Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pope Francis: Let’s study idea of ordaining women as deacons

VATICAN CITY (RNS) In an opening with historic import, Pope Francis has said he wants to study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons, a step that could for the first time open the ranks of the Catholic Church’s all-male clergy to women.

The order of deacons was reinsitituted in the Catholic Church following the reforms of the 1960s, and while deacons cannot celebrate the Eucharist like a priest, a deacon can preach at Mass, preside at weddings and funerals, and perform baptisms.

But in restoring the diaconate, the church also restricted ordination as a deacon to “mature married men” over 35.

Read the rest here.

Ignore the conflation of "deaconess" with deacons. The former was a purely lay office and not considered as part of Holy Orders.


Steve_Barrie said...

"Ignore the conflation of "deaconess" with deacons. The former was a purely lay office and not considered as part of Holy Orders." So ignore history?

John (Ad Orientem) said...

No. Ignore the misrepresentation of history.

Archimandrite Gregory said...

Never a dull moment with the Gaucho Pope. Lets see where this goes!
Glad we have the imperfect system that we have compared to the rogue-ness of the Latin Church.

Unknown said...

Didn't the Orthodox Church of Greece do this a few years ago?


DNY said...

Whether deaconesses were female deacons or a "purely lay office" is still seems to be a matter of dispute (and unlikely to be resolved in the absence of newly-discovered and well-authenticated patristic texts bearing on the matter).

What is absolutely clear, however, is that if deaconesses ever functioned as deacons in a liturgical context, the practice was very limited: the prohibition on women entering the altar is not absolute, but the relevant canon allows only virgins over the age of 40 and widows living in celibate chastity over the age of 60 to enter the altar.

Greg Pavlik said...

What is not a matter of dispute - the scholarly consensus is clear - Deaconesses were ordained. The claim otherwise is just strange. That that role should function according to Tradition goes without saying.

sjgmore said...

I find it fascinating that in the Catholic Church (and I'm a Catholic) it's considered some kind of antiquated archaeological reconstruction to celebrate the Tridentine mass - a mass that was universally celebrated within living memory and has continued to be celebrated in an unbroken tradition by a minority of Catholics since then. Meanwhile, it's alleged to be a "return to the early, authentic practice of the Church" to dig up a practice with no living tradition in much more than a thousand years and for which the documentary evidence is relatively thin and ambiguous as to whether it was more of a lay consecrated/instituted role (infinitely more likely) or more of a genuinely ordained role (doubtful).

I just don't think these people realize the irony of actively opposing something that was demonstrably an earlier and "more authentic" (in a manner of speaking) practice of the faith while trying to "reinstate" something that probably never existed in the first place.

Or, more likely, they know damn well the irony of it, but they have to pretend that they don't see the irony, because they have to try to pass off, with a straight face, something that's blatantly an innovation as something "traditional".

William Tighe said...

"Deaconesses were ordained"

In the Byzantine East, arguably. Not in the West (and in some parts of the West, e.g., the Church of Rome and North Africa as a whole, there never, ever were "deaconesses"). The East Syrian rite for "ordaining" a deaconess makes it clear that deaconesses were not "female deacons."

On this subject, historically speaking, Martimort is right and Mrs. Fitzgerald is wrong.

Chris said...

Just another attempt to get what Frank really wants: ordination of women to the priesthood.

Steve_Barrie said...

Yes, the Orthodox Church of Greece has ordained Deaconesses. Also the Armenian Orthodox Church which is an Oriental Orthodox Church.

Steve_Barrie said...

Hear is a video of an Armenian Orthodox deaconess reading the Gospel: