Deacons, the diaconate and women deacons

Deacons - Diaconate - Women deacons

Dr Phyllis Zagano and Dr Joe Grayland discuss the diaconate, the actual need for deacons and women deacons.

Joe Grayland – What’s the point of having deacons

You’ve written a lot about the diaconate and women as deacons.

So I’m going to start because, coming with a little bit of a parish priest appreciation, it’s like, why do I need a deacon?

What I need is an assistant priest.

So, why do we need deacons?

Why do we have them at all?

What’s the purpose and the point?

Phyllis Zagano

Well, you know, that is the situation the Church was in since the 12th century.

And I think the Church found itself devoid of the diaconate when the priests, mostly the priests in Rome, but priests in other places in Europe, were getting more and more annoyed that the fellow who was going to be elected as bishop was a deacon.

And so when we talk about the diaconate, we’re talking about many, many different things.

We talk about the diaconate today, I have the same question.

What good is the diaconate?

Why would anybody want to be a deacon, particularly a woman?

Why would a woman want to be a deacon?

And why would a parish priest want to have a deacon?

Well, if you can’t have an assistant priest, if you’re not knitting one in the basement these days, you’re well off to have a deacon.

But I don’t think that’s the only reason to have a deacon. When we think of the diaconate as it is, it’s about its liturgical functions.

The deacon can do the wedding, the deacon can do the baptism, the deacon can do the funeral.

The diaconate to me is really bringing the Gospel in action to the people of God.

So it’s the deacon, really historically, who managed the Church’s charity.

And if we really recover the diaconate today, I think the deacon would be the one to help get the checkbook out of the pastor’s hands and spread the wealth around, take care of the poor.

I really think that that’s what it’s about, evangelisation and taking care of the poor.

Joe Grayland – So what about transitional deacons?

Okay, so what do you think then about transitional deacons?

Do they have a point in your opinion?

Phyllis Zagano

Well, there’s one diaconate and the diaconate is still a stage on the way to priesthood.

But when we think of what they call improperly, actually, the transitional diaconate, as opposed to the improperly called permanent diaconate, when we think of the diaconate as a stage on the way to priesthood, it is, I think, a necessary training ground for priests.

But I don’t know that it’s necessary at all, really.

Many people have written on this. I really haven’t written that much about it, but a lot of people have said there’s no reason to ordain anyone a deacon before that person’s ordained a priest.

So, it’s what we do.

It’s our custom now.

It is confusing.

I don’t like the term transitional deacon any more than I like the term permanent deacon.

But it’s what we have.

And I don’t think it’s going to change.

Joe Grayland – Why bother about deacons?

Where does your love and interest for the diaconate come from?

What’s influenced you over the years to even bother with the whole thing, given how difficult it can be?

Phyllis Zagano

Well, how difficult the whole Church can be.

I think the love is the love of the Gospel.

And the job of the deacon is to preach the Gospel, to spread the Gospel, to bring, as William Deitwig says, “drag the ambo to the streets.”

And I just found myself in a situation, a position when I was finishing my doctorate actually, of learning about the diaconate, learning that there had been women in the diaconate, and marching myself into the local seminary and telling them I wanted to study to be a deacon.

And I stayed there for about a year, taking courses, mostly part-time.

But the encouragement came from the Papal Nuncio to the United States, actually.

When I was at the seminary, there were a couple of fellows who were not what we call lifers.

They had finished college and were just starting their graduate studies there.

Everybody else in the seminary had been in the system for eight or ten years.

And they said, “Well, the Nuncio’s coming. How’s your Cassock and Sash?” – which I didn’t have.

So I wore a yellow pantsuit.

Joe Grayland: And they saw you coming!

Phyllis Zagano: They kind of noticed me.

We sat not in the chapel, but in the refectory. My friends set me on the end so that when the Nuncio and the bishop walked by, it was really hard to miss.

And the bishop, who knew me; the bishop had played basketball with my father.

The bishop looked down and said, “Phyllis, what are you doing here?”

I said, “I’m studying”.

So soon enough, a lovely young priest came to me and said, “The Nuncio would like to see you in the front hall.”

So I went.

And it was Archbishop Jadot, and he interviewed me for 20 minutes about a vocation to the diaconate.

And he said, “Don’t quit.”

And so, you know, then I went, I finished my doctorate, I was teaching, I was working for John Cardinal O’Connor.

