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While priesthood shrinks, Catholic deacons multiply

July 18, 2008 7:32:45 AM PDT
After resisting the idea for more than three decades, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis has ordained its first class of deacons. The 25 deacons will take some pressure off overworked priests.

The Indianapolis diocese is struggling to recruit enough priests to man its 151 parishes, spread across most of the southern half of Indiana. The number of diocesan priests fell 5 percent from 156 in 2001 to 148 last year.

Deacons can't say Mass or hear confessions, but they can perform baptisms, wedding and funerals.

Like priests, Catholic deacons must be men.

Unlike priests, deacons can be married -- but only if they're married at the time they're ordained.


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