Thursday, May 12, 2016

Deaconess

The Pope made world-wide news Thursday by announcing he would set up a commission to study women deacons in the Catholic Church. What a historic move! His decision came about after an international meeting with consecrated women and International Union of Superiors General. An article about the circumstances is here at the Crux website:

http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/05/12/pope-agrees-to-set-up-commission-to-study-women-deacons/ .

The women had written questions for the Pope (4 main topics) which more or less asked why women still do not have a say in the Church and why we are barred from being deacons. The questions can be read here:

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/full-text-questions-francis-women-religious .

I am excited for a few reasons. I have said before that women should be deacons. They should be ordained as deacons. Married men are ordained as permanent deacons, and if the Church leadership insists on only male priests, women can at least be permanent deacons. It is just not right for the Church to have seven sacraments for men and six for women. Another reason they should be named deacons is that many do the work of deacons anyway. But men can be ordained and women not. It is just plain discrimination. I know many will say there are reasons to keep women out, but there were reasons to keep African-Americans out of seminaries at one time, including the belief they were not totally human. History does not look kindly there.

Of course, the question of who will be on the commission is next. Obviously, if the members are all conservative bishops, women will not have a chance. The pope has been fairly astute about these things. He has been placing more progressive persons in critical roles. However, the current prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, is conservative. Perhaps the Pope hides behind him a bit. After a previous commission’s look into the female diaconate, Muller made a statement along the lines that women will feel discriminated against if they are allowed to be deacons but not priests or bishops.

https://zenit.org/articles/women-deacons-a-perspective-on-the-sacrament-of-orders/ .

Apparently the consecrated women who asked the Pope to become deaconesses do not have that problem. Nor do many others. Here's a link to the organization called Catholic Women Deacons:

 http://catholicwomendeacons.org/ .

The Internet is buzzing, including the website I follow, Catholic Answers Forums. The conversation on this topic starts here:

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=1010543 .

We will be hearing much, much more about this topic. As I predicted earlier on this blog (link here), it is a subject that will not go away.

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