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November 2011

EDITORIAL 2 Ashley Beck and Tony Schmitz

National Assembly of Deacons in England and Wales and North European International Diaconate Conference, 24-26 June 2011 THE DEACON IN THE BODY OF CHRIST 4

Address of Welcome Philip Esler


Theological disposition for pastoral ministry Michael Hayes


The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate William Cavanaugh


Homily for Saturday Mass of Our Lady Keith Patrick O’Brien


The Deacon in the Body of Christ: Messenger from the world to the Church Jozef Wissink


Homily at Vespers and Benediction Paul Hendricks


Preparing the Sunday Homily Duncan Macpherson


Homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi Vincent Nichols


The Rt Revd Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia John Morrill


The Deacon and Holy Week Terry Drainey


International Theological Commission Chapter IV: The Sacramentality of the Diaconate Tony Schmitz


Deacons and the Euro II Ashley Beck


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eview The Deacon


Published November & May each year by: International Diaconate Centre – North European Circle (IDC-NEC) 77 University Road, Aberdeen, AB24 3DR, Scotland. Tel: 01224 481810 (from outside UK: +44 1224 481810) A Charitable Company Registered in England In association with The Pastoral Review, The Tablet Publishing Company Ltd, 1 King Street Cloisters, Clifton Walk, London W6 0GY, UK. Website Board of the IDC–NEC Tony Schmitz (Chair), Ashley Beck, Göran Fäldt, Justin Harkin, Nelleke Wijngaards-Serrarens, Wim Tobé, John Traynor, Benas Ulevicius, Guy Vermaerke, Paul Wennekes, Leo McNicholas Editors Tony Schmitz Ashley Beck Contributions are welcome from readers. Please send material to the editors at the e-mail addresses above. For style details please consult the website of The Pastoral Review Editorial consultants Dr John N Collins Australia Rt Revd Gerard de Korte Netherlands Revd Dr William Ditewig USA Revd Prof Dr Michael Hayes Ireland Revd Prof Bart Koet Netherlands Rt Revd Vincent Logan Scotland Most Revd Sigitas Tamkevicius Lithuania Advertisement manager Sandra Townsley Tel: 01463 831133 (from outside UK: +44 1463 831133) Designer James Chasteauneuf © The Tablet Publishing Company Limited ISSN 1759-1902 Subscriptions and membership of IDC-NEC IDC-NEC, Barclays Bank, Account No. 33875717 Sort Code: 20-91-48 IBAN GB89 BARC 2091 4833 8757 17 SWIFTBIC BARCGB22 1 year = £15 / 20 euros (or equivalent in other currencies) By post: IDC-NEC, 77 University Road, Aberdeen AB24 3DR, UK Online: (main currencies)



ost of this issue of the New Diaconal Review is made up of papers and homilies from the National Assembly of Deacons in England and Wales and North European conference of the International Diaconate Study Centre, which took place at the end of June at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham. The assemblies, normally held every four years, have been taking place for some years now; this was the first time the event was combined with a conference aimed at deacons from northern Europe. It was also the first time the event took place in an academic institution rather than a hotel. As the Principal of St Mary’s points out in his thought-provoking address of welcome, the history and charism of the university college, in terms of providing education for people from poor backgrounds, is an important part of the heritage of Catholic education in the British Isles: this fits in well with the deacon’s charism and his calling to ‘transform the world according to the Christian order’ and have a specialist knowledge of Catholic social doctrine. Reactions suggest that the event was seen as a great success, and we are grateful to all those who worked hard to ensure this, particularly the staff of the university college. It was a privilege to welcome the leaders of the Catholic community in Britain, Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who presided at our Eucharistic worship over the weekend, and the homilies they preached are published here. One of the auxiliary Bishops from the Archdiocese of Southwark, Bishop Paul Hendricks, stayed with us for the whole weekend and his homily at Vespers is reproduced here as well. The three keynote addresses, as you will see, were profound and challenging (Professor Wissink from the Netherlands was prevented from being physically present because of the death of his brother a couple of days beforehand, but his text was delivered by Deacon Paul Wennekes). One of the keynote lecturers, Professor Michael Hayes,

New Diaconal Review Issue 7

in the Body of Christ has also played a big part in the establishment and development of this journal and we wish him well in his new role as President of Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. The five workshops were also a great success, but as you can imagine much of what was delivered in that setting did not take the form of a written text; one of the workshop leaders, Louisa Warren, has previously written about Strengthsfinder in the this journal1. The workshop talk by Dr Duncan Macpherson is given here; the other workshops leaders were Dr Anthony Towey (St Mary’s University College, Twickenham), Dr Benas Ulevicius (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas) and Nelleke WijngaardsSerrarens2. A journal cannot record everything: one of the highlights was the banquet on the Saturday evening in the stunning Waldegrave Drawing Room. Together with a speech from Professor Hayes we were entertained by the our publisher, Ignatius Kusiak, and we are grateful to the Tablet and The Pastoral Review for their generous sponsorship The theme of the assembly/conference was designed to deepen our ecclesiological understanding of the deacon. What is it that the deacon’s ministry teaches us about the nature of the Church? Our three keynote speakers addressed this in the light of their own considerable pastoral experience and theological vision, and we were privileged that they were able to share their insights with us. This vision was complemented by the reflections of the bishops who were with us. Our hope is that this issue of the journal, recording the proceedings of our gathering, will help people locate more firmly the diaconate in the life of the Church.

There were some disappointments: far fewer participants came from outside England and Wales than we had hoped. I would urge our readers in Scotland, Ireland and the rest of Europe to try and come to the next such event, which should be in four years’ time. As on other occasions involving permanent deacons in England and Wales, it proved impossible to excite any interest in the event from the Catholic press. In the remainder of this issue we publish a second article reflecting on the single European currency in the light of Catholic Social teaching. The current crisis makes this topic more urgent than ever, and deacons have an important role to play in dispelling myths and falsehoods. Bishop Terry Drainey is now the bishop in England and Wales responsible for clergy formation, and we reproduce a paper he gave a year ago at our annual directors’ and delegates conference in Leeds. We continue our series of newly translated extracts from the ITC document on the diaconate, and we also include an obituary of one of our editorial consultants, Bishop Michael Evans, who died in the summer. His address on the diaconate at the last assembly in England (in Lowestoft in 2006) sparked off a lively debate about the diaconate in our sister journal The Pastoral Review (which some people dubbed ‘Deacons’ Wars’) and his presence in the Bishops Conference of England and Wales will be sorely missed. We do urgently need more subscribers if this journal is to survive. Please make sure your subscription is up to date and do your best to encourage others to subscribe. ■

1 ‘Developing Talents: how Diaconate Students have been developing their strengths’ New Diaconal Review issue 4 (May 2010). 2 Her workshop reflected research in her two publications, Partners in Solidarity and Care of the Deacons’ Widows. New Diaconal Review Issue 7




Ashley Beck and Tony Schmitz


Philip Esler

The assembly/conference began as participants gathered in the chapel of St Mary’s University College in the early evening of Friday 24 June, the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist. This chapel had been the scene of an act of worship led by Pope Benedict XVI when he arrived at the university college the previous September. The participants were formally welcomed to the university college by the Principal, Professor Philip Esler. He has been principal since October 2010 and was formerly Professor of Biblical Interpretation at the University of St Andrews.

Good afternoon everyone It is extremely gratifying for me to be able to welcome you here today, at the commencement of your conference. There are so many of you, this is such an important event (with participants from across the UK and Europe) and what you will be discussing, reflecting and praying upon in the days ahead is so close to our mission. We are very proud to be the institution that hosts the diaconate formation programme covering nine dioceses in southern England and Wales. We are also delighted to welcome colleagues associated with the International Diaconate Study Centre. We are increasingly a place in the UK where the Church comes to think and you are very welcome contributors to that role. St Mary’s University College Twickenham was founded in 1850 as a college to train teachers to teach the children of poor Catholic families. We started with six students. In the 1890s we were given into the care of the Vincentian order, known for their effective love for the poor, and they led us, for a hundred years, until 1992. In the 1920s St Mary’s moved to this peaceful 36 acre site, which includes Horace Walpole’s house that stimulated the 4

Address Gothic revival world-wide, and this beautiful chapel was erected in 1962. Our mission is highly student-focused and is nourished by our Catholic ethos and Christian values. We aim to help our students have successful careers and flourishing lives. We assist them to develop intellectually, physically and spiritually, with these three aspects symbolized by the close proximity on our campus of library, chapel and running-track. We have excellent teaching, informed by increasingly world-class research and within six months of graduation 95% of our students have jobs. We hope that next year we will achieve university title and thus become the first Catholic university in the UK since the Reformation. Yet our original mission to the poor and the marginalized remains central to who we are and what we stand for. 25% of our students come from families that earn less than £15,000 per annum and 33% come from families earning less than £25,000. But these students graduate just as successfully as those from more advantaged backgrounds. I have no doubt that many if not most of you are involved in ministries to people like these, people whom the Hebrew Bible calls the anawim, the humble of the earth on whom God’s favour rests. As I am a biblical critic, let me push into some of the biblical dimensions of this mission. This College is named in honour of Mary. You will recall her towering words from the Magnificat, in Luke 1:52: ‘He has pulled down the mighty from

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and North European Internation Diaconate Conference, 24-26 June 2011


Welcome their thrones, He has exalted the lowly.’ ‘He has exalted the lowly.’ In the Greek hupsosen tapeinous and in Jerome’s Latin exaltavit humiles. That is the core of St Mary’s mission, exaltare humiles, to raise up the lowly, and I am sure it is close to the heart of all of you. It is also a dominant theme in the Old Testament. Mary’s words in the Magnificat, after all, reflect those of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:7-8: ‘Yahweh makes poor and rich, He humbles and also exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the dung-hill.’ But there is another Old Testament figure I wish to mention here – it is the young David. David and Solomon are very much on my mind this afternoon since our daughter is working on an archaeological excavation in Gezer, an important site south of Jerusalem, and yesterday the team hit a layer very rich in finds in what may be the street level of the city in the time of Solomon in the late 10th Century BC. Think about David in 1 Samuel 16-17. He is the youngest of seven brothers and as such he gets the nastiest job – the isolated, dirty and dangerous one of shepherd to the family’s flocks. He ranks so low in the family hierarchy that his father Jesse forgets

about him when the prophet Samuel turns up to anoint one of his sons. Having unsuccessfully tried to anoint the other six, Samuel asks in exasperation, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ (1 Sam 16:11). So Jesse remembers he does have a seventh son, and David is summoned and duly anointed. Yet one can easily miss just what is special about David. Let us reach for some help. On the 17th September last year, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, opened his visit to England with a morning spent here at St Mary’s. He spoke in this very Chapel and in two other places on campus. The theme of his visit was Cor ad Cor Loquitur, ‘Heart speaks to Heart’, the motto of the Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, who was beatified in Birmingham during this papal visit. At the time of Pope Benedict’s visit I was finishing the manuscript of a book on Old Testament narrative and grappling with the presentation of David in 1 Samuel 1617. I realised that here we had an Old Testament example of Cor ad cor loquitur.1 To see how let us go back a little earlier in the narrative, to 1 Samuel 13. Having had Samuel anoint Saul king, Yahweh becomes dissatisfied with Saul and looks for a replacement. He sends Samuel to Saul to say, among other things, ‘Yahweh has searched out a man for himself after his own heart and designated him leader of his people.’ This is David, of course, and in him Yahweh has found a match for

1 Esler, P.F. Sex, Wives, and Warriors: Reading Biblical Narrative with Its Ancient Audience (Wipf & Stock: Eugene, OR, 2011). New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

National Assembly of Deacons in England and Wales

Address of welcome – Philip Esler

It takes one of the lowly to put God into the picture.

what lies in his, Yahweh’s, heart. Fast forward again a few chapters to Samuel’s anointing of David. Why did Yahweh instruct Samuel not to anoint the oldest son? Because ‘God does not see as human beings see; human beings look at appearances but Yahweh looks into the heart’ (1 Sam. 16:7). That Yahweh instructed Samuel to anoint David shows he had looked into this young and insignificant shepherd’s heart and liked what he saw, someone indeed after his own heart: Cor ad cor loquitur. Consider the reality of that bond. Shortly afterwards the Philistines invade Israel. This happens in 1 Samuel 17. The two armies draw up for battle on opposite sides of a valley. A giant Philistine warrior Goliath marches out and challenges Israel to send a warrior out to him for single combat. This goes on for forty days and not a single Israelite is brave enough to volunteer, not even King Saul, in spite of the fact that he stood head and shoulders taller than the rest of the Israelites (1 Sam. 9:2), which is one of the reasons why he was chosen to be king and lead them in battle in the first place. Enter David, coming to bring provisions to his big brothers in Saul’s army. He is affronted at the shame Goliath is pouring on Israel and says: ‘Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who dares to insult the armies of …..’

It takes one of the humiles to show his loyalty and devotion to his God by expressing outrage that he has been insulted. And there is more. When Saul tries to dissuade this young man from fighting Goliath, David replies, having recounted his previous success at killing lions and bears who tried to devour his father’s sheep, ‘Yahweh who rescued me from the claws of lion and bear will rescue me from the power of this Philistine’ (1 Sam. 17:37). So David attributes his victories to God. He is someone who lives with a rich awareness of, and belief in, the reality of God’s saving presence. Yet this devotion to his God is portrayed as unique in all Israel. God’s having Samuel anoint David king was no accident. As we consider this superlative biblical picture of what faith in God might be like among the lowly and how God regularly acts in the Old Testament to raise them from their low estate, I find confirmation for the St Mary’s mission. I find a sense of our strong links with our ancestors in faith who produced these texts and lived out their insights. I also find hope that these texts will sustain your own, different and yet similar missions and ministries. Yet I would like to end this afternoon with something from the New Testament, from St Paul, which is very relevant to the ministries of all of us.

This is the first time God is mentioned in 1 Samuel 17.

At one point in Second Corinthians, towards the end of Chapter 2, Paul says that:


Quite remarkably, Paul views the knowledge of God as a sweet smell and identifies that smell with us, with us who are said to be Christ’s. This is very bold, for while a particular pleasant smell can have a potent impact on us, for example by transporting us back to some moment in our past life and reminding us of our identity, smells are also variable in strength and evanescent. Paul is very far from suggesting that the knowledge of God in the world that we might convey will land with hammer blows. Nevertheless, he is insistent that as we go about our ministries we have this potential to affect the world. We will be, to quote

Cor ad cor loquitur

At this point David could have said ‘armies of Israel’, or ‘armies of Saul’, but instead he says, ‘armies of the living God.’ ‘Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who dares to insult the armies of the living God.’

Among all the warriors of Israel, it takes a young shepherd to do it.

himself in every place. We are Christ’s incense to God for those who are being saved and for those who are not.

through us God is spreading the sweet fragrance of knowledge of

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Paul again, ‘the first sweet smell of life that leads to life’ (2 Cor. 2:16). This is a very subtle view of the role of Christians in the world, but one that well reflects Paul’s Promethean intellect and powers of expression. And at the end of 2 Corinthians comes a statement that applies both to why St Mary’s exists and why you are undertaking your vital ministries: ‘In Christ, we speak with sincerity, from God and in the presence of God.’ On behalf of the staff, students and Governors of St Mary’s, I wish you a successful conference and express the hope that links forged in these next few days between yourselves and St Mary’s will continue to flourish in the years ahead. Please remember us as a place where the Church comes to think. ■

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The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Address of welcome – Philip Esler

Michael Hayes

The first keynote lecture was given in the evening of Friday 24 June. Michael Hayes is a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark and is now President of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, in the Republic of Ireland. Prior to this October he was Vice-Principal of Revelation suggests, ‘if anyone has ears to St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, hear, let him listen to what the Spirit and Professor of Catholic Theology. is saying to the churches’ (Rev. 2.7). The Church is always engaged in the process of listening and responding, for She is always called to present, in every time and place, ood evening and I would like to add the eternal Word uttered in the beginning. my welcome to you to St Mary’s for And so The Pastoral Review has established this National Assembly of Deacons and a good reputation in recent years for helpIDC North European Conference on ‘The ing clergy and laypeople in this process, in Deacon in the Body of Christ’. accordance with the history and traditions of the journal. Thirty two years ago on 16th April 1979 I was ordained a deacon by the late Important articles about the diaconate Archbishop Dermot Ryan of Dublin. While have been published in The Pastoral I was clear that my ordination was part of a threefold ministry of deacon, priest, and bishop, it was very much a transitional ministry as part of and a step towards priestly ordination which happened in June 1980. My own diocese of Southwark first ordained permanent deacons in the late 1970s and so when I began my pastoral ministry as a priest 31 years ago I encountered for the first time permanent deacons. But I am no expert on the permanent diaconate and I make no pretence at that here either. I have been, however, editor of The Pastoral Review for the last seven years, and it is for that reason that I am probably here this evening.


The Pastoral Review published here in London by The Tablet Publishing Company (TPC) aims to help people integrate theological study with day-to-day experiences in parishes and other pastoral settings. The journal understands that the task of attempting to interpret pastoral concerns is never simply a search for answers but always carries with it the demand to discern the working of God’s Spirit. This means, as the author of the Book of 8

‘who’ is it that is ‘doing’ the work and what is their theological disposition – what is the theology that is informing their ministry? What is the theological underpinning of their ministry? Review in the last few years. These began in the July/August 2006 edition with an article by Bishop Michael Evans of the diocese of East Anglia ‘The Deacon: An Icon of Christ the Servant’ which focused on the ministry of charity as having primacy among the deacons’ roles of service. That

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disposition for pastoral article sparked off an important debate over many editions on the role and purpose of the permanent diaconate. The discourse has been further advanced, in my view, with an article in the January/ February 2011 edition by a former doctoral student of mine, Bridie Stringer, ‘The Permanent Deacon – social intermediary and minister of the threshold’. This article is a summary of her significant doctoral thesis on the same topic. Dr Stringer moves the debate from focusing on an understanding of the permanent diaconate based on an interpretation of service in Acts 6 to a focus on the deacon’s role as a social intermediary and sets this in the context of public witness within the community of the faithful at the celebration of the Eucharist. The world wide International Diaconate Study Centre (IDC/IDZ), based in Germany and under the care of the Bishops’ Conference of Germany, has in recent years been trying to devolve its activities to increase the ways in which it can support permanent deacons, those involved in the formation of deacons, and others working in ‘diaconal’ ministry. Consequently a number of local regional networks have been established and in 2006 one such group was set up for northern Europe (NEC), to include Britain and Ireland, and countries in northern Europe where a high proportion of people can speak or read English. One of the primary aims of this network was to publish a theological journal on the diaconate, partly to disseminate to Anglophone readers material (including items from the official IDC journal, Diakonia Christi) originally written in German, Dutch, French, Italian,

ministry Spanish and other languages. A partnership was established between the IDCNEC and The Pastoral Review and it was agreed that a new journal, the New Diaconal Review, would be published alongside The Pastoral Review twice a year. As the permanent diaconate has become an important part of parish life in most of Europe and North America, the partnership of the two journals reflects this and the need for proper theological reflection about the diaconate and the sharing of good pastoral practice. Other than two ‘popular’ journals devoted to the diaconate in the United States, the New Diaconal Review is the only academic journal on the diaconate in the world in English. The Pastoral Review and the New Diaconal Review both aim to be a resource for the Church, to help clergy and laypeople to reflect theologically on the way the Church makes known the message of Christ in the 21st century, and to try and build people’s confidence in their different forms of ministry. The diaconate is an important and developing part of this picture. My interest is in pastoral theology and this academic curiosity is not so much on what people do pastorally – although I am very interested in this – but more so on the disposition of the practitioner. In other words ‘who’ is it that is ‘doing’ the work and what is their theological disposition – what is the theology that is informing their ministry. What is the theological under-pinning of their ministry? So I am interested in the framework – theologically – which contextualises the ministry of pastoral practitioners whether they are clerical or lay.

