Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Ontological subdeaconness" and the extraordinary form

Patrick Cook pointed out today that I am only a subdeacon when acting in that capacity, since the Anglican Church has, for the most part, not ordained subdeacons since the Reformation. The Roman Catholic Church, outside of certain priestly societies with an indult, has not done so since the Second Vatican Council. Fr Clough, my last RC pastor (post passim), was among the last generation of seminarians ordained to minor orders and the subdiaconate while doing so was still "ordinary."

Until the publication of the Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders rendered my defection to Anglicanism necessary, it had been my intention to offer myself to Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska, the setting of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Affiliated with the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, the seminary's formation includes a year of spirituality, two years of philosophy, and three years of theology. Beginning in the second year, seminarians begin the process of admission to minor orders before being ordained to the subdiaconate and Holy Orders.

Because it was my desire to follow this course (the wisdom of which I may now question with the benefit of hindsight), my lack of "ontological subdeaconness" is something of a sore point for me. But in the context of the Anglican Church of Canada, Patrick is of course quite correct. I wonder, though, if that means that it's wrong to say one is a server (as opposed to saying one serves at the altar) because the Anglican Church has not retained the minor order of acolyte. But perhaps I split hairs.


Iosephus said...

"the setting of The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Whaaaa? :-)

The subdeacon question is a very interesting one. I was just thinking about it this morning.

Several years ago, "Latin Mass" magazine had an article on the internal debate that was going on (still is?) within the FSSP as to the status of the Minor Orders.

Some within the FSSP, and the Bishop of Lincoln who actually does most of their ordinations in the USA (!), were arguing that the Minor Orders weren't real and merely symbolic (though they may not have used that terminology).

I wish I could find this old article...

Muthah+ said...

Geoff, it isn't a matter of splitting hairs nor angels dancing on the head of a pin. It has to do with whether or not you love Jesus. If that is what Jesus has called you to be--you will be a priest, a deacon or whatever God calls you to whether the Church ordains you or not.

aaronorear said...

Oh, muthah+...clutch the rosary! Such a suggestion. One I find it easier to make now that I'm collared myself, and undoubtedly harder to hear for those still postulating.

Besides, our Geoff holds Mother Church in high regard and, though I'm sure he also honours the priesthood of all believers, I strongly doubt he conflates that with the laying on of purple hands!

Davis said...

Why is it important for you to "be" a subdeacon, not just act as one? Does it strengthen your sense of vocation to the ordained state?

Peter said...

Hmm - an interesting point with regards to the Serving. I would normally say that I 'serve at the Altar' rather than 'am a Server' as serving is only a small component of how I offer myself to God - it's a part-time thing, if you will.

I think that this is rather different from being ordained into a particular ministry set aside by Holy Church as priest, deacon, member of minor order or monk/friar/nun/&c.

Put simply, I am 100% lay, and proud of it!

(although I am of course a Host with a capital 'H'! :D )


Tay Moss said...

I think there are as many vocations as God has children--finding the name for one's vocation is probably less important than simply discovering what it is (named or not)! Still, I say that within eyesight of my framed ordination certificates, so I think aaronorear has a point about that. I think Geoff just likes to have the right accessories to match his inward and spiritual beauty! -t