Women as Deacons?


#1

Ok, I did a search to see if this had been asked or covered…and I diden’t see anything…so I thought I’d ask for views and opinonions.

I do NOT question the Churches teaching on the Priesthood being men only…infact I support it, but this is not a question about the Priesthood, this is a question about the permanant Deaconate.

Should women be allowed to be Deacons. The job and responsibility of Deacons is somewhat different…their mission, 'not unto the priesthood, but unto the ministry."CCC:1569, suggests that they do not act “in persona Christe” which as I understand it is one of the impediments for women being ordained. Deacons are also "ordinary ministers of the Eucharist…they can NOT consecrate but they can distribute, women can do this also as Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Deacons can preach and read the Gospel during the Mass… Women can lector/Cantor but not Preach or Read the Gospel…but why not…if they could be Deacons then they could do this. It just seems to me that allowing women to be Deacons would be a reasonable way to allow then to serve in a larger function in the church and still keep the Priesthood still “in persona Christe” for men only.

I hope my rambelings have made sense here.


#2

The way you have couched the primise it seems to me that you are supposing that allowing women to be Deacons IS FOR THE WOMEN and Not for the entire body of the Church.

As you have proposed that women should be Deacons it would be strictly for some imaginary benifit for those women. Have you thought about the negative effects?

Have you thought for one minute how this would impact the Church Members? I, for a majority of one, would find another Church. Why is that? It is because if the Holy Mother Church saw fit to not have female Deacons for 1900 years, then the is a good reason for not having female Deacons.


#3

No, Sir, Not just for the women, do I suggest this. But for the Church.

For one thing, the church is indeed short on Priests…and the added persons who can perform not only the functions I listed in my first post, but also preside over Marriages, Funerals & ordinary baptisms…this would take some of the load off the Priesthood, and allow women to serve in a greater capacity.

It just seems like a win-win to me.

Please understand Sir, that my question is not meant to offend or make waves. It’s a just somthing that I was wondering about…I have read that at one time in the early church there were known to be women deacons, so why not now, in a time when many women want more ways to serve mother church.


#4

Are you saying there were ordained female deacons in the past? There may have been women who were deaconesses with limited responsibilities, but never ordained to my knowledge.


#5

I know African Bishops have forbidden permanent deacons because they believe it siphons off vocations to the priesthood.

I am constantly amazed how people propose wacky lay-clericalization ideas or things like women’s ordination and justify it by noting the priesthood shortage. I have yet to see these people propose a solution to the actual problem: the shortage of priests!

The EMHC crowd falls into this category, too. Through constant use of EMHC (despite Vatican laws), people have actually developed a warped spirituality around being an EMHC. They begin to look at it as a right that should not be taken away. Liturgical oddballs triumph the use of EMHC as a great step forward in involving the laity when, in fact, it should be a duty that is assumed with a heavy heart. Why? Because the only reasaon we have to use these people is because there aren’t enough priests. It is also a duty that is not, primarily, a lay postition. Acolytes, religous, and seminarians are all above lay people in the pecking order of EMHC (and even then, men are listed higher than women, but who really cares, right?). You know what, sometimes I wonder if priestly vocations aren’t being encouraged precisely so that this make-shift situation can be perpetuated. If we had priests, we wouldn’t need EMHC, and then the local hairdresser might be alienated.

ARGH!!

I mean, think of it. People my age and younger (30) have rarely ever seen a Mass without EMHC. Our generation is going to think this is not only normal, but GOOD. Like there is no problem here. Like it isn’t really extraordinary, but, rather, ordinary.

I still think the whole priesthood shortage has some roots in the wide acceptance of birth control and families having their 1.2 children.

But, I remain EXTREMELY optimistic. Why? Because young Catholics are starting to heed the church’s call to openness to life. They see the beauty of the sacraments, of marriage, of the priesthood. They would LOVE IT if one (or even all) of their sons said, “Mom and Dad, I want to be a priest!” It’s these families that are going to be the answer to the Church’s prayers to God for more priests. Mark my words. Faithful American Catholics are going to have the next wave of vocations.

