In an address to deacons and their families in Rome on June 19, Pope Francis’ first point of emphasis was the distinction of the diaconate from the priesthood — that deacons are ordained “not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service.”
“This difference is not insignificant,” he said. “The mere fact of emphasizing this difference helps to overcome the scourge of clericalism.”
Pope Francis then said the diaconate “leads us to the center of the mystery of the Church.” Just as the Church must be missionary and synodal, he said, it must also be diaconal.
“Deacons remind the Church that what Saint Theresa discovered is true: the Church has a heart enflamed by love. Yes, a humble heart throbbing with service. Deacons remind us of this when, like the deacon Saint Francis, they bring God’s closeness to others without imposing themselves, serving with humility and joy.”