historians who have suggest that V2 will be remembered as a minor council at best. The Church survived 2000 years and will survive until the end of time, deacons or no deacons.

  33. Bruce says:

    Besides, their primary duty (per the Catechism) is to assist the bishop and priests and perform service. Preaching, while part of their job, is certainly not the only part and in most dioceses their homilies are limited. Archbishop Sample has suggested limiting them further, which I would not mind.

  34. Mike says:

    mouse wrote,

    Vatican II was largely a response to an out and out FAILURE on the part of the Church. What was that, you ask? The holocaust, an atrocity perpetrated by Catholics and Lutherans just 20 years prior. From what I’ve read, the restored deaconate was a response to that atrocity, in that the clerics of the age had been blind to the horrors going on. The Council thought that a cleric out in the world might speak out against such things were they to happen again.

    I’ve got to ask where you read that, as this is the first time I’ve ever seen such a rationale put forward.

    Vatican II (Lumen Gentium #29 – especially the 1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph) gives other reasons …

    At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed “not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service.”(74*) For strengthened by sacramental grace, in communion with the bishop and his group of priests they serve in the diaconate of the liturgy, of the word, and of charity to the people of God. It is the duty of the deacon, according as it shall have been assigned to him by competent authority, to administer baptism solemnly, to be custodian and dispenser of the Eucharist, to assist at and bless marriages in the name of the Church, to bring Viaticum to the dying, to read the Sacred Scripture to the faithful, to instruct and exhort the people, to preside over the worship and prayer of the faithful, to administer sacramentals, to officiate at funeral and burial services. Dedicated to duties of charity and of administration, let deacons be mindful of the admonition of Blessed Polycarp: “Be merciful, diligent, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who became the servant of all.”(75*)

    Since these duties, so very necessary to the life of the Church, can be fulfilled only with difficulty in many regions in accordance with the discipline of the Latin Church as it exists today, the diaconate can in the future be restored as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy. It pertains to the competent territorial bodies of bishops, of one kind or another, with the approval of the Supreme Pontiff, to decide whether and where it is opportune for such deacons to be established for the care of souls. With the consent of the Roman Pontiff, this diaconate can, in the future, be conferred upon men of more mature age, even upon those living in the married state. It may also be conferred upon suitable young men, for whom the law of celibacy must remain intact.

  35. Richard Thomas says:

    Wait a minute.

    Let’s not blame Catholics and Lutherins for the Nazi holocaust. And for Catholics not speaking out, a Dutch bishop did do so and as a result, Nazi deportations of Jews to the death camps increased. Pius XII knew he had to oppose the Nazi’s clandestanly or else even more people would be killed.

    Pre Vatican II

    Full seminaries
    Plenty of priests and Nuns
    Flourishing Catholic school system
    Packed Churches
    Numerous parishes
    Catholocism has a positive influence on society
    Non Catholics in America respected the presence of Catholocism
    Even the fish industry prospered and flourished due to the concept of meatless Fridays

    Problems with preVatican II:

    The modernist heresy was flourishing underground but gaining strength. And there were many homosexuals ordained to the clergy that later would go on and abust children.

  36. annonymouse says:

    Mike – google “deacon” and “Dachau.”

    RT – If you’re not going to blame Catholic and Lutherans for the Nazi holocaust, whom will you blame? Germany was nearly 100% “churched” and nearly 100% Catholics, Lutherans and Jews. The same people running the camps and ovens were going to church on Sunday, worshipping Jesus Christ. And it was not unheard of that there would be anti-semitism preached from the pulpit. Admittedly there were courageous clergy (the Pope included) who did what they could, and thousands of Christian clergy, religious and lay were killed, but it is important to remember that the atrocities were perpetrated (and Hitler came to power!) because of the folks in the pews. That is the truth, difficult as it may be to hear.

    One can say the same about today – we have over 1 million legal abortions in our country every year, largely because Catholics continue to vote for candidates who support legal abortion in proportions no different from the electorate at large.

    But, as so often happens when I weigh in, this thread has strayed quite far from the quite urgent matters at SPX.

  37. Richard Thomas says:

    Hitler only had 30% of the vote at his best. He was made assistant to President Hindenberg bu Von Papin. When Hindenberg died, Hitler came to power and the rest is history.

    That is an assumption that people in the pews did all that. Who is to say the culprits gave up their faith? Goering was one such person. And the Nazi governor of Poland was a lapsed Catholic who repented on the gallows before he was hanged.

    There were letters from the Pope condemning the Nazi’s and they were read to the laity before the war. There was much suffering and persecution a a result.

    And whose fault is it that Catholics vote for Pro choice politicians. IT’s the poor leadership of the clergy, many who are in bed with the Democratic party.

  38. y2kscotty says:

    Bruce says he is discerning the diaconate for himself and could someday be a deacon. Based on the tenor of his remarks, I have to wonder, respectfully, if he would be a suitable candidate for deacon.

  39. Mike says:


    Are you referring to this post by Dcn. Ditewig? If so, it does present an historical perspective new to me but, in doing so, it also raises some questions.

    If Rahner & Co. were correct in their thinking then it would seem that the very existence of a “renewed and permanent diaconate which would work in concert with priests, with deacons serving as icons of Christ the Servant who gave himself totally in service to others,” thus providing “the most powerful sign of Christ’s presence,” should have had some discernible effect in halting – or at least in slowing down – Europe’s slide into post-Christianity. But it hasn’t.

    And the same positive effect should be even more visible here in America since we have many so many deacons. But it isn’t.

    Why is this so? I suspect the answer lies in the ongoing ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ attempt to divorce Christ the Servant from Christ the Priest, Christ the Prophet and Christ the King, thus creating Christ the Social Worker, a great guy who really cared about the physical needs of others, especially the poor, and wasn’t all that concerned with things like morality, especially sexual morality.

    That Christ, of course, never existed, so any attempt to follow him has to be an exercise in futility. And yet that seems to be exactly what has been going on in so many parts of Europe and the United States for decades now.

  40. Bruce says:

    @y2kscotty: Why? Because I have no interest being a pastor over a priest, not a ton of interest in preaching, and strong interest in serving priests and my bishop so as to make their lives easier so they can serve better? The fact that I want to be able to serve widows and single mothers even more than I do?

    Yah, okay dude. Just because I know that deacons are not indispensable is no reason to exclude me, but luckily, you don’t get to make that call. 🙂

  41. annonymouse says:

    Bruce – Scotty did not say it’s based on your interest, motivation or the content of your remarks. He said it’s based on the “tenor of your remarks.” It’s your attitude, reflected in your remarks, if I may hazard a guess, that Scotty finds problematic.

    Mike – very insightful post. Any deacons who visit this site should take note of your post. Your astute observations might cause them some soul searching.

  42. Richard Thomas says:

    It’s amazing that liberals try and create God’s kingdom on earth as far a monitarily and emotionally caring for the poor but do little as to prepare us for eternity in heaven.

