Sister calls for men and women to be on deacon commission

A leading religious sister has called for men and women to be on the Pope’s future commission to study the issue of women deacons.

Sr  Carmen Sammut, the president of the International Union of Superiors General (IUSG), also said sisters globally would be better equipped to carry out their work if they could become deacons.

“We are already doing so many things that resemble what a deacon would do, although it would help us to do a bit more service if we were ordained deacons,” she said.

Last week, at an IUSG meeting at the Vatican, Pope Francis agreed to set up a commission to look at the women deacons issue.

The Vatican was quick to say that the Pope, in doing this, was not intending that women should be ordained as deacons or priests.

Sr Sammut, a Missionary Sister of Our Lady of Africa, said the commission should include both sexes and should have a global perspective.

“Sometimes decisions are made here in Rome and it’s not only that they’re only men — no women — but also the other cultures are not very much included,” Sr Sammut said.

The IUSG, the Maltese sister said, also aims to have more say in decision-making in the Catholic Church.

This includes challenging the way leadership is tied to being a cleric and therefore excluding women.

“It’s not just a question of feminism, it’s a question of our being baptised, that gives us the duty and the right to be part of the decision-making processes,” said Sr Sammut.

Women religious have felt empowered under the papacy of Francis, she added.

This has allowed them to “walk with more courage” in what can often be a dangerous vocation in some parts of the world.


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