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Monday, May 16, 2016

Women deacons: see, it's not just me

I had a post a few days ago about the possibility of women becoming deacons in the Catholic church. I opined that it would never happen under this pope. Apparently,I'm not alone in my take on the situation ...

Pope Francis is a master at playing to the crowd. But we won't get female deacons

[...] Initial, breathless media reports that suggested the pope was on the verge of allowing women to be ordained as deacons: “Francis’ openness to studying the possibility of women serving as deacons could represent an historic shift for the global Catholic church, which does not ordain women as clergy.”

As much as I would like to believe it, that’s not going to happen.

Francis is the master of being all things to all people, using “off the cuff” remarks to sound progressive but changing nothing when it comes to actual church rules.

Remember Francis’ comment in 2013 about homosexual people: “who am I to judge?” Francis’ teaching on the family released last month did not remove the church’s judgement that homosexual people are disordered.

In this case, the pope isn’t just playing to the crowd; he’s setting them up for disappointment. The pope says the role of ordained women deaconesses is unclear and he will ask the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to study it.

Great! I’m guessing they’ll start with their 2002 report, From the Diakonia of Christ to the Diakonia of the Apostles. Its conclusion? Deaconesses in the early church “were not purely and simply equivalent to the deacons.”

Then the CDF will likely move on to the book Priesthood and Diaconate, written by its head, Cardinal Gerhardt Mueller. It also determines that there is no equivalence between deaconesses and male deacons in the early church.

The point? There is zero chance that this study, by this congregation headed by this cardinal, is going to find some theological basis that women can be ordained permanent deacons today.

More likely we are going to hear the usual “feminine genius” and “complementarity of the sexes” claptrap. You know: women deacons played a particular role. They were a minor deaconate. They were not equivalent to men. They were only ordained in the early church to minister to women (eg, baptise them by full immersion when it would have been improper for men to see a woman naked). There is no need for such a ministry now. Their ordination did not equal “holy orders.” Blah, blah, blah.

I hope I’m wrong. Forty years of being a Catholic feminist tells me I’m not going to be.

I’m not alone ......


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