“Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer *priestly ordination on women *and that this *judgment is to be definitively held *by all the Church’s faithful.” (Pope John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, n. 4.)
Notice they key word? “PRIESTLY”. John Paul II did not address the issue of the “diaconate”. We thus cannot use this definitive closing in doctrinal terms of female priesthood to quell questions over the diaconate.
I would say that John Paul II’s use of “definitive” approaches somewhere close to ex cathedra or even such itself. Women priests are therefore an impossibility, doctrinally, and this should be recognised by those actively campaigning for what is impossible.
As per the revision of Canon Law by Pope Benedict XVI:
“§3. Those who are constituted in the order of episcopate or presbyterate receive the office and faculty of acting in the person of Christ the Head, while deacons receive the power to serve the people of God in the diaconia of liturgy, word and charity”
Thus, priests and bishops are configured to Christ, and act in persona Christi. Deacons do not. Similarly, in Benedict’s reworking of this piece of law, priests and bishops are configured to a specific gender — the male Christ — but deacons are not.
Once more, clear proof that this question is still “open”.
If the Magisterium tells me that women were not ordained as deacons, then women cannot be deacons. Period. If it tells me that women can be ordained as deacons, then they can be. And that’s that.