  43. Interstate Catholic says:

    Not too many “free agent” priests left to assign to St. Pius X. Most of the assignments, effective at the end of June, have been announced.

  44. annonymouse says:

    RT, it’s not a liberal thing or an orthodox thing to work to build God’s Kingdom on earth. It’s a CHRISTIAN thing, and it was commanded of us by Our Lord.

    I would humbly suggest that you read and meditate on Matthew 25: 31-46, most especially on vv 41-46, and re-think your comment.

    You try to make this an either-or thing. It’s both. One thing I’m sure of – all the Eucharists and confessions of a lifetime won’t do me a lick of good if I’m ignoring the temporal needs of the “Jesus Christs” God has placed in my midst.

  45. Rich Leonardi says:

    Vatican II was largely a response to an out and out FAILURE on the part of the Church. What was that, you ask? The holocaust, an atrocity perpetrated by Catholics and Lutherans just 20 years prior.

    No, it wasn’t, and you will find no support for that thesis in the documents of Vatican II or in the Pope John’s announcement of the council. It was an optimistic call to renewal, not the corrective fix of a “FAILURE.” Read historian James Hitchcock’s lectures on the history of Vatican II for more insight. Here’s a snippet:

    The Church in 1960 on the whole appeared to be flourishing. I think to understand what John XXIII had in mind in summoning the Council it is necessary to understand a key to his character and personality: he was a man who was relentlessly optimistic and relentlessly hopeful. He had had his share of disappointments and setbacks in life. He certainly was not unacquainted with grief and disappointment and frustration. But through it all he had remained fundamentally optimistic — or perhaps we should rather say hopeful, using a religious term, with his hopefulness rooted in his faith. Christ had triumphed over death, and over sin, and over evil, and therefore Christians ought to be a joyous and hopeful people realizing that they share in Christ’s own triumph. In announcing his intentions for the Council, John was always rather vague, or at least it seemed to many people that way. He never set forth a specific agenda saying “I want to do this, this and this.” He talked about unity as one of the things that he hoped for, and people understood what he meant by unity as a reaching out to other groups beyond the Catholic Church.

    But he also talked sometimes about a new Pentecost, a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that what he had in mind was that a Council, if it properly did its work, could be the occasion for an enormous flourishing, an enormous explosion of faith, apostolic work, zeal and so forth, within the Catholic Church. A great revival, if you will, a great spiritual revival. So whereas previous popes had often been motivated by pessimism when they summoned Councils (we’ve got problems, we need to take care of those problems), John XXIII seems to me to have been motivated by optimism. The time is right, maybe we are standing on the threshold of a tremendous new spring. Perhaps he too looked around the Church at the time and assessed it in those very positive terms which I was talking about at the beginning. And perhaps thought to himself: The Church is very healthy. It’s as healthy as it has been for many many centuries. Perhaps the Lord has prepared us now for the opportunity of moving to the next higher level. He never actually confided to anyone, as far as anyone knows, his exact intentions for the Council.

  46. annonymouse says:

    Rich – perhaps I overreached with that comment, although there is no doubt that the Council’s restoration of the permanent deaconate was birthed as a response to WW2. Perhaps I should have restricted that comment to the matter at hand – the restored deaconate.

    However, one cannot look back on Vatican II without understanding the historical context in which the Council was called or conducted. While other factors were also driving forces – i.e. the rise of communism, the impending sexual revolution and contraceptive mentality, rapid technological change – Pope John called the Council not even 14 years after the conclusion of the war, and certain of the reforms of the Council are a clear response to what had happened. For example, the Council’s teaching on the relationship of the Church and the Jewish people – a clear attempt to reverse centuries of embedded anti-semitism.

  47. Rich Leonardi says:


    Every council operates in the context of its times and that context shapes some of its statements, especially when one considers that VII was pastoral rather than dogmatic. That would be the case in any year; for example, a VIII in 2013 would almost certainly address topics like marriage, terrorism, and abortion, given their current saliency.

  48. Dr. K says:

    It’s believed Fr. Curtiss will be heading to St. Pius X as Sacramental Minister.

  49. Bruce says:

    Mouse said, “You try to make this an either-or thing. It’s both. One thing I’m sure of – all the Eucharists and confessions of a lifetime won’t do me a lick of good if I’m ignoring the temporal needs of the “Jesus Christs” God has placed in my midst.

    Um, you can’t have one without the other. Oh, and deacons do less of that than lay people, who far out number them. If temporal needs was all that mattered, deacons would not.

    The poor you will always have with you. Thank God.

  50. Interstate Catholic says:

    The bishop emeritus is moving on as well, to Our Lady Queen of Peace rectory sometime in June.

    The only constant is change.

  51. militia says:

    Is that the one in Brighton? or Geneva?

  52. Interstate Catholic says:

    Brighton. I believe he will be in residence with the Vicar General of the diocese.

  53. Richard Thomas says:


    I agree with you. I meant to say that there are people in the Church who concentrate on achieving the kingdom on earth and do little if anything to prepare us for the Ultimate Kingdom.

  54. Jim says:

    Dr. K, How did you find out that Fr. Don Curtiss will be going to St. Pius X Parish? I knew him from years ago when he was in residence at St. Boniface Church and worked at the Pastoral Center, back in the 1980’s.

  55. JLo says:

    Good grief!… to most of you and your shrill voices.
    Catholics and Luterans responsible for the Holocaust, deacons not worth a lick, social works earning pats on ones’s OWN back and those works somehow outranking the graces of sacraments. WOW, WOW, and WOW! Give all this junk a permanent rest, please. All of you, increase your prayer time today, please, and get over yourselves! You have birthed a nightmare of reading here (some exceptions, like Mike and Rich Leonardi, Gretchen and Diane… thank you for voices of reason and charity.) CF can do better and usually does. +JMJ

  56. JLo says:

    I hadn’t been online for awhile and read all 50+ posts at once… made for quite a jolt, Christians. +JMJ

  57. annonymouse says:

    JLo has weighed in and given her opinion, which to her is the absolute truth – as to which posters’ posts are worth a lick and which are not, and which posts are a “nightmare of reading” and which are not.

    Now, JLo, if would you care to take up each issue you find problematic, I would be happy to be educated.

  58. annonymouse says:

    Just to get you started, JLo, who said that “works somehow outrank the graces of sacraments?” If you’re going to criticize, at least be precise.

  59. Richard Thomas says:


    I agree. There is too much nitpicking. It’s like the Pharacees. Can’t see the forest through the trees.

