When were deacons first able to consecrate the host?

Modern deacons can consecrate the hosts perform other priestly duties, can they not? When did this authority begin to reside in the office of the deacon?

Paul records that there were female deacons. This being so, why can’t women be deacons today, and if they can/could, could they consecrate?


Dear A,

Deacons can preach and read the Gospel at Mass, they can baptize, witness weddings and officiate at burials. They cannot celebrate Mass because they to not have the power to consecrate the bread and the wine. This has always been the case.

Those woman who were called deaconesses were assistants to the clergy, but they were not the female equivalent to the ordained male deacon. See the Dec. 2 post by Michelle Arnold.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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