New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ


I want to now share with you what I consider are three key characteristics which inform a theological disposition for pastoral ministry. For this purpose I am drawing on the works of David Tracy, Andrew Greeley, Thomas Rausch and some other commentators. You may well be familiar with broad ideas I am going to share with you, but perhaps not the approach that I will take in presenting these ideas.

Sacramental imagination I carry in my role here at St Mary’s, inter alia, the international portfolio. This has required a considerable amount of overseas travel in the last three years. Earlier this year, in February, I was in Colombia where we have begun the process of recruiting students. I had also, as part of my visit there, been invited to give a lecture on Leadership in Catholic Education in Barranquilla a port city in the north of Colombia. The lecture took place in the Chapel of Marymount School where this stained glass is in the window above the altar.

It is by the Colombian artist Alejandro Obregón (1920-1992), who incidentally spent his childhood in Barranquilla and Liverpool! What are the images that strike you about this stained glass? And so my first characteristic is sacramental imagination. 1 2


The sociologist Andrew Greeley has observed that Catholics have a deep religious sensibility with regard to ‘holy things’ such as statues, rosary beads, holy pictures, stained glass, candles and the like. He says ‘these Catholic paraphernalia are mere hints of a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility which inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation. As Catholics, we find our houses and our world haunted by a sense that the objects, events, and persons of daily life are revelations of grace.’1 He refers to this Catholic imagination as sacramental. Others have used the term ‘analogical’ imagination, for it emphasises the metaphorical nature of creation2. It is to see the whole of creation as a revelation of the divine presence of God. In theological terms this speaks of an incarnational theology; it is to see the world and all within it as revealing of God. Human beings live in a world where everything is received through the operation of the senses. Sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste enable the person to relate to creation, and the person constructs an understanding from the mass of data so perceived. The Catholic insistence is that such data also conveys something of the origin and foundation of all such creation. It communicates something of God, and that not simply as information, but also as presence. It is in that sense that we can call creation ‘sacramental’. The perhaps classical, even if banal, example is of a beautiful sunset which speaks of transcendence to the observer. Blessed John Henry Newman, challenging the rationalising world-view of his time, argued that people came to faith not primarily through intellectual reasoning, but through more informal and experiential

Greely, A. The Catholic Imagination (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001) p. 1. See Tracy, D. The Analogical Imagination: Christian Theology and the Cultural of Pluralism (London: SCM, 1981). New Diaconal Review Issue 7

Theological disposition for pastoral ministry – Michael Hayes

channels. He writes: ‘the heart is commonly reached, not through the reason but through the imagination…’3 It is not education in a formal sense that brings people to faith, but the experience of the world in all its many facets that may expose them to an awareness of the divine which through reflection may lead to faith. Events, times, places and objects have then the possibility of revealing this deeper character, and Catholic theology insists that human beings can discover in these indications of the divine presence. (See Romans chapter 1, Wisdom chapter 13, Vatican I: Dei Filius.) This conviction underpins the whole sacramental life of the Catholic Church. Actions, words, ele-

As Catholics, we find our houses and our world haunted by a sense that the objects, events, and persons of daily life are revelations of grace ments, gestures and objects communicate from within this world-view. Artists have always had the task of taking matter and using it to express their insights and perceptions at a deeper level and in a more explicit manner. When artists who have a religious allegiance create works of art they can imbue those works with their vision, and appeal directly not only to the aesthetic taste of the recipient, but also communicate their religious insight. Those who classify themselves or are classified as religious artists, such as Alejandro Obregón, bring this sacramental imagination to life for those who listen to their 3

music or ponder their works of art or marvel at their wordsmith use of language. Elgar’s great choral masterpiece, his oratorio, Opus 38, the setting of Newman’s poem ‘The Dream of Gerontius’ comes to mind here. This work can be perceived as an example of sacramental imagination. It has an uncompromising Catholic sacramental vision of life and death, and was illreceived by many on that account at its first performance. Nonetheless its popularity – and influence, theological as well as musical – has endured. In a moving score with highlights including the invocation by the priest to Gerontius – as part 1 ends to ‘go forth, Christian soul’ (Proficiscere, anima Christiana, de hoc mundo); or, in part 2, the moving plea of the Angel of the Agony for the souls of the faithful: ‘Jesu! spare these souls which are so dear to Thee.’ Elgar uses his musical genius to express Newman’s theological vision. Newman tells in an imaginative way the story of the journey of a soul (Gerontius – an old man) after death and provides a Roman Catholic theological meditation on life after death. When the sixteenth century Reformers – and their subsequent and contemporary followers – railed against statues and processions, against wall paintings and elaborate polyphony, and the like, they did so believing them to be obstacles put between the living God and God’s people. Sacramental imagination, however, suggests that in the hands of a skilled craftsman or craftswoman and an artistic genius these are channels of God’s self-communication. When we use the word ‘inspired’ of sacred scripture it is because it speaks God’s word to us; when we use the word ‘inspired’ of Newman or Elgar or Obregón, we are recognising that here too God is speaking, for this too communicates the divine.

Newman, J. H. The Grammar of Assent (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1901) p. 94. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Theological disposition for pastoral ministry – Michael Hayes

Communion The second characteristic is communion. I am not going to show an image for this as each of us experience communion in a variety of different settings, including this one this evening. Communion is defined in the dictionary as: 1a The action or fact of sharing or holding something in common with others; mutual participation; the condition of things so held, mutuality, community, union. b The fact of being associated or linked; association, connection. 2a The fellowship or mutual relationship between members of one church, or between bodies which recognize each other fully as branches of the universal Christian Church; membership of a church. (Oxford English Dictionary) Group analysis as a form of group psychotherapy was founded in the 1940’s by S.H. Foulkes who was responding to the needs and problems of large groups of sol-

Foulkes discovered ... that a group grows by what it shares and it shares what it has in common. That insight can help explore the Mystery which is the Church diers returning to England after World War II. Foulkes had trained as a psychoanalyst in Vienna and had become a refugee in England in the 1930s. After the war the methods of group analysis were developed and broadened to offer an understanding to individuals of their relationship in groups in order to assist in human integration. Group psychotherapy combines both the insights of psychoanalysis and an 12

understanding of the social and interpersonal functioning of human beings. A valuable insight that Foulkes discovered was that a group grows by what it shares and it shares what it has in common. That insight can help explore the Mystery which is the Church. As human beings we are social beings – it is of our nature to belong to one another, to relate to one another. A key element in Christian theology which expresses that is the doctrine of communion – the idea that people are one in union with – in union with one another and with God. In contemporary culture where there is a strong focus on the autonomy of the individual, this can sometimes meet resistance in differing ways, as people may fear that they will lose their personal identity. However, the Vatican II document on the Church, Lumen Gentium, in a very strong and clear statement affirms: ‘(God) has, however, willed to make people holy and save them, not as individuals, without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness’ (no. 9). It is not that Christians happen to think alike, or prefer to get together as some sort of ‘club’ – it is that by being drawn by God, Christians are thereby drawn together. St Paul in his writings is adamant in insisting on this aspect of the Christian reality. Time and again he emphasises the way in which the members of the communities he addresses belong together. His most powerful image affirming this is that of the ‘body’ where each individual is a member of the whole body – which is Christ. Indeed he refers 62 times in his writings to that image which offers an understanding of the community of believers as the body of which each is a part. The Greek word employed in the New Testament for the Church as a communion is koinonia (Acts 2.42) which can also be

New Diaconal Review Issue 7

Theological disposition for pastoral ministry – Michael Hayes

translated as ‘fellowship’, ‘participation’, ‘solidarity’ or even ‘intimacy’. These other words indicate strongly that communion is something active not passive, it is something consciously built up within the Church in its life of liturgy, service, witness and proclamation. Theologically koinonia refers to the participation of the Christian in the life of God and to the communal life it creates. The Church understands – and expresses – herself as a communion. This is not a minor truth to be held. When the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops met in 1985 to reflect on the significance of Vatican II they made a profound

It is not that Christians happen to think alike, or prefer to get together as some sort of ‘club’ – it is that by being drawn by God, Christians are thereby drawn together assertion in their final document: ‘The ecclesiology of communion is the central and fundamental idea in the Council’s documents’. The climax of this communion is life in God – a participation in the life of the Trinity. God ‘in whom we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17.28), draws the individual into community, into a sharing in the divine life, where the Christian calls out ‘Abba Father’ and prays with Jesus in the Spirit. What the Christian community shares in common, its koine, is the reality of God’s intervention in Christ and made known in the great narrative transmitted over time and experienced daily in many and varied graces of ordinary living. It is the sharing of this story and its lived expression in the lives of countless members, which enables 4

the Church to grow and flourish and to facilitate for those who participate in her life, the reality of integration with God and others which is communion. In one of the Sunday Prefaces of the liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest prays: You gather them into your Church, to be one as you, Father, are one with your Son and the Holy Spirit. You call them to be your people, to praise you in all your works. You make them the body of Christ and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.4

Hierarchy The third characteristic is hierarchy. And here I want use a second image – that of an orchid! Orchids are epiphytes – they are plants that grow on another plant without being parasitic. If they were parasitic plants – mistletoe for example – they would derive their sustenance from another plant without rendering it any service in return. Orchids are organisms that grow on another plant while giving sustenance to that plant – they give service to that which gives them life. The social psychologist Abraham Maslow’s idea of a hierarchy of needs is sometimes criticised as being too much based on an individualistic view of the human person; it can, however, be a useful mechanism for engagement with the concept of human need. His hierarchy of need describes, in the layers of a pyramid, an ascending order of human needs with the most basic need, physiological, at the bottom rising through safety, love/belonging, to esteem and final-

Preface VIII for Sundays – Roman Missal New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Theological disposition for pastoral ministry – Michael Hayes

ly to self-realisation as the top layer in a schematic attempt to understand the relationship of different kinds of needs. Maslow uses the word hierarchy to denote a consistent order within the field he is describing. The same word hierarchy is of course used in many contexts. Financial management will speak of a hierarchy of ratios and a hierarchy of action. The theology from the Second Vatican Council introduced the idea of a ‘hierarchy of truths’ in the Christian faith (Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio 11). In many areas of life and many different institutions, the idea of a hierarchy is to be found. It is because the word and concept of hierarchy is so useful that it has been adopted in so many fields since the Enlightenment, but its origins are much older. In the late 5th century Pseudo Dionysius developed the idea when he wrote a text: De Coelesti Hierarchai (Celestial Hierarchy) on angelic orders where he describes hierarchy as ‘order, knowledge, and action’. Thomas Aquinas in the middle

It is true that the Church is structured hierarchically as an institution, but it is even more true that it is Christ’s church ages in his Summa Theologica wrote about three orders of angels and describes hierarchy as ‘a “sacred” principality’, where ‘principality includes two things: the prince himself and the multitude ordered under the prince.’ (S.T. 1. q108.) The origins of the word then hold a double reference: to the organised structure of an institution and to that which is of the sacred. That, of course, is how it is used within Christian understanding, and has been developed especially within the Roman Catholic Church. 14

When Maslow adopted the model of a pyramid to explore human needs, and when Pseudo Dionysius used the same idea in ranging nine levels of angels in the heavens, they presented a very easily understood image which enables human minds to grasp how different aspects of a complex structure are related. When this model is used of the Church it again gives an easily-grasped picture. However, the picture is not a true one unless carefully nuanced. The origins of hierarchy have two referent points: order and sacred. In Lumen Gentium, the Constitution on the Church, the Second Vatican Council applied to the Church by analogy, the dual nature of Christ: truly human and truly divine (LG 8). It is one of the tensions of Christology that both natures of Christ must always be held together. There is a similar tension when seeking to understand the nature of the Church. The language of control, rule and power is easily applied to any human institution, and even when the language is avoided, the reality can be recognised, whether the institution be church or state. Whether in the describing of authority within the Church, or in the exercising of it, such perceptions may be real but cannot be allowed to be the whole picture of how hierarchy is understood as a truth of faith. It is true that the Church is structured hierarchically as an institution, but it is even more true that it is Christ’s church. At the end of John’s gospel Jesus is seen as conferring authority on Peter as shepherd, but it is very clear to whom the sheep belong: ‘Look after my sheep ... feed my sheep’ (Jn. 21.17). The origin of the word ultimately comes from the Greek word for priest or high priest; the author of the Letter to the Hebrews knows of only one true High Priest: Jesus Christ (Heb. 4.14). Before it explores the hierarchical nature of the Church, Lumen Gentium makes the same emphatic point: ‘The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here

New Diaconal Review Issue 7

Theological disposition for pastoral ministry – Michael Hayes

on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity, as a visible organisation through which he communicates truth and grace to all people.’ (LG 8). In the Pauline letters the image of the Church as the body of Christ, duly ordered, and with Christ himself as the head, is foundational in any understanding of the nature of the Church. The picture of a body, like the picture of a pyramid, is an attempt to make accessible a more sophisticated concept. When what is being explored belongs not simply to the order of human institution, but at the same time to the order of the sacred principality – as Thomas Aquinas states it – great care indeed is required. The ministry of Christ was marked by service for the kingdom, in the power of the Spirit. Such too will be the marks of the Church hierarchically structured. To fail to perceive that – and indeed for the hierarchical Church to fail to reveal that – is to fail to recognise the true nature of the Church of Christ. The Liturgy of the Church herself makes the purpose of those called to hierarchy abundantly clear (from the Preface of Priesthood): ‘Christ gives the dignity of a royal priesthood to the people he has made his own. From these, with a brother’s love, he chooses men to share in his sacred ministry by the laying on of hands. He appoints them to renew in his name the sacrifice of our redemption as they set before your family his paschal meal. He calls them to lead your people in love, nourish them by your word, and strengthen them through the sacraments. Father, they are to give their lives in your service and for the salvation of your people as they strive to grow in the 5

likeness of Christ and honour you by their courageous witness of faith and love.’5 In conclusion I would like to recall some of my opening remarks. Our focus for this conference is diaconal ministry in the Body of Christ. As is clear from the articles published in The Pastoral Review and elsewhere, there are different understandings of the provenance and focus of this ministry. I am sure all of you are aware of a wide-ranging interpretation and expectation of your own ministry – and I suspect that within this room there might be great

The ministry of Christ was marked by service for the kingdom, in the power of the Spirit. Such too will be the marks of the Church hierarchically structured divergence of views. It is one of the tasks of the contemporary church to explore further the nature and scope of the permanent diaconate – it is also the task of every deacon to reflect upon that calling and articulate it theologically. In this lecture I am suggesting that such a reflection; such an exploration will include a serious consideration of these three characteristics of Catholic understanding: sacramental imagination, communion, and hierarchy. In doing this, in developing a theological disposition rooted in such features, those called by the Church to diaconal ministry will ensure that their pastoral ministry will be both firmly founded and authentically Catholic. Thank you!

Preface of the Priesthood – Roman Missal New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Theological disposition for pastoral ministry – Michael Hayes

The body of service: The second keynote lecture was given on the morning of Saturday 25 June. Professor William Cavanaugh is Senior Research Professor in the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology in DePaul University, Chicago. Prior to that he was Associate Professor at the University of St Thomas, St Paul, Minnesota.


t is perhaps not a coincidence that the middle of the twentieth century saw the revival in the Latin rite church of both the permanent diaconate and theological reflection on the social dimension of the Eucharist. The latter movement, as exemplified in the work of Henri de Lubac, has come to see that the Eucharist is not confined to the altar, but is a movement that makes a social body. And it is precisely the deacons that serve as a vital conduit between the liturgy and service, diakonia. The deacon’s job is, in a sense, to bring the Eucharist to the world. In this essay I want to offer some reflections on the relation between the liturgy and service. In particular, I will discuss the social dimension of the Eucharist and relate it to the service that the deacon offers to the Church and to the world. What I hope to do in this essay, using various biblical and patristic writings, is to show that the liturgy does not simply teach us about social justice or form our affections, but creates a new type of social reality. In the first section, I will examine how the Eucharist makes the Body of Christ. In the second section, I will show how the Body of Christ is not a private, sacred space but a fully public social body. In the third section, I will discuss what kind of public body the liturgy makes by discussing diakonia, the service that the Church offers to the world. I will conclude with some reflections on what this means for the diaconate today. 16

I. The Eucharist makes the Body of Christ There is a burgeoning field in theology today – commonly known as “liturgy and ethics” – that attempts to overcome the gap between the theory and practice of the liturgy and the social concerns with which Christians are engaged. This is clearly an issue of importance to any theology of the diaconate, given that deacons are given the three-fold charge by Lumen Gentium with bringing together ministries of word, sacrament, and charity. There are problems, however, with the way that “liturgy and ethics” is often approached. I was once asked at a liturgical conference to address the topic of the “social meaning of the Eucharist.” The first thing I told my audience was “If I tell you what the social meaning of the Eucharist is, you have to promise me you won’t stop going to Mass.” What I mean is that there is a problem with trying to distill the liturgy down to a “meaning.” It is a problem that sometimes bedevils efforts to connect the Eucharist to ethics or service or social justice. We sense that there is a yawning gap between what we do in church on Sunday and the various worldly social causes and charitable works that we are involved in the rest of the week. We sense rightly that that gap ought not to be. So we go looking to “read” the Eucharist for its meaning, to see it as a “model” for social action, and to translate that meaning into language better suited to social justice concerns. So, for example, we note that the ritual of presenting our monetary offerings to the altar is an implicit recognition that all wealth belongs to God. If human economic activity and

New Diaconal Review Issue 7

The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate wealth is thus sanctified, we should be concerned about being good stewards of the earth’s wealth. The Eucharist then becomes a weekly – or daily – reminder of our responsibility to pursue just economic arrangements, though the policy details need to be worked out elsewhere, outside of the church. But how many reminders do intelligent people need? Once we’ve grasped the meaning of the liturgy, and it has been drummed into us by repetition, do we really need to keep at it? Wouldn’t our Sunday mornings be better spent giving of our money and time to the service of the poor, rather than sitting in a pew being reminded yet again to pursue justice for the poor? (This is the kind of argument one hears from clever teenagers who have learned that the “church is boring” gambit doesn’t work on their parents.)

If I tell you what the social meaning of the Eucharist is, you have to promise me you won’t stop going to Mass The problem is not the connection between Eucharist and service; as I hope to show, the connection is deep and intrinsic. The problem is with Gnosticizing the Eucharist, making it about meaning that

individuals digest in church and then go out into the wider world to translate into social action. One often reads statements such as “our common worship is a great teacher”1 and the liturgy is a “school for compassion.”2 But if the liturgy is about meaning, then that meaning can always be learned somewhere else. And if the liturgy is about learning meaning, then it tends to be individualized. Christians learn about social justice through the liturgy in church, and then go out into the world as individuals to make their mark on the world. This kind of cognitive approach to liturgy is not the only way people tend to talk about liturgy and ethics. Those who write on liturgy and ethics also talk about the liturgy as shaping the participants’ affections, character, dispositions, motivations, and so on, for the purpose of changing the way the individual acts in the world.3 Like the cognitive approach, this emphasis on the formation of affections and dispositions highlights an important aspect of the liturgy that should not be neglected. The problem with both of these approaches, however, is that they tend to speak of individuals internalizing the liturgy, then acting on it in the world. The church body as a communal body is only a place of formation, a school to be left behind once one “graduates” to attending to social justice in the “real world.” I don’t think this instrumen-

1 Pecklers, K., Worship (London and New York: Continuum, 2003), p.164. 2 Saliers, D., Worship as Theology: Foretaste of Glory Divine (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994), pp.126-7. 3 For example, Saliers, D., ‘Liturgy and Ethics: Some New Beginnings’ in Liturgy and the Moral Self: Humanity at Full Stretch Before God, ed. E. B. Anderson and B.Morrill (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1998), pp.15-35. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

William Cavanaugh

talization of the church is very sound ecclesiologically. I also think that it fundamentally misunderstands what the “real world” is. The key to our topic is not what the Eucharist means, but what it does, more specifically what it makes. What it makes, in Henri de Lubac’s famous phrase, is the church. Putting it this way helps make clear that the Eucharist is not a passive object to be read or otherwise internalized by people, but is an action that arranges people into a certain order. It affects bodies externally, as it were, not only internally. It is an enacted drama. The liturgy does not simply energize and inform individuals to go out from the assembly and find social bodies to join. The liturgy makes a body in which social life – including what we call social justice – is lived. As Louis-Marie Chauvet puts it, “The liturgy is not a matter of ‘ideas’ but of ‘bodies’”4 I would add, it is about a social body, the Body of Christ. De Lubac’s famous formulation was directed against a certain pre-Vatican II tendency to reduce the Eucharist to a private devotion, an encounter between the solitary individual and the mysterious presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements. As Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann comments “In the study of the Eucharist, theological attention was focused exclusively upon the question: what happens to the elements, and how and when does it happen? For the early church, the real question was: what hap-5 pens to the Church in the Eucharist?” This is not to say that the sense of sacra-

mental realism – that the elements were in fact the body and blood of Christ – was any less prevalent in the early Church. To the contrary, Enrico Mazza locates an almost excessive and physicist realism among some of the great mystagogies of the fourth century.6 Nevertheless, for the early Church, the elements were never isolated from the liturgical action by which the Church, and not merely the elements, was transformed into the Body of Christ. As de Lubac documents, for the early Church, the Church itself was the corpus verum, the true body of Christ, while the consecrated elements were the corpus mys-

The key to our topic is not what the Eucharist means, but what it does, more specifically what it makes ticum, the mystical body. By the twelfth century, the terms had been inverted, so that the Church was the mystical body and the elements were the “real” body. The presence of Christ in the Church then became focused on the elements, to the detriment of the sense of Christ’s reality in the life of the Church. The Eucharist was not so much an action as an object. The sense of Christ’s reality in the visible, social life of the church suffered, as the church became the “mystical” body, and “mystical” came to take on connotations of “interiorized” or “less real.”7

4 Chauvet, L-M., Editorial: ‘Liturgy and the Body’ in Concilium 1995/3, ed. L-M. Chauvet and F.K.Lumbala (London: SCM Press). 5 Schmemann, A., ‘Theology and Liturgical Tradition,’ in Worship in Scripture and Tradition, ed. M. Shepherd (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963), p.177. 6 Mazza, E.,The Celebration of the Eucharist: The Origin of the Rite and the Development of its Interpretation, trans. M.J. O’Connell (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999), pp.147-8. 7 De Lubac, H., Corpus Mysticum: The Eucharist and the Church in the Middle Ages (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006), especially p.249.


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The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

In our day, Eucharistic piety has often forked into two seemingly different paths that in fact have much in common. One is the “conservative” type of piety that emphasizes the individual’s sanctification by the Eucharistic elements. The other is the “liberal” type of piety that sees the Eucharist as a teacher of truths about social justice. The former sees the Eucharist as a miraculous exception to reality, while the latter tends to see it as a didactic symbol that teaches us about reality. Though both the “conservative” and “liberal” approaches preserve important truths, they tend to have in common an emphasis on the individual as the one that benefits from the encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. Both see the Eucharist as “charging our batteries.” The sanctified or enlightened individual is then sent out to act as a leaven in society. The Church itself is not an actor in the social realm, but forms individuals to join other social bodies. For the early church, by contrast, what was crucial about the Eucharist was the formation of a new social body, the body of Christ. The liturgy was not a teacher about another reality, but made reality present, that is, what is really real, creation as God sees it, redeemed in Christ. And redemption was a matter not of the right ideas or right affections but of being gathered together. In the Didache we find the Eucharistic prayer “As this broken bread, once dispersed over the hills, was brought together and became one loaf, so may thy church be brought together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom.”8 Here the early church is simply echoing the theme of salvation as gathering, prominent in

Israel’s theology, especially since the Babylonian Exile.9 Sin is scattering, a breaking of bonds among humans and between humans and God; as De Lubac’s magisterial work Catholicism showed – a book Pope Benedict XVI has called the most important book of Catholic theology in the 20th century – salvation in scripture and for the early church was understood as a gathering of disparate individuals into a covenanted unity.10 For the church in the wake of the Resurrection, the gathering now has a specific locus in the Body of Christ. Paul brings this theme to a special prominence and focuses it on the Eucharist. In the Eucharist “we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (I Cor. 10:17). And the body that we are is the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12). The individual believer does not simply absorb meaning from the Eucharist, but is in fact absorbed into Christ. Participation in the Eucharist is a real participation of the human person in the reality of Christ. Furthermore, one cannot speak of autonomous individuals once the Holy Spirit has made us one. Each person does retain her or his proper dignity and difference in the body. In Paul’s image in I Corinthians 12, the hand and the eye remain different, and the body cannot be all eye without ceasing to be the body (12:17). Diversity is crucial. But precisely because the eye cannot say to the hand “I have no need of you,” (12:21) the individual can have no life detached from the unity of the body. Individualism is death; unity is salvation. Paul believes this so strongly that he warns

8 Didache, 9, in M. Staniforth, trans., Early Christian Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968), p.231. 9 Mazza, op.cit., pp.81-3. Also see Lohfink, G., Does God Need the Church?, trans. L.Maloney (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999), pp.51-60. 10 De Lubac, H., Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man, trans. L.C. Sheppard and Sister Elizabeth Englund, OCD (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), pp.29-34. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

the Corinthians that the Eucharist may be killing them because of the divisions and factions in the community (I Cor. 11:1819). Specifically, the rich are refusing to share with the poor in the community’s feasts. Each one goes ahead with his or her “own supper,” (11:21) while others go hungry. For this failure to “discern the body” (11:29) they are “answerable for the body and blood of the Lord,” and some have paid with illness and death (11:30). Most scholars agree that Paul makes no distinction here between the sacramental body and the ecclesial body of the Lord.11 Failure to “discern the body” is not put in the context of doubting the real presence of Christ in the bread and the wine, but contradicting the very nature of Christ’s body by rending its unity. To eat one’s “own supper,” to turn the Eucharist into a private affair, is to refuse life and persist in death. So for Paul there simply is no distinction between the sacramental building of the Body of Christ and the diakonia of feeding the hungry. Paul’s insight into the identification of the sacramental body and the church body was taken up and expanded upon by the early church fathers. The Eucharist was not simply a didactic representation of another reality but a participation in the reality of Christ. The language of type and antitype already appears in the New Testament. As used by Paul and the pastoral epistles, the type is a heavenly model to be imitated. Hebrews (9:24) introduces the word “antitype” to describe earthly worship as a copy of the heavenly model. The church Fathers explained this using Platonic categories, such that the antitype is a real ontological participation in the heavenly type. The language of participation indicates that the two share the same

being, but are also different. The Eucharist is not merely a ritual model, but is an identification with the type.12 Cyril of Jerusalem, for example, says It is therefore with complete assurance that we share as in the body and blood of Christ. For it is in the type of bread that the body is given to you and in the type of wine the blood, so that, having participated in the body and blood of Christ, you become a single body and a single blood with Christ. As a result, we become ‘Christophers or Christbearers,’ since his body and his blood spread throughout our members. In this way we become, as Blessed Peter says, ‘sharers in the divine nature.’”13 Here the realism of human participation in Christ comes across strongly. It would be easy to focus on the sanctification of the individual in this passage, the sending forth of individual Christbearers into the world. To do so, however, would miss Cyril’s emphasis on the singleness of the body and blood of Christ. The body of Christ only is what it is insofar as it is unified. Participation in Christ’s being is never, therefore, the pouring of Christ’s power into individual vessels, like the pouring of Christ’s blood into those awful individual communion shot glasses that some churches use. The pouring out of the Spirit of Christ on all flesh is not the filling of individuals, a power for me to use, but the eschatological gathering of all together. The movement of participation is toward Christ; the small self does not pull Christ into the self, but is rather pulled into the larger reality of Christ. No passage emphasizes the identification of the sacramental body and ecclesial body

11 Tillard, J-M-R., Flesh of the Church, Flesh of Christ, trans. M. Beaumont (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2001), p.27. 12 Mazza, op.cit., pp.90-2. 13 Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 4.3.


New Diaconal Review Issue 7

The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

of Christ more strongly than the following from one of Augustine’s sermons: If you want to understand the body of Christ, listen to the Apostle telling the faithful, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (I Cor. 12:27). So if it’s you that are the body of Christ and its members, it’s the mystery meaning you that has been placed on the Lord’s table; what you receive is the mystery that means you. It is to what you are that you reply Amen and by so replying you express your assent.14 Another Augustinian sermon puts it this way: You are on the table and you are in the chalice, you along with us are this. We are this together. We are drinking this together because we are living this together… Since what is realized is one reality, you too must be one by loving one another, by keeping one faith, one hope, one indivisible love…15 The bond among persons and between the church and Christ is not merely a moral or psychological bond, but an ontological one, a bond in their very being, a bond of love which is the act of the Holy Spirit. As John Zizioulas points out, for the patristic writers, people do not exist separately first, and are then drawn into communion with others. Rather, we receive our being in communion and as communion with each other in Christ. To be separated from this communion is to lack being.16 For this reason, Augustine notes with approval that in certain Punic dialects, the word for the Eucharist is simply “life.”17

II. The Body of Christ is a “public” body I could multiply examples from the biblical and patristic materials, but I hope that what we have seen so far is enough to establish that the Eucharistic liturgy is much more than meaning or formation of dispositions for the individual Christian. The liturgy does not simply represent social meaning, but makes a social body, a body that challenges dichotomies such as secular/sacred and public/private. We sometimes think of what we do in the liturgy as something sacred, as opposed to the secular world, and therefore as something private which must be translated into neutral language before it can become public. Thus we may talk about the sacrifice of Christ in the Eucharist, but when we move out into the secular world to do social justice, we must translate our cultic actions into neutral language, such as the language of human rights. The problem is that, despite the generation of ideas and meanings that can make their way into the public realm, the Body of Christ itself remains quarantined in the private. If our allegiance to the Body of Christ is ultimately private, then we will inevitably be formed in more determinative ways by our public allegiances, especially the nation-state and the market. In fact, the public world we inhabit is not secular. When we pledge allegiance to the flag or shop till we drop, we are engaged in deeply formative ritual actions that threaten to eclipse the formative effect of the liturgy if the liturgy is not seen as forming a fully public body. We do not leave church to meet others on neutral public ground. Rather, we act as church in a public con-

14 Augustine, Sermon 272, in Edmund Hill (ed) Sermons of St. Augustine, vol. 7, pp.300-1. 15 Sermon Denis 6, quoted in Tillard, op.cit., p.43. Tillard notes that some question whether this sermon was in fact from Augustine himself, but it is certainly Augustinian in flavor. 16 Zizioulas, J., Being as Communion (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985), pp.27-65. 17 Mazza, op.cit., p.158. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

text where other public liturgies such as those of the nation-state and the market already stand in tension with our allegiance to Christ. Alexander Schmemann argues that the quarantining of the liturgy is a profound distortion. The division of the world into secular and sacred is a result of sin, not simply the way things are meant to be. The Eucharist, says Schmemann “is not a ‘religious’ or a ‘cultic’ act, but the very way of life.”18 The Eucharist is the natural way of creation, not merely a supernatural act that hovers above some profane remainder. All of creation is ”material for the one all-embracing Eucharist”19 at which humanity presides as priest. The Eucharist is the enactment of Christ’s work of breaking down the barriers between the sacred and the profane. What the church does in the Eucharist is to enact the new humanity, to realize the Body of Christ, a social body based on reconciliation and not violence and division. The church is not meant to be a separate cultic institution, a reservation of the sacred in a secular world, but is meant to make visible what a transformed creation looks like. There is no aspect of creation that is not transformed by the Spirit of Christ. The church in the Eucharist is the passage of the old creation into the new creation; what is transformed is not just the church itself but all of creation. This overcoming of the barriers between the sacred and the profane helps explain the early Christians’ choice of the term “leitourgia,” from which we get our term liturgy. The Greek original comes from two words meaning “people” and “work.” The word was not originally associated with a

cult, but referred instead to public projects done for the sake of the community; it is therefore related to diakonia. Eventually the word “leitourgia” became associated with all kinds of service, including that done for friends and neighbors. In the New Testament the word refers to the worship of the church at Antioch (Acts 13:2), but also to the civic function of public servants (Rom. 13:6), Christ’s sacrificial offering (Heb. 8:2), and Christians’ offering of themselves (Rom. 15:16).20 That the Christians used the word leitourgia for their Eucharist indicates that they did not see it as a private affair, but as a public work, done on behalf of the whole city. This sense of the liturgy received its highest expression in the “stational” liturgies prevalent from the fourth to the seventh centuries, in which, on certain Sundays and feast days, entire cities would be transformed into liturgical spaces by a series of services in churches and public places, linked by processions.21 The liturgy should not have to be translated into other terms in order to be relevant

What the Eucharistic liturgy makes is not ritual meaning for the edification of individuals, but it makes the world what it already is – in God’s eyes to charity or social justice. The liturgy is itself an action that creates a new kind of social body, a public space that participates in Christ’s redemption of all creation. The materials of the works of mercy – work, money, time, politics, soil, and so on – are not separate from the liturgy, for the whole

18 Schmemann, A., For the Life of the World (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1988), p.15. 19 Ibid. 20 Pecklers, op.cit., p.13. 21 Ibid., pp.53-6.


New Diaconal Review Issue 7

The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

of creation is the material of the liturgy. What the Eucharistic liturgy makes is not ritual meaning for the edification of individuals, but it makes the world what it is meant to be – and already is – in God’s eyes.

III.The Body of Christ is a sacrificial body Now that we have seen that the Eucharistic liturgy makes a social body, and that that body is not confined to the private, sacred, sphere, we need to look more closely at what kind of a social body the Body of Christ is. Here I will try to show that the Eucharist makes a sacrificial body, that is, a body of service. The category of sacrifice speaks volumes about what the mission of the church in the world is about. The kind of body that the Eucharist makes is an other-centered body, a body focused on mission, the sending of the church out of itself into the world for the sake of the world. The emphasis on sacrifice makes clear that the church is not an end in itself, but is a self-emptying for the sake of others. Again, sacrament and service are not two separate movements, but one. The language of sacrifice has fallen into disrepute for its association with either appeasing a bloodthirsty God for the sins of humankind or bribing a stingy God to get souls out of purgatory. As Augustine uses the term, however, sacrifice simply means being united to Christ’s offering in Christ’s body. Augustine writes true sacrifices are works of mercy to ourselves or others, done with a reference to God, and since works of mercy have no other object than the relief of distress or the conferring of happiness, and since

there is no happiness apart from that good of which it is said, “It is good for me to be very near to God,” it follows that the whole redeemed city, that is to say, the congregation or community of the saints, is offered to God as our sacrifice through the great High Priest, who offered Himself to God in his passion for us, that we might be members of this glorious head, according to the form of a servant.22 Since to be a sacrifice is to be united to others in Christ, sacrifice involves service to others. And Augustine proceeds to link this sacrifice explicitly to the sacrament of the Eucharist: “This is the sacrifice of Christians: we, being many, are one body in Christ. And this also is the sacrifice which the church continually celebrates in the sacrament of the altar, known to the faithful, in which she teaches that she herself is offered in the offering she makes to God.”23 We have already seen that the term leitourgia has service as its root meaning. Cesare Giraudo notes the close relationship as well of the term diakonia or service to the Eucharist, arguing that for the early church at least, horizontal service to others was the true criterion of vertical service to God.24 The sacrifice of the Eucharist was intimately bound up with service to others. As Schmemann notes, In the consciousness, in the experience and in the practice of the early Church, the eucharistic sacrifice was offered not only on behalf of all and for all, but by all, and therefore the real offering by each of his own gift, his own sacrifice, was a basic condition of it. Each person who came

22 Ibid. 23 Augustine, The City of God 10.6, trans. M. Dods (New York: Modern Library, 1950), p.310. 24 Giraudo, C., ‘The Eucharist as Diakonia: From the Service of Cult to the Service of Charity’ in Pecklers, K.,(ed.) Liturgy in a Postmodern World (London and New York: Continuum, 2003), pp.102-32. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

into the gathering of the Church brought with him everything that, ‘as he has made up his mind’ (2 Cor. 9:7), he could spare for the needs of the Church, and this meant for the sustenance of the clergy, widows and orphans, for helping the poor, for all the ‘good works’ in which the Church realizes herself as the love of Christ, as concern of all for all and service of all to all.25 This practice is preserved in my parish by the children bringing gifts of food for the food bank to the altar at the offertory. It is fairly standard to think of the good Christian, sanctified by the Eucharist, being of service to others. What radicalizes the Christian vision of charity, however, is the way that the Eucharist confuses the boundaries between those who serve and those who are served. The Eucharist does not simply motivate us to do good things for poor people; it questions the very distinction between us and them. We have already seen how the Eucharist messes with our sense of identity, overcoming the fiction of individual autonomy and incorporating us into Christ. If we look more closely at the strange economy of the Body of Christ, we see that we are not merely assimilated to the strength of Christ but also to his wounds. If we look to the vision of the last judgment in Matthew 25:31-46, for example, we see that Christ identifies himself not with those blessed who serve (the word used in Mt. 25:44 is a derivation of diakonia, diekonesamen); Christ identifies himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the naked, the sick, and the prisoners. What is most radical about Matthew 25 is not that we will be rewarded for doing good to the downtrodden, but that the downtrodden are in fact Christ. The further implication is that, as

we too are assimilated to Christ, the difference between “us” and “them,” the difference between those who serve and those who are served, is radically effaced. We find this same idea in Paul’s vision of the Body of Christ in I Corinthians 12. There is weakness in the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:22), but the weakest members are treated with more honor (12:24). Their sufferings are taken on by the whole body, such that every member of the body suffers and rejoices together (12:26). In this vision, the distinction between “charity” and “justice” (or “social justice) is also radically redrawn. The standard definition of justice that comes to us from Aristotle through Aquinas is expressed in the phrase reddere suum cuique: to render to each person his or her own. Justice as pursued by the law of the state has this as its very ideal – to sort out what is mine from what is yours. In the Body of Christ, however, what is mine and what is yours is radically relativized by the participation of all in the same body. Social justice then is not about distribution among individuals in competition for scarce goods. Sorting out who deserves what is an impediment to seeing the world as God sees it, as it really is. In the Body of Christ, all belongs to God, and none claims absolute ownership of God’s abundance. Social justice is not simply a matter of benevolence, but of sharing the fate of those who suffer, and so sharp distinctions between charity and social justice, or love and justice, become an impediment rather than an analytical tool. What the Eucharist does is to de-center the person by turning the act of consumption inside out. We live in a consumer culture where the individual is trained to view life as a series of choices to be made between competing goods. The religious life is by no means immune to this dynam-

25 Alexander Schmemann, The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom, trans. Paul Kachur (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1988), p.107.