  60. JLo says:

    Actually, annonymouse, no. I have no desire to explain myself to you, so no, I’m done here…. after all I’ve read here today, there’s absolutely nothing to be gained by anyone in such engagement. But I’m sure you’ll find another taker… you always do. God bess all your efforts! +JMJ

  61. christian says:

    Bruce- I can understand your attitude toward deacons, and your reluctance to accept them, as the permanent diaconate had not been used in the Catholic Church during our lifetime prior to Vatican II and the 1970’s. Previously, you had only been accustomed to the transitional diaconate as an interim step toward the ordained priesthood. But Diane Harris is correct when she states that there are three types of ordained ministry: deacon, presbyter (priest), and bishop. The original seven men selected as deacons to assist the apostles in their care of the community were chosen carefully according to their spiritual aptitude and gifts. They brought the Eucharist to those who were socially isolated and also served as social workers. St. Stephen was among those first seven deacons and he became the first Christian martyr. (His feast day is December 26th – the day after Christmas).

    In the early church there were deacons and deaconesses. Their role was that of providing physical care to the church. They visited households: distributed food, brought Eucharist, ministered to the sick, the poor, and to those in prison, prayed over the sick, performed baptisms, and gave instruction. Up until the fourth century, the term diakonos was a unisex term. It wasn’t until the fourth century that there was a distinction made in word regarding the gender of the ordained servant. Diakonos means “servant”; often termed “Table Servant” like one who waits on tables.

    Women deacons were important due to the ministry of women. One particular area of ministry which women deacons were vital was in the sacrament of baptism. Women deacons were essential in protecting a woman’s modesty.Baptism involved the complete stripping off of clothes and entering a pool naked; stepping down three steps into the water. Baptism took place in a special building separate from the main church building called a baptistery. Male deacons assisted men in baptism and women deacons assisted women in baptism.
    Nursing the sick became especially prevalent at one time for deaconesses, who weren’t allowed to marry. Have you heard of Deaconess Hospital? I have noted that a picture of the deacon’s hat in earlier times closely resembles a nurse’s cap. (Early on, in the vocation and profession of nursing, nurses were also not allowed to marry).

    The original duty of a deacon was to be a servant and assist; the apostles in the beginning, then the bishop. Despite the diaconate thriving by the fourth century, problems began to surface which led to its eventual decline in the Roman Catholic Church. The role and identity of presbyter and deacon were changing. “Deacons, rather than presbyters, were generally consecrated as bishops, (including Gregory the Great as late as 590) but as the presbyterate became increasingly associated with Eucharistic presidency, presbyters demanded to know why deacons had so much power.” (DACE copyright 2007-2013).
    The diaconate is a wonderful ministry of the ordained. There are no problems encountered if the deacon views himself as a servant to the people, especially those most in need, and regards himself as an assistant to the priest. (When having the right spirit and humility, a deacon, even if finding himself assigned to an administrative role at a parish; will not usurp a priest nor draw away from their indispensible role of priesthood. But that deacon will give the priest their due respect, confer with them in matters of importance, and assist them in Christ’s ministry). Arrogance and disrespect are unbecoming in any church role whether it is ordained or not.

    (I encountered the male lay pastoral administrator at St. Pius X on one occasion, and unfortunately, I must say, was left with a very bad first impression).

    I know, and have known, many wonderful deacons in the Roman Catholic Church. They have been a treasure to their parish and community, and often do work/ministry behind the scenes not known by the normal parishioner. Two deacons that I knew who have already passed on, were very devoted to those who were sick while they were experiencing critical and terminal issues themselves. They both embodied service with humility.
    Deacons also preside at prayer services, communion services, and other parish and diocese functions when a priest is not available or is overwhelmed with other duties. Deacons also serve as chaplains in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare institutions, and also serve as chaplains in prisons. Not only can a deacon provide spiritual counseling and solace, but they are at the forefront in ascertaining the need for a priest for confession or for anointing of the sick, especially for those in critical need(last rites).
    If a deacon is married, you often see his wife accompanying him and supporting his work. (Deacons’ wives, who I have known, have been upstanding, compassionate Christian women). A married deacon with children (and additionally his wife involved in his ministry) can be a critical resource for parents experiencing problems with their children or with family life.
    In the Roman Catholic Church, deacons complete a 3-4 year diaconate program, (probably with pre-requisites); earning a Masters Degree in Theology. They usually serve an internship in some area of ministry before they are ordained. If a man is married, his wife has to be in agreement with him entering the program of the diaconate. A candidate for the diaconate has to have his house in order and also meet certain criteria before he is allowed to be ordained. If a man is married when he is ordained, he can remain married; but if his wife dies, he cannot remarry. If a man is single when he is ordained, he has to remain single.

    Here are some interesting and informative articles on the role of deacons in the Roman Catholic Church today – first link includes information about how the permanent diaconate was restored-and the second link is a handbook/manual outlining the duties of a permanent deacon – as you will notice, one of the sacraments given by deacons is Viatacum.

    Here are some interesting and informative articles on the role of deacons in the early church:

  62. Bruce says:

    @christian: I am well-aware of all of that already.

  63. Bruce says:

    @christian: Oh, and women have never been ordained anything. There were female servants but they were never ordained.

    Aside from that, neato-speedo.

  64. Richard Thomas says:

    I am sorry but there is no mention of female deaconesses in scripture and early Church history does not mention women in that capacity.

    They were never called Deacons.

  65. annonymouse says:

    “Neato-speedo.” Do you think you could you possibly have a more arrogant, condescending attitude, Bruce?

    Christian, thank you for taking the time to explain all that you did about deacons. It is quite illuminating and, unlike Bruce, I was not well-aware of all that already; I learned much from your post.

    RT, a couple minutes of on-line research leads me to point you to 1 Timothy 3:11 and Romans 16:1. And there is an excellent article in New Advent that takes issue with your assertion, quoting the fourth century Apostolic Constitutions among other sources, and their rather explicit rite for deaconesses which involved the laying on of hands. You are right – they were never called deacons. Neither were deacons called deacons because nobody spoke English. They were called by the feminine form of the same word, which we now translate as deaconess.

    In any event, it doesn’t really matter, since the Church does not, at the present time, ordain women as deacons. Although unlike with the presbyterate, I don’t believe any pope has forcefully foreclosed that possibility.

    And this has strayed far and wide from the immediate issue, which is the goings-on at SPX with respect to Fr. Mike and the growing reputation of arrogance of deacon-to-be Mr. Rabjohn.

  66. gaudium says:

    Yes the post has strayed far but I think that Bruce needs to answer some questions for his own sake and for the good of the Church. I suppose I should state that I am a deacon which I hope will not be a hindrance to anyone in reading my post.

    Bruce, you have such a negative attitude towards deacons and the diaconate that it seems odd that you would be discerning a call to that ministry. You also stated the same about two years ago in a reply to the post by Diane Harris. Since you seem to think that deacons are little more than an irritation, why would you afflict the Church by adding to their number? I would hope that it was not to become a subversive. I pray that you will hear the Lord’s calling in this and have the wisdom and courage to answer the call.

    Comparing the poor behavior of some or even many deacons, to the theology of the priesthood is unfair and counterproductive. One could as easily give a wonderful explanation of the diaconate and compare it to shoddy behavior on the part of a few or many priests. A minimalism that reduce the ministries, especially the divinely founded ones, to the bare essentials (why not just the Pope and one congregant?) is quite destructive. The mustard seed does not stay a seed nor does the plant stay small. Think of the religious orders which are neither in the New Testament nor necessary for the Church’s structure. Would anyone (Bruce?) start a discussion of them by stating that they are not needed? Just because they are not of the essence of the Church does not mean they are not for the good of the Church. In fact, we all bemoan the decline of the religious orders even though we see members of those same orders promoting immoral and even heretical opinions.

    Deacons of the Diocese of Rochester: Just as among the priests, there is a variation in the views and leanings of different deacons. I don’t want to use terms such as liberal, conservative, orthodox, or heterodox but I think everyone knows what I mean. Personally, I find that they are as varied as the priests and it has some congruence with their age cohorts. Remember, it was a deacon who coordinated and carried off the Fortnight for Freedom last year. Believe me, that was an action of great courage in this diocese. In my years of preaching, I have mentioned abortion quite a few times. I have never heard a priest I have been serving with mention abortion but I did hear one say, “and this NONSENSE about priests being able to forgive sins!” I heard a priest about thirty years ago briefly mention the Church’s teaching on contraception.

    God Bless You All

  67. Richard Thomas says:


    Do you preach the majesterial truths about homosexuality, contraception, pre-marital sex and pornography?

  68. gaudium says:

    Richard Thomas says:
    May 24, 2013 at 3:24 PM


    Do you preach the majesterial truths about homosexuality, contraception, pre-marital sex and pornography?

    Yes, I do. For example: Just prior to the 2012 presidential election, I preached strongly on the responsibility each Catholic (person even)has to not support any political candidate who had positions at variance with the non-negotionables as stated by Benedict XVI and the US Bishops. One of our parish’s “first families” was seated up front. They had a homosexual son who had recently been civilly “married.” The matriarch virtually convulsed when I read the bishops’ statement stating that, a public official’s supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage constitutes a grave sin. This is a woman of great faith who has responded to the trial of a gay son by being caring and loving towards him and I knew it would be difficult for her to hear. She and her whole family have always been very supportive of me and it led to a time of distance which has since been healed. I have only heard one priest refer to any of these topics in about the last forty years. That’s a shame and I am sure it is true of a great many deacons as well.

  69. Richard Thomas says:


    Thanks for your answer. When more ordained preach about these topics, the Church will be on the road to recovery. Too many ordained were not prepared on these topics, or sadly, were falsely taught, especially concerning contraception and homosexuality.

    Many ordained were taught situational ethics. So it is rare any hear the good news. I have been going to Church for 27 years and have not heard one whole homily on any of these subjects. And our society will never turn around unless Catholics are taught these things

    God bless

  70. christian says:

    Thank you for your comments anonymouse. And thank you for writing in Deacon – God Bless You in your ministry.
    Bruce – I think that it is interesting that you used the term “neato-speedo as I used to be a competitive swimmer, still swim laps today, and have worn speedo apparel throughout that time. I doubt that you knew all that about the diaconate. I also do not like your attitude toward the permanent deacons in our Church today.
    I acknowledge that I have much more to learn and I am learning everyday. I am eager, happy, and thankful to learn from others.

    You are wrong about deaconesses being ordained in the early church. There are a lot of orders of which you may not be aware, some falling out of use or popularity for various reasons.
    “The primary duties of the deaconess were ministering to women in their houses and assisting at baptisms. The rationale was that it was not proper for a deacon to go to the house of heathens to visit a believing woman, and it was not proper for a man to anoint a woman during baptism and to receive her as she emerged from the water, because men should not see her unclothed. However, anointing the woman’s head, the immersion, and the pronouncement of the words of baptism were duties reserved to the bishop or presbyter performing the baptism.”“The office of deaconess was conferred with an ordination practically identical to that of the deacon. The ordination took place in the altar, which was not the case with ordination for the inferior offices. The bishop laid his hands on the candidate and recited two prayers, the first of which invoked divine grace. In matters of precedence she came after the deacon and was robed with the sticharion and the orarion.”
    “After her ordination, the bishop handed her the chalice which she placed on the altar. She had the right to carry and give Holy Communion to sick women. She could not take a ceremonial part in any of the sacraments or in other ceremonies that required the assistance of a deacon. She was addressed as “reverend, “most honorable” or “most pious.” During the time when bishops were selected from among the married clergy, their wives lived apart from them and were ordained as deaconesses. They could subsequently remain in society or enter a convent. “The office of deaconess was abolished in the West before the eleventh century, but in the East it lasted to the end of the Byzantine period in the fifteenth century.It is now retained only in some Orthodox convents.” -The Saints-The Role of Women in the First Century Church as a Model for Today by V. Bockman
    Do you deem the work of men and women who take on in some part,the deacon’s role today in serving Christ as invalid because they are not ordained ????????, ??, ?, ? ?

    My original intention was not to make an argument about deaconesses, but to validate the office of deacon. Also, I wanted to make the point that a candidate to the diaconate, as well as priesthood, should have humility and the right spirit of service to God’s people. They should not have a self-serving attitude or agenda, nor an inflated sense of self. They also should not have an arrogant attitude and disrespect for others. I think Fr. Mike Mayer has humility and the right spirit of service, doing God’s agenda, and because he is a “blessed annoyance,” he continues to find himself chastised by Buffalo Road.

  71. christian says:

    Addendum-all the ? marks were apparently inserted instead of the actually Greek for diakonos. Certain characters don’t show up the same when post.

  72. Bruce says:

    christian, you are heterodox. The very best research on the topic has concluded that those women were never ordained and their role did not match the diaconate as we know it today.

    Believe me, I already know the rest.

    Women will never be ordained anything, deacon or otherwise. Aside from that, I need not your approval nor gaudium’s for that matter. There is an intense amount of arrogance coming from mouse, yourself, and gaudium. You’re still making too much out of a ministry in the Church, one that I may do myself. I see it as being a servant, and not some preacher to make up for the sins and ineptitude of poorly-formed priest. Deacons preach far too much – I am with Archbishop Sample on that – and some dioceses have too many. The DoR especially.

    To be subversive? If by that you mean be what a deacon should be – practically anonymous and serving primarily widows and single mommas as well as help out in as low a profile, and least vocal, manner at Mass, OK. If you mean some sort of collar-envious old man seeking to preach to make up for the negligence of others – as well as be a “pastor” the way they think they ought to be and write blogs, nope.

    I hope to set the example that was intended: Servant. Your version – mouse, christian, and gaudium – seems chock-full of pride and condescension. Heck, christian even thinks women were ordained, despite what the head of the CDF has said on the subject. He is heterodox to say the least. Repent, brother.

  73. Bruce says:

    Oh, and christian, you may want to read what the actual Church thinks rather than Bockman:

    MUNICH, Germany, JAN. 17, 2002 ( At its annual assembly last month, the International Theological Commission of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addressed the topic of the diaconate.

