Pope surprised at reaction to deaconess study commission

Pope Francis has expressed surprise at the reaction to his decision to have a commission study the role of deaconesses in the early Church.

The Pope fielded a question on the topic during a press conference on his flight to Rome from Armenia on June 26.

Francis offered to have a commission after he was questioned at a recent meeting with the superiors of women’s religious orders.

On the papal plane on Sunday, Francis expressed surprise and some annoyance at the magnitude of the reaction to his decision.

“The next day, it was as if the Church had opened the door to women deacons, but that’s not true,” he said.

Francis added that the commission’s primary role will be to ascertain the role of female deacons in the early Church.

“I believe this theme has been studied a lot, and it won’t be difficult to shed light,” the Pope said.

More important, Francis said, is making sure the voices of women are heard in decision-making processes.

“Women think in a different way than us men, and you can’t make a good or correct decision without hearing women,” he said.

The Pontiff said he’s committed to trying to boost the role of women theologians in the Vatican.

But he noted that effort is presently on hold.

It is awaiting the absorption of the Pontifical Council for the Laity into a new department.

This department will be dedicated to laity, the family and life.

Francis dealt with several other topics at the press conference.

Among these were the Church saying sorry to homosexual people, the role of a retired pope, and his use of the word “genocide” during his visit to Armenia.

He briefly mentioned the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.


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