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Book: Foundations for the Renewal of the Diaconate
Author: Bishops' Committee on the Permanent Diaconate
Office of Publication and Promotion Services, United States Catholic Conference, Washington DC 1993, pp. 210

Excerpt from Introduction:

The proposal made to the fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council to restore the diaconate as a permanent order in the threefold ordained ministry in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church has a longer history than has been previously supposed. Most of that history has been written in languages other than English. This present work is a project that, undertaken more than five years ago, had its genesis in a conversation in Jefferson City, Missouri, with Fr. Joseph Starmann in 1984. Fr. Starmann alluded to a book that was published in Germany by Herder Verlag, which contained a number of articles about the permanent diaconate and expressed the hope that he would be able to translate this work into English. I learned more about this book, title Diaconia in Christo, when visiting the International Centre for the Diaconate in Freiburg, Germany, in 1986. The following year, at Herder Verlag, permission was requested to translate and publish five of the thirty-nine pieces that are included in this volume. . . . If one were to gather the seminal documents on the present-day renewal of the diaconate (these would include Paul VI's apostolic letters Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem and Ad Pascendum Lumen Gentium, no. 29, and the 1971 and 1984 revisions of the Guidelines for the Formation and Ministry of Permanent Deacons) and have them available as reference while reading through this volumn, it would become apparent the part that Diaconia in Christo and Rahner's theological investigations have played.

Excerpt from Book:

. . . Deacons must preserve the truth of the Gospel with blameless consciences. For he who does not give witness to the Christian truth of the Gospel by means of his life will also soon, at least theoretically , betray it or, at the very least, be guilty of only wearing the mask of faith. . . . If the deacon wishes to be "full of the Spirit and of wisdom, then this divine life within him is his inner strength, which is not intended to remain hidden but, rather, to be visible/seen. He who is open to the Spirit of holiness bears fruit. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness, and chastity." To strive for these basic behavioral attributes and to put them increasingly into practice in one's life is, according to St. Paul, the specific task of the deacon, as it is the task of every Christian, albeit not perhaps in the same special way. This conduct should be augmented by the cardinal virtues, which actually should be the mark of every Christian: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Paul really does not explicitly cite these virtues but, rather, uses concrete examples to say that deacons should be "truthful, straightforward, may not overindulge in drink or give in to greed.

Table of Contents:

The Genesis and Growth of the Proposal by Josef Hornef

The Spiritual Life of the Deacon by Hannes Kramer

The Deacon and the Lay Person by Paul Winninger

From the History of the Diaconate by Walter Croce

The Theology of the Diaconate by Augustinus Kerkvoorde, OSB

The Theology of the Restoration of the Diaconate by Karl Rahner

The Teaching of the Second Vatican Council on the Diaconate by Karl Rahner

On the Diaconate by Karl Rahner