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The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

ic. Many of the most vibrant forms of Christianity today encourage the choice of Jesus and of a church on the basis of how well they meet one’s spiritual needs, how inspiring and meaningful they are. In the Lord’s supper, however, the person does not consume Christ, but is consumed by him. Augustine hears the voice of God say “I am the food of the fully grown; grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change me into you like the food your flesh eats, but you will be changed into me.”26 In turn, the Body of Christ realized in the Eucharistic assembly becomes food for others. The central social act of the Eucharist is to create a body that is consumed, that is, broken and given away to nourish a hungry world. This is the true sense of mission that comes to its summit in the Eucharist: to be made Eucharist is to be sent out from oneself, to be de-centered, and to be sent into the world to be food for the world. In the Eucharist, the act of consumption is turned inside out into an act of kenosis, or self-emptying. Participation in Christ’s Body is not only an ascent to the Father, it is at the same time a descent with Christ into the broken human condition, a self-emptying into the “form of a slave” (Phil. 2:7). As Louis-Marie Chauvet points out, the essence of bread is only realized in being consumed. It is bread-as-food, bread-asmeal, bread-broken-for-sharing that reveals the true being of bread. This is especially the case in the Eucharist. As in Jesus’ appearance in Emmaus, the presence of Christ is revealed in the breaking of the bread. Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is not a thing to be grasped, but as Chauvet says, “Christ’s presence comes forward through the mode of being open.”27 It becomes real in being poured out, bro-

ken, given away for others. The being of Christ is being as gift. The substance (ousia) of the Eucharist is always our daily (epiousion) bread; it is offered anew in every Eucharistic act. Like manna, it cannot be hoarded. We must constantly receive our being anew from the Holy Spirit, and in turn give it away in mission. What we have, then, is a vision of the liturgy that is considerably more grand than the liturgy as reminder of certain truths that the individual takes out into the social realm. The liturgy calls us into a new social reality, the Body of Christ on earth. But this grand vision doesn’t seem to accord very well with life back home. “We are identified with Christ? We are the firstfruits of the new creation? Have you ever been to my church?” This vision of the church as the Body of Christ can seem to put too much confidence in the church; it smacks of triumphalism. But this is a misunderstanding. The biblical and patristic writers were not dealing with a better bunch of Christians than the motley collection of foolish, sinful, and mediocre people like us that line our pews. The whole reality of the Body of Christ is an absolute and radical dependence on Christ, and not on our own efforts. Everything the church is and does it receives in Christ through the Holy Spirit. And the reality of being Christ’s sacrificial Body induces not ecclesiastical narcissism but self-emptying for the life of the world. This vision of the church as Christ’s Body is not a call to heroism, but should rather encourage communities of Christians to put what in many cases they are already doing into a larger cosmic context. Each congregation’s small attempts to visit the sick and imprisoned, to operate a soup

26 Augustine, Confessions, trans. H. Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), p.24 [Book VII, §16]. 27 Chauvet, L-M., Symbol and Sacrament: A Sacramental Reinterpretation of Christian Existence, trans. P. Madigan and M. Beaumont (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1995), p.407. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

kitchen free of consideration of who deserves what, to care for women in crisis pregnancies, to raise the voice of God’s “no” to war – all these small efforts are taken up into the grand cosmic drama of sin and reconciliation enacted in the liturgy. We see that our works are not just nibbling at the edges of a massive structure of injustice, but are in fact at the hopeful heart of God’s work on earth. We are not resigned to be idealists in the face of the world’s supposed “realism,” but rather we witness to the way things really are in the eyes of God. At the same time that we are filled with hope, we are also relieved of responsibility for making history come out right, knowing that history in God’s hands. It is this crushing sense of responsibility for the world’s injustice that turns activists bitter, and turns countries towards war. This vision of our work taken up into God’s work in the liturgy can do a great deal at the local level to put together the scattered pieces of a congregation’s life. The liturgy committee and the social justice committee can work together on the assumption that the liturgy committee is doing more than simply trying to find better reminders of what the social justice committee already knows. This vision also has the potential to bring so-called “conservatives” together with so-called “liberals.” The enactment of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, as we have seen, is a very traditional theological theme, and sounds reassuringly old-fashioned. At the same time, the implications for the church’s mission can be quite radical. Let me just mention two examples. In my book Torture and Eucharist I told the story of how, in General Pinochet’s Chile, torture was used to atomize and individualize the body politic through mutual suspicion

and fear. The Church’s role in resisting torture was to be a social body, the only social body capable of countering this atomizing effect by providing social spaces for people to gather and reimagine a body politic, the Body of Christ. The Church provided spaces for people to gather, to share information about the disappeared, to share food and job skills and solidarity. The Eucharist provided a key site for reclaiming this social imagination, in the public excommunication of torturers, among other ways.28 Under very different circumstances, my middle-class parish in the U.S. supports – along with other Protestant and Catholic congregations – a cooperative of family farmers who practice organic farming and sustainable agriculture. Parishioners order food directly from the farmers, and the church serves as a drop-off point. The farmers benefit from cutting out middlemen, and parishioners benefit from good produce and a closer connection to the land.29 There is certainly much in the Eucharistic celebration to symbolize and remind us of this connection, e.g., the “fruit of the vine and the work of human hands.” What matters, however, is that the community gathered by the Eucharist creates a social space in which a kind of Eucharistic economy can take place, an economy based not on competition but on the membership of all in the same body. The Eucharist is not simply a reminder but an enactment of a certain kind of communal space.

IV. Deacons in the Body of Christ I want to conclude with a few comments on how the restoration of the permanent diaconate accords with the reclaiming of the social dimension of the Eucharist in

28 Cavanaugh, W.T.,Torture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics, and the Body of Christ (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998). 29 More information can be found at


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The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

Catholic life. Much has been written on the diaconate as rooted in service to the needy, but there are dangers in making of deacons merely ecclesiastical social workers. Controversy has attended the work of John N. Collins, who argues that the emphasis on the diaconate as service to the needy is a creation of 20th century German scholars, and not the point of view of the early church. The meaning that diakonia held for the biblical and patristic writers, according to Collins, was not primarily humble service to the poor, but service to the bishop, that is, being sent to fulfill the mandate of the overseer of the church.30 Regardless of the situation in the early church, there is a danger with identifying service to the poor too closely with the ministry of the deacon, lest charity be delegated to him, letting the rest of us off the hook for leading lives of charity. The controversy over Collins’ work, however, seems to depend on a divide between service to the needy and building up the Church that a properly Eucharistic ecclesiology can help to overcome. As Owen Cummings writes, “If service in terms of the diaconate is construed too narrowly, then Collins’s strictures are well taken. But service in terms of building up the Church which, in turn, is building up the world toward greater and more aware communion with God is what not only the diaconate but the Church itself is all about.”31 In other words, if the Eucharist makes the Church into a body that is in service to the world, then there is no need

to choose between building up the Church and service to the world. The diaconate makes this visible to the world with its vital role of linking the liturgy and charity. The kenotic movement of the Eucharist for the world is exemplified in the kenotic power of the diaconate. As the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons says, “The primary and most fundamental relationship [of the deacon] must be with Christ, who assumed the condition of a slave for love of the Father and mankind. In virtue of ordination the deacon is truly called to act in conformity with Christ the Servant.”32 This kenosis is made effective in Jesus’ giving of his own flesh and blood in the Eucharist for the life of the world. So, at the institution of the Eucharist at the last supper in Luke, Jesus identifies himself as ho diakonon, the one who serves. The kingdom of God that the new community serves is one of service at the table of God’s banquet. And it is precisely the rooting of service in the Eucharist that prevents the deacon from being seen as the one who does service, while the rest of us are exempt. Kenotic service is the life of the whole church. The diaconate simply makes this service visible. The diaconate is an effective sign of the whole Church’s service. As John Paul II has said, “The service of the deacon is the Church’s service sacramentalized.”33 ■

30 Collins, J.N., Diakonia: Re-interpreting the Ancient Sources (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990) and Deacons and the Church: Making Connections Between Old and New (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 2002). ‘31 Cummings, O., ‘Theology of the Diaconate: State of the Question,” Proceedings 2004: Annual Convention and Business Meeting of the NADD (2004): p.21. 32 Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons, §47, oc_31031998_directorium-diaconi_en.html 33 John Paul II, Papal Address to the Permanent Deacons, New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

The body of service: The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Diaconate – William Cavanaugh

Homily At noon on Saturday 25 June the assembly gathered in the chapel of the University College for a Saturday Mass of Our Lady. The Principal Celebrant was His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. He was also present for the conference banquet later that day. 8


t is indeed a privilege for me being here with you today.

One of the great privileges of a Bishop is to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Over these months I have had the privilege of such celebrations in various ways. Just last weekend, I was in St Paul's Basilica in Rome ordaining seven men from the Pontifical Beda College to the Diaconate, prior to their eventual ordination to the Priesthood. On returning home to Scotland last Sunday, I was ordaining one man to the Permanent Diaconate in his Parish of St Michael's in Linlithgow, with his wife and family being present at the celebrations. As you may know, I was due to ordain one of my deacons from the Beda to the Priesthood in my own Cathedral in Edinburgh on the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul, 29 June 2011 during this week which lies ahead – but because of Graham's sudden illness that ordination has been postponed and now, hopefully, will take place at the end of October this year. I have already ordained to the Episcopacy in mid-May, the first African Bishop of Bauchi in Northern Nigeria – and am now looking forward to the Episcopal Ordination of the next Bishop of Aberdeen, one of the Suffragan dioceses in my own Province in Scotland, on 15 August 2011. And among the other magnificent celebrations at which I have been present 28

recently, there was the wedding, the Royal Wedding, which was recently celebrated in Westminster Abbey between Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and in Scotland known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn. The Mass today is a Votive Mass of Our Lady – when we are reminded in the Gospel of her great YES at the Annunciation. Initially in my words to you today I would like to think of each of these sacraments and the differences between them, namely the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Sacrament of Matrimony – and then present some thoughts to you on their great similarities – both involving our YES to God our Father and to Christ in others, following the example of Our Blessed Lady herself.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders We speak of that one Sacrament of Holy Orders and yet there are what we might speak of as the ‘degrees’ within that one sacrament. And when we do speak of these degrees of this Sacrament, we remember the different roles of deacon, priest and bishop in the Church. In diaconal ordination the candidate is appointed to a special service within the sacrament of Holy Orders. He represents Christ as the one who came, ’not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’. As we pray in the liturgy of the ordination: ’As a minister of the Word, of the Altar, and of charity, the deacon will make himself a servant to all’.

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at the Saturday Mass of Our Lady In priestly ordination the Bishop calls down God's power upon the candidates for ordination. As a collaborator with his Bishop the priest will proclaim the Word of God, administer the sacraments, and above all celebrate the Holy Eucharist. And it is in episcopal ordination that the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred upon a priest – with the man being ordained as successor of the apostles and entering the College of Bishops. Together with the other Bishops and the Pope he is from now on responsible for the entire Church with the Church appointing him to the offices of teaching, sanctifying and governing. Each is a specific vocation within the one sacrament of Holy Orders – and one must be fully aware of the uniqueness of each vocation. We might think of those words of Blessed John Henry Newman when he stated: ‘I am created to do or to be something for which no one else is created: I have a place in God's counsels, in God's world, which no one else has’. We each answer God's call in our own particular ways – and we are called upon to serve him as he wishes and indicates to us. I think it is essential for us all to remember – whether deacon, priest or bishop – that call to service which should bring a basic joy to our lives. I thank God for the way in which he has given me joy in my living out of my various vocations within the Sacrament of Holy Orders. When I was called to be a Bishop and met the Apostolic Nuncio, who was representing Pope John Paul II, and asked if I would be the next Archbishop of St Andrews and

Edinburgh I did indeed reply ‘yes – if it is God's will for me’. And when asked what words I would choose for my motto I indicated that I wished some words about happiness and joy in service. It was relatively easy then to think of those beautiful words from psalm 99 which the priest recites so very often from his breviary: ’Serve the Lord with gladness!’

The Sacrament of Matrimony When considering the Sacrament of Matrimony we must first of all think as to how this Sacrament comes about. The Sacrament is conferred through a promise made by a man and a woman before God and the Church, which is accepted and confirmed by God and consummated by the bodily union of the couple. Because God himself forms the bond of sacramental marriage, it is binding until the death of one of the partners. It is obviously essential that the Sacrament is conferred only if there is marital consent, that is, if the man and the woman enter marriage of their own free will, without fear or coercion, and if they are not prevented from marrying by other natural or ecclesiastical ties. As far back as the second century the Latin ecclesiastical writer Tertullian wrote of the happiness of marriage when he stated: ‘How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church? How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one is discipline, one in the same service – and divided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one

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The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Keith Patrick O’Brien

also is the spirit’.1

The Permanent Diaconate and Marriage and Family Life Following on from what I have already said these two sacraments – of Holy Orders and of Matrimony – are indeed instruments of joy for those who receive them or administer them to one another. However I am sure that much could be written about the relationship between the Sacrament of Holy Orders as in the Permanent Diaconate and the Sacrament of Matrimony as also lived out by so many permanent deacons. We all need aids to our spiritual development and to our academic formation. Perhaps a very considerable aid here in our countries in the United Kingdom is the New Diaconal Review which I personally receive regularly and enjoy reading. In one of the recent issues in the very considerable list of book reviews there is a review of the book entitled: ‘Deacons: Ministers of Christ and of God's Mysteries’. This book we are told ‘contains nine insightful, well crafted, short and easily read essays’, to extend the catechesis on the Permanent Diaconate in Ireland. However the reviewer speaks of the benefit which would come to this book from an ‘additional essay on the permanent diaconate and marriage and family life’. And he wisely goes on to state: ‘As the age profile of men presenting and being accepted into formation programmes continues to fall, the relationship between both sacraments requires honest and candid attention, not just by married deacons, diaconal aspirants, their wives and formators but also by the Church at large’. He states also: ‘This too is part of the maturation that Vatican II calls for and would bring a further richness to this already excellent, thought provoking, inspiring and highly commendable book’.

I propose for your thought at our Mass today a comparison between two events which followed one another very closely historically – events that I was able to attend personally in Westminster Abbey and then outside St Peter's Basilica in Rome. I am obviously referring to the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey – and the Beatification of Blessed John Paul II, who lived out a life of celibate love. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, delivered what has been described as a very beautiful sermon to the young couple on the meaning of marriage reminding them of the service of one another following on their exchange of vows. On the other hand Pope Benedict XVI outside St Peter's Basilica in Rome spoke of the celibate love of Pope John Paul II which stretched out literally around the whole world and embraced all of humanity. A comparison between the sets of words of the Bishop and the Pope bears comparison. Speaking of married love, Bishop Chartres stated: ‘The spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this: The more we give our self, the richer we become in soul, the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another in to fuller life’. At the beautiful beatification ceremony of Blessed John Paul II in Rome Pope Benedict XVI spoke before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered before him and to many millions throughout the world. He spoke of the late Pope being ‘blessed because of his faith, a strong, generous and apostolic faith’.

