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5 Responses to Pope opens discussion on female deacons

  1. Kieran FennFMS says:

    There is overwhelming New Testament evidence that the term /deacon' and even 'apostle' are terms used for women in the early Church. Rather than go into that topic, which I could at length, I would prefer to hear from the women who are already exercising so much ministry within our Church, deacons in all but name.

  2. David says:

    My uncle was a deacon in the NZ church and played a prominent role in its establishment in Hamilton.

    He always thought women could serve as deacons. And I agree that many women are practically serving as deacons in the church today. Especially lay leaders.

    However the real problem is the role of ordination as conservatives will see it as the thin edge of the wedge.

    Perhaps the answer is to create ‘lay deacons’ commissioned rather than ordained, open to suitable men and women, able to serve pastorally all ethnicities and genders.

    That way the ordination worriers can argue elsewhere. At the moment this debate skews the development of the baptismal role of laity.

    • Jack says:

      David, my understanding is Catholic Church already two types of deacons.

      Transitional deacons; those 'transiting' through the stage on the way to being ordained priests.

      Permanent deacons; those for whom priestly ordination is not a goal.

      Admittedly, on the face of it there seems little difference except, after time, transitional deacons working in a parish, hospital etc will one day return to ministry as a priest.

      • David says:

        That's correct, we have transitional and permanent deacons, and my suggestion (but heard elsewhere) to affirm laity performing significant roles of diakonia – their catholic roles of service to charity and prayer (as Kieran Fenn says) deacons in all but name. I understand Pope Francis' commission would look at diaconate roles in the early church. If we took ordination out of the diaconate then another level of theology of diakonia would emerge. Otherwise deacons are ordained and ordination is not open to women in the church. This situation is not encouraging for lay people aspiring to give their lives to Christ. Our charitable service anywhere always flows from God's inspiration, our baptismal calling. So lets be upfront about our diaconal roles in the church.

        • Jason says:

          Sorry I don’t see how giving one’s life to Christ has much to do with being a deacon; the universal call to holiness emphasised by Vatican II is enough for me.

          With so many pressing needs who really cares about the theology? Surely we’re better to focus on these and just get on with the service to charity and prayer rather than worry about deacons.

          For mine, hierarchies don’t guarantee the ill cared and prayed for, the hungry are fed and the people actually hear the word.

          Actions seem to speak much louder and powerful. I’m happy enough with mark of baptism rather than a white robe and coloured sash draped from shoulder and across someone’s chest.

          I hear the Archdiocese has lay pastoral workers and that they get on with it. If rumour up here is anything to go by there’s some suggestion some permanent deacons prefer the trappings.

          Baptism is my mark not a sash.