I actually got a request before I started working for O’Connor as Archbishop of New York. I actually worked first in the military archdiocese.

I got a request from the director of vocations for the Archdiocese of New York that this Vicar General of the Military Ordinariate, as it was at the time, John O’Connor, wanted to know how to get more women in chaplaincy in the military.

So I said, “Tell him to ordain us.”

And she came back and said, “He wants a longer answer.”

So I wrote a big paper.

And I gave an equivalency of military rank and structure, particularly Navy rank and structure, talking about enlisted and warrant grades and officer grades, and the way that a warrant grade could be established for the diaconate.

The diaconate was certainly a ministry that the Catholic chaplaincies could use in the American military.

So he asked to see me, and I went in, and of course the fight was on.

And he encouraged me, he outlined with me my first book, Holy Saturday.

He told me that he would get it to the Pope.

I said, “Oh, you don’t know the Pope.”

Well, he did, and he ended up as the Archbishop of New York, and I worked for him.

So I just continued the studies, continued my own work, but also continued interest, training as a spiritual director, working where I could in chaplaincies and church-related entities.

Joe Grayland – Woman suing the Church

I wonder whether you’ve heard about the 62-year-old woman in Belgium who’s suing the church, the Belgian church, because they won’t allow her to become a diaconess.

Do you think, there’s lots of things going on there.

Do you think it’s a matter of justice?

Would you agree with what she’s doing?

You know, even though I’m not asking you to understand everything, you know, you probably don’t know her personally, but do you think the idea is good, or is it a waste of time?

Phyllis Zagano

Is it a matter of justice that she do this? Well, justice for whom?

You know, the question, if it’s justice for the Church, if the Church deserves the ministry of women and its diaconate, then the conversation needs to be concluded in a positive manner.

It has been suggested to me to sue in ecclesiastical court, the restrictions against women and the diaconate.

It’s not something I’ve pursued, certainly, or even studied.

But I would say she’s not asking to be a diaconess, she’s asking to be a deacon, unless she is in the Eastern tradition.

And I will tell you that on May 2nd of this year in Harare, Zimbabwe, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Africa ordained a woman a diaconess.

And so there is a movement, particularly now with our older cousins, explaining that this is truly a sacramental ministry to which women can be called.

So I don’t know anything about what’s going on in Belgium.

It’s interesting, but I don’t find going to the courts helpful in really in most any controversy.

Joe Grayland – Was the woman ordained a deacon

I want to come to an example I was reading as well of the woman who was ordained a deacon.

So, some questions were raised in the German media, the Catholic media, here in Germany, and the questions were really: Was it right or worthwhile for one part of an Orthodox communion to operate without having consulted the rest?

So that’s one question.

But more specifically for the diaconate is, in what manner or form was this woman ordained?

So is it a sacerdotial thing that she’s received?

Is it a laying on of hands?

Is it an institution?

What words would we use in the Roman church, if you like, or in the Western world to describe what happened to her in terms of ritual?

And also to describe, would we use the word ontological change in terms of…

I know, yes, I can see your heads going, God help us.

But it is a real problem, which you actually address in your book.

But it’s that concept of, was she ontologically changed?

Did the ritual provide that ontological ritualiszation?

What happened there?

Phyllis Zagano

I’m not going to get into the ontological debate, but I will tell you, I’ve seen photographs of the ordination.

She had the laying on of hands inside the iconostasis.

The ritual was the ordination ritual for the Orthodox church.

It’s part of the section, or Harare is part of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, which agreed, and also with the agreement, as I understand it, of His All Holiness Bartholomew.

So, it was not so much a departure that it may have been presented in the German papers.

Maybe four or five years ago, there was another ordination in another part of Africa.

And that was more likely an ordination to the subdiaconate, which is still a major order.

But the women there, the five women there, three religious and two lay people or vice versa, were ordained.

And the intent of the bishop at that time was to ordain them to the diaconate, not to the subdiaconate.

However, American money interests said that if he did that, they would pull their money from him.

So it was a subdiaconal ordination, and that’s all I know about that.

But I will say that the one in Harare, and I haven’t spoken, an American named Dr Carrie Frost was there.

I’ve spoken to her before, but not since.

She was there to witness it, and she was assuring me that it would be a liturgically correct Greek Orthodox ordination, which is to a major order, and that the woman would be considered a member of the clergy and a deacon.

