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William L. Smith

Abstract

Permanent Catholic deacons and their wives from a southern mission diocese participated in personal semi-structured interviews regarding balance in their lives. Role imbalance has been a problem for some of these deacons. Sixty percent of the deacons indicated they were successful in putting their marriages, family responsibilities, and work lives ahead of their ministry, while forty percent were not successful. Fifty-five percent of the deacons’ wives said their husbands were successful at putting their marriages, family responsibilities, and work lives ahead of their ministry, while forty-five percent said their husbands were not successful. Ninety percent of the deacons were satisfied with their marriages, family responsibilities, work lives, and ministry. Ten percent were not satisfied. All of the wives were satisfied with being a deacon’s wife and with the impact the diaconate has had on their marriages and families. The adult children of the deacons were surveyed online and eighty-three percent of them indicated their fathers were successful in balancing the various roles and obligations related to their marriages, family responsibilities, work lives, and ministry. The deacons and their wives noted that their experience with the permanent diaconate has strengthened their marriages and spirituality.

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Keywords

permanent Catholic deacons, married clergy, role balance

Section
Articles