"Go and Make Disciples of All Nations"
Deacons and Evangelization
Deacon William T. Ditewig, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology
Santa Clara University
Director of Faith Formation, Diaconate and Planning
Diocese of Monterey
"Go and make disciples
of all the nations,
baptizing them in the
name of the Father and
of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit."
Mission is easy; the
details get complicated,
especially for deacons,
still "emerging" after
nearly 50 years.
All About Evangelization
Renewed Evangelization
and Diaconate: Common
2. Joyful Witness
3. Varied Renewal of the
Order of Deacons
4. Obedience, Respect,
Flexibility and Adaptation
Three Essential Assumptions:
Deacons only make
sense within broader
context of servant
– Analogy with "priestly
people" and ministerial
"Vision of the
After nearly 50 years,
Diaconate is still
emerging from the
From what?
To what?
The experience of
Diaconate in 2013 NOT
the same as it was in
1967, which was NOT
the same as it was in
Also, not the same in
Germany as Australia
as India as the USA. . .
Plus, not in a vacuum…
During the Conference. . .
What was "the
vision of the
founders" for
evangelization and
2. "Novus Mentis
3. Current realities,
concerns, untapped
potential: compare
with vision?
Renewed Evangelization and Diaconate:
Common Foundation – Vatican II
"Deacons are Apostles
of the New Evangelization"
Most Basic Question: WHY?
"Vatican II: That's when the
Catholic Church. . . ."
Executive Officer, USS
Billfish (SSN 676): "I
remember Vatican II: that's
when the Catholic Church
sold out to. . . .
What were YOU doing?
What were you
doing during the
– Were you even alive?
– Were you ordained
yet? What was your
– When was the first
time you heard
about "the Council?
What did you think?
Current Example:
Papal Retirement and Conclave 2013
Novus mentis habitus (John XXIII, Paul VI, JPII)
Consider the "backgrounding" that went on
– What did they bring into the conclave?
– What were their hopes, dreams, expectations?
– On a massive scale, same happened before
Vatican II
Last night, Pope Francis:
"Instead of being just a
church that welcomes
and receives by keeping
the doors open, let us
try also to be a church
that finds new roads,
Overnight, Pope Francis:
that is able to step
outside itself and go to
those who do not
attend Mass, those who
have quit or are
indifferent. The ones
who quit sometimes do
it for reasons that, if
properly understood
and assessed, can lead
to a return.
Overnight, Pope Francis:
But that takes audacity
and courage."
To understand the church today, and our
role in it, must first understand the vision
behind the overall renewal
Paul VI: Everything was
Vatican II: "The great
Catechism of our times"
 The role of Vatican II: "to
make the Church of the
twentieth century ever
better fitted for proclaiming
the Gospel" (EN , #2)
Vatican II: Trajectories of Renewal
What if you were
heading into Vatican
What did THEY bring?
Average age in 1962:
 Cultures
 Experience
 Priorities
Nearly 9,000
proposed agenda
A Little History: From 1900 - 1959
Just one horrific example…
1933 – 1945: Dachau becomes
incubator of ecclesial reform
Only the beginning. . . .
Only the beginning. . . .
Priests at Dachau
Total Priests Incarcerated at Dachau: 2720
Priests released: 314
Priests who died in camp: 1034
Priests transferred to other camps: 132
Priests who survived the war: 1240 (less than half)
Dachau and Ecclesial Renewal?
Clergy & Religious of
all faiths: "no special
Der Priesterblock
Incubator for
renewal: "How must
the Church change so
that this does not
happen again?"
Following the War. . . .
Survivors begin to write and
New theologies emerge to deal
with a new understanding
about God
Things had to change. . . .
Following the War, example:
Otto Pies, Wilhelm Schamoni
Hannes Kramer and the
"Diaconate Circles"
Karl Rahner
International Catechetical
Week, Assisi, 1956
Pius XII (1947, 1957)
"World War II: An abyss of violence,
destruction and death unlike anything
previously known." (2004 World Day of Peace
Vatican II: Response to WWII
What else going on
October 1962?
Barbara Streisand
signs her first
recording contract
 James Meredith
enters U. of
 Johnny Carson hosts
his first Tonight show
independence from
 USSR tests nuke in
 US tests nuke in
 But the big news
story. . .
Cuban Missile Crisis
Pope John helps JFK
and Kruschev reach a
Reason for the Council: Evangelization
"to assert again the
teaching office of the
Church. . . taking into
account the errors,
requirements and
opportunities of our
time. . . for all people
throughout the world."
(Opening Address, 11
October 1962)
"Good Pope John"
Violence inflicted on others, the
might of arms, and political
domination, are of no help at all
in finding a happy solution to the
grave problems which afflict
That being so, the Catholic
Church. . . desires to show herself
to be the loving mother of all,
benign, patient, full of mercy and
goodness toward the brethren
who are separated from her.
"Tantum Aurora Est!" – John XXIII
Blessed John XXIII
challenged the Council
Fathers and us to
recognize that 'it is now
just the dawn" of a
new age for church and
The bishops speak to the world:
"We wish to convey
to all people and to all
nations the message
of salvation, love, and
peace. . . ." (Message
to the World, October
20, 1962)
From the beginning of Council
A New Way ("habit")
of thinking
(mentioned by many
conciliar Fathers, as
well as John XXIII,
Paul VI, JPII, and
now, Francis)
70 draft documents,
but all were rejected,
either in whole or in
 Bishops rejected the
older, curial "way of
 Inadequate to
contemporary needs
Reform & Renewal
 Five critical areas:
– Role of Bishops & their Relationship to
the Pope (complements Vatican I)
– Role of the Laity
– Definition of Church Membership
– Relationship of Catholic church to other
Christian churches
– Relationship of Church's mission to the
life of the world
Role of Bishops
– Complemented & completed work of Vatican I
– Three basic questions: What is a Bishop? What is
the unique role of the Bishop of Rome? How do
they relate?