Then all this goofy lay-clericalization will be seen for what I think it is: disordered.


#6

No.
Women should raise good Catholic children.
Those who do not, should become a nun and take over where she can.

Why can’t we leave men to be special in some way?
I’m not kidding.


#7

I would say that (married) men should raise good catholic children, too.

Very inspiring thought about letting men be special in some way. A novel idea in this man-hating society frought with ambition and power struggles.

Men are underappreciated. I clarify that: GOOD men are underappreciated.


#8

In the pontificals of the Pre-Schism Eastern Churches, the term ORDINATION was used with regard to Deaconesses.

They were in something of a gray zone. They were not in Minor Orders, as they were permitted to wear the stole in the manner of a deacon.

They were not in Major Orders, for they were not permitted to officiate at anything that was not directly involving women.

Nevertheless, in the Byzantine, Syriac, Coptic, and Malabarese writings, the term Ordination is used to describe the Deaconess.

The strongest one is a Byzantine pontifical which states that all things done for the ordination of a deacon shall be done, changing the name to Deaconess, omitting the call to instruct men and substituting it with an instruction of women, and then the bishop handing the deaconess the chalice to hold while the bishop administered communion by Intinction. It seems this form for the ordination of a deaconess was conducted after the Bishop and clergy had recieved communion.

Thus, there is a history, and the Vatican has not ruled it totally out… but I wouldn’t hold your breath for it. Only a few Byzantine Churches still make use of the Deaconess, though the rites remained in their pontificals for some time.

For more, you may wish to pick up a wonderful book by Paul F. Bradshaw, “Ordination Rites of the Ancient Churches of East and West”.

Rob+


#9

From my reading of the CCC, this is not possible. The CCC makes no difference between any of the three levels of Holy Orders. To receive this sacrament, the recipient must be male. I believe that PJPII’s letter on the issue then applies to deacons as well.


#10

[quote=Lurch104]From my reading of the CCC, this is not possible. The CCC makes no difference between any of the three levels of Holy Orders. To receive this sacrament, the recipient must be male. I believe that PJPII’s letter on the issue then applies to deacons as well.
[/quote]

I found the following article on the topic:

theage.com.au/articles/2002/10/04/1033538773762.html?oneclick=true

Now, I would not support the extension of faculties to preach or to administer the Sacrament of the Dying (which male deacon’s don’t have either… only prebyters and bishops can anoint the sick and dying or grant absolution) and I would have some issues with women ‘officiating’ at marriages (though, admittedly, since Western Christain theology teaches that the man and woman are the ministers of the Sacrament, not the clergy, I suppose a woman could be deputed to be the representative of the Church… I still would prefer to avoid that!).

Rob+


#11

[quote=Windmill]I know African Bishops have forbidden permanent deacons because they believe it siphons off vocations to the priesthood.

I am constantly amazed how people propose wacky lay-clericalization ideas or things like women’s ordination and justify it by noting the priesthood shortage. I have yet to see these people propose a solution to the actual problem: the shortage of priests!

[/quote]

So whacky, like deaconnesses who existed in the Church for centuries!

It is true that CCC 1577 to preclude women from sacred ordination (entry into an ordo) , and that the diaconate is one of the ranks of Holy Orders(CCC 1554, 1569ff). However, CCC 1537-1538 recognizes that in the past such offices as “widows” were also considered Ordos, but that today the the process of ordinatio is reserved for the three holy orders. Finally, CCC1554 states that deacons do not sahre in the role of sacerdose–so there is a clear difference between deacons on one hand and priests/bishops on the other. The job of the deacon is primarily that of assistant (CCC 1570).