She wanted me to know there are women deacons in Bulgaria.

There are women deacons in certain places of the Orthodox world that we really don’t hear about, and they do proclaim the Gospel.

And they’re not all women religious.

And this particular woman is not a religious.

She will be what might be termed a social service deacon.

She’s not a monastic deacon.

She’ll be out there working with the people, and that was the intent of the bishop, the ordaining bishop.

That’s what he said he wanted.

Joe Grayland – The Gospel with hands and feet

So he wanted in many ways then to go back to the roots that you talked about at the beginning of our conversation, that taking the checkbook away from the pastor, I think, was the phrase you used, but getting out there and being part of that social outreach of the church, you know, where the Gospel actually has feet and hands and an intention beyond a proclamation within the liturgy or a homily without reality behind it.

I think it’s interesting, don’t you think, that if Orthodoxy moves in this way, do you think it makes it easier for Roman Catholicism to follow on?

Do we need them to take the lead rather than the Anglicans?

Phyllis Zagano

Well, I’ll tell you, years ago, one woman, a Greek Orthodox woman, spoke with His All Holiness in Constantinople, and he said, well, you know, we don’t want to get ahead of the Romans on this.

And another woman I know, a great funder actually in Boston, spoke to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, and he said, well, we don’t want to get ahead of the Orthodox on this.

And, of course, three women speaking together said, we could figure this out pretty easily, boys.

I think it’s helpful that the Orthodox are reclaiming their tradition.

And the most important thing is that you use the word “sacerdotal ordination,” the diaconal ordination is not a sacerdotal ordination.

Pope Benedict XVI, with omnium in mentum in 2009, really echoed the words of the catechism, which had been promulgated, what, in 1983, that basically the diaconate is not the priesthood.

And we see this in Lumen Gentium 29.

We see it in many, many places, that the diaconate is clearly not part of the priesthood, which really rebounds to your question about the so-called transitional and permanent diaconates.

The diaconate is part of holy orders, but it’s not part of the priesthood.

And to get that through, the minds that govern the decisions in the Church, I think is the most important barrier that we must overcome.

There is no need, no reason, to assume that an individual ordained as a deacon will actually become a priest.

However, with the work of Gresham in the codification of the Cursus Honorum, at the time you could not be ordained a deacon unless you were, for the most part, going to be ordained a priest.

That’s really where the problem is, and it’s eight, nine centuries old.

So it’s a steep hill to climb.

And I think it’s a question of a greater understanding that’s needed in the church on both sides of the altar rail on what exactly is the diaconate and how can the diaconate be part of the circle.

Joe Grayland – Catholic Social teaching, Synodality and Women

I want to move the circle on a little bit.

Your recent book, Just Church, was a fascinating read: Catholic Social Teachings, Synodality, and Women.

Why did you put those three elements together?

Phyllis Zagano

Well, the book actually came out a little while ago.

It was completed before the most recent meeting of the Synod.

Catholic Social Teaching, I found an interesting way to enter how women have been discussed in the church.

And of course, I was interested in the way the Synod would be and is discussing the questions relative to women in the church.

So, I just felt there’d be a one, two, or three step, and we first have to understand what Catholic Social Teaching is.

We can take a look at how Catholic Social Teaching has spoken about women, which I do.

Then we can try to understand what is Synodality, and then see how these two concepts have affected the discussion about women in the church and how they might affect the discussion going forward.

The last time we spoke, three years ago, I think, on this program, and at the time I read a letter from someone who I said was a bishop, who I knew, actually was a Jesuit bishop.

Well, actually, I didn’t tell you it was from the Pope.

And what he wrote to me, now he wrote me this in 2020.

So, this is one year before the Synod was announced.

And he talks about discernment.

He thanks me for my work and how relevant it is to the question of discernment.

And I’ll read you the paragraph that I read on your program three years ago.

“Discernment is not an organisational technique and not even a passing fashion, but it is an interior attitude rooted in an act of faith.

“Discernment is the method and at the same time the goal that we propose.

“It is based on the belief that God is at work in the history of the world, in the events of life, in the people we meet and speak to us.

“This is why we are called to listen to what the Spirit suggests to us with often unpredictable ways and directions.”

And he goes on to talk a little bit more about that.

But I don’t even think I got it.

I don’t think I understood what he was saying in 2020.

And I think we are all trying to grasp.

