As I was perusing vocations sites on the internet, I happened upon a statement which I have slightly edited. What is wrong with this (edited) statement when you apply it to permanent deacons?
From the beginnings of the Church there have been those who felt the call to consecrate themselves exclusively to Christ in a private manner. In recent times there has been a revival of this vocation, by which a makes makes his private ordination in the presence of his bishop.
Is it just me, or is there something dreadfully theologically incorrect in the quoted (albeit edited statement)? I literally only changed one major word and pronouns. Take a moment to do this poll:
Now, here is the original text. I hate to dignify it by republication… What is wrong with it?
From the beginnings of the Church there have been those who felt the call to consecrate themselves exclusively to Christ in a private manner. In recent times there has been a revival of this vocation, by which a woman makes her private consecration in the presence of her bishop.
Here’s the poll. Please participate!
Notice any similarities between these two? It’s really interesting how there is a lot of confusion about permanent deacons and consecrated virgins. Here are some commonly believed myths:
1) Permanent deacons/consecrated virgins are lay.
2) Permanent deacons/consecrated virgins cannot hold secular jobs. After all, they are ordained/consecrated!
3) Permanent deacons/consecrated virgins are financially supported by their diocese/parish. (Usually not true unless they work full time for the diocese or parish in a salaried position. Being a deacon or consecrated virgin does not entitle the individual to a job in the Church! Most of the time permanent deacons and virgins have secular jobs and do ministry/apostolate on the side.)
4) Permanent deacons/consecrated virgins are second class- they didn’t “make it” to the priesthood or religious life respectively.
5) Permanent deacons/consecrated virgins are obviously not Church vocations because they are not “the priesthood or religious life”.
Feel free to share any other common myths about either vocation with us in the forum! Also, feel free to look up the folks who have this statement on consecrated virgins on their website and politely let them know the Church’s teachings and praxis on this public vocation. You never know if some great saint will find her vocation this way!
P.S. If you’re feeling very ambitious, here are some other false statements floating on the web. Please contact those responsible for publishing on their websites and respectfully and politely request that they be changed:
1. Various (arch)dioceses and even the World Day for Consecrated Life sites have this false information published on consecrated virgins:
Single lay people may choose to be consecrated virgins and make private vows to the local bishop as they live out their vocation in various walks of life.
Comment. Single lay virgin females who intend to remain virgins in perpetuity for the sake of Christ may request to become consecrated virgins. The solemn Consecration to a Life of Virginity Lived in the World conferred by the bishop constitutes the virgin as a “Bride of Christ”, a “sacred person”, and a member of the Order of Virgins, who is dedicated to a life of prayer and service to the Church. She fulfills her vocation in the midst of the world, and does not make vows of any kind, including those of poverty and obedience. Truth is powerful. Give people the truth, not what somebody “thinks” consecrated virginity is. Hint. The revised Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity lived in the world does NOT have the word “vow” in it. In the entire ceremony, with all the homilies, questions, blessings, etc., there is not one instance of the word vow or even promise. You will find, however, references to the virgin becoming a “sacred person” receiving a “special annointing”, being the bride of Jesus Christ the Son of God, a commission for the virgin to be “an apostle”, etc.
2) From a religious website:
Women who commit themselves to follow Christ more closely and to serve the Church are consecrated in a liturgical ceremony by a diocesan bishop. Consecrated virgins live as devoted Catholic lay women.
Comment: Not bad. The only difficulty is if a person misinterprets the word “as” to mean “are”. Apart from being able to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in their homes, consecrated virgins do mostly live “as” devoted Catholic lay women. It would be incorrect, though to say or read it as saying “Consecrated virgins ARE devoted Catholic lay women.”