This suggests to me that there is room for discussion on the matter of women deacons–or more accurately deaconnesses. Perhaps the office would represent a parallel track for women, with limited ministerial or assistant duties but recognized and formalized by a liturgical procedure and blessing (CCC 1538).

I have brooched this topic in other threads and without fail have received lashes. But I firmly believe that the question of wmen deacons/deaconesses is not so easily dismissed as that of woemn priests (which I do not support). Heck, I’m not even sure I support the idea of deaconesses–I just think that the idea is unfathomable, either scripturally, historically, or according to the CCC as it is worded now.


#12

[quote=netmilsmom]No.
Women should raise good Catholic children.
Those who do not, should become a nun and take over where she can.

Why can’t we leave men to be special in some way?
I’m not kidding.
[/quote]

My sentiments exactly. I don’t understand why some women feel they are being “cheated” out of Holy Orders. No man can ever give birth. Not everyone is suited to every vocation.


#13

[quote=FrRobSST]I found the following article on the topic:

theage.com.au/articles/2002/10/04/1033538773762.html?oneclick=true

Now, I would not support the extension of faculties to preach or to administer the Sacrament of the Dying (which male deacon’s don’t have either… only prebyters and bishops can anoint the sick and dying or grant absolution) and I would have some issues with women ‘officiating’ at marriages (though, admittedly, since Western Christain theology teaches that the man and woman are the ministers of the Sacrament, not the clergy, I suppose a woman could be deputed to be the representative of the Church… I still would prefer to avoid that!).

Rob+
[/quote]

Thank you–and much more concise and accurate than my incoherent words which were written in the meanwhile. :wink:


#14

[quote=Windmill]I would say that (married) men should raise good catholic children, too.

Very inspiring thought about letting men be special in some way. A novel idea in this man-hating society frought with ambition and power struggles.

Men are underappreciated. I clarify that: GOOD men are underappreciated.
[/quote]

Amen! A Good Man is not hard to find when he is allowed to be a man and do his duty.

God gave us each a place. Men are being pushed aside.
God Bless my strong Father (RIP) and my wonderful Hubby!


#15

[quote=Detroit Sue]My sentiments exactly. I don’t understand why some women feel they are being “cheated” out of Holy Orders. No man can ever give birth. Not everyone is suited to every vocation.
[/quote]

Hi Sue!


#16

[quote=lyoncoeur]No, Sir, Not just for the women, do I suggest this. But for the Church.

For one thing, the church is indeed short on Priests…and the added persons who can perform not only the functions I listed in my first post, but also preside over Marriages, Funerals & ordinary baptisms…this would take some of the load off the Priesthood, and allow women to serve in a greater capacity.

It just seems like a win-win to me.

Please understand Sir, that my question is not meant to offend or make waves. It’s a just somthing that I was wondering about…I have read that at one time in the early church there were known to be women deacons, so why not now, in a time when many women want more ways to serve mother church.
[/quote]

There are no shortage of deacons – particularly in the USA.


#17

[quote=Detroit Sue]My sentiments exactly. I don’t understand why some women feel they are being “cheated” out of Holy Orders. No man can ever give birth. Not everyone is suited to every vocation.
[/quote]

It’s called “feminism” which is nothing more than a euphemism for “sexism.”


#18

I hope the next pope nails this one down once and for all.

Then again Pope JPII did just this for the priesthood with Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (sp) and there are still dissidents who “demand” change…


#19

[quote=fix]Are you saying there were ordained female deacons in the past? There may have been women who were deaconesses with limited responsibilities, but never ordained to my knowledge.
[/quote]

Quite correct…

They physically assisted with baptism for reasons of modesty back when people were baptised in the nude…


#20

[quote=Pariah Pirana]Quite correct…

They physically assisted with baptism for reasons of modesty back when people were baptised in the nude…
[/quote]

In the western tradition, this seems to have been the only role for a deaconess, but the eastern tradition provided a bit more in the way of duties, and did use the term ordination in their pontifical rites.

Rob+


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