Report on female deacons has been given to the Pope

As Vida Nueva reports, the commission which was set up in 2016 to study the question of women deacons has given its report to Pope Francis. The report of a few pages analyzes the question of female deacons in the early church from historical, anthropological, and theological points of view.

According to this Spanish outlet, the commission had 12 members, six men and six women, and concluded its work before last summer.

A member of the commission stated that its task was not to make or positive or negative recommendation on the question for today, but to clarify the early history. This is difficult, for it is not possible to know with historical certainty how many deaconesses there were, how they were ordained, and what their role was. They assisted at baptism and attended to the sick, but their responsibilities at the altar are unclear. Deaconnesses flourished especially in the Eastern Church, but began to diminish from the seventh century on. Another commission member underlines that the historical information we would like to have is not available to us.

2 comments

  1. I wonder if Gary Macy’s excellent book The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination was on the recommended reading list? Plenty of historical data there!

  2. Please note: the source is unnamed and there are obvious errors about history in this “report”. PLease see: “Women Deacons, Women, and Service at the Altar,” Theological Studies, 79 (3) September 2018, 590-609.

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