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Hong Kong to assist Taiwan set up permanent diaconate

TAIPEI (SE): The Church in Taiwan is looking to the married diaconate to meet the pastoral needs of the people in the face of an ageing clergy and few ordinations.

The springtime meeting of the bishops of Taiwan identified the permanent diaconate as the major hope to meet current needs after analysing the situation across the country.

The Catholic Weekly in Taipei quoted the bishops as saying, “After nearly half a century of evangelisation, the particular Church in Taiwan has never established the permanent diaconate for married men. However, there have been permanent deacons in Hong Kong and Singapore for a long time, and (they) have more experience.”

Fides reported that it was decided that the archdiocese of Taipei will carry out a pilot programme and invite expert help from Hong Kong. The Regional Episcopal Conference of Taiwan has already sent people to Hong Kong to study its experience.

The bishops plan to appoint permanent deacons to take care of parishes that have no resident priest in the future. There are 600 parishes across the island.

They also plan to ask permanent deacons to lead the way in specialised areas of Church life, such as financial administration, construction, information technology and community organisation. 

Candidates for the permanent diaconate will be asked to obtain a further degree after their philosophy and theology studies.

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