    In an interview with the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, professor Gerhard Ludwig Müller of the School of Theology of Munich University, summarized the results of the discussion. The results are included in a document given to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

    Müller explained that the diaconate is not a separate sacrament, but part of the sacrament of orders. He noted that there never have been priestly ordinations of women, a possibility excluded by the Church on many occasions. Following is an excerpt from Müller´s interview.

    Q: Is the diaconate a sacrament in its own right?

    Müller: The Church teaches clearly that the sacrament of orders is one of the seven sacraments of the Church; as the full exercise in the Holy Spirit of the mission, unique in its origin, of the apostles of Christ, exercised in its fullness by the bishop. According to its degree of specificity, the differentiated participation in it is called presbyterate or diaconate.

    Q: Is it possible to separate the diaconate of women from the priesthood of women?

    Müller: No — because of the unity of the sacrament of orders, which has been underlined in the deliberations of the Theological Commission; it cannot be measured with a different yardstick. Then it would be a real discrimination of woman if she is considered as apt for the diaconate, but not for the presbyterate or episcopacy.

    The unity of the sacrament would be torn at its root if, the diaconate as ministry of service, was opposed to the presbyterate as ministry of government, and from this would be deduced that woman, as opposed to man, has a greater affinity to serve and because of this would be apt for the diaconate but not for the presbyterate.

    However, the apostolic ministry all together is a service in the three degrees in which it is exercised.

    The Church does not ordain women, not because they are lacking some spiritual gift or natural talent, but because — as in the sacrament of marriage — the sexual difference and of the relation between man and woman contains in itself a symbolism that presents and represents in itself a prior condition to express the salvific dimension of the relation of Christ and the Church.

    If the deacon, with the bishop and presbyter, starting from the radical unity of the three degrees of the orders, acts from Christ, head and Spouse of the Church, in favor of the Church, it is obvious that only a man can represent this relation of Christ with the Church.

    And in reverse, it is equally obvious that God could only take his human nature from a woman and, because of this, womankind has in the order of grace — because of the internal reference of nature and grace — an unmistakable, fundamental, and in no way merely accidental importance.

    Q: Are there binding doctrinal declarations regarding the question of the feminine diaconate?

    Müller: The liturgical and theological tradition of the Church uses unanimous language. It is a binding and irreversible teaching of the Church on this matter, which is guaranteed by the ordinary and general magisterium of the Church, but which can be confirmed again with greater authority if the doctrinal tradition of the Church continues to be presented in an adulterated manner, for the purpose of forcing the evolution of a specific direction.

    I am amazed at the lack of historical knowledge of some, and the absence of the meaning of faith; if it wasn´t like this, they would know that it has never been possible and never will be to place the Church, precisely, in the central ambit of her doctrine and liturgy, in contradiction with sacred Scripture and her own Tradition.

    Q: What happens when a validly ordained bishop, outside the communion of the Church, ordains a woman as deaconess?

    Müller: Invisibly, that is, before God, nothing happens, because such an ordination is invalid. Visibly, that is, in the Church, if something [like this] happens, a Catholic bishop who carries out an irregular ordination incurs the penalty of excommunication.

    Q: Could the Pope say that in the future women will receive the diaconate?

    Müller: Contrary to what many think, the Pope is not the owner of the Church or absolute sovereign of her doctrine. He is only entrusted with safeguarding Revelation and its authentic interpretation.

    Keeping the Church´s faith in mind, which is expressed in its dogmatic and liturgical practice, it is all together impossible for the Pope to intervene in the substance of the sacraments, to which the question of the legitimate receiving subject of the sacrament of orders essentially belongs.

  74. Bruce says:

    Oh snap!

  75. Bruce says:

    I mean, seriously, you accuse me of arrogance when I am advocating for the anonymous and servile nature of deacons, while being anonymous on here too! Really? I think the reality is that I struck a nerve, particularly with deacons who may be straying into areas that do not belong to their ministry while carrying a hefty sack of pride on their backs. I think I have struck a nerve with those who are friends with deacons as well, as if I was saying anything incorrect about them.

    I’m not. I know all about it. You may stop condescending to me mouse, christian, and gaudium. Anytime now while I still believe your “humility” while you arrogantly “admonish” me for simply speaking truthfully and from the heart.

    Its really okay, since one of you clearly is wrong, the other emotional, and the other not really part of the conversation.

  76. annonymouse says:

    Wow, Bruce, simply wow. Anger that runs as deep as yours, and condescension, too, and absolute close-mindedness, are very rarely encountered. You will never be a deacon, because (if I may be so bold) you do not possess a servant’s heart. The Church will not call you to Orders.

    Gaudium, thank you for weighing in from the insider perspective, and may God richly bless you in your ministry and reward you for your service and faithfulness. Keep up the courageous witness!

  77. Bruce says:

    mouse wrote (emotionally once again) “Wow, Bruce, simply wow. Anger that runs as deep as yours, and condescension, too,”

    My pulse is quite low right now. I do not feel angry. Are you projecting something? And, as for condescension, that has been your M.O. from the get-go. You keep telling me that I know nothing and that I will be nothing. Funny thing is, you have no idea who I am.

    “absolute close-mindedness”

    No, that would be you.

    “You will never be a deacon”

    OK, God. No wait, you’re not. You don’t get to make that call, thanks be to God. Try to stop being “more Catholic” than others, mouse. It is really arrogant and rather tiresome.

    “you do not possess a servant’s heart.”

    Says the emotional poster who has no idea who I am and knows nothing about me. But, by all means, continue sinning egregiously on here, bearing false witness and the like. No, actually, stop.

    “The Church will not call you to Orders.”

    LOL! Maybe if the Church was “mousethalic” and not Catholic. Seriously, you don’t get to make that call…God does. Last I checked, you ain’t Him.

    “Gaudium, thank you for weighing in from the insider perspective”

    Yep, there it is, as I suspected. It IS about “who is in” and “who is not” and the hubris is striking. Collar envy on display. I think I want to be a deacon just to spite you, but alas, I want to do it for the right reasons – because of God’s call and not mouse’ approval.

    Seriously, take a step back from the keyboard and get a massage or something.

  78. annonymouse says:

    Bruce, you claim to know all there is about the Order of Deacon, but some quick research shows that in no way should a deacon’s service be anonymous. A deacon is called to represent Christ the Servant – the act of representing is, naturally, a public, visible ministry. A deacon is called to a three-fold ministry of Word, Sacrament and Service. The call to be a minister of the Word means that the Deacon is the ordinary proclaimer of the Gospel, is called on occasion to preach the homily, is called to teach and preach at other times, and all of the above are public ministries, not anonymous. As minister of Sacrament, the Deacon may baptize and preside at marriages, acting as the Church’s representative in receiving the couple’s vows. In addition, the deacon may preside at funerals, give blessings, preside at Benediction, among others. Again, all public ministries. As minister of charity, a deacon’s service might be anonymous, but oughtn’t be, as the deacon’s call is to be a servant leader.