And I think, you know, I’m trained as an Ignatian director.

Why didn’t I get it?

I had been told that the Holy Father was waiting to hear the voice of the Spirit on the question of women in the diaconate.

I think genuinely, and going back to the book, genuinely, that is what I was setting up, and that is what is happening.

Joe Grayland – Taking the Gospel to the streets

We see that Catholic social teaching has taken the Gospel to the streets.

We see a growing understanding of what is synodality, what is discernment.

And now we can take a look at the question of women.

Do we need deacons, such as you asked?

Do we need women deacons, such as you suggest?

These are things to be discerned and carefully discerned.

Can I just go back to some things in your book.

On page 25, you talk a little bit about the UN and what they’ve been up trying to do.

And you say, not in your words, but in mine, that the Church remains at odds with a lot of these sort of statements.

You know, that we’ve got, you don’t say this so much, but we’ve got all of this language, all of this intentional language around the place of women and the place and families and everything like this.

But when it comes down to it, maybe the point is that lay people cooperate with power, but they don’t share it.

This is an example that comes out of the Australian Plenary Council, you know, and their vote on the diaconate for women.

And I’m just wondering whether, again, another quote from page nine, which I thought was really cool, ontological equality, while also admitting hierarchical subordination.

And so, taken out of context, you know, which is the perfect thing for an interviewer to do, taken out of context, putting all of those things together.

What do you think is the big problem, not the problem, or the challenge that the Church is facing in terms of laity being involved and being included, being activated, but more particularly in terms of women being included?

And then I suppose it comes down to the very particular question around women in the deaconate, which I think is very particular.

But could you take us back up out of the roots, to the top of the grass, and give us an overall view of where you see the Church being at odds with the reality of the world in which many Western Christian Catholic women live?

Phyllis Zagano

Well, you know, Joe, I think the Church will always be at odds with the world as it is typified.

I’ve just been invited to debate at the Cambridge Union in the UK that feminism is incompatible with religion.

And I wrote them back and said, please define your terms, because if you’re talking about feminism that is pro-abortion, etc., of course, if you’re talking about feminism that says, no, excuse me, women can do jobs just as men can do, and there’s really no restriction, well then, no, it’s not.

And in fact, that is something that the Church is, that religion needs to support.

When you talk about authority in the Church, and you reference the term cooperate, I know you were thinking about Canon 129, which was actually written by Joseph Ratzinger, with the exception of one comma.

It went straight into the 1983 Code of Canon Law, that basically lay people can cooperate but not share in governance.

And that is where the tension lies.

And in fact, in terms of the somewhat significant advances that Pope Francis has made in terms of giving women position in the Curia, it’s still management, not ministry.

The jobs are ancillary to the spreading of the gospel, not that they’re not necessary, but they don’t include women at the altar, they don’t include women at the ambo, they don’t include women in an official capacity, I think, managing the Church’s charity.

Except, you know, it’s certainly legally, there are ways to do it.

But I think when we, and they certainly don’t include women as single judges, you have to be a cleric to be a single judge in a canonical trial.

So there are things that a cleric, and I was just reading this morning, discussions about how the woman deacon of history has always been considered a cleric.

Joe Grayland: There are certain things that are necessary, clerical status is necessary.

Now, does that also imply power?

Phyllis Zagano: Not necessarily.

You know, if you think of power in terms of authority, the woman who is the abbess in history may also have been a deacon, most likely was.

She has ultimate authority in her abbey and her abbey territories.

That authority is also given over to her by the members of her community.

So if we move back to the 21st century, and we find the authority that rests in the episcopacy, it is still given over by the people.

The authority to the bishop is given over by his priests and deacons, and the authority of the people of God is similarly given over.

I don’t know, I was asked the other day about power and women asking to be deacons so they could have power.

And my answer is simply that if you’re looking to be ordained to have power, you probably want to do something else.

But isn’t that the problem?

Well, yeah, it is a problem, but you won’t get much or any.

And certainly an individual who comes to be a deacon, just because he or she can’t be a priest or a bishop, they’ll be shown the door.

I mean, they’re just two separate questions.

But again, let’s return to the circle.

If we think about the way that a community can discern, and I know that the Australian meeting was not last summer, but the year before, I think it was, was contentious.

And I am aware that 18 Australian bishops voted down the original wording that included women deacons, and I think only five voted it down and one kind of abstained when they reworded it.

