Decree 6: “The Permanent Diaconate,” General Congregation 31 (1966)

In advance of the 31st General Congregation, Jesuits from around the world submitted postulata (or petitions) for perpetual deacons to be allowed in the Society of Jesus. The delegates at the congregation, after considering the matter, approved the following decree. Rather than introducing the permanent deaconate to the Society of Jesus, the decree, first, removes any obstacles to its creation and, second, entrusts the matter to the “prudent experimentation” of the new superior general.

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1.     Gladly complying with the will of the Church which orders the restoration of the permanent diaconate in Eastern Churches where it has fallen into disuse and also in the Western Church, where, in the judgment of the bishops and with the approbation of the Holy See, such a restoration may tend to the good of souls, the 31st General Congregation declares that there is no obstacle preventing our Society, as far as it depends on us, from being helped in the future by certain members who would work permanently in the sacred order of the diaconate for the service of the Church.

2.     But the General Congregation entrusts this matter of permanent deacons to Father General for prudent experimentation, according to the mind of the Church, where it is needed for the good of souls, as, for example, in our houses of the eastern rites in which it is not permitted for a priest to exercise the functions of a deacon in the celebration of liturgical offices.




Original Source (English translation):

Jesuit Life & Mission Today: The Decrees & Accompanying Documents of the 31st35th General Congregations of the Society of Jesus, ed. John W. Padberg. St. Louis, Mo.: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2009, General Congregation 31, Decree 6, “The Permanent Diaconate,” pg. 63 [63–64].

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