Female Bishops in the Early Church???

Hi,

At a mens prayer group, that I belong to, someone mentioned something about female Bishops. I asked this person for a remotely credible source on this, but I expect not get the source for this. Does anyone have any idea where this person might be coming up with this stuff. A little of the information I know about this person is that he is into Fr. Hans Kung; which is a sort of nuff said and leave it at that kind of a thing. However, I am curious where people come up with this stuff.

God Bless,

[quote=maximus]At a mens prayer group, that I belong to, someone mentioned something about female Bishops. I asked this person for a remotely credible source on this, but I expect not get the source for this. Does anyone have any idea where this person might be coming up with this stuff. A little of the information I know about this person is that he is into Fr. Hans Kung; which is a sort of nuff said and leave it at that kind of a thing. However, I am curious where people come up with this stuff.
[/quote]

Your response was the perfect one. Reference, please. Too many people say dumb things for us to searching after everything. Suffice to say, of course, there were none.

And I thought the early church was supposed to be way patriarchal and misogynistic. Can’t have it both ways, Hans.

This simply isn’t true. The only possible reference I’ve seen of women being leaders in the early Church is when the Fathers mention “deaconesses.” But that’s not even as it sounds. A “deaconess” was NOT a female deacon. Deaconesses were the WIVES of deacons.

Apostle means messenger. However when for example Paul sent a “messenger” with his letters the same word is used. So people try to elevate the meaning of the second one as being a true apostle.

For clarity sake the Apostles properly were Christs/Gods messengers.

Messengers (for those who try to stretch the meaning beyond it’s intent) from Paul were just that, messengers from Paul. They are not properly Gods messengers in the apostolic distinctive.

Where your friend gets bishops I have an inkling (again he is stretching). It goes against Pauls other teachings. But you can tell us after he lets you know.

Peace and God Bless
Nicene

From Inter Insigniores:

The Catholic Church has never felt that priestly or episcopal ordination can be validly conferred on women. A few heretical sects in the first centuries, especially Gnostic ones, entrusted the exercise of the priestly ministry to women: this innovation was immediately noted and condemned by the Fathers, who considered it as unacceptable in the Church.

[quote=JSmitty2005]This simply isn’t true. The only possible reference I’ve seen of women being leaders in the early Church is when the Fathers mention “deaconesses.” But that’s not even as it sounds. A “deaconess” was NOT a female deacon. Deaconesses were the WIVES of deacons.
[/quote]

I would be curious where you got your interpretation of the word
’Diakonos ".

[quote=Fredricks]I would be curious where you got your interpretation of the word
’Diakonos ".
[/quote]

I was referring to the Church Fathers’ references to deaconesses.
catholic.com/library/Women_and_the_Priesthood.asp

A priest once told me that the deaconesses that they speak of were the wives of the deacons.

[quote=Fredricks]I would be curious where you got your interpretation of the word
’Diakonos ".
[/quote]

Huh? I was referring to the Church Fathers’ references to deaconesses.

catholic.com/library/Women_and_the_Priesthood.asp

A priest once told me that the deaconesses that they speak of were the wives of the deacons.

Thanks for the responses. So far it looks like the best case a person can make about female Bishops in the early Church is to reference a Gnostic sect.

God Bless!

[quote=maximus]Thanks for the responses. So far it looks like the best case a person can make about female Bishops in the early Church is to reference a Gnostic sect.

God Bless!
[/quote]

Yes. They certainly were NOT Catholic at all! :eek:

[quote=JSmitty2005]Huh? I was referring to the Church Fathers’ references to deaconesses.

catholic.com/library/Women_and_the_Priesthood.asp

A priest once told me that the deaconesses that they speak of were the wives of the deacons.
[/quote]

I have heard Phebe referred to as such and thought that was what you were referring to. Sorry. The translation of Romans 16.1 has always been a source of contention for me and others because referring to her as a “servant”, as opposed to a deacon, or deconesses ,as some of my brethren are prone to do, has always seemed to be indicitive of a pre-exisitng theological agenda.
Sorry again.

[quote=Fredricks]I have heard Phebe referred to as such and thought that was what you were referring to. Sorry. The translation of Romans 16.1 has always been a source of contention for me and others because referring to her as a “servant”, as opposed to a deacon, or deconesses ,as some of my brethren are prone to do, has always seemed to be indicitive of a pre-exisitng theological agenda.
Sorry again.
[/quote]

It’s okay. Misunderstandings happen all the time. May God bless you. :slight_smile:

[quote=JSmitty2005]Huh? I was referring to the Church Fathers’ references to deaconesses.

catholic.com/library/Women_and_the_Priesthood.asp

A priest once told me that the deaconesses that they speak of were the wives of the deacons.
[/quote]

No, there we actual deaconesses but a deaconess is not a female deacon. They had their own role.