But there was still some admission that the people in that assembly did have some power to change things.

I have been described a couple of times as quite interested in the meeting. After tea time, two bishops stood with the rest of the people who refused to sit down or take their seats.

And I’ve talked to a couple of the bishops who were there.

And, you know, sometimes in families, discussions get tough, and I think this was one of them.

Joe Grayland – Women deacons a sign of a just Church

Why would you suggest that the deaconate for women would be a sign of a just church?

Would it be a sign of the end of discrimination?

Would it be a sign of a theological movement?

Would it be a sign of coming back to the original source?

Phyllis Zagano

You know, Mary Magdalene, for instance, proclaimed the resurrection?

Well, again, I said this before: the question of justice, it’s not so much justice for me, and I want this job.

It’s more justice for the people of God in a couple of different directions.

First of all, and I’ve said this quite often until the Holy Father has a woman proclaiming the gospel in St Peter’s at a Mass he celebrates, the church really doesn’t have the right to say women are to be recognised as equal and to be held as equally human to men.

I mean, it’s as simple as that.

I’ve been told by officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is now the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, I’ve been told that women cannot image Christ.

I said, watch me. And I wrote a book about it.

You know, that women cannot image Christ is silly.

It’s a silliness that is restricted to naive fiscalism.

If you think that only a man on this planet can represent in any way the love and beauty of the risen Christ…

And I think that (women representing the image of Christ) is the justice the church needs.

The church in justice needs to have the whole gospel proclaimed.

The church in justice needs to have all its people ministered to and ministered to as they need to be ministered to.

You know, the Holy Father, and twice I’ve heard him say this, once in a commission meeting and again in public, or actually first in public, to the International Unions of Superiors General.

He said, you know, he had spoken with an expert, a scholar of Syrian history, who told him that when a woman accused her husband of beating her, she would go to the woman deacon who would examine the bruises and then give testimony to the bishop.

Well, that to me says so much.

The bishop affirmed the testimony of a woman and probably did something about it.

I mean, it’s almost an annulment, you know.

And so when you move to the present, when there is a single judge, the single judge is not going to be a woman.

So you will not have a woman going into us for an annulment, telling a single judge who would then give testimony basically to the bishop that there is reason for an annulment.

And that to me, I debated American Professor Sarah Butler at a seminary in Philadelphia years ago.

And she said, oh, women deacons only minister to other women.

I said, well, who ministers to women today?

I mean, even if you restrict the work of women deacons to other women, so what?

Joe Grayland – Cultural beliefs about women

Well, it takes us back to the original, as I mentioned, Mary of Magdala.

And the whole question that is subcutaneous there is about somebody proclaiming a truth when they are considered before the law to be incapable of proclaiming truth.

Yet when the Christian church takes it on, as you’ve just said, and a woman testifies for another woman in front of a bishop and the bishop does it, then you begin to see that there is a tradition that women are truth tellers within the church.

An uncomfortable tradition, possibly.

Phyllis Zagano

You know, that comes in collision, I think, with a lot of cultural beliefs about women.

I walked out of Mass the other day with a 82-year-old woman, religious, and I told her something that maybe she could mention to the pastor.

She said, well, he’s not going to listen to us.

And the influence, well, the implication was he’s a man and we’re not.

And that’s quite true.

And you do find that the stained glass ceiling does exist in other traditions who have ordained women to the diaconate and to priesthood, certainly in the Anglican communion.

Although there are more and more Anglican women bishops, not that I’m arguing for either Anglican bishops or priests, but there is the cultural problem of the way men in the world relate to women in the world.

And as I alluded to or said earlier, until the pope stands up and says, you know, that women are trustworthy enough to proclaim the gospel, even to preach, I don’t think the church has the right.

And I will blame the church.

I will blame the church for female genital mutilation.

I’ll blame the church for dowry burnings.

I’ll blame the church for menstruation huts.

I’ll blame the church for wife beating.

There are many instances around the world where women are really badly treated and denigrated and looked down upon.

And you don’t know this.

I’ve suffered it myself.

You know, I love to go to places where they have no idea who I am and they treat me like I’m a dimwit.

I mean, you just laugh because it’s so, it’s so sad, really.

Joe Grayland – Synods affirm women’s diaconate as sign of hope

Recently, you may be aware that in Austria the synodal process there has affirmed the decision of the women’s diaconate as a sign of hope.

