Thursday, 25 November 2010

If you're you call for the parish administrator?

Something a Deacon just cannot do

My guess is not and now here comes the unkind cut; all too often a sick call request to the Presbytery results in the appearance of a Deacon. I am sure Deacons are good and well intentioned people but, in extremis, I would want a priest to hear my confession and/or to administer the Sacrament of Extreme Unction euphemistically called, these days, The Sacrament of the Sick.
On two occasions in the past month urgent requests on behalf of potentially dying relatives and friends have resulted in a Deacon arriving to administer Holy Communion. I suppose I should be grateful that it was not an Extraordinary Minister.
Priests are, busy people (at least all the ones I know are) but the salvation of a soul is the very essence of their  vocation. It must be a tremendous feeling to have administered the last rites to someone who has not been near a confessional in 50 years - a soul snatched from the grasp of the devil! A real and wonderful success for their priestly aims. And just think how many souls a priest could save by this method over the years, hundreds, maybe thousands.
A Deacon turning up deprives that person of the Sacrament of Penance, it's as simple as that. In a management situation one would review the duties that occupy the priest and see if the roles could not be exchanged. The Deacon remains at the Presbytery drafting sermons or doing the Diocesan accounts while the priest goes out to do what he is there for.
It can't be as simple as that can it?


  1. "Extreme Unction" had a real ring to it. Any takers for the Sacrament of the Slightly Off-Colour?

  2. Sadly I agree with with you. Many students, following a protege of Archbishop Bowen and his heretical Professor of Moral theology at Wonersh, followed his ( te profeesor's) teaching on "fundamental orientation". Something I challenged when I was a full-time hospital chaplain. I had to give some pastoral talks then at Wonersh.But to little avail!

  3. That pr0ofessor left the priesthood. What a pity Archbishop Bowen didn't!

  4. Touched a sore point there Richard ... see my Blog post on Tuesday "Rescue Drive" based on a real story.

    Priests these days (in my experience) are too busy with Ecumenical Meetings, Parish Council and umpteen other important things like playing golf to have to deal with parishioners in need. Parishioners are such a distraction aren't they, to the REAL job of being a priest.

    Mat I ask a question re your post? If a Deacon attends to give Communion, whereas the individual on his death bed has not been to Confession for years ... does this "count"? How does it work exactly ... receiving Communion without a Confession to a priest? I take it Deacons can't hear Confessions? Am I right?

    God bless.

  5. Thanks Victor. Deacons do not have the faculties to hear confessions. Therefore, if a dying person receives Holy Communion whilst in a state of grace from a Deacon, that is fine. If they are in a state of mortal sin.......?

  6. Thanx Richard.

    That question mark of yours is really worrying isn't it? What if an individual is on his death bed, in a state of mortal sin, and a deacon visits to give Communion?

    God bless.

  7. Thank you very much for this post! Here in Germany it is really difficult, well, almost impossible to get a priest for confession, communion and unction...
    Communion for the sick is almost always in the hands of the Extraordinary Minister.
    Prieste seem to be too busy to come to a sick person´s home or the hospital!

    Please, pray for faithful priests!