– Bishop is called by God. The sacramental
identity of the bishop!
– Bishop is head of the local church, in communion
with the Pope. [LG 26]
– Bishop is a vicar of Christ [LG 27]
Prior to Vatican II:
"Find the Bishop!"
Role of Bishops
Renewal of the Diaconate is tied
directly to this renewal of the
24. Bishops, as successors of the apostles,
receive from the Lord, to whom was given
all power in heaven and on earth, the
mission to teach all nations and to preach
the Gospel to every creature, so that all may
attain to salvation by faith, baptism and the
fulfillment of the commandments.
24. To fulfill this mission, Christ the Lord
promised the Holy Spirit to the Apostles,
and on Pentecost day sent the Spirit from
heaven, by whose power they would be
witnesses to Him before the nations and
peoples and kings even to the ends of the
earth. And that duty, which the Lord
committed to the shepherds of His people,
is a true service, which in sacred literature is
significantly called "diakonia" or ministry.
Schema 13:
Unique among all Documents
"Schema 13" – only
schema to emerge at the
Council itself; Suenens,
first session
 At the urging of the
bishops themselves, not
the curia
 Drafted in FRENCH
 Working groups around
the world
Gaudium et spes
4. The Church has always had the duty of
scrutinizing the signs of the times and of
interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in
language intelligible to each generation, she can
respond to the perennial questions which people ask
about this present life and the life to come, and
about the relationship of the one to the other. We
must therefore recognize and understand the world
in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and
its often dramatic characteristics.
40. She serves as a leaven and as a kind of soul for
human society as it is to be renewed in Christ and
transformed into God's family.
Importance of the Schema
"It is precisely in this
document that the proof
will out: whether the
institutional church
considers herself the beall and end-all, or whether
she deems herself an
instrument in the hands of
Christ, at the service of all
mankind." Dutch
Dominican Edward
Schillebeeckx, 1964
Was he correct?
New Church Identity: Servant
We stress that the teaching of the
Council is channeled in one
direction: the SERVICE of human
kind, of every condition, in every
weakness and need. The Church
has declared herself a servant of
humanity at the very time when
her teaching role and her pastoral
government have, by reason of
this Council, assumed greater
splendor and vigor. However, the
idea of SERVICE has been central.
Paul VI: Animator of Evangelization
& Diaconate
Diaconate: Sacrum
Evangelization (Evangelii
Nuntiandi) (1975)
Diaconatus Ordinem
(1967); Ad Pascendum &
Ministeria Quaedam (1972)
Vatican II and the Diaconate:
"Vision of the Founders"
Who Had the Vision?
Majority of supporters were
from Europe (especially
Spain, Germany, France,
the Netherlands and
countries of Eastern
 Others were bishops from
Latin America, Africa, and
Asia (especially Micronesia,
Indonesia, India and
The Deacon at the Council
16 proposals (71 bishops) on functions of deacons.
Speak of deacons of "mature age" (40); age of
deacons will be a topic of discussion during the later
debate, AND LOWERED it to 35.
 Specific functions:
"experienced catechist"
parish administration
administration of church goods and property
official preaching and teaching
presiding at Extreme Unction and other sacramental
Deacon is a recognized leader in the community, not
a person new or inexperienced in ministry.
As one Council Father
remembered. . . .
A deeply felt need in the
decision to reestablish the
diaconate was and is that of a
greater and more direct
presence of Church ministers
in the various spheres such as
family, work, school, etc., in
addition to existing pastoral
structures." General Audience,
Deacons Serve the Kingdom of
God (October 5, 1993), #6
So, the "Founders' Vision":
Younger men (a few
bishops brought up
subject of women
– Still engaged with world
Connected to the bishop,
whose ministry is referred
to as "diakonia"!
Extending the reach of
Church into NEW areas
Ministers of integrated
After the Council. . .
1964 – Lumen gentium
 1965 – Second Vatican Council closes
 18 June 1967 – Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem:
Pope Paul VI implements Vatican II decision
on the diaconate
Getting Started
First bishops' conferences to request
permission (1967):
– Germany
– France
– Italy
– Brazil
– Cameroon
The first ordinations. . . .
28 April 1968 – Cologne, Germany (5
 8 years of preparation/service
 Ages: 35 – 47
The first ordinations. . . .
3 November 1968 – Rottenburg, Germany (9 ordinands)
8 December 1968 – Bamburg, Germany. 3 Franciscan
brothers; after ordination sent to Paraguay and India
8 December 1968 – Douala, Cameroon. 7 African
deacons for diocese of Douala.
1970 International Statistics:
100 Deacons
Algeria – 2
Belgium – 9
Brazil – 13
Cameroon – 8
Chile – 9
Germany – 45
France – 5
India – 2
Indonesia – 1
Paraguay – 1
South Africa – 2
United States – 3
Vatican II was all about
"diaconal evangelization"
Setting the world on fire
for Christ BY MAKING
That was the lesson of
Dachau, and the common
link between
evangelization and

Theology of the Diaconate