But, and here in Germany the same, and in various other places it’s come through the synodal process.

However, on the other side of it, we’ve seen other people like Cardinal Sara and others in Africa talking very strongly against these Western European colonial ideas, with introducing the thing that I would describe as an African exceptionalism.

Where in sub-Saharan Africa, you know, the exception is that gay people can be mutilated, burnt, raped, and then killed.

It’s perfectly okay for the African episcopate to accept that.

Possibly because they’ve got some other problems they think are much more important.

Like having to face down Islam, for instance, or as a scholar friend of mine who’s in Tübingen at the moment from Nairobi has been informing me of the movement of young people back to the pre-colonial worship forms and understandings of God.

That’s a context.

My point is this.

Is it possible that the push for women deacons, equality of women, to not accept, you know, the arguments of the menstruation huts and all the rest of it, is a thoroughly European, North American, white person, I don’t know how you describe it.

It’s become very difficult to describe.

But it’s sort of our argument, but it’s not an argument of the global South, which is also a sort of a silly sort of term, because the global South doesn’t include places like Australia and New Zealand.

I mean, you know, from all of your travels, what do you think it’s just, do you think we’re the only ones really interested in it?

Or, you know, is it European, North American exceptionalism to have women or want women or need them?

Phyllis Zagano

Well, European, but probably not Italy, North American, but also Australia and South America and Central America.

I sat at a table with Wilfred Nepier in South Africa, the retired cardinal, who told me that he objected to my pushing Western ideas down his throat.

I said, well, no one’s pushing anything down anybody’s throat.

If your territory does not need or wish for women in the diaconate, it will not have it.

It’s as simple as that.

If Austria and Germany find that the diaconate can include women and the church can accept it, and there is a need for it, then that’s what it is.

I sat at a table with the bishops of Cambodia and Thailand, and I asked them about women in the diaconate.

They said, we wouldn’t care, male or female, we need the help, number one, but you know what, we don’t have enough educated people to make them deacons.

That was, I think, before the Holy Father invited the church to include women as acolytes and lectors.

I can see where, for example, in Cambodia and Thailand, formally training and installing women and men as lectors and acolytes would be a wonderful expansion of the church’s ministry.

I think that the cultures that can accept the ordination of women will, and the cultures that cannot may move to have a greater understanding of the equality of women as human beings.

Even if they do not include women in their own diaconates, if they have diaconates at all, I think it could still be helpful as an example of the way women can and should be recognized and respected.

I’m certain that if, not actually if, when it rolls out, it’ll be the same as the diaconate was rolled out after the Second Vatican Council.

That is, Episcopal conferences would need to decide if they would include women in their own diaconates, and Rome would approve their requests.

And then it would go back, and the Episcopal conferences would simply say to their bishops, individual bishops would make their own decisions about what they need in their diocese.

And one would hope, with an increase in synodality, that the bishop’s decision could be a more synodal decision, and less of an individual “I’m in charge” decision, which the church suffers in too many places still.

Joe Grayland – Census fidei

Maybe there are other things going through your head and you would like to give us a sentence or some sort of phrase just to wrap up maybe the loose ends of this conversation.

Something that occurs to you that I haven’t asked that I should have asked, or a point that you’d just like to emphasise before we wrap up.

Phyllis Zagano

Well, I think the thing I would like to emphasize is that the work of the church, the mission, you know, the synod talks about communion, mission, and participation.

As the dogmatic constitution of the church teaches, we must be in communion on matters of faith and morals.

You know, the census fidei is there, and it’s very important.

The mission of the church to me is to spread the gospel and to act on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And participation is who gets to do what.

And I think that’s where we are in terms of figuring it out as we go along in our different cultures.

You know, Joe, you’re in Germany. Others are listening in New Zealand, in Australia.

I’m in the United States.

Everybody has a different situation.

But if that situation and if that conversation has the gospel at its centre, I think that’s where we will progress as human beings, certainly, and as Christians.

  • This is a transcript of a conversation between Phyllis Zagano and Joe Grayland on the topic of the diaconate. The text has been edited in parts for flow.
  • Phyllis Zagano is American author and academic. She has written and spoken on the role of women in the Roman Catholic Church and is an advocate for the ordination of women as deacons. She is a researcher and adjunct professor a Hofstra University. Her latest book is “Just Church: Catholic Social Teaching, Synodality, and Women“.


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