MARRIED MEN AS ORDAINED DEACONS, by Wilhelm Schamoni (Burns Oates, 7s. od.).
ASLIM paper-covered little booklet Of some 76 pages published on October 28 should cause more stirring of discussion, the springing of wider hopes; and be the subject of deeper study and more intense prayer than many volumes three times it size, and containing many more original theses.
This book is Dr. Wilhelm Schamoni's Married Men as Ordained Deacons. It was published in Paderborn in 1953, and has only lust been translated into English, but it appears at a time when one of its chief suggestions has a particular and poignant application here in Britain when some of the members of the Anglican Communion find themselves " betrayed," and the question of an increasing number of them entering the Church is an " urgent " one.
Dr. Sehamoni's own brief preface shows how much we, here in Britain, are behind the Catholic times, for, recalling that N.P. Seidl's work Deaconship in the Catholic Church, Its Hieratic Dignity and Historical Development (1884), a very rare book, is the last and only larger monograph on the subject, he says: "Seidl could not have been aware that the possibility of reviving the institution of ordained deacons would be so widely discussed fifty years after he had written." How little of this discussion we have heard!
"So many things," he continues, "are expected from the ordination of married deacons: an answer to the shortage of priests all over the world, particularly in she missions and the diaspora; a spiritual spring among priests who would find time to know their own selves . . . a better protection of their calling from unsuitable intruders; an extension of the beneficial functions of the Church, especially in the sphere of caritas, of education and of the actual cure of souls; a brightening of all those negative aspects that result . . . . from the fact that the clerical state has become a profession . . . animportant contribution to reunification in the West."
Such a promised wealth of blessings made it seem that the layman's monologue cried out for the theologian's answer ": it is this that Dr. Schamoni attempts to give.
He discusses the "Origin, Ordination, and Authority of Deacons, the reason for their celibacy; as well as the special position of the Episcopal Deacons; and the appearance of deacons as the " Pastors of Souls" in the history of the Church.
This part, rather less than half the book, brings us up to the text book definition of the ordo of the deaoon (1) to assist the bishop or priest in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; (2) to preach and teach; (3) to assist in the cure of souls; (4) to administer Baptism and the Eucharist, when necessary. Dr. Schamoni first discusses the use of married ordained deacons of that kind " which can be traced hack to apostolic times as a rule in the Eastern Churches: namely. that diaconal ordination should be given to qualified laymen from the several congregations according to their requirements."
' The deacon should be taken from the best members of the congregation. He would be a wellknown and respected figure. one who has proved himself as efficient in his occupation. and diaconal ordination would increase his prestige Many a seminarist, many a novice. later becomes a disappointment A man that is a good husband and father and efficient in his occupation has proved himself, he will fulfil the hopes set on him."
Dr. Schamoni then goes on to discuss the married diaconate as a full-time profession, and he suggests that there are four main classes to whom the Church might offer such a diaconate.
First, the successful part-time deacon; second, lay-brothers in missionary orders; certain students of theology who after many years in special studies and training "do not feel the calling to become priests ": and fourthly, convert clergy
St. Bernadette, by Henri Petitot, O.P. The Seminary Rule, by Thomas Dubay. S.M. (Mercier Press, 3s. 6d. each.) FR. PETITOT is perhaps better known among English readers for his life of Th6rese of Lisieux, but this little book of his is really a " separable " continuation of his work Histoire Eracte des apparitions de Notre Dame a Bernadette, and deserves to be as widely read. It is not too much to say: modern hagiography at its best.
The Seminary Rule is designed primarily for students for the priesthood and seminarians. Mgr. Rummel. Archbishop of New Orleans, hailed the little book on its first appearance in America, where seminaries are happily many and rules varied, with " unrestrained gratification."
New Hope in Africa, by J. H. Oldham iLongmans, 7s. 6d.). THIS book is not only what it primarily describes itself as being, namely an account of the aims of the Capricorn Africa Society; but an important contribution to thought about the future of other multi-racial societies.
It faces the problems. and shows that the Capricorn Africa Society has a bold and realistic policy for the settlement of the potentially dangerous situation. Perhaps too much is expected of Science (with a capital) and too little demanded of religion.
Epistemology for All. by Frs. Hassett, Mitchell and Monan, S.J. Logic for All, by Richard Bodkin, C.M. (Mercier Press, Cork, 3s. 6d.) IT takes three learned Jesuits to reduce to the small cornpass of these most useful Mercier Press books the problems of Epistemology, or Knowledge, and the validity of our modes of knowing. But they do it; and in fine style, for this little manual does give a most concise statement of the problems and their solution in modern Thomism. The book is intended for the intelligent layman; and all intelligent laymen will use it. for it is good.
The Vincentian Father who tackles Logic for All has done a notable job of work in packing so much information and formal logic into his 90 pages.