.- Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Edward Egan recently notified deacons across the archdiocese that they should no longer run for public office saying that he wants to avoid “any possibility of confusion or even the appearance of scandal." In light of the growing number of the archdiocese’ roughly 240 deacons, currently taking on larger and larger roles in parish life, the cardinal says he wants to avoid any scandal down the road by deacons whose political stance may be in conflict with Church teaching.
Canon Law already states that priests cannot run for public office, and it is the decision of each individual bishop to decide whether or not to extend that rule to deacons.
Pope John Paul II established the priestly prohibition in 1983’s revised Code of Canon Law after certain priest-politicians outraged church leaders with sometimes outspoken support of issues like abortion.
Although the Archdiocese of New York said they have not experienced problems in the past, many bishops have been struggling against politicians who confuse faithful by publicly proclaiming their Catholic faith and acting in ways which contradict it. The recent presidential election brought many of these fights to the public spotlight.
John Maloney, a Clarkstown Town Board member may be one of the only deacons in the archdiocese to be effected by the new rule, but a letter from Egan said that the 32 year board member could be grandfathered in.
"It would be a tough decision to make," Maloney, a retired social worker for Catholic Charities told the Journal News. "I have an obligation to the people in this town. But I love being a deacon, having the opportunity to serve the people of God in so many ways."