In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Greetings! I was wondering if you can clarify on a recent statement by Pope Francis regarding Permanent Deacon when he met with Dicastery for Laity. What does he mean by this statement: “No to clericalizing the laity”.

Setting aside his prepared text, Pope Francis warned against the danger of what he termed as “clericalizing the laity”.  Sometimes, he said, permanent deacons, who are to be the custodians of service in dioceses, soon find themselves “looking at the altar” and end up as “wannaby priests”.  Work with the laity but don’t clericalize them, the Pope said. “Move the deacons away from the altar… They are the custodians of service, not first-class altar boys or second-class priests,” he added. I appreciate you opinion.


Here’s the report you cite:

I cannot speak for the pope, so I can only give my own spin on this. At any ordination mass, the sample homily for the ordination of a deacon says that they are ordained for the threefold ministry of word, altar and charity. Pope Francis may be criticizing deacons who favor service at the altar in lieu of the other two. If a deacon sees his role only in ceremonial terms, he is missing the direction of his call.