National Directory



have by divine institution taken the place of the Apostles as pastors of the Church. 9 Priests and deacons are seen as complementary but sub ordinate participants in the one apostolic ministry bestowed by Christ upon the Apostles, with Peter as their head, and continued through their successors, the bishops, in union with the Roman Pontiff. 10 When discussing Holy Orders as one of the sacraments “at the service of communion” (along with Matrimony), the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that these two sacraments “are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.” 11 3. In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church , the Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church , and the Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches , the Second Vatican Council reestablished the diaconate “as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy.” 12 The Sacred Order of Deacons is to be “a driving force for the Church’s service or diakonia toward the local Christian communities, and as a sign or sacrament of the Lord Christ himself, who ‘came not to be served but to serve.’” 13 “The dea con’s ministry of service is linked with the missionary dimension of the Church: the missionary efforts of the deacon will embrace the ministry of word, ministry of liturgy, and works of charity which, in their turn, are carried into daily life. Mission includes witness to Christ in a secu lar profession or occupation.” 14 Further, “neither should the prospect of the mission ad gentes be lacking, wherever circumstances require and permit it.” 15 In its renewal the Order of Deacons is permanently restored as “a living icon of Christ the Servant within the Church.” 16 4. Following the closing of the Second Vatican Council, St. Paul VI for mally implemented the renewal of the diaconate. In his apostolic letter Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem , he reestablished the Order of Deacons as a permanent ministry in the Catholic Church. 17 The apostolic constitu tion Pontificalis Romani Recognitio promulgated new liturgical rites for the conferral of the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon bishops, priests,

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