And he indicated that the beatitude of faith has its model in Mary the Mother of God. The Pope also reminded us of St Peter himself, filled with spiritual enthusiasm, pointing out to the newly baptised the reason for their hope and their joy. He states the fact as he writes: ‘You rejoice, you love him? and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls’. I am sure you can see the comparison with the exalted view of marriage by Bishop Chartres as being with marriage being centred on love and service; while Pope Benedict XVI at that beatification celebration reminded us of the celibate love of Pope John Paul II which reached out in his own spiritual enthusiasm and joy to all peoples in the world. It was quite amazing being reminded at the Beatification ceremony of Blessed John Paul II of the pastoral work which he had undertaken as Pope: 146 pastoral visits in Italy; visiting 317 of the 332 parishes in Rome; making 104 apostolic trips throughout the world. He wrote a variety of primary documents to the whole Church as well as five different books. He presided over 147 beatifications, declaring 1338 beatified, and 51 canonisations, proclaiming a total of 482 saints. He officiated in nine Consistories, creating 231 Cardinals and presided at six Plenary Reunions of the College of Cardinals. He called 15 Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops – and it is reckoned that the number of pilgrims at his Wednesday General Audiences (more than 1,160 Audiences) came to over 17 million pilgrims – as well as those special audiences at other religious services which attracted millions from all over the world. In the prayer which they composed together in preparation for their wedding

1 Ad uxorem 2.3.6-7, PL 1412-1413.


Homily at the Saturday Mass of Our Lady – Keith Patrick O’Brien

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day the Prince and his bride wrote among other things: ‘In the business of each day, keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy’. I am sure that those words could equally have been written by Pope John Paul 11 on his ordination day or on the day when he was installed as Pope to live a life of service. Perhaps also those permanent deacons who also live in the Sacrament of Matrimony could think of the importance of those words both as they live out the Sacrament of Matrimony and the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Conclusion Yes, much indeed has to be written on the permanent diaconate and on marriage and family life. Much has still to be written on the comparison of these two sacraments – and on the wonderful way in which they are lived out by our permanent deacons in our countries at this present time. Perhaps I can remind you of those words again: ‘In the business of each day, keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy’. Each sacrament is a reply to a wonderful call by Almighty God. No one can surpass the wonder of the YES given by our Blessed Lady to that call which she received from God. And no one will ever be able to comprehend the graces and blessings which she received to fulfil her vocation. In living out our sacraments hopefully we will be more humbled in the sight of Almighty God realising the greatness of his goodness and the greatness of his love for us and the joys which he gives us in our service of him and of others in the Sacraments of Marriage and of Holy Orders. ■

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The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Homily at the Saturday Mass of Our Lady – Keith Patrick O’Brien

The Deacon Jozef Wissink is a priest of the Archdiocese of Utrecht and Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Tilburg. He was for many years involved in the formation of permanent deacons in the archdiocese.

Introduction I would like to start by telling you about an encounter with a group that has played a great role in the development of my thinking about the office of the deacon in the Church. After that I shall develop some thoughts about the situation our society is in and the challenge which that situation offers to our Church, and especially deacons in the Church.

Meeting the Calama-team In 1979 I was appointed to be the Vice Rector of the Ariënskonvikt, the newly erected house for students for the priesthood studying at the theological faculty where I am now teaching. I served there for 8 years. In the beginning of that service, in 1979, two members of the group known as Calama visited our house to talk with the rector and me about the priesthood and the office of deacon. Calama was a group, originally of priests, who had worked in Chile in different parishes. These priests had individually decided to leave their parishes to become priest-workers in factories. There they discovered each other and decided to become a team, so they moved to a city in the desert with copper mines, applied for jobs there and started their work together. Now their motivation for working in the copper mines is theologically very interesting. They did not intend to be of service as messengers of the faith for the workers or to be of service as help for the needs of the poor workers. They wanted to change places and 32

Messenger to take the point of view of the workers and to fight for justice with them, but they did this in order to read the reality of the workers theologically and to bring their message to the Church. It was their conviction that the Holy Spirit manifested himself in the struggle for justice of the workers and that the Church should listen to this Spirit and receive this message. The Church had listened more than enough when right-wing generals of some army had taken over power in a country; why should she, for a change, not support justice? The final theological move was that they conceived this task of bringing to the Church the message of the Holy Spirit from the world outside of the Church as the reading of the signs of the time (as Vatican II had spoken about it) and as the diaconal mission of their team. As Catholic priests they were already ordained deacons, so they decided to take up the task of this ordination and put their priesthood in the refrigerator. One of their founding fathers, Jan Caminada, even did a dissertation under Karl Rahner about the office of deacon, to account for this concept of the diaconical office. One of the problems the Calama team met was that when you have left the ecclesiastical system it is very difficult to enter it again – certainly when you enter it with a message that is not directly welcome. Therefore they came to the Ariënskonvikt: they hoped that people who were starting a new priestly education would care for the Gospel and for the Church and that they would be open enough to receive them and their message. It lead to a fresh start for a Platform of Diaconical Ecclesiology, where we met deacons, people involved in missionary work in

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in the Body of Christ: from the world to the Church the Third World and people working in diocesan service institutions for pastoral ministry. Together we tried to understand what was the importance of the views of the Calama team and how we could implement parts of this vision. For me it was the beginning of an adventure: because of them I exposed myself to work in a factory, where I had got a job via an employment centre. I went to their groups in the Philippines and worked with poor farmers on their fields. Grown up as a theologian, who had become an expert in Karl Barth and Thomas Aquinas, I began to understand what liberation theology was about: that the poverty as we meet it in the Third World is a shame and that the poor have legitimate questions for the Church. I am not here to make propaganda for the Calama-team. On certain points I still do not agree with them: for example I did not buy into the Marxist position they had taken. But I admired their commitment and I think they had some theologically very valid points. By the way, my rejection of Marxism does not deny that Marxist analysis still can be very illuminating, e.g. with regard to the actual economic crisis. And mind you, the reasons for the coming into existence of Marxism are still there, especially in the Third World, and not only there. But for the moment we should return to the valid theological insights I learned from them.

The relation of the Church to profane life in economics and politics, social life and culture I start with the question of the relation of the Church to the profane worlds of eco-

nomics and politics, social life and culture.. Since Vatican II we have called this the question of ‘the Church and the world’. But this question of ‘the Church and the world’ is embedded in the greater questions of ‘faith and world’, ‘God and world’. The answer, which is given mostly in our modern culture, that faith is a private question for every individual, is theologically impossible, because God is the Creator of all and everything and being a Christian is to live in all things and everything in a way that fits in with Jesus Christ. Faith can never be reduced to questions of individual identity: every human being is created as a social being, body and mind, intended to love God, neighbour and oneself. And this love cannot be played off against justice: love wants justice to be done. Perhaps more than justice, but never less than justice. (Of course we should not push our denial so far, that we deny that faith is a very personal question and has real bearing on the question of personal identity. Faith is a ‘love’ question: God is asking every single person the basic question: may I have this dance with you? But now the important thing is that faith should not be reduced to that.) So the answer that faith and God have nothing to do with economics, politics, social life and culture is excluded. But another answer should be excluded: that faith and Church have a direct authority over these domains or, the reverse, that these domains have a direct say over the Church and faith. The last is partially true: in fact our states have a say over the Church. The Church is under the authority of civil justice, so a criminal priest will be tried at a civil court. When the Church

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The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Jozef Wissink

wants this priest also to be tried at an ecclesiastical court, then that is acceptable to the state in the sense that it does not bother them. But what I intend to state is that the Church could never conceive of herself as a function of a state or of any political formation. State churches are in the temptation of wanting authority over everything or subjecting themselves completely to the will of the State. When the Church succeeds in getting authority over everything, that fact itself has the danger of secularization as consequence, because then the Christian faith normally is identified with the culture the Church has created. With all these denials we are approaching the right relationship between Church and politics, economics, social life and culture. Economics, politics, social life and culture are dimensions of society with a relative autonomy, not over against God, but over against the Church. The Church should not wish to dominate these areas of life, though she has much to say about them on the moral level. The Church has formulated many values and norms in her social teachings, but she cannot enforce her morals on politics in a political way, because that would secularise her into a political party. Next to morals the churches also play an important role when they signal injustices or neglect with regard to the poor. But within these areas of life the Church has no direct influence unless it is by the mediation of her members, who are also citizens of their states, participators in the economy, social life and culture. And when Church members are participating in these areas of life, they should do so guided by their conscience. This insight in the right relationship between the Church and the different life areas is a modern insight, forced upon us by modern developments. That could lead to the thought that we are dealing with a pragmatic question, but I think this is not 34

the case. Now that this relationship is clarified, we can see its origins already in the early Church, for example in the beautiful Letter to Diognetus. The thoughts of John Henry Newman on the development of dogma are applicable to our question too. Until now I have talked about the theological meaning of politics, economics, social life and culture in terms of their being creatures or created realities. But this is theologically not sufficient. If this is so we remain within a hierarchical system of higher things which are serious and lower things which are less so by nature: in the Church the more important things are happening, such as the eternal salvation of the souls, in the world only the distribution of food and ideas are at stake. Ergo, they are not the real thing. Now I do not want to deny that in the Church important things happen and the eternal salvation is not a small thing. But I want to stress that we are expecting too little from our world when we expect to find there only nature and sin and not grace. God’s grace is also working in our world. The prophet Jonah had to discover that, when he pronounced God’s message to Nineveh that they should convert ... and they did. The prophet Deutero-Isaiah recognised in King Cyrus a Messianic Saviour, a servant of the Most Holy, though Cyrus had never heard of that God. And Jesus himself meets the Syro-Phoenician woman, who knows how she can persuade Him to cure her daughter – by a faith so great that he had not met in Israel before. When Vatican II in the constitution Gaudium et Spes talks about the signs of the times, it wants to direct our intention to happenings in the world, trends in our culture, which could be the calling of the Lord towards His Church; that she should rejoice about the justice which is done by people ouside, or that she should be ashamed that others have had to do the dirty work, because we were lacking or that action was called for because no one else was seeing the problem.

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The Deacon in the Body of Christ: Messenger from the world to the Church – Jozef Wissink

Structures to build up the Church But then, let the relationship between the Church and the profane world of politics, economics, social life and culture be theoretically clear: what do changing circumstances mean for her way of dealing with these areas of life? What challenges are implied for her structures, so that she can respond adequately to what happens around her? The Church always has the obligation to structure her offices and pastoral planning in such a way that she can fulfill her mission: that is, on the one hand to announce the Gospel and to arouse, foster and feed faith, hope and love in people, and on the other hand to permeate society with justice and mercy, that it may become a more just and merciful society (Second Vatican Council, Decree on the apostolate of the laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem 5). In the Middle Ages Church and society were so much one ‘whole’ that no special institutions were necessary to connect the different areas of life. The most important thing at that time was not to be reduced to a mere functioning part of the stable polity of the Holy Roman Empire. The great battle about who should appoint and invest bishops is about that matter. In the Netherlands from 1870 till 1960 we as Catholics – like the Social Democrats and the Dutch Reformed Church- had a pillar of Catholic organizations, which connected the Church to every single aspect of life. So we had a Catholic political party, a Catholic union, but also an association of Catholic employers, Catholic schools and a Catholic university, Catholic hospitals and Catholic football clubs, an association of Catholic farmers, Catholic scouting, etc. Within this pillar there was a natural soil where the seeds of the social doctrine of the Church were expected, received and bore fruit. I give you this picture not because of some nostalgia and also not because I want to blame my parents. This Catholic pillar was

a good solution to some problems and it caused others. On the one hand it gave the Church a splendid isolation from the rest of the country: dealing with other Dutch people was the task of Catholic leaders: the bishops of course, but also the leaders of the Catholic political party and so on. Likewise a socialist and Dutch Reformed pillar were built up. So a unified block of Catholics was built up, taken care of by their leaders. This societal formation also allowed Dutch Catholics to make real their emancipation within Dutch society: Catholic education was developed, completed by the erection of a Catholic university. But what I want to stress now is, that in this pillar-formation we had a system, covering the whole of life, from politics to sports. This way the Church and faith were connected to all joys and all problems of the whole of life – though of course only the whole of life of Catholics. This pillar has crumbled down for the most part. As I said, I note this without nostalgia: the Catholic pillar was a good social formation for the Dutch situation from 1870 till 1960. I think that the decisive factor behind this process of crumbling down was the individualisation of society. I wish to stress, that I use this word ‘individualisation’ here in the sociological sense and therefore it does not mean that people become more egoistic, but rather that people are lesser parts of collectivities and gain the responsibility to make more decisions about their lives themselves. Our society is educating us to individualise: the goal of schools is to educate children to become able to build up their own lives and so to be able to become responsible members of society. So individualisation is a social phenomenon. We here ourselves are also part of it. For example, most of us have chosen our partners ourselves; she or he was not appointed by our parents. I intentionally chose this example, because it shows a) that we are greatly individualised people ourselves and b) that we substantially subscribe to many moral issues implied by this. In this culture the pillar can no longer keep all

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The Deacon in the Body of Christ

The Deacon in the Body of Christ: Messenger from the world to the Church – Jozef Wissink

Catholics together. I remember how I myself in 1967 became very angry when our Catholic party took the side of the neo-liberals and left the coalition with the socialdemocrats – in the election I moved my red pencil to our Labour party. I was leaving a house, a totality of culture. It felt like Abraham, moving away from the city of Ur of the Chaldeans. There we see another of the disadvantages of the pillar: the Church can be completely identified with the culture of the pillar. I remember how, when I was a young priest, a young man who helped me in youth pastoral work one day said to me that he would consider himself dishonest if he remained working with me. I asked what the matter was. He said he could no longer could stay in the Church because he no longer believed in the politics of the Catholic party. Of course he was very astonished, when I told him, that I myself had left that party some years earlier. I told you that this pillar connected the Church organically to all areas of life. Perhaps only to all areas of the lives of Catholics, but at least to all areas of life. Now that the pillar had crumbled down, what happened to these connections between faith and ‘profane’ life, between the Church and the world of politics, economics, social life and culture? I do not want to over-dramatise my case: of course most Catholics were also good citizens and they had shops or jobs. And when I talk to serious believing people I see that they want to connect things in their lives with their living faith. But that should not obscure the fact that nowadays we are painfully missing the necessary connections. This is not just an organisational problem, although it is partly that. It is also a spiritual problem and it is threatening our faith. Sociologists talk about the privatisation of faith and they connect religion predominant-

ly with the buidling up of personal identity of individuals.1 But when that becomes all there is to our functioning as Church, we see a complete spiritualisation of faith – and here I use the word ‘spiritualisation’ in a negative sense, that the body is forgotten, that ordinary life disappears from faith and the reverse. When St. John in his first letter says that there are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water and the blood (1 John 5:8), then the emphasis is on the third witness, the blood. When that witness is forgotten, we have enthused baptised Christians, without bodies and without the Cross, who think that the old man has already completely been replaced by the new glorious and pious humanity. That is gnosticism, not Christian faith.

Deacons Concern for the connections between faith and ordinary life, between faith and the world of politics, economics, social life and culture is entrusted to the whole people of God. But for the organisational structures to ensure that these connections are taken care of on all levels of the Church the bishops are responsible. And I would recommend that they call deacons for this task. I would like to call these deacons ‘Gaudium-et-Spes-deacons’. I am not saying that all deacons should have this task or that only ‘Gaudium-et-Spes-deacons’ should be ordained. My thesis is that every diocese should have at least some ‘Gaudium-et-Spes-deacons’. Why deacons? My first reason is that to make connections is the essence of the office of deacons. At one of your conferences John Collins was one of your speakers. He has convinced me that the word diakonein has many meanings but that the fundamental meaning is something like ‘go between’. So the deacon can be a messenger, an ambassador of the bishop or of a community, a herald or a catechist and also

1 See Giddens, A., The Constitution of Society: outline of the Theory of Structuration (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1984) and his many other works.


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The Deacon in the Body of Christ: Messenger from the world to the Church – Jozef Wissink

someone who is ordered by a bishop and/or a community to take charge of people in need. My plea for new connections between faith and different areas of life is a plea for ‘gobetween’-people to make these connections. My second reason presupposes that the Church is ordaining as deacons mainly people who are married and have jobs in the normal world. In that way their life-situation already has something which can connect different areas of life with faith and the Church. The Church should look for workers and union-members, for artists, for dedicated teachers, for people in political parties who are motivated by their Christian conscience in their politcal work, for people in the soacial services who also have that kind of motivation. If they bring their active life into their faith and their faith into their active life and if the Church then listens to them, this could help the Church in many ways to redicover the relevance of her biblical message.

Concrete ways of making the connections I have given some fundamental reflections about the necessity of what I have called the ‘Gaudium-et-Spes-deacon’. I want to end with some more practical examples of how to make the connections. A colleague from the city of Utrecht, a professional pastoral worker, had been appointed to a poor quarter of the city. When he had made acquaintance with the people, he had seen mostly grey and bald heads. He was very keen on developing the diaconal side of the parish, but after seeing this elderly congregation, he decided that he could not ask these people to join all kinds of diaconal activities. Now it was his custom to participate in the life of the quarter – when it had nothing to do with the parish, at least it seemed to have nothing to do with the parish. So when there was a meeting about the high rents, or about the provision of green spaces, or about dialogue with Islamic inhabitants, or the problems people had

with them, he was present. Now to his surprise at all these meetings he met parishioners who were participating fully in the life of their city area. They were not too old for diaconal activities – they were already involved in it, but the pastoral leader did not know it. So my colleague discovered that he had to make the connections. He started to make an inventory of what all the parishioners were in fact doing within broader society and started to call them together in order to talk about everyone’s experience. This in itself was already something which energised the parish. He talked with them about their motives and the often hidden spiritual power in it. He told them that they were anonymously, but no less really exercising the mission of the Church (cf. AA 5, already cited). He also invited them to become active in the intercessions at the Eucharist, in order to bring into the prayer of the community the needs of the people in the area. This pastoral worker was not a deacon, but he did what I present to you as a special challenge for deacons. Another example is on a more diocesan level; in the Prelature of Infanta (in the Philippines) the Calama-team was very active in the organisation of land labour unions, small organisations of fishermen and in support of Justice and Peace groups within the Church. In that diocese the bishop, Mgr. Labayen, every second year organised a meeting of what I would call ‘innerecclesial’ workers, such as priests, lay catechists and lay volunteers on the one hand and people from societal organisations. In these meetings the two very different groups had many questions for each other, but after some years also much mutual inspiration. In the meeting it came to the surface that a Church in a poor Third World country can be alienated from the ordinary life of her people, because the routines of the parish system can make people so busy with all kinds of tasks that they do not see the misery of the lives of people who are not in the centre of the system any more.

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The Deacon in the Body of Christ

The Deacon in the Body of Christ: Messenger from the world to the Church – Jozef Wissink

The Deacon in the Body of Christ: Messenger from the world to the Church – Jozef Wissink

Paul Hendricks

Perhaps you will permit me to tell you one thing from my own pastoral experience. I am participating in an organisation in Utrecht of people who have a right to allowances from the social services because they have lost their jobs or become ill for whatever reason. They gave consultancy services to fellow-sufferers. I offered myself to them to participate in their work, but they and I discovered soon enough that they knew much more about new laws on social security than I did. So I made representation on their behalf to people in official positions and I helped them by leading the meetings in which they talked about the advice they gave to the ‘clients’ and about their own group dynamics. That is something in which I was competent. But then it happened that I had to give a sermon on Mt. 20:1-16: the workers in the vineyard, or rather, the ones who were waiting all day for work, and I told some stories I had heard in the organisation of jobless people. During

the week following six people telephoned to talk about their being without work. They had never talked about it in connection with the Church, because everyone is succesful there and they felt ashamed. The parish had tried once to call together unemployed people but they had not signed up for these reasons. And now, suddenly, they had been touched. I have gathered them together and now it is more a part of parish life.

Conclusion I have given some theoretical reflections on the necessity of the ‘Gaudium-et-Spes-deacon’, but I hope that at the end you will get a feel for the very concrete things I mean when I talk about the connections between faith and economic, social, political and cultural life. Of course I hope that some of you recognise your vocation to this field of action. Thank you very much.

