Nothing New under the Sun

On the Question and Answers from the Expert section of this forum they had a question about a pre-Tridentine council which spoke about female “ordinations”. The search organ is all messed when I try to search for it and I am not computer learned, so if someone can find it that would be great. Anyway, I just wanted to point out that this might be a good example to show ultra-traditionalists. They say that the Novus Ordo could be misinterpreted in a Protestant sense. But here we have the Church talking about female ordinations and in those days that could have been misinterpreted as well

The term “deaconess” appears in the text of the First and Fourth Vatican Councils, at least according to the Church Fathers Search Engine. (Search for the term deaconess and, after the search results pop up, refine by “1st 7 Ecumenical Councils.”)

In the Fourth Ecumenical Council it appears in Canon 15: “A woman shall not receive the laying on of hands as a deaconess under forty years of age, and then only after searching examination. And if, after she has had hands laid on her and has continued for a time to minister, she shall despise the grace of God and give herself in marriage, she shall be anathematized and the man united to her.”

In the First Ecumenical Council it appears in Canon 19: “Likewise in the case of their deaconesses, and generally in the case of those who have been enrolled among their clergy, let the same form be observed. And we mean by deaconesses such as have assumed the habit, but who, since they have no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the laity.”

The First Ecumenical Council seems more clear to me that deaconesses were not ordained. Anyway that’s my impression.

Please let me know if that is what you were looking for.

Ye, thanks. This is a good example to give traditionalists. Here one council says imposition of hands, the other not. Might help them understand Vatican II a little better. Again thanks

Regardless of whether “deaconesses” were ordained in the Early Church, there is nothing that would prevent this today. Unlike priestly Orders, the door has never been shut on ordained female deacons. But I would not expect it to happen anytime soon, if ever.

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