The ordination of Deaf men during the twentieth century
Citation: Edward Peters, "Canonical and cultural developments culminating in the ordination of Deaf men during the twentieth century", Josephinum Journal of Theology 15 (2008) 427-443.
Abstract: After nearly two millennia of de facto and even de iure exclusion from holy orders, a handful of deaf men were ordained to priesthood, amid severe ministerial restrictions, in the early to mid twentieth century. Catholic academe took almost no notice of their presence, however, and most of these priests passed from the pastoral landscape before the start of the Second Vatican Council. Shortly after the Council, however, several canonical and cultural developments coalesced to result in a significant number of deaf men entering ordained ministry as permanent deacons and priests. This article outlines the ecclesiastical and social developments that contributed to the emergence of deaf clergy in the United States and abroad, and provides an orientation to clinical deafness in general and Catholic deaf culture in particular as an aid to seminary personnel who might assist in the discernment and development of clerical vocations among deaf Catholics.
For more discussion of canonical issues related to deafness and Catholic ministry, see my: American Sign Language as a Catholic pastoral language; To best 'accommodate the deaf', let's begin by getting to know them; American Sign Language in Catholic Liturgy I; American Sign Language in Catholic Liturgy II.