National Assembley of Deacons in England and wales and North European International Diaconate Conference, 24-26 June 2011

Benediction Saturday 25 June 2011


suppose we could see the words of the short reading this evening as a theme running through this conference. ‘The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.’ When I was a child I used to think of being a Catholic as rather like being in a club or association: you gain certain benefits at the cost of obeying the rules. But of course being a member of the body of Christ means something very different. You’re not just one of a group of individuals who happen to have something in common. What I didn’t realise in those days was that ‘member’ could also mean being part of a living body. What seemed to me at the time like a set of rules is really more like the conditions necessary for a cell to flourish within the living organism that is the body. So if we’re considering the Deacon in the Body of Christ, one obvious question is where in the Body of Christ? This hasn’t been easy to pin down. Theology puts into words the faith we already have – a faith that is already expressed in a way of life. That has been the problem with the diaconate. When it was reestablished as a permanent ministry, there wasn’t any recent experience on which to draw. We knew the fundamental principles, but at that time, without the lived experience, it was almost like a skeleton, with no flesh upon it. Over the years, theologians have made great progress in articulating the theology of the diaconate, but we have to admit that there is a long way to go before this percolates through to the person in the pew. Over the


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On the Saturday evening the conference gathered in the University College chapel to begin the liturgical celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi by celebrating Vespers and Benediction. The celebrant and preacher was the Right Reverend Paul Hendricks, titular Bishop of Rosemarkie and Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark (with special responsibility for the south western part of the archdiocese). Formerly he was Professor of Philosophy at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, and Parish Priest of Peckham years I’ve come across some curious misunderstandings about the diaconate. I’ve met people who feared that deacons would take over the teaching role of lay catechists. To me this sounds ridiculous, but then some priests feel threatened by having an active laity in their parish. That’s ridiculous too, but it’s an attitude which certainly does exist. One way of approaching the diaconate might be by relating it to our baptismal calling. All the baptised are called to be prophets, priests and kings (where to be a king means being a leader or shepherd). What can we say about the particular way the deacon is a prophet, priest and king – distinctively from lay people and presbyters? How is the deacon a prophet? That’s fairly obvious: preaching by word and example. But what about the way in which a deacon preaches? What’s distinctive about this, it seems to me, is that he’s speaking out of a particular experience, which will be different to that of the priest. He probably has a ‘day job’, or if he’s retired he has the memory of a lifetime’s experience of the workplace. He will probably, though not necessarily, be a husband and a father. He will normally be a parishioner of the church where he serves – not someone sent there for a few years but someone who has been part of the community for many years.

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The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Homily at Vespers and

At the same time he works closely with priests and shares their pastoral perspective. In many ways he ‘speaks the same language’ as the priest, in a way that lay people perhaps don’t quite do – at least, not in the same way.

And yet he has the greatest master possible, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. As the Cardinal said, there is a joy in service – particularly serving such a master – despite the inadequate nature of the service we offer.

So we might say that a deacon has a foot in both camps, so to speak. When he preaches, he speaks to the people as one of them, but also as one who has a wider perspective to offer.. I think something rather similar would also apply to the way in which the deacon lives out his life – a life which, like all the baptised, he offers to God – and so expresses the priestly aspect of his baptismal calling. He exercises his ministry largely in the parish setting, but he also offers to God his life in the workplace and amongst his family. Whatever more obviously ‘churchy’ things he does, he does it against this background. This is where he’s coming from, so to speak.

So the leadership we offer, as bishops, priests or deacons, has to be seen very much as a service. Often it isn’t easy, since the moment you take a lead in any aspect of parish life, you’re liable to get shot down by someone or other. It often involves very delicate negotiation in order to lead people who don’t really want to move from where they’re already comfortable.

Because the deacon has more in common with the parishioners, being in a sense one himself, perhaps he is in a better position than a priest to help people see how they can fulfil their priestly calling in the world – in the words of St Paul, offering themselves as a living sacrifice to God. Finally, what can we say about the kingly aspect of the deacon’s calling? As he exercises a ministry based on various forms of service, you might think that there would be no place for kingship. And yet we have to remember the words of Jesus himself: ‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world’ and ‘the leaders of this world lord it over them ... this is not to happen among you’. Cardinal O’Brien’s words about the Magnificat brought to mind similar words of St Paul at the very beginning of his Letter to the Romans: ‘Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ’. Many scholars would say that ‘slave’ would be a better translation than ‘servant’ – and of course ‘Christ’ means ‘the anointed one’, in other words, the great king. So Paul is a slave, totally at the disposal of his master, with nothing that truly belongs to him: not money, possessions, or even time. 40

And in case you think it’s any different for a bishop, let me tell you that in my experience the one greatest drawback of the job is that people think you can do more than you really can. It’s very rarely that you’re in a position to lay down the law – much more a question of doing what you can with the limitations of the situation. My suspicion is also that the higher up you go in the church, the worse this gets! I’d like to finish by encouraging you to reflect on your experience as deacons and to share the fruits of this with others. When I was in a parish, I used to do a lot with the Knights of St Columba. Every so often they would ask to speak at the Sunday Masses, to ask for new members. I used to tell them that it wasn’t going to inspire the people if they just spoke in the abstract about what the Knights did. ‘Tell them,’ I said, ‘what it means to you to be a Knight. What have been the most rewarding experiences for you, in all those years?’ I believe it’s very similar with the Priesthood and the Diaconate. After you go away from here, do continue to think about your own experience of being a deacon in the Body of Christ which is the Church. Explaining to others is an important, even a vital witness – and it can also help you to understand your own calling more clearly. ■

New Diaconal Review Issue 7

Duncan Macpherson

Preparing the Sunday

Homily I

once read the story of an African woman who was mocked by her neighbours for always carrying her Bible with her. One day she knelt down holding the Bible above her head and said: ‘I carry this book always because it is the only book that reads me!’ If the Bible is to be allowed to read those who listen to preaching, preachers must first read themselves. They must then read their congregation. Each preacher has a unique biography and personality and each homily engages a specific congregation. In a world of joys, sorrows and bewildering change the word in Scripture is broken so as to bring alive the message of Christ, offering meaning, encouragement, challenge and empowerment, inviting radical conversion of life for the individual, the Church and society. Our aim is to involve the congregation in what they hear; inviting a response to the disclosure of God’s love seeking to share his life with each one of his children.

Teach, delight and persuade In book four of his De Doctrina Christiana St Augustine advocates that the preacher should aim to “teach, delight and persuade”. Augustine believed that in order to bring the message alive the preacher needs to develop the skills of rhetoric. But this is not just a technical skill. For the great classical teacher of rhetoric Aristotle the art of rhetoric involved persuasion through ethos, pathos, and logos 1. Ethos means ‘character’ and it is essential because people are only persuaded by

Ordained by Cardinal Basil Hume in 1992, Duncan is a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching, who taught Theology at St Mary’s University College from 1967 to 2000. He is Features Editor of The Preacher and a tutor of the College of Preachers. His publications include The Splendour of the Preachers (Saint Paul Publications, London: 2011) and The Pilgrim Preacher Palestine, Pilgrimage and Preaching (Melisende: 2004) a credible speaker 2. Pathos refers to the ability to connect with the feelings and emotions of the audience who are persuaded by an argument only if the words they hear are directed to their experience and needs 3. Logos, literally ‘word’, brings us to the reasoned content of the argument. Where such reasoning is strong the hearers are likely to be persuaded by the argument. We shall now look at each of these three elements of rhetoric and see how they apply to the preacher who breaks the Word in the context of the Sunday Liturgy.

1. Ethos: the preacher read by the Word When the deacon is ordained the Bishop hands him the book of the Gospels with these words: ‘Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you preach’. People are persuaded by a credible speaker. Unless the preacher sounds as though he is himself persuaded of the message, it will fall on deaf ears. Pope Saint Gregory the Great saw this clearly: ‘When I speak, it is myself that I am reproaching. I do not preach as I should nor does my life follow the principles I preach so inadequately’1.

1 (Homilies on Ezekiel 1.11.4-6) appointed as the second reading for the Office of Readings on the feast of St Gregory the Great on 3 September. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Homily at Vespers and Benediction Saturday 25 June 2011 – Paul Hendricks

Like a good actor the preacher has to absorb and ‘become the message’. High drama is evident not only in good preaching but also in the Scriptures themselves and preachers, like actors, can interpret the scripture texts to provide quality performance for the powerful drama of our redemption. The preacher, like any good method actor, is willing to live the story and to take a chance on what ‘God’s living word may actually be about for us in this moment’2. Each preacher has what American homiletician Joseph Webb calls ‘hub symbols’. These comprise a distinctive personality and background; with prejudices and enthusiasms derived from psychological and social factors based on individual experience.3 Unless the preacher is aware of these hub symbols he may easily substitute his own message for God’s and that we preach not ourselves but Christ crucified and that we are only the earthenware jars that hold the treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:5-7).

2. Pathos: Reading the congregation and the times Preachers are likely to preach in a way that best suits their own character type, but this must correspond to the character type of the congregation. A mismatch means that preaching falls on deaf ears. In the film ‘Four weddings and a funeral’, nobody was listening to the Reverend Mr. Bean4 . Interpreting the congregation is arguably just as important as the interpreting the text. The more we learn, the more we realise that each sermon is what the

Preparing the Sunday Homily – Duncan Macpherson

American homileticist Eugene Lowry calls ‘an event in time’.

word of God to the sacramental celebration and the life of the community, so that the word of God truly becomes the Church’s vital nourishment and support’6

If this ‘event in time’ is to be significant it must have a clear purpose. In the words of Blessed John Henry Newman: ‘As a marksman aims at the target and its bull’s-

In an important document on preaching7, the American bishops identify the preacher as ‘the mediator of meaning, representing both the community and the Lord’ and from knowledge of the congregation, the preacher will be able to voice its concerns ‘by naming its demons’ and by pointing ‘to the signs of God’s presence in the lives of his people’ To relate to such struggles preachers need to adapt the contents and delivery of the homily both to the congregation and to the wider society in which they live. Methods of teaching should be ‘adapted to the needs of the times – to answer, that is the difficulties and questions that man finds most burdensome and distressing8’

‘one thing is necessary’ – an intense perception and appreciation of the end for which he preaches, and that is, to be the minister of some definite spiritual good eye, and at nothing else, so the preacher must have a definite point before him, which he has to hit… Talent, logic, learning, words, manner, voice, action, all are required for the perfection of a preacher; but ‘one thing is necessary’ – an intense perception and appreciation of the end for which he preaches, and that is, to be the minister of some definite spiritual good to those who hear him… as a marksman aims at the target… the preacher must have a definite point before him, which he has to hit5.’ Engaging restless hearts, it is to the heart of God that the message must lead – or, in the words on Newman’s tombstone, ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem – ‘from shadows and imaginings into the Truth’.

Homileticist David Buttrick advocates working from the experience of the people rather than from the contents of the message. The content of the message may be clear to the preacher, but the readiness of the congregation to hear it is another matter. For this reason it is important to try to establish imaginative empathy with the hearers of the message.9 Buttrick’s advice is echoed by the US bishops 1982 document: ‘After the human situation has been addressed, the homilist can turn to the Scriptures to interpret the situation, showing that God is present and active in our lives today… only when preachers know what a congregation needs to hear will they be able to commu-

Pope Benedict sets out a clear definition of what the homily should be aiming to do: ‘Generic and abstract homilies should be avoided. In particular, I ask these ministers to preach in such a way that the homily closely relates the proclamation of the

Logos: the contents and structure of the homily The reality of the Trinity should provide the content and the structure of the message. The Good News we preach is that God the Father is revealed to us through the Incarnation of his Son, that he reconciles us to himself through Christ’s death and resurrection and that his Holy Spirit is now poured out into our hearts. The content of our preaching is the Living God revealed in the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Christ. In the scripture readings, explained in the homily, God is speaking to his people ‘opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation, and nourishing their spirit’ and ‘Christ himself is present in the midst of the faithful through his word’.10 Preachers ‘need to build sermons so that our listeners can step securely from image to image, from story to story and thus climb into the truths of lives.’ Lowry suggests a five parts methodology for “the sermon as preached” (oops, ugh, aha, whee, and yeah – or conflict, complication, sudden shift, good news, and unfolding). Sermons, like stories should have plot, tension, and climax.11 Any worthwhile homily makes the connection between gospel and life. This connection can be made immediately in the form of a ‘hook’ or introductory image rooted in the experience of the congregation. It may also happen in the way in which the good news is unfolded and applied to life in the

6 Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, (2007), 139-40. 7 Bishops Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry Fulfilled in your hearing: The Homily in the Sunday Assembly (Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1982) 8 Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops, Christus Dominus, 13. 9 Buttrick, D, Homiletic: Moves and Structures (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987) 142 10 General Instruction on the Roman Missal 55 and Sacrosanctum Concilium 7 11 Lowry E. L., The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative

2 Childers, J. and Schmidt, C. J. (eds). Performance in Preaching: Bringing the sermon to life, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: 2008) 3 Webb, J. Hub symbols: A new approach to effective interpersonal evangelism (Malibu: The Center for the Study of Christian Communication, 1982). 4 David Parrot, ‘Engaging with the Congregation’, The Preacher 138 (July 2010), p. 7. 5 The Idea of a University (1852 and 1858) 2:6


nicate what a congregation needs to hear.’




The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Preparing the Sunday Homily – Duncan Macpherson

Preparing the Sunday Homily – Duncan Macpherson

Vincent Nichols

concluding part of the homily. Frequently a literary device known as inclusio makes a thematic link between both the opening and the conclusion To conclude, I will set out a check list which may prove helpful in preparing a homily for a Sunday liturgy.

Organising Preaching Plans: Sunday Liturgy The one sentence or “big idea” based on the Gospel reading First read and meditate on the Gospel passage or one of the other appointed readings. Before you consult any commentaries or homiletic notes identify one key message that speaks directly to you and that you think will form the main aim of your homily. Summarise your target in one sentence.

It may now be helpful to read and meditate on the other readings and to consider whether they include elements in them which can reinforce the message of your homily (The first reading is always intended to link with a theme in the Gospel).

Insights may also be gained from thinking about what readings precede and follow in the lectionary and where this Sunday’s readings figure in the liturgical year

Now set it into a Trinitarian perspective so that you will be proclaiming the risen Christ who is the way to the Father and through whom we receive the Holy Spirit.

Insights may also be gained from thinking about what readings precede and follow in the lectionary and where this Sunday’s readings figure in the liturgical year. It will also be helpful to see each reading in the context of the Bible as well as of the lectionary. Sometimes the significance of a text may not emerge clearly otherwise.

The world in front of the text

Preaching plot adopted

Next consider the specific needs and ethos of the congregation who will be present at the Mass at which you will be preaching. Consider also the events of the week whether local, national or international. How can the message be tailored to the concerns of your hearers and to the backdrop of what is happening around them? What interpretative approach will be most appropriate for the text ‘to answer… the difficulties and questions that man finds most burdensome and distressing’

Now devise a structure to the homily that will engage the interest of the congregation providing ‘plot, tension, and climax’.

Trinitarian perspective

The world of the text

Application to liturgy and life Finally, the homily needs to point to the way in which the word of God can challenge, console and change our lives and how we can relate ‘the proclamation of the word of God to the sacramental celebration and the life of the community’—how the biblical message can read both us and the times in which we live. ■

Now consider what insights can obtained from reading commentaries that illuminate the original context and meaning of the text on which you are preaching (This may sometimes lead to a radical revision of what you have prepared so far). 44

Corpus Christi

Other insights

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te missa est’: the dismissal proclaimed at the end of Mass by the deacon – at least when the priest (and even the occasional bishop) doesn’t forget to let him! Of course, this proclamation doesn’t really state that the Mass is ended, rather that what we’ve celebrated in the Church isn’t confined by the walls of any building. No, the Eucharist is carried ‘outside’ through the mission given to us all. What is this mission? It is the very mission of Christ. From every Mass we are sent out to bear – actually to be – the loving presence of Jesus into the world. But how, in particular, do deacons participate in this mission which flows from our sharing in the body and blood of Christ? Corpus Christi is a fitting celebration at which to reflect further on this question. I’d like to do so with the help of three moments of the Corpus Christi celebration which Pope Benedict VXI highlights in a homily for this Feast, and will also draw significantly on Deus Caritas Est and Sacramentum Caritatis. The three moments the Pope highlights are: gathering around the altar of the Lord to be together in his presence; then walking with the Lord in the Eucharistic procession; and thirdly, kneeling before the Lord in adoration at the Eucharistic blessing However, to appreciate comprehensively the meaning of today’s feast for the Diaconate we must still hold present last Sunday’s Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. For the Eucharistic mystery, the Sacrament of Charity, is fundamentally a Trinitarian mystery proceeding from Love itself.