They existed in the days before uncloistered nuns. Their main role was assisting the priest within the cloister and assisting the priest when he baptized women. Baptism was done in the nude in those days and the deaconess would hold a cloth between the body of the woman being baptized and the priest.

They had some other roles but none of them were liturgical in nature. Again, they were not female deacons.

[quote=ByzCath]No, there we actual deaconesses but a deaconess is not a female deacon. They had their own role.

They existed in the days before uncloistered nuns. Their main role was assisting the priest within the cloister and assisting the priest when he baptized women. Baptism was done in the nude in those days and the deaconess would hold a cloth between the body of the woman being baptized and the priest.

They had some other roles but none of them were liturgical in nature. Again, they were not female deacons.
[/quote]

Thanks for the clarification. :thumbsup:

[quote=ByzCath]No, there we actual deaconesses but a deaconess is not a female deacon. They had their own role.

They existed in the days before uncloistered nuns. Their main role was assisting the priest within the cloister and assisting the priest when he baptized women. Baptism was done in the nude in those days and the deaconess would hold a cloth between the body of the woman being baptized and the priest.

They had some other roles but none of them were liturgical in nature. Again, they were not female deacons.
[/quote]

great response
heard the same one on CA Live the other day!

the other misunderstanding that leads to claims about female bishops arises from the fact that abbots, that is heads of religious orders, had in some times and places the same rank as bishops. They also had the authority of a bishop over their own congregations, therefore, an abbess was considered to have the same dignity, but not of course the episcopal character or the powers conferred through ordination. Nonetheless, some feminist writers have insisted that abbesses functioned as bishops, which is simply not borne out by history, although they did enjoy a wide authority within their congregations. St. Bridgid is often used as an example, since she did have a lot of authority in the early Irish Church, but in no way did she function as a bishop or excercise a priestly role.

[quote=puzzleannie]the other misunderstanding that leads to claims about female bishops arises from the fact that abbots, that is heads of religious orders, had in some times and places the same rank as bishops. .
[/quote]

Just a side note on abbots having the same rank as bishops. The abbot of the local Benediction Abby has been to our parish a couple of times for Confirmation as the diocese is large and the bishop needed help in covering the territory.

Kotton :slight_smile:

[quote=JSmitty2005]This simply isn’t true. The only possible reference I’ve seen of women being leaders in the early Church is when the Fathers mention “deaconesses.” But that’s not even as it sounds. A “deaconess” was NOT a female deacon. Deaconesses were the WIVES of deacons.
[/quote]

That may sound logical, but if you look into the history of deaconesses you will find that they were not wives of deacons. The Egyption Orthodox Church has been talking about bringing back the Deaconess which some of the orthodox churches had up until around the 18th Century. However when one looks into what role the deaconess played you would find that they were like Roman Catholic Nuns/Sisters who were nurses, taught school, etc. instead of being comtemplatives like our Carmelites. When they speak of “ordaining” them it was not the same ordination as that used for male roles in the church. It is all on the internet and can be “googled”.

[quote=rwoehmke]That may sound logical, but if you look into the history of deaconesses you will find that they were not wives of deacons. The Egyption Orthodox Church has been talking about bringing back the Deaconess which some of the orthodox churches had up until around the 18th Century. However when one looks into what role the deaconess played you would find that they were like Roman Catholic Nuns/Sisters who were nurses, taught school, etc. instead of being comtemplatives like our Carmelites. When they speak of “ordaining” them it was not the same ordination as that used for male roles in the church. It is all on the internet and can be “googled”.
[/quote]

I’m just going off of what a Byzantine Catholic priest told me, that’s all. :o

[quote=maximus] Hi,

At a mens prayer group, that I belong to, someone mentioned something about female Bishops. I asked this person for a remotely credible source on this, but I expect not get the source for this. Does anyone have any idea where this person might be coming up with this stuff. A little of the information I know about this person is that he is into Fr. Hans Kung; which is a sort of nuff said and leave it at that kind of a thing. However, I am curious where people come up with this stuff.

God Bless,
[/quote]

Oh yes, absolutely women Bishops, this comes directly from the Jewish tradition of having the women sit separately from the men and not allowing them to speak.

[quote=drbo.org] 1 Corinthians 14
34 Let women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith.
[/quote]

[quote=drbo.org] Ephesians 5
22 Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord:
[/quote]

[quote=drbo.org] 1 Peter 3,1 In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives. 2 Considering your chaste conversation with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel: 4 But the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God. 5 For after this manner heretofore the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands:
[/quote]

Of course this would have been warmly embraced by the new Christian community, probably as warm as a bon fire.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.