National Directory



116. The Congregation for Catholic Education’s Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons highlights four aspects of human matu rity that must be considered when developing initial formation pro grams for deacons. These include the following: (1) formation in the human virtues, (2) the capacity to relate to others, (3) affective matu rity (including psychosexual maturity and health), and (4) training in freedom, which “includes the education of the moral conscience.” 8 Deacons, above all, must be persons who can relate well to others. 9 This ability flows from an affective maturity that “presupposes . . . the victorious struggle against their own selfishness.” 10 Mature ways of relating to others are important servant-leadership qualities. Those who aspire to this ministry need to collaborate well with others and to confront challenges in a constructive way. “A precondition for an authentic human maturity is training in freedom, which is expressed in obedience to the truth of one’s own being.” 11 117. Human formation aims to enhance the personality of the minister in such a way that he becomes “a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ.” 12 Accordingly, formation processes need to be structured so as to nurture and encourage the participants “to acquire and perfect a series of human qualities which will permit them to enjoy the trust of the community, to commit themselves with serenity to the pastoral ministry, to facilitate encoun ter and dialogue.” 13 Therefore, all of these various aspects of human maturity must be carefully considered when planning the formation program and when assessing a participant’s effective integration of them. Directors should acknowledge and be aware of age-appropriate affective and moral development in middle-aged men. If warranted, a participant may also consult (or be asked to do so) with a qualified professional, approved by the director of formation, to assist in this assessment. Every participant for the diaconate should be aware of his own life history and be ready to share these with his formator. It may not be possible for each diocesan director to serve as personal formator due to the numbers of men in initial formation. Formators

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