The final event of the conference was Mass on Sunday 26 June, the feast of Corpus et Sanguis Christi, in the Chapel of the University College. The Principal Celebrant and preacher was the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster (in whose diocese the college is situated) and President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. When Jesus tells us ‘I am the living bread’, he also tells us that he is sent by the living Father. He is the true bread from Heaven which the Father gives; the bread that gives life to the world. He is the Son sent by the Father, who, by the Holy Spirit, assumed our flesh and blood. In that same Spirit, Jesus offered himself lovingly on the Cross to the Father and the Father raised Him up in the Spirit. Sent by Jesus, the glorified Lord seated at the Father’s right hand, it is the Holy Spirit who gathers us around the altar of the Lord to be together in his presence. Indeed, it is by the working of the Holy Spirit that the bread and wine are substantially changed into the body of Christ broken for us and the blood of Christ poured out for us, so that in Christ we may have eternal life – raised up to share in the Communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Drawn into the intimacy of this Communion we are also bound to our brothers and sisters in faith. Our communion with the body and blood of Christ means that, though we are many, we are one body. I am drawn out of myself to become one with the Lord and thus one with all who receive him. Yet – and this is so important – this being gathered together as one around the altar of the Lord is in no way a clique. Our being taken up into Trinitarian love is at the same time a being turned outwards towards the whole of humanity. Our Eucharistic communion must pass over into

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The Deacon in the Body of Christ

Homily for the feast of

the actual practice of love for others – no matter who they are. For the Father not only gives us the Son in the Eucharist, but in the power of the Holy Spirit sends us out to walk with the Lord. We are to be a wonderful procession carrying the one we have received to others. Our charitable activity always flows from the Eucharist and makes us radiant manifestations of divine agape. For when, by our charity, we live the Eucharistic mystery others see the Trinity! Yes, the mission of the Incarnate Son continues in and through us. However, we continue the Son’s mission, carry him to others, only because he walks with us, leads us, carries us. The Eucharistic procession reminds us that the Lord is with us every step of the way, renewing our strength. No matter how many the obstacles we encounter we can travel the path of charity because it proceeds out from the Mass itself. This indissoluble bond between the Eucharist and charitable activity means that charitable activity is essential to the Church’s nature and mission. It’s as necessary as the proclamation of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments. These three presuppose each other and are inseparable. The Church cannot neglect her ministry of charity any more that she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word. No surprise, then, that at the very beginning of the Church the Apostles were concerned that everyone in the community had what was required for a dignified life. Nor that in the earliest centuries of the Church, bishops – the successors to the Apostles – had the primary responsibility for ensuring that the offerings presented at Mass were used to support those in need. This responsibility for overseeing charitable activity remains at the core of Episcopal ministry. When I was ordained bishop I resolved ‘to show kindness and compassion in the name of the Lord to the poor, and to strangers and to all who are in need’. And the Directory for the Pastoral 46

Ministry of Bishops reminds me that the duty of charity is incumbent upon each bishop in his diocese. How am I to fulfil this mission faithfully? The answer, you know, is the Greek word used to name the Church’s service of charity – diakonia. The Apostles chose seven men full of the Spirit to ensure that there was a well ordered love of neighbour. And at your ordination you drew strength from the gift of the Holy Spirit to help your bishop as ministers of the word, altar and of charity. By the consecration which binds you more closely to the altar, you are to perform works of charity in the name of the bishop after the example of those the apostles chose. You have a privileged vocation of assisting your bishop to be a faithful missionary of charity. This is why there is a special bond between the deacon and his bishop, more so that between the deacon and the parish to which he is appointed. Deacons, in history, are closely associated with the bishop, especially in the ministry of charity. I think we have a great deal to learn about this. Moreover, by your ministry of charity you incarnate the Word you preach and shape your way of life according to the example of Christ, whose body and blood you give to the people. At this time, as a Church, we are striving to find new ways of strengthening our work of charity. There was a recent conference of representatives from many Catholic charities who gathered here to explore how we may more effectively live Caritas. There, too, I stressed the links between the Eucharist and practical charity. I hope that this feast of Corpus Christi may inspire us to reflect more fully on the particular role of deacons in this mission which is intrinsic to the Body of Christ. But better than talk more about it, let’s kneel before the Lord in adoration. In prayer before the Blessed Sacrament the significance of

New Diaconal Review Issue 7

Homily for the feast of Corpus Christi – Vincent Nichols

our ministry of charity unfolds. We bow down in awe and wonder before the God who first bent over us, like the Good Samarian, to heal our wounds; we receive the blessing of he who stooped down to wash our dirty feet; who emptied himself on the cross to fill us with heavenly riches, with God’s life. In adoration of the Blessed Sacrament we contemplate (to look forward to Friday’s feast) the

Sacred Heart of Jesus, broken wide open so that in that Heart all may find a home. In the Eucharist the human heart of Jesus still beats with Trinitarian love. Immersed in this love our human hearts are formed by divine love, harmonised with the love of Christ. Cor ad cor loquiter; and so we discover ever more fully the meaning of the diaconal proclamation: ‘Ite missa est.’ ■

John Morrill


The Rt Revd Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia W

hen Bishop Michael Evans died in July 2011 he had been Bishop of East Anglia for eight and a half years, and for most of that time he was suffering from aggressive prostate cancer. Both the disease and its treatments would have stopped most of us in our tracks. But it had two effects on Bishop Michael. It made him determined to drive cheerfully through the pain and more particularly the deep weariness, and it gradually made him realise he needed to depend more on others and less on sheer will-power. More than 2,000 people crammed the vast St John’s Cathedral in Norwich for his Requiem Mass, and there was an extraordinary atmosphere of love and joy. He had become a Bishop not only respected and admired, but deeply loved, by the vast numbers whose lives he touched. The Anglican Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, in his tribute, said: ‘…Michael Evans was God’s gift to Catholics in East Anglia, to all Christians and those of little or no faith as well. The manner of his dying was the measure of the

John Morrill has been a permanent deacon in the diocese of East Anglia since 1996 and has served as Chair of the Commission for Evangelisation for the diocese since 2005 and as Assistant Director for diaconal formation since 2007.

man – faithful to God and his people, and with an infectious joy about him which pain and suffering could not extinguish…’ This gets to the pith. Bishop Michael was full of joy, and chronic illness only made him more joyful. He was a great teaching bishop and he initiated a ‘Learning Together’ programme every third Saturday which brought people together (1200 over the first five years) from across the diocese to study together for five hours in what he called ‘teaching days’ (systematics, scripture, history, moral theology) and ‘practical days’, training in a wide range of lay ministries and catechetics. He himself led more than a quarter of the days, and his days were always the most popular, whether on the Incarnation, the Atonement, the life of Oscar Romero, in dialogue with an Imam about Christian-Muslim dialogue, or offering exegesis of one of the encyclicals of Pope Paul VI (his favourite pope). These teaching days

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Homily for the feast of Corpus Christi – Vincent Nichols

revealed most of his enthusiasms – Catholic social teaching, ecumenism, a radical commitment to the processes begun by the Second Vatican Council. Above all he was committed to the young people of the diocese, setting up a diocesan youth council and he threw himself into regular events with youth (‘hobbling with the bishop’ –- a regular pilgrimage-walk from King’s Lynn to Walsingham; annual visits with youth to Taizé, taking one of the largest diocesan contingents to successive World Youth Days). He died much loved and admired, but it had not all been plain sailing. He had come into the diocese at the age of 52 having rarely moved north of the Thames (he was a man of Kent) except to watch his beloved Leeds United play football, and after a 28-year ministry fairly evenly divided between teaching in seminary, university chaplaincy and parish work. But he also came in as a whirlwind and his reforming zeal did not carry all with him. He promulgated a plan for reform of all aspects of parish life (‘Forward and Outward Together’) saying in a cover-note that he intended to ‘throw some chili peppers into your salad’. This was typical of his slightly caustic wit, the most counter-productive example of which was his attempt to call the diocesan newspaper ‘The Bishop’s Finger’, an allusion to a good Kentish ale that was not

The Deacon and Holy Week – Terry Drainey

appreciated. His first meetings with his deacons were unhappy ones, as he instructed more than he listened. But over the years, the deacons more than most came to love him. He had some odd ideas about the diaconate (he said that if he was pope for the day he would abolish the transitional diaconate and have just permanent priests and permanent deacons), but mutual respect was gradually and then emphatically engendered. He recognised the range of gifts that deacons brought from their worlds of work and by the end of his ministry as Bishop a majority of the diocesan commissions were chaired by deacons, and his visitations of parishes were invariably affirming. He was utterly committed to the three-fold ministry of the deacon, in service of the Word, the Altar and Charity, and he preached powerfully at ordinations and jubilees about the deacon as a man who by his life and by the words of commissioning given him at the end of the Mass led the people out with joy to love and serve the Lord. Indeed Bishop Michael’s own life was as much a sign (however much he would not agree) that he was every inch a deacon, just as he was every inch a priest and every inch a bishop. Diakonia, I never quite dared to say to him, is an indelible mark, and you demonstrate as much. ■

ber of priests is in decline. Others feel strongly that the diaconate represents a versatile ministry which allows the institutional serving Church to interface with the world. In the end, whatever we might think or ponder, we are told that ‘The origin of the diaconate is the consecration and mission of Christ, in which the deacon is called to share. Through the imposition of hands and the prayer of consecration, he is constituted a sacred minister and a member of the hierarchy’.1 While I realise that there is still a great deal of debate and discussion going on as to the origins, ministry and purpose of the Permanent Diaconate, I would just like to offer a few thoughts as a result of pondering on the role and ministry of the deacon during the Mass of Chrism and the Sacred Triduum. Personally I find it helpful, and perhaps it might be of use to others. My thoughts are inspired by this quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: ‘The Church’s faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles – whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi (or: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, according to Prosper of Aquitaine [5th cent.]). The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition’.2 Also, given that the Liturgy is the summit to which all the Church’s activity is directed and font from which all her power flows,3 we are bound to find some direction in thus meditating on this theme.

Terry Drainey

The Deacon and Holy Week This article is a paper given by the Bishop of Middlesborough at the annual meeting of the Conference of Diaconate Directors and Deacon Delegates of England and Wales held at Hinsley Hall in Leeds in November 2010. Bishop Drainey is the member of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales who is responsible for clergy formation 48


As the solemn Mass of Chrism begins, towards the front of the procession, a deacon carries the book of the Gospels. Then at the appropriate time a deacon proclaims the Gospel. As is normal, the deacon or deacons assist the bishop in gathering the

veryone has an opinion on the theological basis and ministerial parameters of the Permanent Diaconate. Many enthusiastically embrace it and see it as the restoration of a wonderful and germane ministry to the PostVatican II Church. Others interpret it as a clericalisation of tasks that could be and should be in the domain of the lay-faithful. Some welcome deacons because they see in them a stop-gap in a world where the num-

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gifts for the Offertory. In the case of the Mass of Chrism they also bring up the Oils to be blessed, announcing what each one is for: Oil for the Sacred Chrism, the Oil of the sick and the Oil of catechumens. All the way through the Mass they assist the bishop, carrying, lifting, holding and eventually bearing the Blessed Oils from the Church in procession to the sacristy or some other suitable place at the end of the Mass. Again, they normally assist in the distribution of the Oils after Mass is finished. During the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the deacon or deacons assist as usual but they are there also especially to assist the bishop or priest at the Mandatum or the Washing of the Feet. If it is a bishop who is doing the washing of the feet he removes his Chasuble but keeps on his dalmatic if he is wearing one. On Good Friday, the deacons are there again standing with the bishop or priest as they celebrate the Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion. The deacon directs the people during the General Intercessions as to when to kneel and stand. More often than not, in the second form of the showing of the Cross, it is the deacon who brings the Cross before the gaze of the faithful and who holds it for them to kiss. He brings the Blessed Sacrament from the place of repose for the distribution of Holy Communion. In many ways, on Holy Saturday at the Vigil, the deacon’s role is enviable. It is he who carries the lighted Paschal Candle into Church and announces ‘the Light of Christ’. He then proclaims the Exsultet with its profound and joyous message. He is charged with carrying the good news of Christ’s Resurrection to all of us. As at every mass, the deacon also dismisses us, but it is in a very special way that he does it at the Vigil and throughout the

1 Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent deacons 1 2 CCC 1124 3 Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 10 New


Diaconia of Altar

OBITUARY : The Rt Revd Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia – John Morrill

Tony Schmitz

The Deacon and Holy Week – Terry Drainey

International Theological Commission:

Obviously we all know that the deacon is indeed a Herald of the Gospel. He is charged with this at his ordination, and he is told, ‘It will also be (your) duty, at the bishop’s discretion, to bring God’s word to believer and unbeliever alike..’ The deacon’s ministry and life are intimately bound up with living out and carrying to others the Gospel message. Furthermore, his ministry is closely connected to the Church’s mission of service. He should be ready to “wash feet” on any occasion. He will be engaged in catechetical instruction, helping others to deepen their understanding of the Word of God and how to live it out in their daily lives. His is a ministry of prayer. As he guides the faithful through the Liturgical Services, as he leads them in the Intercessions, so he will encourage and support them in their own personal prayer journey. Through his practical role in the Blessing of the Holy Oils, he is associated with the Sacramental life of the Church. Yes we know that the deacon can officiate at the Sacrament of Baptism with all the solemn rites that the Church provides. But as he carries the Oil of Catechumens he does so as one who gathers, instructs and encourages those who are on their journey towards initiation into the life of Christ. As he carries the Oil of Sacred Chrism, he does so as one who should constantly enlighten God’s people as to their priestly, royal and prophetic role. He should be one who gives witness to the gospel, proclaiming it by his life and by his words. In this way he will help those who are preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation to be open to the gifts of the Spirit enabling them to become witnesses to their faith in Christ by the holiness of their lives.

The deacon carries the Oil of the Sick, for his ministry will be bound up with the care of the sick. He will bring the Eucharist together with the presence and support of the Church to all those who are unable to be attend. He will demonstrate the Church’s care for those who are in hospitals or medical institutions of

sacramentality of the Diaconate The

From the twelfth to the twentieth century


he sacramental character of the diaconate is an issue that remains implicit in the biblical, patristic and liturgical testimony we have just described. Now we need to see how the Church first took conscious and explicit notice of this at a time when, with rare exceptions, the diaconate was merely a step toward the priesthood.

He will be for them the sign of the Church’s loving service one kind or another. He will be for them the sign of the Church’s loving service.4 In a world that finds ageing and death almost taboo-topics, where hope is in short supply, the deacon is charged with proclaiming the message of Christ who died and is risen again; not just in the darkness of the Church on Holy Saturday night, but at all times and in every place. He is to bring the good news of that first Easter morning to all those who are desperate to hear it. He has to evoke a genuine response in us to the news of the resurrection and he has to encourage and empower us to go out into the world taking that same message with us.

I. The Early Scholastics Although it can have a broad and generic meaning, “sacramentality” in the stricter sense alludes to the seven sacraments (visible and efficacious signs of grace), amongst which we have the sacrament of “Holy Orders”. And, within Orders, we can distinguish different “levels” or “degrees”, varying between seven and nine in number. The diaconate and the presbyterate always appear among the ordines sacri of the sacrament, and the sub-diaconate also came to be included on account of the celibacy requirement. The episcopate was excluded in most cases.1

I am sure a deacon can and will do so much more than this. The wonderful thing to me as a bishop is that the deacon is there to assist in any way that is pastorally helpful for the mission of the Church. It can be rich ministry with an illustrious past and an encouraging future. So to you, brother deacons, I say, ‘Hold the mystery of faith with a clear conscience. Express in action what you proclaim by word of mouth. Then the people of Christ, brought to life by the Spirit, will be an offering God accepts. Finally, on the last day, when you go to meet the Lord, you will hear him say: “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”’ 5 ■

According to Peter Lombard († 1160),2 the diaconate is an ordo or gradus officiorum – the sixth. Although he considered all ordines to be spirituales and sacri, he emphasised the excellence of the diaconate and the presbyterate, the only

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orders that exist by the precept of the Apostles in the early Church, whereas all the others were instituted by the Church over the course of time. The episcopate did not enjoy this excellence, according to him, since it did not belong to the sacramental ordines, but rather to the domain of offices and dignities.3

II. From St Thomas Aquinas († 1273) to the Council of Trent (1563) 1. The affirmation of sacramentality The teaching of St. Thomas on the diaconate4 included its sacramentality inasmuch as it belongs to Holy Orders, one of the seven sacraments of the New Law. Each of the various orders in some way constitutes a sacramental reality, notwithstanding the fact that only three (priesthood, diaconate and sub-diaconate) could

1 For these oscillations, cf. L. Ott, Das Weihesakrament (HbDG IV/5), Freiburg a.Br. 1964. 2 Peter Lombard introduced in IV Sent. d. 24 the Treatise De ordinibus ecclesiasticis that, with the exception of a few lines, had been copied from Hugo of St. Victor († 1141), from Yves de Chartres († 1040 to 1115) and from the Decrees of Gratian, and all these authors depended in their turn on De Septem ordinibus ecclesiae (fifth to seventh centuries), one of the first treatises of the Western Church (cf. St. Isidore of Seville) dedicated to an exposition of the competences of the different grades of the hierarchy. 3 IV Sent. d. 24 c14. 4 See In IV Sent. D. 24-25, Suppl. qq 34-40, SCG, chapter IV. 74-77, De art. fidei et Eccl. sacramentis.

4 There are some who advocate that the deacon should be a minister of the Sacrament of the Sick; my comments neither imply nor support this position. 5 From the Rite of Ordination of deacons


The NDR presents the next instalment of a fresh and complete translation of the International Theological Commission’s important research document Le Diaconat: Évolution et Perspectives, Éditions du Cerf, Paris, 2003. Deacon Tony Schmitz is Director of Studies of the national diaconate formation programme for the Diaconate Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and co-editor of the New Diaconal Review. What follows is only the first part of Chapter Four.



Diaconal Formation

Octave of Easter. With the double ‘Alleluias’ he evokes in us a similar response, thus making us witnesses to the Risen Lord.

International Theological Commission: The sacramentality of the Diaconate – Tony Schmitz

Ashley Beck

in the strict sense be considered ordines sacri on account of their particular relationship to the Eucharist.5 But one should not conclude from their sacramentality that priesthood and diaconate constituted different sacraments; the distinction proper to orders does not correspond to a universal or integral whole, but rather to a “potestative totality”.6 The manner of articulating the unity and unicity of the sacrament of Orders, in its different grades, involved their reference to the Eucharist, Sacramentum sacramentorum.7 It was on this account that differ-

... one should not conclude from their sacramentality that priesthood and diaconate constituted different sacraments ent orders required a sacramental consecration in accordance with the type of power relative to the Eucharist. By their ordination, priests received the power to consecrate, whilst deacons were given the power to serve priests in the administration of the sacraments.8 The relationship of each order to the Eucharist becomes a criterion for excluding any suggestion that each order requires the administration of a specific sacrament. The same criterion also serves to exclude the psalmist and the cantor from sacramental orders. But this criterion is also used to exclude the sacramentality of the episcopate.9 Nevertheless, although St. Thomas refuses to allow the episcopate any sort of power superior to that of the presbyter in relation to the verum corpus Christi, he does consider the episcopate also to be, in some way, an ordo by reason 52

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of its powers over the corpus mysticum.10

Catholic Social teaching and currency stability

Because the diaconate is a sacrament, we are faced with an ordo that imprints a character, a doctrine that Thomas applies to baptism, to confirmation and to Orders. But there was a development in his thought: one that begins from defining the character of Orders solely by reference to Christ’s priesthood (In IV Sent.) and ends by the defining the entire doctrine of what is meant by character (STh).11

In my earlier article I looked briefly at the history and economics of the euro; now I want to concentrate on its theology. This establishes the case that the stability sought through the euro reflects Christian teaching. In the history of developed Catholic social teaching since Leo XIII, the popes and bishops have increasingly warned against the harm done by unregulated financial profiteering. In the midst of the Depression in the 1930s Pope Pius XI wrote this in Quadragesimo Anno:

On the subject of the diaconate, he explains all its potestates relating to the dispensatio of the sacraments as something that appears to lie in the domain of what is “licit” rather than in the domain of a more radical empowerment relative to the “validity” of its respective functions.12 In his turn, in the Summa Theologiae, (III q67 a1), he poses the question whether evangelising and baptising are part of the diaconal office and he responds that direct administration of the sacraments does not belong to deacons quasi ex proprio officio, any more than any task relating to teaching (docere). Only catechesis (cathechizare) belongs to deacons ex proprio officio.13 ■

5 In IV Sent. d. 24 q2 a1 ad 3. 6 Ibid. d.24 q2 a.1 sol. 1. 7 Ibid. d.24 q2 a.1 sol. 2. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid. d 24 q3 a.2 sol. 2. 10 Ibid. d.24 q3 a.2 sol. 2. 11 See In IV Sent d.7 q2 ad1; STh III Q.63 a.3. 12 In IV Sent. d.24 q1 a.2 sol. 2. 13 STh q. 67 a.1.

