Who Gave Us the Bible? 

Your answer to a question in the November/December 2009 issue (“Keep the Bible from the People?”, TCA Faith) was, as with all other questions asked of you, excellent. However, I wonder why learned persons like yourselves, when speaking or writing about the Bible, mention all the historical things that involved the Bible but never mention that the Catholic Church, which you know was not named that early in Christianity, gave the world the Bible in the year 393 at Hippo, and onward when it defined the books of the Old Testament and New Testament, disregarding many writings by disciples of Jesus. I teach a confirmation class and always bring this fact to my students. Yet so many textbooks and articles concerning the Bible never mention who gave it to the world. And I have met with our Christian brothers, non-Catholics and Catholics, and most have no knowledge of this. And I think this fact is so important because it will put the Bible and Catholic Church in a better position. All those who complain about us doing negative things with the Holy Book will have a different conclusion about the Catholic Church.  

Raymond A. Valdes, Middle Village, N.Y. 

The editor replies: Thank you for your letter. I would encourage you to keep an eye out in coming issues as this very topic will be the subject of an article. 

Married Deacons 

We love The Catholic Answer. Just a comment on “Married Bishops” (May/June 2009, TCA Faith): My husband is an ordained permanent deacon since 1991. Your answer could be confusing for some. The way you answered, some people may be led to believe that permanent deacons also have an obligation to celibacy, which, of course, isn’t the case. The Code of Canon Law (see Canon 1037) states this. (I know also, that if I were to die, my husband would be obligated to celibacy.) Thank you again for your great magazine, and God bless you. 

Lori Knuth, via e-mail 

The editor replies: Thank you for your kind words. As you note, the question was on married bishops. The details for the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Roman rite were expressed by Pope Paul VI in the 1967 document Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem (“Sacred Order of the Diaconate”). The document declared that qualified unmarried men 25 years of age or older may be ordained deacons. They cannot marry after ordination. Qualified married men 35 years of age or older may be ordained deacons. The consent of the wife of a prospective deacon is required, and a married deacon cannot remarry after the death of his wife. These are also expressed in various locations in the Code of Canon Law — for example, Canons 1031 and 1037. 

According to the 2010 Official Catholic Directory, there are more than 17,000 permanent deacons in the United States (the highest total by far for any single country), an increase of 230 from the previous year and an increase of 4,303 from 1999. More than 90 percent of the permanent deacons in the United States are married, and around 60 percent are over the age of 60. Worldwide, there are currently 37,203 deacons, according to the most recent edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church.