I had the pleasure and honor of participating in a roundtable discussion on women and the diaconate, sponsored by the Fordham Center for Religion and Culture and America Media. They filmed the discussion and have made it into a web series that will be available both on the website of the Fordham Center, and at America Media’s website.
The people around the table for this discussion are:
- Nancy Dallavalle, Theologian and vice president for mission and identity at Fairfield University
- Deacon Greg Kandra, Blogger at Aleteia’s “The Deacon’s Bench” and multimedia editor at the Catholic Near East Welfare Association
- Rita Ferrone, Contributing editor at Commonweal and blogger at “Pray Tell Blog”
- George Demacopoulos, Theologian and founding co-director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University
- James Martin, S.J., Author and Editor-at-large for America Media (moderator)
The subject is timely. The newly-formed Vatican Commission called together by Pope Francis to study this topic convened for the first time this week. The very fact that there is a commission has raised awareness and interest in the diaconate. The web series begins with the context of the renewed permanent diaconate that was established after Vatican II, and ends with consideration of lay ecclesial ministry and the multiplicity of ministries in the Church today.
The notice announcing the web series describes it this way:
The current Vatican commission exploring the possibility of women deacons has raised a number of questions about their role in the Church. As ordained ministers who are neither priests nor lay people, the actual role of deacons in the parishes where they minister remains unclear to many Catholics. What are deacons, and how has their role changed over history?
Could women deacons revolutionize pastoral ministry and transform the Church? How can the diaconate better meet the changing needs of the faithful today?
These and other good questions were part of our lively exchange. I’m delighted to invite Pray Tell readers to check it out.
Oh yes, and there’s a quiz! If you want to test your knowledge of the diaconate by taking the quiz, click here. (Full disclosure: I took the quiz and got one of the answers wrong, so don’t feel bad if you don’t get a perfect score!)