Deacon William Ditewig, Ph.D.
Commander, US Navy (ret)
Professor of Theology
Former Executive Director of the Bishops' Committee on the Diaconate
Deacon of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC
Bill Ditewig was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, spending high school and college as a seminarian for the Peoria Diocese. Following graduation from college in 1971, Bill joined the Navy, serving first as a Hebrew linguist on the island of Cyprus. For 22 years, he served in a variety of assignments around the world, including Guam, California, Texas, Rhode Island, Maine, Hawaii, Okinawa and Washington, DC. Commander Ditewig deployed to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf in the USS Long Beach (CGN-9), made five patrols to the North Atlantic in nuclear powered submarines, and flew missions with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One. In addition to qualification in both Hebrew and Russian, Commander Ditewig’s military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), the National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), the Navy Expeditionary Medal (5 awards) and the Humanitarian Service Medal (2 awards). Bill remained active in ministry and academics throughout his Navy career, serving in a variety of lay ministries, including three years as the lay parish life coordinator of a parish in Winter Harbor, Maine. Deacon Ditewig was ordained for the Archdiocese of Washington in 1990. Commander Ditewig retired from the Navy in 1993.
Since then Deacon Ditewig has served as Associate Principal of a regional Catholic high school, as the Executive Director of the Office of the Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Washington, and as the Director of Pastoral Services and Ministry Formation for the Dioceses of Davenport and Belleville. In September 2002, Bill joined the senior staff of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops where he served as the Executive Director of both the Secretariat for the Diaconate and the Secretariat for Evangelization and as a Hebrew consultant to the Bishops’ Committee on Scripture Translations. Throughout these assignments, Bill served as an adjunct professor of theology at the University of Maryland, the University of Maine, St. Francis University, the National Cryptologic School, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, and the Catholic University of America. After completing five years at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dr. Ditewig served as Professor of Theology, Director of Graduate Programs in Theology, and interim chair of the Philosophy, Theology & Religious Studies Department at Saint Leo University near Tampa, Florida. In June 2011, Dr. Ditewig was appointed to the senior diocesan staff of the Diocese of Monterey, California, while continuing as a professor of Theology (Santa Clara University) and consultant on the diaconate. As of 1 January 2017, Dr. Ditewig has taken a teaching appointment at the University of South Florida, also teaching for the Pontifical College Josephinum and Chaminade University of Honolulu.
Dr. Ditewig has a BA in Philosophy, an MA in Education, an MA in Pastoral Theology, and the Ph.D. from the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, with a major emphasis in ecclesiology. Specific research interests include the history and theology of the Second Vatican Council, sacramental theologies of ministry, and liturgical catechesis.
Dr. Ditewig has authored numerous books, chapters and articles. These include: To Be and To Serve: The Ministerial Identity of the Deacon (Abbey Press, 2015); The Deacon’s Ministry of Charity and Justice (Liturgical Press, 2015); The Deacon at Mass: A Theological and Pastoral Guide (Paulist Press, 2007, second edition, 2013); Forming Deacons: Ministers of Soul and Leaven (Paulist Press, 2010). Other books (all from Paulist Press except as noted otherwise) include The Emerging Diaconate: Servant Leaders in a Servant Church (2007); [With Archbishop Alfred Hughes and Bishop Frederick Campbell] Today’s Deacon: Contemporary Issues and Cross-Currents (2006); [With Owen Cummings and Richard Gaillardetz] Theology of the Diaconate: State of the Question (2005); 101 Questions and Answers on Deacons (2004); Lay Leaders: Resources for the Changing Parish (Ave Maria Press, 1990) and [with William R. Brinkmann] Leading Our Children to God (Ave Maria Press, 1984). He contributed two chapters to The Deacon Reader (James Keating, ed., Paulist Press, 2006). Chapters are also included in From Vatican II to Pope Francis: Charting a Catholic Future (Orbis, 2014); A Realist’s Church: Essays in Honor of Joseph A. Komonchak (Orbis, 2015); “Preaching as Public Theology” in Handbook for Catholic Preaching (Orbis, 2016). Other forthcoming books include: The Deacon in Canon Law: A Proposal for New Legislation and Vatican II and Its Trajectories of Renewal: From World War to the Third Millennium. Dr. Ditewig is the general editor of the first complete English-language edition of the 1962 German classic Diakonia in Christo by Karl Rahner and Herbert Vorgrimler. His articles on the diaconate have appeared in America, the New Catholic Encyclopedia, The Jurist, Canon Law Society of America Advisory Opinions, The Priest, Deacon Digest, Liturgical Ministry, Seminary Journal, Preach, and Church. Dr. Ditewig assisted in the preparation of the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States.
Bill and his wife Diann, who is a professional artist, have been married for forty-seven years and they have four grown children and fourteen grandchildren.