Decree 9: “The Permanent Diaconate,” General Congregation 32 (1975)

The following decree from the 32nd General Congregation amends the Jesuits’ policy on the permanent diaconate as articulated in a decree from the previous congregation. The decree and amendments were necessary, as historian John Padberg notes, because the Holy See had requested religious orders to “clearly determine the juridical status of their permanent deacons” (see the congregation’s historical preface in Jesuit Life & Mission Today (2009), pg. 271–272). This decree articulates the status for those Jesuits ordained as permanent deacons.

For more from the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, please consult this page.



The 32nd General Congregation amends Decree 6 of the 31st General Congregation as follows:

1.     In willing compliance with the desire of the Church, which commends the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Eastern Churches, where the custom was discontinued, and also in the Western Church, where in the judgment of the bishops and with the approval of the Holy See such renewal may lead to the spiritual progress of the faithful, the General Congregation declares that our Society can be helped by having some members who are permanently engaged in the service of the Church by means of the holy order of the diaconate.

2.     Those members who for good reasons approved by Father General are ordained permanent deacons will retain the grade that they already have in the Society; if they are approved coadjutors, they are to be advanced to the grade of formed temporal coadjutors, all requisites having been observed; if they are scholastics, they can be admitted by Father General to the grade of spiritual coadjutors, by way of exception, once all requisites have been observed, but they cannot be made superiors in the strict sense.

3.     It is entrusted to Father General to obtain the necessary faculties from the Holy See so that there can be permanent deacons in the Society; and also to establish, whenever he judges it opportune, general or particular norms concerning the permanent diaconate in the Society.



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 32, Decree 9, “The Permanent Diaconate,” pg. 335 [193–195].