Pope Convenes Female Diaconate Commission 2.0

The Vatican bollettino of 8 April 2020 reports that Pope Francis has established a new commission regarding the study of the female diaconate. Members are drawn from Ukraine, Spain, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy, France, and the United States.

(Reported in Italian only at the time of posting)

12 comments

  1. We should not be contributing to the continuing of discrimination for the female half of God’s Image.
    We need to stop following literally the parable of Adam and Eve when we have the Official Priestly Creation in Genesis 1:27; 5:1 of “both male and female created in the Image of God.
    The parable was given by the Prophet Ahab I as one of the first prophecy of a coming Messiah, Christians believe came into the World when Our Mother Mary agreed to give birth to Jesus as The Christ, to free us from men’s idolatry and inequality, paying the price of mankind’s sins to escape eternal physical death.
    The Holy Spirit also spoke in our last world Council of Vatican II, specifically stating in the Pastoral Constitution in Article 29 “Within The Church there is to be no more discrimination for race or sex…as not the Will of God.”
    Please appeal to Our Pope to stop supporting inequality or discrimination, to be an example for our world.
    A Friend “In Christ”,
    Betty C Dudney

    1. And when you look at the background of the members, the outcome of their “work” can, alas, already be predicted. Ferrer seems to have rigged the deck. One wonders if Francis realizes?

      1. Are decks only “rigged” when we don’t agree with what we think the outcome will be?

  2. I have no theological training in these matters, but lack of female clergy seems downright outdated, and morally wrong. Is Francis listening to the first world Catholic conservatives and their money? Although, I could see them approved as already exists, Eucharist Ministers. Francis failed to address the urgent needs of the Amazon, and here he has a committee with mainly first world, all northern hemisphere members seemingly ready to give him what he wants–no female deacons. He is once again showing that Amazon and other areas of the global south do not matter. Do you really need a commission to once again say what the Church is very good at: No.

    The Amazon, South America and Africa will continue to move to the Evangelicals, and the global north will continue its movement out to nones, or other religions. This will leave a small flock of the conservative Catholics getting the small, self-reverential church. When the pandemic eases, I suspect there will be more that fall away from the increasingly inward looking Catholic Church that favors self-created constructs over Gospel message. As I write this on Good Friday, one could say the Church and its myriad of rules is a modern version of the Sanhedrin.

    1. Mr. Hovel:

      The irony of your statement is that it’s essentially American & European liberals—particularly the wealthy German bishops—who are driving this. I doubt that “rank-and-file” Christians in Africa or Latin America are much interested in it. It’s basically old-school Western colonialism.

      That being said, I don’t think the fact that the committee members appear to bias in favor of the male-only view of Major Orders implies that the committee is merely a “placeholder”. I have a suspicion that what Paul VI desired from his committee on contraception was, “give me the best possible argument for changing this.” We know, of course, what happened there. Francis may be doing the same here, but in reverse: “Give me the best reasons NOT to do this.”

      Historically, did deaconesses stand behind the altar, recite the Gospel, or preach in the liturgy?

      1. Mr. Gasper,
        Thank you for your comments. I am not sure I agree with the Latin America and Africa not being interested in female deacons since the Amazon synod last year asked for more study of female deacons. And, this is now what he proposes. Perhaps your analogy to Paul VI and birth control is correct. The church has spent great effort and time attempting reconciliation with the Society of Pius X, but I have never heard of outreach of reconciliation to more liberal branches that have broken away. This shows a conservative leaning. I am not sure why idea or policy needs to have historical precedence.

      2. I sort of feel like comparing liberal and traditionalist groups is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, though. Most traditionalist groups tend to want to use previously-approved modes of worship/devotion and belief. Letting a small minority use the old Missal, offer valid confessions, and ordain subdeacons doesn’t really call into question sacramental validity or really rock the boat that much for the parishioners over at St. Average. More liberal groups (at least, those that have actually taken the step of breaking away*), tend to want to do things that call the very validity of the sacraments into question. Allowing the Latin Mass is really only perceived as divisive by a very tiny minority of people – but allowing something like women’s ordination (even to the diaconate – which most detractors consider a disingenuous first step towards priestly ordination) would likely send real shock-waves through the Church and cause real division either because it went too far or not far enough.

        *I have to admit not being too familiar with liberal break-away groups, but it seems many of them approve of women’s ordination as well as playing a bit more fast-and-loose with the form and matter of the sacraments. It seems to me that automatically makes them much harder to work with.

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