The article "Backing women deacons" [News, Sept. 27] contains a statement from a canon lawyer that " 'there is no possibility that women will ever be ordained to the diaconate' because canon law forbids it." It is a true that current canon law forbids it, but that is irrelevant as to a future decision by the Holy Father. To conclude that there is no possibility is quite a leap.Read the rest here.
The question of whether women can be validly ordained as deacons is a doctrinal one, not canonical. The real question is whether the prohibition of such an ordination is, when applied to diaconate, repeating an unchangeable doctrinal teaching or, alternatively, expressing a legal prohibition that can be altered -- something that has happened in many areas of law in the past.
In fact, recent amendments to the canons by Pope Benedict XVI suggest that this is a legal prohibition and that a change in this matter is quite possible. Bishop Emil Wcela, a retired auxiliary bishop from the Diocese of Rockville Centre, addresses this question in the article when he notes that, three years ago, a significant paragraph was added to distinguish the diaconate from the episcopate or priesthood. The key role of bishops and priests as iconic representations of "Christ the Head," which is one of the principal arguments for a male priesthood, was explicitly removed from the description of deacons.
Of course it's a non-starter from an Orthodox perspective. The ancient office of "deaconess" often cited by advocates of women's ordination was a lay office, in no way related to that of "Deacon" which is part of holy orders and exclusively male. For the record I think this nonsense is just rumblings from the aging (and dying) Catholic left. The likelihood of the Pope ever going along with it is basically nonexistent. Unfortunately there will always be people who just can't handle being told "no."