Promoters still hope for ordained women deacons despite pope’s big N-O

women deacons

Those promoting women deacons are still hoping their dream for ordained women will come true.

Their vision continues despite Pope Francis saying a very public ‘No’ to the idea as recently as last week’s CBS News interview.

No way

During the CBS interview, Francis said he is not open to the possibility of ordaining women deacons.

He clarified his stance saying “Women have always had, I would say, the function of deaconesses without being deacons, right?

“Women are of great service as women, not as ministers, as ministers in this regard, within the holy orders” said Francis, referring to the sacrament of ordination.


“I was quite devastated to see his response” said Kate McElwee, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference.

The Conference also advocates for women’s ordination as priests and bishops – which Francis has also clearly vetoed.

But McElwee said she is surprised Francis refused to ordain women to the diaconate.

“It’s a very sad day when a powerful man like a pope tells a young girl that she can’t, or will never be equal in their own church and will never be able to follow their call from God” McElwee says.

Some have a vocation to become ordained deacons, she believes.

Further study

Although Francis is against ordaining women deacons, he wants the idea of women deacons of the non-ordained variety considered in a synodal way.

At present, the issue of women deacons has been assigned to one of 10 study groups examining controversial issues.

The groups will report at the October 2024 meeting of the Synod on Synodality, and again in July 2025.

Women must be heard

Women’s participation in the life and mission of the Church faces significant challenges.

Canonical and institutional reform is needed and better representation in leadership roles should be possible, the Catholic Church in Ireland told the synodal assembly in Rome last October.

Ireland’s newly completed summary report says while the people appreciate the growing recognition of women’s valuable contributions to the Church, more is needed.

Denying women ordination to the priesthood and the permanent diaconate is an ongoing concern.

“That these ministries are not open to women is seen by some as limiting their opportunities for leadership and decision-making roles, perpetuating a model of co-responsibility that is not fully inclusive” the summary states.

While some women feel very empowered in the Church today and valued for the roles they hold, change is sought.

“It was clear in the contributions that if women’s voices are not heard at higher levels, nothing will change” the report says.


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