‘…a dictatorship, being most forcibly exercised by those who, since they hold the money and completely control it, control credit also and rule the lending of money. Hence they regulate the flow…of the lifeblood whereby the entire economic system lives, and have so firmly in their grasp the soul, as it were, of economic life that no one can breathe against their will’.1 This critique of bankers – just as true now as it was in the 1930s – really only makes sense if it also encompasses those who through speculation in exchange markets make enormous sums of money and deprive countries of stability, in respect of the competitiveness of industry and agriculture and people’s spending power. The principle of solidarity demands, as in the whole of our teaching, that the system be properly regulated and policed – a ‘free’ unfettered market is not acceptable. This was reiterated forcefully later in the 1930s in two statements by the Catholic bishops in the United States.2 From the time of Blessed John XXIII papal teaching about economic life has increasingly looked at relationships between countries and the international monetary sys-

Deacons are expected to be specialists in the social teaching of the Catholic Church. In the issue before last we looked at how the single currency in Europe has developed as part of the vision of the founders of a united Europe sixty years ago: in this sequel we look at how this development is rooted in social teaching – the reason why deacons should back the Euro where it exists and work for countries outside the Eurozone to join it. Fr Ashley Beck is co-editor of the New Diaconal Review and the representative of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales on the Committee of Management of Faith in Europe, an ecumenical research body in association with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. He is Assistant Priest of Beckenham in south east London and Lecturer in Pastoral Ministry at St Mary’s University College, Twickenahm. An expanded version of both articles, Christians and the Euro, has been advertised in this journal (available by emailing the author on tem. In his great encyclical about peace, Pacem in Terris, Pope John recognised that the relationships between states need better international structures of authority: ‘..The shape and structure of political life in the modern world, and the influence exercised by public authority in all nations of the world are unequal to the task of promoting the common good of all peoples.’3 The world of 1963, reeling from the Cuban missile crisis, needed better international

1 London: CTS (S 105), 1931, section 105. 2 ‘Present Crisis’, in 1933 and ‘Statement on Social Problems’, in 1937, in D. Myers (ed.) Justice in the Marketplace: Collected Statements of the Vatican and the United States Catholic Bishops on Economic Policy, 1891-1984 (Washington: USCC, 1985). 3 London: CTS (S 264), 1963, section 135. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


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regulation. Pope Paul VI built on this teaching and on the world view of the Second Vatican Council, especially in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes (December 1965). In his ground-breaking encyclical in 1967 on world development Populorum Progressio (a letter described at the time by the Wall Street Journal as ‘souped-up Marxism’, and also categorically commended in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI in his letter Caritas in Veritate4) the Pope applied Catholic thinking to the need for international finance to support the poorest nations of the world. He called (paragraphs 51ff.) for the establishment of a World fund to relieve the poorest of the world, and for other forms of financial assistance to be given to poorer nations, either through gifts or low-interest loans. None of this would be possible without some common regulation and currency stability. By the time of the 1971 synod of bishops on justice in the world, the Church had become more critical of the financial and monetary system as such – in his letter for the synod, Octagesima Adveniens (43) Pope Paul said that the monetary system has to be revised in the light of the prior call of international duty. As in many other respects, Blessed John Paul II developed further this aspect of social teaching – the need for the international financial and monetary system to be governed by ethical norms in favour of the poor. As in other situations a ‘jungle’ is intolerable: the market needs to be regulated. Moves in various places for fixed exchange rates and linked or common currencies are part of what such regulation is about. In his first encyclical Redemptor Hominis he reflected on how disparity between rich and poor nations is getting worse and worse:

Deacons and the Euro II – Ashley Beck

‘The contrast…represents the gigantic development of the parable in the Bible of the rich banqueter and the poor man Lazarus. So widespread is the phenomenon that it brings into question the financial, monetary, production and commercial mechanisms that, resting on various political pressures, support the world economy. These are proving incapable either of remedying the unjust social situations inherited from the past or of dealing with the urgent challenges and ethical challenges of the present.’5 This becomes even more explicit in the 1987 encyclical (written to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Populorum Progressio) which explored in the fullest way so far the concept of solidarity, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis6. One of the pope’s recurrent themes is the link between personal sin and structures of sin in the world, and he includes international power blocs marked by imperialism in this definition. He criticises forcefully aspects of the international economic system which damage the Lord’s poor. So he says: ‘I wish to mention specifically: the reform of the international trade system, which is mortgaged to protectionism and increasing bilateralism; the reform of the world monetary and financial system, today recognised as inadequate… The world monetary and financial system is marked by an excessive fluctuation of exchange rates and interest rates, to the detriment of the balance of payments and the debt situation of the poorer countries.’ Moreover, he makes concrete proposals for co-operation in the framework of a soli-

4 London: CTS (Do 784), 2009. See Ashley Beck, ‘More Souped-up Marxism? A summary and initial assessment of Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate’ The Pastoral Review volumr 5, issue 5 (September/October 2009). 5 London: CTS (Do 506), 1979, section 16. 6 London: CTS (S 400), 1987, sections 36 – 45.


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darity which includes everyone, beginning with the most neglected. He thinks that the poorest nations themselves have a responsibility to work closely together, but it is clear that this way of operating reflects a general principle:

along with others, when there is currency instability and insecurity. It is this instability that the monetary union project in Europe has been designed to address, and we can see from these extracts from papal teaching why Catholics should support it wholeheartedly.

‘…Nations of the same geographical area should establish forms of cooperation which will make them less dependent on more powerful producers; they should open their frontiers to the products of the area; they should examine how their products might complement one another; they should combine in order to set up those services which each one separately is incapable of providing; they should extend co-operation to the monetary and financial sector…

It is, of course, absolutely essential that the single currency should work in the interests of the poorer nations, both within the EU and the rest of the world, and this is more pressing than ever during the current crisis: it is not acceptable for the more prosperous countries to seek to ‘go it alone’, and the means by which countries which have experienced problems are helped should not go against the interests of the poor.

An essential condition for global solidarity is autonomy and free self-determination…but at the same time solidarity demands a readiness to accept the sacrifices necessary for the good of the whole world community.’ The first part of that quotation is a thumbnail description of what has happened in Europe since the war, made by the pope into a model for other, poorer regions; the second part is a succinct definition of the balance between autonomy and shared sovereignty demanded by the idea of solidarity. Why does the pope endorse this way of acting for nations and encourage others to follow it? Because it is rooted in Christian teaching. How can any Catholic read these words and still be a ‘euro-sceptic’? These themes in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis are taken up in subsequent documents from various bishops’ conferences. The priority is helping poor nations – and they suffer most,

There is a serious reason for this overall teaching. One of the foundations of Catholic moral teaching is the idea of natural law – the idea that simply from the created order and the use of reason, we can discern how God wants us to behave, without revelation or religious belief, so that some norms are binding in all times and places. In Catholic theology we do not operate in an unrestricted setting of freedom – the way God has created us reflects his will, and a sense of order and stability. Essentially setting up a single currency, and co-ordinating and integrating monetary policies among groups, is an intervention in the market with a view to another good – economic growth through stability. Currency speculation is about profiteering and involves risking the common good in the interests of private profit – rather, according to St Thomas Aquinas economic life should be directed according to the common good of society and the cultivation of moral rights and virtues.7 The common idea that the individual profit motive is the driving force of economic activity is thus alien to Catholic thought. Drawing on this both Pope Leo XIII

7 On economic life in general see Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (London: Continuum, 2004), 323ff., citing many references to John Paul II, Encyclical letter Centesimus Annus (London: CTS 2001). For St Thomas see ST II IIae 114ff. and 134ff. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


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Deacons and the Euro II – Ashley Beck

(in Rerum Novarum, 1891) and Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno held that the state has a positive duty to intervene in economic life to promote a life of virtue among its citizens. It is surely right to apply this approach to monetary and currency activity – the priority must be for transactions to reflect fairness and justice – which is why St Thomas, and the Church until the time of the Reformation condemned usury.8 It is because of this basic concept of order, and of the need for direction and regulation, that Catholic analysis of modern problems identifies currency speculation and instability as a major social ill and the root of many injustices.

The European bishops and the Euro There is a commission of Catholic bishops in Europe, COMECE, made up of representatives of the various bishops’ conferences.9 It works closely with similar bodies for other churches, especially CEC, the Council of European Churches. In early 1998 COMECE organised a special conference in Brussels entitled The Euro and Europe, bringing together bishops, Vatican officials and senior figures in the EU.10 It shows the Church’s vision with regard to the single currency and the ways in which our community has been working with those who have been setting it up. In 1998 the practical introduction of the euro, although it had been planned and timetabled, was still some way off. The conference brought together 200 experts and 20 bishops from the 15 member states of the union, including the then President of the German Bundesbank, Dr Hans Tietmeyer, and the EU commissioner responsible for the single market, Mario Monti. One of the main contributors was Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, General

Deacons and the Euro II – Ashley Beck

Secretary of the Holy See’s Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace and now Archbishop of Dublin. Dr Tietmeyer in his speech made clear what we have seen already in these articles – that the single currency is not an end in itself. Although its historical originality has to be acknowledged, it is not a miracle cure for all Europe’s economic ills –for example, unemployment; in addition there are also risks that public opinion might turn against it, or that countries might not be able to stay in the stability pact. Monetary union is a major step in economic and political progress, and the stability which it will bring will bring advantages to everyone, including the whole world economy. He pointed out that currency integration is ahead of political union – the euro has advanced faster than Europe itself. As a result it was now necessary to balance things out by bringing further political integration to match the economic – monetary union has become the motor force driving European integration. Archbishop Martin took a rather different view on this last point: the motor was not the market, but the creativity, energy and work of people. The economy is at the service of the human person – it gives that service by functioning properly and in accordance with ethical criteria; an unstable currency, just as a lack of transparency, creative book-keeping, collusion and the suppression of information, damages people’s lives – he referred to recent experiences in Asian economies. The Church values, therefore, the legitimate autonomy of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the need for a strong political commitment to ensure its success. However, he stressed that there must be, at every level, responsibility for the social consequences of decisions that are taken. In strong and weak countries, economic actors must internalise

8 See ST II IIae.78 9 See the commission’s website, for details of their work. The current President is the Bishop of Rotterdam. 10 For a full report see Briefing, 19 March 1998.


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responsibility for the new ‘currency community’ that monetary union will create. Without this solidarity the short-term losers will become the long-term excluded. He described the social responsibility of the private sector in which it has become the driving force as a major issue to which the Church would give more attention. In other discussions at the conference Peter Sutherland, former director of GATT and of the WTO, and President of BP and Goldman Sachs International, said that the nobility of the European ideal is integral to European Monetary Union which recalls what we have seen about the need to re-establish the high ideals at the base of so many common European institutions: the euro needed the right conditions to succeed – European integration continues to be an example and an aid to greater solidarity throughout the world. Commissioner Monti pointed out that monetary union would increase our sense of solidarity with one another but also how far we have to go: in 1998 the EU had an unemployment rate of 11%, of which 4% could be attributed to the harmful effects of taxation. What was needed was fiscal co-ordination – that is, common taxation policies, repeatedly resisted by successive British governments, as envisaged originally by Jacques Delors.11 The President of COMECE, Bishop Josef Homeyer, called for participants in the conference to continue the dialogue in his or her own country and to being politicians and economists into ethical debate. This conference illustrates the ways in which the vision of a single currency is rooted in Catholic teaching and practice. In 2011 it is clear that the nations in the eurozone should have listened to what was said at this stage – both with regard to fiscal and political integration and the need for social responsibility.

Archbishop Nichols’ homily in Frankfurt I want to conclude with reflections from an important homily preached by the present Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, in early 2002,12 when he was Archbishop of Birmingham. He was preaching in Frankfurt cathedral for the annual celebration of the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, known as the Karlsamt. Birmingham is twinned with Frankfurt. The archbishop drew together Charlemagne’s vision for a united Europe with the recent introduction, a few weeks before, of the euro. For Charlemagne, the state was a means of gaining the world for Christ, whose gospel could inspire and direct the state, at least in part. The archbishop acknowledged that many might miss the deutschemark and other currencies, but also pointed out that even in England he had managed to acquire euro coins from all over the continent very early in the year.13 He went on: ‘For many, of course, the new currency is both sign and instrument of the deeper unity of all the peoples of Europe. Such unity is a legitimate and worthy aspiration, especially in as much as it frees us all from the fear of conflict, enhances our mutual support and enables us to tackle the many human problems of today in a more efficient and concerted manner. Monetary union in Europe, or at least in substantial parts of Europe, is not new. For many decades until 1930 the gold standard served as a common currency, and with silver coins such as the Mariathaler in widespread use. That coin was, of course, named after the Empress Maria Theresa. But common currencies,

11 The recent crises in the eurozone in Greece and elsewhere have revived this aim, as a way of preventing similar problems in the future. 12 Briefing 13 March 2002. 13 Many shops in London and port towns accept euros. New Diaconal Review Issue 7


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of course, have not been sufficient to protect Europe from disintegration and violence. So there is an historical context in which we view this moment of new monetary union, not in order to dampen enthusiasm but to maintain our sense of reality. So, too, our Christian perspective asks that we retain our critical senses. The unity of the European human family obviously depends on far more than monetary union and will involve us in far greater searching than has been necessary for this step, remarkable as it is.’ Archbishop Nichols linked the quest for European unity with ecumenism, the search for unity among Christians. This is an important angle: in the aftermath of the last war, the two went hand in hand. The efforts of important Anglicans like Bishop George Bell of Chichester (the well-known critic of the allied bombing of German cities towards the end of the war) and the foundation of the Taizé community, for example, showed that the parallel breaking down of barriers between nations which had been at war, and between churches, caught the imagination of post-war Europe, even of some people in Britain. Moreover, the two movements towards unity encounter some of the same problems. ‘The Church is the sacrament of the world, the place in which he purposes of the God for all peoples are revealed and expressed. So the struggles of the one Church of Christ to find ways of overcoming historic and painful divisions are intimately connected with tasks facing Europe. The emergence of a more united Christian witness is properly understood as a sacrament of the greater unity of the whole human family. The search for Christian unity, then, is a service to the harmony and peace for which all people long.’ This makes sense in so many ways. The most important ways in which Christians from different churches are now able to co58

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operate – immeasurably more than at the end of the war – are in pursuit of God’s law of justice for the poor, and the struggle for peace in the world, as we have seen very much in the last few months. Christian unity and European unity go hand in hand. The archbishop pointed to the symbolism of the new euro coin, which expresses both unity and diversity in Europe: on the one side is a standard design, showing the whole continent, on the other different national symbols – for example, the tree of liberté (France), St Stephen’s cathedral, Vienna (Austria), the harp (Ireland), the cathedral of Santiago de Compostella (Spain) and the head of Pope John Paul II (Vatican City state). ‘The relationship between the individual country in Europe and the unity of Europe as a whole is a crucial and sensitive issue. It resolution lies at the heart if the European project. Of course, the very notion of identity is complex not only for the individual but also for the nation. The basis of identity lies in a variety of factors: language, customs, laws, art and sciences, and, of course, religion. The wide variety of creative talents within a people forges these factors into an identity. And in a people’s way of life that identity maintains continuity with the past and serves to fashion a future which is both faithful and innovative. While politicians must struggle to find ways to both promote and reconcile a plurality of identities within Europe, the gospel asks us to look closely at the cost of allowing our identity to be shaped by the saving message of Jesus….that invitation requires of us a willingness to change. Without change we shall continue simply to exist side-by-side, whether that co-existence is within the walls of one house, or within the boundaries of the present European Union.’ The unwillingness to contemplate change is one of the bleakest and most unattractive features of the anti-euro movement – it is stuck so firmly in the past.

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The gospel reading the archbishop was preaching about was the call of the first disciples by Jesus. The call to follow him means that all the ways in which we look at how have to change are to be grounded in God:

day that year as Holocaust memorial day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945 – the temptation to exclude others from our way of life, or simply from our considerations, does not go away.

‘From God alone will we find the true perspectives by which to judge all things, knowing which is to be left behind as part of a temporary or even false identity, and which to be brought into the fashioning of a new and wider reality.

What Archbishop Nichols, now the leader of Britain’s Catholics, did was to root the enterprise of the single currency in the whole Catholic vision for European unity. As Catholics we have a serious duty, for the reasons I have outlined, to support and sustain that vision; deacons in particular have a duty to deepen their awareness of this aspect of our social teaching. Much of the work for this article and the one published a year ago was done some years ago, long before the present crisis in the eurozone. The logic of what I have argued is that the original vision for the euro expected a far greater degree of political and fiscal integration than was achieved: everyone agrees now – even British politicians who have no intention of bringing Britain into the eurozone – that this is now necessary if the single currency is to surprise. One of the commentators I have quoted, Will Hutton, has recently pointed out that the original vision needs to be recaptured and the myths of free-marketeers challenged: collective action in Europe is the only answer to the current problems.14

It is, then, precisely the marginalising of religious faith that puts at risk the project of European unity. Those who believe that this unity will be achieved in purely secular terms are mistaken. For the capacity for religious belief lies at the heart of the human person, and without a response to that truth our societies are attempting to build a new future on false foundations. Little wonder that Pope John Paul II, in his most recent address to the diplomatic corps of the Holy See, and in reference to the work of refashioning a possible constitution for the European Union, said: ‘The marginalisation of religions, which have contributed and continue to contribute to the culture and harmonisation of which Europe is legitimately proud, strikes me as both an injustice and an error of perspective.’ This is something which must be corrected.’ Archbishop Nichols stressed the need to respect other people’s identities while affirming our own. He went on: ‘Another way of putting this is to say that identities and cultures are truly human only when they demonstrate an openness to others. Now that is a real challenge to us all.’ This means we have to look at the darkness in our own history – that Karlsamt celebration in Frankfurt (26 January 2002) at which the archbishop preached was also the same

Those of us who believe in the project of a single currency should not lose our nerve. The arguments for a single currency remain as strong as they have always been, and deacons should be arguing for this: if we live in the eurozone we should be thankful for what it has achieved; if we are going to join we should look forward to it; and if we live in Britain, Denmark or Sweden we should work for our countries to adopt the euro and ditch the pound, the krone and the krona as soon as possible. ■ 14 ‘The ailing euro is part of a wider crisis. Our capitalist system is near meltdown’ The Observer 18 September 2011.

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Diaconia of Caritas

Deacons and the Euro II – Ashley Beck


New Diaconal Review Issue 7


The New Diaconal Review is a twice yearly journal. The journal combines academic articles, originally published in other languages, original...