    So, Bruce, based on my research, your understanding of the deaconate couldn’t t be much more mistaken. God bless you.

  79. Bruce says:

    Hey mouse, what I write about this is tame compared to some blogger priests out there. Father Z comes to mind.

    Not all of us are as wrapped up in the mistakes and blunders of V2 as you are. Some of us actually understand it for what it is and know that it really isn’t as important as others think.

    The same is true about the diaconate, which I will likely belong to. 🙂

  80. Bruce says:

    Lets pick this apart.

    “Bruce, you claim to know all there is about the Order of Deacon, but some quick research shows that in no way should a deacon’s service be anonymous.”

    LOL. Servants are not leading parades, mouse. They’re not serving at the Mass with a spotlight on them. They’re not going out to widows and the poor ringing bells to announce their arrival. In other words, we just serve. We don’t blog about it. We don’t need mouse to tell everyone about it either.

    That is anonymity. That is Christ the Servant. 🙂

    “Word, Sacrament and Service”

    Duh. Gospel, bless marriages and funerals, perform baptisms, help at Mass, and preach rarely. Other than that, the vast majority of work is service to others.

    I’m not sure how my version differs from yours. Oh wait, I forgot that mine doesn’t have your approval, which seems to be necessary or something.

    IF it is just my tone that bothers you, please never read anything from centuries prior to our present one, for people used to actually say what was on their minds without fear of offending soft ears. That’s how I roll.

    ” So, Bruce, based on my research, your understanding of the deaconate couldn’t t be much more mistaken.”

    Only if your “research” was on something completely different, for I have just shown that the opposite is true.

    So now what?

  81. Bruce says:

    What, no love for christian who says things that are not only untrue about the diaconate, but also go against the CDF?

  82. annonymouse says:

    There’s not one iota of hubris in anything Gaudium wrote. Not one bit. He is, indeed, an “insider” in that he has been received Holy Orders and has the perspective of one who walks the walk of a deacon. Based on your disparaging comments about everything to do with deacons, I think it’s safe to say that you do not possess that perspective.

    I have posted my last response to you and your posts. God bless you, Bruce. Good night.

  83. Bruce says:

    mouse said, “There’s not one iota of hubris in anything Gaudium wrote.”

    I disagree. So now what?

    mouse said, ” N He is, indeed, an “insider” in that he has been received Holy Orders and has the perspective of one who walks the walk of a deacon.”

    As if I am not personal friends with several and am currently discussing and discerning a call to the diaconate. When I start “walking the walk of a deacon” mouse, will you gnash and grind your teeth? Or will you admit that you judged me and condemned me unjustly and without mercy?


    Mouse said “Based on your disparaging comments about everything to do with deacons”

    Untrue. Again with the false witness, mouse. It is a sin. Anyhoo, I just said that they are not pastors nor are they even necessary for the Church to survive.

    That isn’t disparaging. It is true.

    Can they do great things? Yes, and they should. But if we have no deacons will the Church die? Nope.

    That isn’t disparaging. It is true. Can you handle the truth?

    Mouse said, “God bless you”

    Same to you, but I think you owe me an apology too. I’m sorry if my tone offends, but I am not sorry for speaking what I know to be true.

    I’ll wait.

  84. Bruce says:

    I mean, really, I love my deacon friends and want to be like them.

    But none of them would claim to be essential to the Church’s survival.

    That is really the heart of it.

    I am not either. My presence in the Church is grace. She needs me not. I need her.

  85. Richard Thomas says:

    Christ did say “Let your right hand not know what the left hand is doing”. People like St. Padre Pio hated the attention and adulation. And many saints, when faced with human adulation and praise, hated it.

    One thing that is so annoying. Sometimes in these heretetical masses, you will hear an announcement before Mass starts, of who is reading, who is singing, who is a Eucharistic Minister, who is a greeter, etc. Talk about being full of oneself!

  86. militia says:

    I just hope, and pray, that we will all remember who the enemy really is. It is the Father of All Lies. The best offense we have against him and his minions is Truth, not opinion. We have much bigger challenges than picking the fleas off each other. I am as guilty as anyone but I want to “re-form” so that this site can enhance the work of our next bishop in faithfulness to the Church, and as a credible model for Christian dialogue. I for one do not want to be an albatross to those efforts. Just sayin’

  87. JLo says:

    And said well! Thank you, militia! This string needs to just go away. +JMJ

  88. Richard Thomas says:

    It’s hard being a deacon and much more dificult to pe properly trained if you are in the DOR, DOS or DOA. For you have to go to St Barnyards with all the trash . You must regurgitate all that crap. But where does one go to be properly formed. You have to have a good sense before you begin.

  89. Jim says:

    Just my two cents: The thread of this current blog wandered away from its original topic of discussing Fr. Mike Mayer at least three or four days ago. Bruce…some sound advice for you: rather than seeking to be ordained to the diaconate, you really should be seeking some sort of counseling or help for your unbridled anger. I have never seen such misdirected anger and rage spewed by someone as yourself, especially in a Catholic Website! It’s far, far beyond the pale….

  90. Rich Leonardi says:

    In any event, it doesn’t really matter, since the Church does not, at the present time, ordain women as deacons. Although unlike with the presbyterate, I don’t believe any pope has forcefully foreclosed that possibility.

    To you it obviously does matter, since you condition your acceptance of the constant teaching of the Church on what is taught “at the present time” and then for good measure hold out the possibility of her doing what she has never done.

    Doctrines are not knobs to try and turn.

  91. Bruce says:

    Are we seriously moderating my posts now? Not once did I post in anger, for I was simply responding. I may be blunt, but I know when I am angry and angry I was not.

    I think I simply offended soft ears. That is no crime.

  92. Jim says:

    Not angry? Even your bunny picture with the “soft ears” looks angry!

  93. Diane Harris says:

    I have just reviewed all Bruce’s posts on this thread and feel compelled to say that if I had been the moderator of this thread (I am not; Dr. K is the poster on this one) that I would not have deleted any of Bruce’s posts. I did not find any of them to be angry or offensive. If someone does find a post to be over the edge, the right route is to email the original poster (author of the blog thread) for action. Public displays of personal disaffection hardly seem helpful to the site or to each other. We can argue all day on the implications of Church teaching, but attributing motivation to someone else is more alienating than not–A lesson I have to keep learning myself.

    I would also like to weigh in on anonymity regarding deacons. There is a role for anonymity, and there is a time for public witness. It is the responsibility of the deacon to decide which is which, and when. In the case of a good, solid deacon I know, I am amazed by what he quietly does behind the scenes, the people who mention something he did for them, and how I’d never hear about it if the recipient hadn’t chosen to mention it. Here is but one example: dropping off some educational resources to a family only to find no furniture, and coming back with a mattress, blankets, diapers and some food.

    I particularly found Bruce’s Munich 2002 post from Zenit to be a worthwhile and welcome contribution. I had never seen it before.

    And I don’t see the bunny as angry, I see him as cute, maybe hunkering down for spiritual warfare? Anyway, could we stop splitting hares? 🙂

  94. Jim says:

    Diane, after reading post after post with Bruce and annonymouse going at it with each other, I’d certainly say that there was some anger there. He also went after christian and gaudium. I also believe that I have a right to call it out, without being criticized for expressing an opinion. The comment about the angry bunny was meant to be funny and defuse the situation. Lighten up. It’s Memorial Day. Out of respect for our fallen soldiers, I’ll say nothing more about this situation.

  95. christian says:

    Bruce-my understanding is what was considered as “annointing” in earlier times was a laying on of hands and prayers, sounding not that much different from commissioning ceremonies of eucharistic ministers or lectors/readers today. Annointing Ceremonies began more formal throughout the years. As I stated in my earlier post, I was only writing in to give my support of the deacons in our church, support Fr. Michael Mayer for being an outstanding priest, and to question the annointing of a man who has been acting in the best interest of those placed underneath him, and who has not come across serving in the Church for the right reasons.
    BTW-For any of you who would make it to my bedside in my hour of need, whether illness or injury, whether you are an ordained priest, ordained deacon, or an Eucharistic Minister, I would be grateful to you for coming.

  96. christian says:

    Bruce-my understanding is what was considered as “annointing” in earlier times was a laying on of hands and prayers, sounding not that much different from commissioning ceremonies of eucharistic ministers or lectors/readers today. Annointing Ceremonies began more formal throughout the years. As I stated in my earlier post – 1. I was only writing in to give my support of the deacons in our church 2. support Fr. Michael Mayer for being an outstanding priest 3. CORRECTION – and to question the annointing of a man who has NOT been acting in the best interest of those placed underneath him, and who has not come across serving in the Church for the right reasons.
    BTW-For any of you who would make it to my bedside in my hour of need, whether illness or injury, whether you are an ordained priest, ordained deacon, or an Eucharistic Minister, I would be grateful to you for coming.

  97. Bruce says:


    Only a priest can give you Anointing of the Sick, which washes away all sin and, in most cases, temporal punishment as well.

    To want anything less than a priest at your deathbed is foolish.

  98. Bruce says:

    I’ll just put this out there: Brother christian, do you believe and profess ALL that the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God? That, of course, would include the sacraments and all she teaches regarding them.

    Because, frankly, you give me the impression that you don’t.

  99. annonymouse says:

    Rich Leonardi – please don’t read anything into my post. I simply stated a fact – at the present time, the Church does not ordain women as deacons. That does not mean that I support women’s ordination or that I am opposed. What I support or oppose is meaningless. I support the Magisterium, and if the Pope and the bishops decide that women cannot be ordained deacons, that’s that. Unlike the ordination of women as priests, which John Paul forcefully and definitively foreclosed (stating that the Church has no authority to ordain women as priests), the Magisterium has not, to my knowledge (the non-binding opinion of a Commission of the CDF notwithstanding), made such a statement with respect to deacons.

    I expect that such a statement, one way or the other, will be shortly forthcoming, because (if I read the news correctly), the German Conference of Bishops announced a few weeks ago, publicly, that they support the ordination of women as deacons.

    With respect to whether women were ever “ordained” as deacons? The strong biblical and patristic evidence that the Church at one time had deaconesses does not mean that they were or were not “ordained.” I quoted a source above from the 300s that mentioned the laying on of hands on deaconesses – I am not in a position to judge whether that was an ordaination or not, or whether that rite was any different than that accorded to deacons. I do know what quite a few popes were selected directly from the diaconate rather than the presbyterate in those years; none of them were women.

  100. annonymouse says:

    Correction – it was the President of the German Conference who suggested that women may be deacons, and it appears that he advocates a non-ordained role of deaconess. My point stands, however – until Rome speaks definitively on this subject, advocates will continue to advocate.

  101. y2kscotty says:

    Bruce, what is it that causes you to say that “christian” doesn’t believe what the Church teaches about the sacraments? Please clarify.

  102. Richard Thomas says:

    Having someone other than a priest visiting the sick in official capacity puts one’s soul in danger. OF course, the non ordained will say “if you want to see a priest, I’ll get you one”, but the beauty of a priest visiting the sick is that he can immediately take advantage of the opportunity present and ask the person if he or she wants the sacrament of confession without a middleman or middlewoman.

    How often has a sinner become a penitent after seeing someone with the collar. You don’t get that with the non ordained. And for some, that may be their only opportunity to make themselves right with the Lord. What if someone tries getting a priest, or the penitent refuses an offer to get a priest and the penitent dies?

    Illness is a special time. One becomes aware of his or her mortality. And the sight of a priest in a collar, may be what inspireds the individual to ask for confession.

    Visiting the sick is a nice gesture and is a corporal work of mercy but too many times, I am afraid having religious people, other than priests visiting the sick only muddies the waters and puts souls in jeopardy.

  103. christian says:

    Yes Bruce, I do believe all that the church teaches – why would you believe that I do not.
    As far as annointing of the sick – last rites, I am only being realistic to the chance of a priest coming to my deathbed to give me last rites. –

    My mother lay dying of cancer in a hospital bed at Strong Memorial Hospital near Christmas, a little over 20 years ago, and the nun chaplain was not able to find a priest in the entire Diocese of Rochester, in a search that encompassed two days,to come and give my mother last rites before she died. The priest chaplain at Strong Memorial Hospital was off on vacation and the other priests in the diocese,including the pastor of the church where my mother was a registered parishioner, were off at a Diocesan-wide convocation. The pastor from our Catholic church at the time, who was in a religious order, was away, out of state, conducting business within his order’s council. MY MOTHER,A LIFE-LONG CATHOLIC, DIED WITHOUT LAST RITES, IN A HOSPITAL!
    Although my mother died early in the morning, she was left in bed until late evening, with all of us around her. I kept leaving periodically to check on the nun’s progress in the Chaplain’s Office at obtaining a priest to give her last rites, now after she had already died. She finally managed to get a retired priest to come that evening to give last rites. We thanked him for coming. After administering last rites, he told us that he knew it was tough happening just before Christmas, and then left.
    I made a complaint about the situation, especially having no priest on hand at a hospital, especially when there was that post at the time, and also having no priests available to give last rites. I received no reply in regard to my complaint.

    I know my mother is not an isolated case. I have heard other people’s stories regarding their Catholic relative dying without last rites because they could not get a priest to come to the hospital to give them last rites. I also had first hand experience some years ago, where as a healthcare provider, I could not get any priest to come in the middle of the night to give last rites to a dying patient. There was no priest assigned to this healthcare institution, and the one on call for the place related to it could not be reached. My sister, as a healthcare provider, had difficulty getting a priest inside the chaplain’s office at one of the local hospitals, (covering for the regular priest chaplain) to come to the floor during daytime hours to give last rites to a dying patient who had requested a priest. The priest told her that he was busy. My sister told him that he had no greater priority and went down to the Chaplain’s Office to “drag him bodily” to the floor to give the sacrament of last rites.

    Nowadays, hospitals do not want to pay out for a full-time priest as obviously, they do not see spiritual care a top priority. Priests who are in shortage already, are on a revolving assignment to cover a hospital along with their other duties, and they are not always in a position to come right away, or they may not always be reachable. MANY CATHOLICS DIE WITHOUT RECEIVING LAST RITES.

    No Bruce, I do not dispute the validity of a priest’s special role on the deathbed of forgiving sins and receiving the annointing of the sick – last rites. – I know there is a slim chance of a priest coming to give me last rites on my deathbed while I am still alive.

  104. christian says:


  105. Bruce says:

    @christian – so the problem is not enough priests. That, and sisters acting as chaplains. Softening Church teaching regarding who may administer last rites, who may be ordained a deacon, or who may be a pastor is not going to fix that.

    So what to do? I see your problem, but your solutions are not going to help.

  106. christian says:

    @ Bruce – I do not see what solutions you are talking about, which I have mentioned. You somehow have gotten the idea that I have advocated for women deacons from your posts, despite me writing repeatedly, that I had no such agenda. I was only stating an overview of history in the early church, many, many years ago. History is something that has already past which no one can do anything about.
    If i was to tell you that Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon and he did it in 1969, it would be a historical fact and I would not be advocating or protesting for him or another man to do it in the future.

    Yes, along with the priest shortage, you have situations were no priest has been assigned to even take calls for last rites when there is a diocesan-wide convocation or when a hospital priest chaplain decides to take off on a personal endeavor, like run a race, or go on vacation. And you have some priests who do not regard last rites as a priority, especially when the person in need is still alive and a priest has been requested. The particular hospital, parish, or diocese does not want to be responsible or accountable for priest availability, or the lack of priest availability, for giving last rites for those in need, at their hour of death.

    Most of us want mass with a priest residing. But I say, if a priest gets a call to give last rites to a person in need, I would want him to go minister to that person, and I would want the deacon available to take over and conduct a communion service using the consecrated hosts in the tabernacle. If a priest was at a committee meeting I was at, and he got a call to give last rites to a person in need, I would want him to leave that committee meeting and go minister to that person. Anything that we needed final approval for from the priest could wait until he was available. If I was with a priest at a parish dinner or a private dinner and he received a call to give last rites to a person in need, I would not be happy about him having to leave, but I would want him to leave to minister to that person.

    I had one priest tell me years ago that he did not think priests should live in a rectory connected to a church, but in a private residence undisclosed to the public. He told me priests deserved to live a regular work day like everyone else and be left alone when their workday was done. He did not like it when I reminded him that I got called at home on a regular basis when I was off duty, as did many people in healthcare.

  107. Richard Thomas says:

    Shouldn’t that priest read about Saints like St. John Vianney. 16 hours a day in the confessional. Fasted and did penance all his life. Was always the servant of his parishoners with the intention of them getting to heaven. A true shepheard

  108. Bruce says:

    @christian: Did you read what the head of the CDF said about women “deacons” in the history of the Church? Either he is wrong and you’re right, or the other way around. I’m inclined to side with the CDF.

    As for the rest, you’re still enabling the situation by settling for deacons. How about some solutions that don’t play into the agenda of Buffalo Road?

  109. Richard Thomas says:

    No one is s”settling for deacons”. We pray for more and holy priests. And may the deacons fufill their mission caring for the poor, sick and prisoners and any other good corporal work of mercy.

  110. Jim says:

    I didn’t want to weigh in again on this blog, but after reading about the relatives in the hospital who didn’t have a priest around to anoint them before death, I feel I have to comment. If a person is in danger of death, and “desires” greatly to receive the last rites, and/or confession from a priest before they die, and no priest is present, I certainly believe that the Lord, in His Infinite Mercy and Compassion, knows that person’s heart, and the strong desire to reconcile with Him, and (now listen carefully) THAT PERSON’S DESIRE is certainly not ignored by God! We cannot delegate the Salvation of Jesus Christ and place it in a nice little box. The Lord is not about to condemn a person to an eternity of punishment, on the premise that by accident or situation, a priest could not be present there to perform the rites. There is also such a thing in our Catholic Church known as the Baptism of Desire; where, if a person is dying, and no one is present there to baptize them, they can be fully baptized, if they have the desire to be so. I get upset when I see where people have no knowledge of the Infinite Love of Jesus Christ that goes far beyond our limited comprehension of Him. Having said this, I am also implying that this, in no way, subtracts or diminishes from the priest’s ultimate importance in administering the Last Sacraments to the dying person.

  111. Richard Thomas says:


    All I am saying is the presence of a priest in a collar might turn a previously unrepentant person to a repentant one. That is why having priests a chaplains is a good idea.

  112. Richard Thomas says:

    In Utica, there is an elderly priest who is hospital chaplain. You mean to tell me some of our “retired” priests can’t volunteer in that capacity?

    Boy. How diabolical ws the rule that priests retire at age 70. Look at the induced priest shortages. So many souls short changed. But the leader able to retire and still do his diabolical actions until age 75

  113. Jim says:

    @ Richard Thomas…Yes, I agree….there should be more hospital chaplains. Although, I know that a lot of retired priests in this diocese do volunteer and help out where and when ever they can. I know at least more than a few of them who are in residence in some of the “Legacy” Nursing homes in the area, where they celebrate daily Mass and distribute the sacraments. Many of these priests are still working in their priestly capacities, well beyond age 70. It’s just too bad that there aren’t more vocations out there, to make up for the priestly shortage.

  114. Richard Thomas says:


    How true. We can only hope for an increase. Someone told me the affluent society was a reason people shunned vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Now, with the economy turning sour and only getting worse, young people will not be as swayed by the “trappings” of the world.

  115. christian says:

    I agree with Richard Thomas’s post on May 28th on “settling on deacons” and definitely agree with Jim’s comments.
    I might emphasize with the case of my mother dying without last rites when she was still alive,- THERE WAS A PRIEST CHAPLAIN AT STRONG MEMORIAL HOSPITAL AT THAT TIME – HE WAS OFF ON A VACATION AT THE SAME TIME A DIOCESAN-WIDE CONVOCATION OF PRIESTS WAS TAKING PLACE. It makes me wonder who authorizes vacations and why would they authorize him to take a vacation when other priests are away at a convocation? In many instances, I get the impression that there is incompetency and lack of communication at the top.-And obviously, there was no regard to what people who were in need of last rites were going to do.

  116. Richard Thomas says:


    We’ll keep your mother in our prayers

  117. christian says:

    Thank you.

  118. Interstate Catholic says:

    Fr. Mayer ended up in Geneva as Parochial Vicar.

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