From Germany, where theological discussions are carried out at a quite high level, another Catholic bishop has addressed the question of female deacons.
Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, appointed to the diocese of Regensburg as the successor to Gerhard Müller by Pope Benedict in 2012, holds that female deacons are not possible, katholisch.de reports. He recently said that the Church,
“in faithfulness to her biblical and early church origins, is not authorized”
to admit women to the three-level sacrament of Holy Orders (deacon, priest, bishop). Voderholzer stated that the question of female deacons has not yet been definitively clarified, as is the case with the impossibility of female priests.
Bishop Voderholzer expects no surprises from Pope Francis’s commission to examine the question of female deacons. He would remind us that the historically obscure office of deaconess does not correspond to today’s sacramental understanding of ordained ministry. (But that could be said of priesthood too, could it not?)
Earlier, speaking to an association of Catholic women, Bishop Fürst had called female deacons a “sign of the times.”
Bishop Voderholzer said that the women’s association would do better to speak out against “gender mainstreaming,” which he said calls into question the Christian doctrine of creation. He said that this would be,
“in my opinion (though it doesn’t conform to the zeitgeist), a sign of the times to which one should respond.”
Voderholzer counseled that we all wait to see what the pope’s commission decides.