Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Permoid? Sts. Lawrence & Stephen Ora pro nobis


Part of my morning ritual, after coffee, Liturgy of the Hours, Lectio Divina with the day's readings (today's "take away" for me from Ezekiel 28,2 is "And yet you are a man, and not a god, however you may think yourself like a god"), is checking e-mail and looking at Rocco Palmo's wonderful blog, Whispers in the Loggia. This morning, along with a great piece on the theology/spirituality of U2, was a brief notice on the ordination of a deacon, Aloysius Oliver, by Bishop Robert Carlson of Saginaw, Michigan. Oliver is the first permanent deacon ordained in Saginaw in 25 years. This is, of course, great news.

What makes the Loggia piece noteworthy is this line: "Bishop Robert Carlson ordained the diocese of Saginaw's first 'permoid' in a quarter-century yesterday." Permoid? I have no problem with deacons getting no respect. After all, we're servants and ordained precisely for service. As Vatican Council II's Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, referencing Jn 21,17 , puts it: "At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed 'not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service.'" I have to reject the appellation "permoid" as it . . . well . . . it just sucks.

Permoid? Where did that come from? I know this might be a bit pedantic, but deacons are deacons plain and simple. Deacons, by virtue of receiving the sacrament of Holy Orders, are also clerics, or, more familiarly, clergy. Therefore, even the constant need to use the word "permanent" as a qualifier for deacon seems to me odd. But my least favorite of all is when I read (as I do with far too much frequency): "all clergy and deacons." That is a bit like saying: "all bachelors and unmarried men."

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