The Church in Ireland has resisted the permanent diaconate. When my favorite deacon assists at Sunday Mass there, people can’t figure out what the heck he is. This has led to some humerus reactions like the time that the woman in the pew behind me said t0 her husband, “that priest was holding hands in the parking lot with your one (that would be me)”.
That is about to change:
“THE first married men to be permitted to baptise children and officiate at weddings will be ordained in the Irish Catholic Church next month.
The church is looking to deacons to do some of the jobs of the clergy because vocations to the priesthood are at an all-time low.
And eight married men are to be ordained deacons in Dublin next month.
Deacons are sometimes described as ‘priests-lite’. They can do almost everything a priest can do except say Mass or hear confession. The men who will be ordained in Dublin next month have been in training for a number of years.
They will assist hard-pressed priests who are struggling to keep up with parishioners’ needs, and will also preach at Masses and officiate at funerals.
While married deacons are common in the church in other parts of the world, Ireland was reluctant to restore the ancient ministry and Irish bishops only agreed to do so in 2001.”
I have never, thankfully, heard of deacon’s being described as “priests-lite”. Perhaps I live a sheltered life.