Irish bishop bows to pressure, shelves plans for permanent diaconate

I have to admit, I didn’t see this coming.

An Irish bishop has decided not to institute the permanent diaconate in his diocese, because of protests from supporters of women’s ordination.

Bishop Kieran O’Reilly of Killaloe had begun recruiting candidates for the diaconate, when opposition arose among some women in the diocese. Quickly reacting to the pressure, Bishop O’Reilly announced: “I will not now proceed with the introduction of the permanent diaconate at this time in the diocese.”

and other sources.

What ever happened to Irish courage. :shrug:

How unfortunate, strange times we live in. Let us pray much for the Bishops


Another similar topic was started here:

According to Wikipedia, the diocese was founded in 1111. :slight_smile:

Considering the diocese reportedly has over 100,000 Catholics, I am puzzled as to why the diaconate wasn’t introduced a few decades ago.

In any event, this shows how little some of the pressure groups are concerned with the pastoral and social well being of the people. It is sad if these groups are granted “status” with the diocese, so that their “concerns” are given so much weight. I always take reports from the media with caution, but that website is credible. The scary thing is I wonder what other decisions by this bishop they now control.

Maybe some men who live near the borders of other dioceses could enroll in their diaconal training programs. They might have to join the neighboring diocese temporarily, in the hope that by the time they are ordained they could serve in this diocese.

This is the kind of situation the Metropolitan, and the papal nuncio, need to start discussing with the bishop. Bishops have rights within their dioceses, but eligible candidates also have rights, as do the poor, who are the primary focus of deacons.

You’re right. I missed it when I was searching for similar story.

Does anyone know: Were there, or were there not, female deacons in the church in ancient times? I keep hearing conflicting stuff.

Deaconesses - yes
Female deacons - no

Anyone who wants to “return” to this ancient practice should be aware that the primary function of deaconesses was to tend to sick women who could not be tended to by men for modesty’s sake and to undress female candidates for Baptism.

I don’t get the connection. What’s next – will he stop ordaining new priests too, because of similar pressures from women’s ordination supporters?

That would (also) be the wife of the deacon, in the early church, that is.

That is correct. They did not have any sacramental function. They did not enter the sanctuary or distribute the Eucharist etc.

While the USA and some other places embraced the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the years following Vatican II, this was not universally the case. In many parts of the world the permanent diaconate remains unknown. Vatican II allowed the permanent diaconate to be restored, but it is still ultimately up to the local bishop. The Archdiocese of Vancouver, where I lived for several years, has nearly 500 000 Catholics, but it was only a few years ago that the Archbishop implemented a formation program for married men discerning the diaconate. Permanent deacons were previously unknown in the region.

We have plenty of it thank you. It would be more profitable to understand the local and national conditions the decision was made against rather than take a swipe like that.

The same goes for the dioceses in the Atlantic Provinces. Halifax Archdiocese has most of the deacons. There are a scattered few in the other dioceses but most PIPs wouldn’t recognize a permanent deacon if one came up and bit them.

I saw the reaction in my own parish when we had a transitional deacon for 6 months. When I listed all the things that were his to do by virtue of being Deacon there was a resounding “No, he’s only here for a while and it will disrupt everything.” ???

Ok fine, nobody says otherwise, however, questions arise when the reason is backing down due to some fabulously misinformed people who–for some reason–believe the permanent diaconate could ever be open to women. What?!? I think you completely miss the point in your post. What does it being up to the local bishop have to do with anything? He was going to do it but didn’t because of a few uppity people who would have freaked out “cuz women.” No one said he has to do it, he was going to of his own accord, but then didn’t because… because of that.

It seems that the diocese could use the those in the order of permanent diaconate to help educate those who believe female ordination is possible. :shrug:


If you want, and if so informed, feel free to share any insight about those conditions.

That could be seen as an implication, yes.

I rarely comment on events in my own nation on CAF any longer because I bow to the experts who populate the forums regarding such and who are often able to tell me fascinating facts about what is happening there I that would never have know otherwise. Suffice to say the good Bishop knows full well the Church is in a difficult place in Ireland right now and that informs his decision.

I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but I suppose this is still more fallout from the sex abuse crisis. Many people don’t trust clerics and the Church is already hurting/hemorrhaging and this is not the time to drive anyone away.

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