National Directory



Holy See, offers explanations on the appropriate collaboration between the ordained ministers of the Church and the non-ordained faithful. 3. In 1997, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a Circular Letter (cited herein as CL) to diocesan bishops and religious ordinaries establishing criteria regarding the suitability of candidates to be admitted to sacred orders and further directing the establishment of a diocesan board to oversee the scrutinies of candidates before the reception of the rite of candidacy, the ministry of lector, the ministry of acolyte, and ordination to the diaconate and priesthood. This document is essential in the formulation of admission and selection policies for diaconal candidates. 4. The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity issued a supplementary document to its Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism (1993), namely, the Ecumenical Dimension in the Formation of Those Engaged in Pastoral Work (1997). This document specifies that an ecumenical dimension is to be included in diaconal formation and ministry. 5. The encyclical letter On the Relationship Between Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio) (1998), issued by St. John Paul II, establishes academic parameters to be included in the intellectual and human dimensions of diaconal formation. 6. The post-synodal apostolic exhortation The Church in America (Ecclesia in America) (1999), issued by St. John Paul II, addresses the new evangelization in the Church in America and makes reference to the role of the deacon in that ministry. Additional documents of relevance that were released subsequent to the first edition of this National Directory include the following: Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004); Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Omnium in Mentem (2009); and Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Normae de Gravioribus Delictis (2012). 39 Bishops’ Committee on the Diaconate, NCCB, Protocol for the Incardination/ Excardination of Deacons (1995); and Bishops’ Committee on the Diaconate, NCCB, Policy Statement: Self-Study Instrument and Consultation Team Procedures (1995). 40 NSD (1996). 41 Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, “Summary Comments on the Permanent Diaconate,” Special Assembly of the NCCB, St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, MN (June 9-16, 1986), in Vocations and Future Church Leadership (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 1986). 42 NSD (1996), 13-16. 43 In 1994 Most Rev. Crescenzio Sepe, DD, Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, addressed the National Catholic Diaconate Conference on the background and preparations being made for the plenary assembly scheduled for November 1995. In 1997, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, spoke on “The Deacon in the Life and Mission of the Church,” providing insight on the Directory being prepared by the Congregation. In 2000, Most Rev. Gabriel Montalvo, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, addressed the role of the deacon in the Church’s mission of new evangelization.

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