Tuesday, May 1, 2018

IN THE ORDINARY FORM, COULD A PRIEST FUNCTION AS A DEACON AND WEAR THE DALMATIC?



This past Sunday our bishop came for Confirmation in our parish. For the first time since the late 1980's I am deaconless! Our two parish deacons recently moved away.

Thus at the Confirmation Mass, I vested for Mass as a concelebrant (the only one), but I carried the Book of the Gospels in procession, asked the bishop for his blessing as I was the one to read the Gospel and assisted in preparing the altar and chalice and I incensed the bishop and congregation.

Wouldn't it have been better for me to dress as a deacon in dalmatic and stole??????

Is this allowed in the Ordinary Form?????????

This first photo below is an Ordinary Form Mass ad orientem and the "deacon" to the right of me is in fact a priest. Is this illicit? 
 Same priest dressed as deacon incensing the congregation:

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does a man remain a deacon after he is ordained a priest?

Yes, a bishop can wear tunicle and dalmatic (subdeacon and deacon), but does he remain a subdeacon and deacons after he is ordained priest and bishop?

Henry said...

Why not? John Nolan can weigh in here, but I understand the Vatican has approved the way the OF is solemnly celebrated at Oratories like Brompton, with priests typically serving (in effect) in the roles of deacon and subdeacon.

Concelebration lunatics tend to frown upon the practice, but in certainly circles is it not common for one priest in surplice and cassock serve the OF Mass celebrated by another priest? (As I've seen in an ordinary OF parish setting, when no actual servers showed up for the Mass.

John Nolan said...

Priests acting as deacon and subdeacon at Solemn Masses is a time-honoured custom which was not abrogated by the introduction of the Novus Ordo.

The subdiaconate was (illicitly?) suppressed by Paul VI in 1972 and replaced by the instituted acolyte who may wear the dalmatic and sing the epistle. But any priest may act as a deacon by virtue of his Orders.

Yes, the English Oratories maintain the tradition in the Novus Ordo, to the extent of having priests acting as deacons at the throne (dalmatic over choir dress) in Pontifical Masses.

ByzRC said...

I'm on the fence with this. While the pre-requisite to the priesthood is the diaconate, once a priest, always a priest. Is assuming the role of deacon and vesting as such akin to "dressing" for a part in a play for example? I only say this as I'm unaware that such a practice exists in the Eastern (Byzantine) Churches. I acknowledge this has gone on for a very long time and it doesn't bother me - I just find it to be a slightly puzzling thing to do.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I think so, but I am unaware of anything really laying out the case for it, so I hold back.

Part of me wants to point out that "progressive" liturgical innovators have no compunction about manipulating and altering the liturgy when it comes to their nostrums, so they can have no legitimate standing complaining about this.

Then, part of me counsels, yes but do you really want to emulate that example? And I shudder.

Then again, another part of me observes, as Anonymous did, that a man remains a deacon after priestly and episcopal ordination, and it is well precedented in the traditional liturgy, so it's not an innovation.

Ultimately, my conscience holds me back until there is further guidance.

Anonymous said...

Is your bishop wearing open-toed shoes (sandals) in the picture? I thought Father M had a phobia about seeing people's feet!!!

I have sometimes seen at Atlanta's (relatively high church) Cathedral of St. Philip (one of the largest Episcopal parishes in the US), a priest wearing a dalmatic when he is not the main celebrant (a vestment somewhat rare in that denomination--often in ordinations of deacons in that denomination, they are vested in just diagonal stole and alb, no dalmatic).

Also---and this was well before my time---was there concelebration in the days before Vatican 2?

ByzRC said...

Anonymous at 4:22 pm -

This might better be answered by John Nolan but, I believe two occurrences of "concelebration" existed prior to the revised books: 1) A priest's ordination mass (though his exact role vis-a-vis the words of institution and final blessing is not wholly clear to me) and 2) A priest's first mass though the priest guiding the newly ordained (I believe) would be vested in choir robes and might not be a concelebrant in the strictest sense of the word.

Henry said...

I must admit to some perplexity when priests ask elementary questions like this. As a layman, I’d otherwise assume all such obvious liturgical questions had been covered in your seminary liturgy courses. I recently saw the following quote from Martin Mosebach:

”THE LITURGY IS THE CHURCH—EVERY MASS CELEBRATED IN THE TRADITIONAL SPIRIT IS IMMEASURABLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVERY WORD OF EVERY POPE.”

FSSP seminarians and priests I’ve known certainly reflected this attitude. Was it not the attitude in the seminaries you guys attended?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"”THE LITURGY IS THE CHURCH—EVERY MASS CELEBRATED IN THE TRADITIONAL SPIRIT IS IMMEASURABLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVERY WORD OF EVERY POPE.”

While an expression of personal piety, the statement isn't a matter of liturgical theology or history. (I'm not saying it has no theological or historical underpinning, but that's not the point.) That's probably why this concept wasn't taught in seminary liturgy courses.

To return to a constant theme of mine, the OF is also the Traditional mass and is celebrated in the Traditional spirit. It is historically different, but Traditional nonetheless. The OF is the "Mass of the Ages" celebrated/offered under a different style of rubrics. It is the one sacrifice of Calvary offered in an unbloody manner.

Martin, to your point, "...a man remains a deacon after priestly and episcopal ordination,..." I am not sure. The historical precedent is that a priest may function as a deacon or subdeacon. But we also have the historical precedent of a non-ordained altar server taking some of the functions of an ordained man in his (or, today, her) service during the liturgy.

As for the current legislation for a priest vesting as a deacon in the celebration of the OF mass, I am not sure.


John Nolan said...

When newly ordained priests concelebrate they do not stand at the altar; they kneel with the Roman Missal in front of them and recite the words along with the bishop (who needs to recite the Canon audibly so that they can keep up). A good example is the recent ordination of FSSP priests in Warrington, England, conferred by the Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon.