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eight bits

Catholic women deacons by 2020

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New Popes bring new calls for a variety of reforms in the Roman Catholic Church. Most aren't going to happen, and many simply cannot happen. This one seems both doable and might make a welcome change.

http://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/catholic-women-deacons-by-2020/

For those who like history and source documents, there is an accompanying 12-page pdf available from the blog's resource ("Unlinks") page:

http://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/unlinks/

Look for the big yellow typeface :).

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Posted (edited)

Hi Eight Bits,

The Conclave knew exactly what they were doing in electing a Jesuit! As far as lady Deacons, well that comes as no surprise. Many Parish's are struggling with the lack of Priests and Deacons. Personally, I won't feel comfortable with female Deacons but that's just me. I find it very uncomfortable watching female Anglican's up on the Altar. They do a good job at it, but it just goes against the grain IMO. Only time will tell though!

Pope Francis will revitalise the RCC in a matter of years and I can't wait to see the process.

Edited by Star of the Sea
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I would have no issues with Female Deacons, it will open a can of worms as long as the history of a "patriarchal" leadership in the church though, I wonder if we are as ready for the fallout as some would like to believe?

There will be schisms ...............

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Posted (edited)

Star

Hi. I think the key is that the proposal is for women deacons and definitely not women priests. Apart from any other consideration, there are formidable (canon) legal obstacles to ordaining women as priests (and don't even talk about bishops :) ). Based on history, it my (amateur) estimate that those hurdles could be reversed, but it is unrealistic that it could be done by one Pope. Nor even if it could be done that way, would it be done in the current environment, IMO.

Right now, deacons in the Roman Catholic Church need a mission statement. Although ordination does determine what roles they play at mass and other worship, the job is bigger than that, just as the jobs of priests and bishops are more than their roles in sacraments. In the case of deacons, the job is defined locally, in the relationship between the deacon and his bishop. Here in the United States, where about 40% or so of all deacons are located, duty profiles range from glorified altar boy to full-time confidential investigator with law enforcement training.

I don't think anybody now living will ever see a Roman Catholic woman priest. I have seen one woman Episcolian priest (the US branch of the Anglican Communion), once. I thought she did a fine job, but I did notice that the "most Catholic" member of our party on that occasion, a woman, was put off that the priest was a woman (not that the woman priest did a poor job).

LibstaK

I agree that women deacons will cause some stir among the patriarchal hierarchy, but the fact is that many bishops already deal with Catholic women professionals in church administration and other roles where deacons also currently serve. Since having any deacons at all is the prerogative of the individual bishop, and if so, who is ordained is entirely up to him, if this idea bothers him, then he needn't bother, so to speak.

As to schisms, the Eastern church has even more of a history of women deacons than the Western church does. I don't see that this will be that much of a problem. And, um, the Roman Church, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox are already in schism.

The other large worldwide apostolic succession church, the Anglican Communion, has priestly ordination for women, and this is one barrier to repair of that (it is a little tricky to call it a "schism," since the Anglicans view themselves as Protestant... so I'll just call it:) breach. Women bishops will be a harder problem, since shared apostolic succession (each and every bishop belonging to a chain of valid consecrations stretching back to the first Apostles and Jesus himself) is the key to reconciliation. I say "will be" because the vote was very close, and next time, with all due respect, many of those who voted no last year won't be here to vote again.

But women deacons in the Roman Church won't alter that situation, IMO.

Edited by eight bits
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Posted (edited)

Hi Eight Bits,

I think it's just a matter of getting use to the idea of a female Deacon. We have had a few male Deacon's help out at our Parish. They do participate with the Mass and sometimes actually do the Homily. I know there are 'transitional Deacons' that are 'seminarians' who are in the last leg of training for the Priesthood.

I do think it is time for woman to be given higher positions within the RCC. I just know it won't be a smooth transition and that the congregation will find it rather strange... but heck it's been a long time coming. I personally think you've got more chance of seeing 'hell freeze over' before you ever see a female Catholic Priest :w00t:

Edited by Star of the Sea
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PS: Eightbits, just wanted to ask you what "full-time confidential investigator with law enforcement training" has to do with Deacons in the USA? I can't quite understand where that fits in the role! :unsure2:

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Posted (edited)

Hi Eight Bits,

I think it's just a matter of getting use to the idea of a female Deacon. We have had a few male Deacon's help out at our Parish. They do participate with the Mass and sometimes actually do the Homily. I know there are 'transitional Deacons' that are 'seminarians' who are in the last leg of training for the Priesthood.

I do think it is time for woman to be given higher positions within the RCC. I just know it won't be a smooth transition and that the congregation will find it rather strange... but heck it's been a long time coming. I personally think you've got more chance of seeing 'hell freeze over' before you ever see a female Catholic Priest :w00t:

Personally, I think it is time we do. I never say never.

So much has changed for us culturally as females, where once we were second class we are equals now. Of course there are areas that have not caught up, but they will, maybe not in our lifetime but I am optimistic for the up and coming female generation. I really feel that if the female influence was included/embraced more so much of the sexual abuse that has been ignored in the RCC toward children would of been Mama bear 'ed' by now.

Edited by Sherapy
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Posted (edited)

Personally, I think it is time we do. I never say never.

So much has changed for us culturally as females, where once we were second class we are equals now. Of course there are areas that have not caught up, but they will, maybe not in our lifetime but I am optimistic for the up and coming female generation. I really feel that if the female influence was included/embraced more so much of the sexual abuse that has been ignored in the RCC toward children would of been Mama bear 'ed' by now.

Hi Sheri!

I think there will be reform in the RCC but in a more subtle way. I do agree if there had been more of a female presence in the Church then most of the the abuse that has gone on would of been addressed immediately and without impunity. As you know the RCC is male dominated. I have felt the full force of the RCC, whom I took on 15 years ago. A dispute over something that went on in a Catholic school that my daughter went to when she was little (it wasn't abuse by an adult I might add) but nevertheless, I had a right battle with the local Parish Priest and then with the Bishop no less lol! Anyhow it wasn't a pleasant experience and it opened my eyes to how closed they are.

Having said that, I do feel things are moving in the right direction and I have a feeling Pope Francis is about to make great and welcome changes, which will put the RCC in a better light. I'm still a fervent Catholic though and love my faith and that's what counts for me :)

Edited by Star of the Sea
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Star

PS: Eightbits, just wanted to ask you what "full-time confidential investigator with law enforcement training" has to do with Deacons in the USA? I can't quite understand where that fits in the role!

It's mentioned in the blog article. The diocese of Portland, Maine has for several years assigned a deacon who retired from law enforcement to the task of investigating complaints of misconduct by church clergy and employees. He retired from the diaconate recently, and plans are to replace him with another deacon, also someone with a law enforcement background.

The larger picture is that a permanent deacon is not a priest, and isn't going to become one, but there are lots of other jobs necessary to running a church in the real world. The popular image of a deacon is shaped by transitional deacons, men studying to be priests, almost the only kind of Catholic deacons there was until about 50 years ago. A different image is needed.

A religious person might see a sacramental infusion of God's grace as useful to someone who commits themselves to the other jobs as a lifelong vocation. A secular organization theorist might see the institutional usefulness of the special relationship between bishop and deacon in ensuring the quality performance of some sensitive and mission-critical tasks where personal supervision is impractical or impossible.

Either way, it is 50-50 whether the best qualified available person for most of those tasks is a woman, and 99-1 for some of them, like contemporary ministries to women*. Many of those tasks profit from, and aren't just unhindered by, an ordinary family and social life. Bishops who want to should be able to assign vocationally committed real-world-savvy women, not just men. IMO.

*For example, in Boston Massachusetts, there is a women-only homeless shelter called Rosie's Place. It's women-only because many of the guests are battered and abused, and, at least for the time being, find an environment without men necessary for their peace of mind. It is a no-brainer that Rosie's Place would be a natural place to find vocationally committed women ministering to the temporal and spiritual needs of these guests, and that women would more effectively serve there than men.

To be honest, I thought of this example after reading some dismissive comment like "The historical role of women deacons was marginal, to serve only women." After I got over the "not any more, dude" reaction, my second thought was, "so what's wrong with ministering to women?"

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Apologies Eight Bits and thanks for clarifying . I should of paid attention to the article :blush: I was on babysitting duty last night and it was a tad difficult as my little Grandson (bless him) just wouldn't go to sleep! Here at our Parish the Deacon is a Financial Advisor in his 'day job' and he helps out with the Parish finances in his Deacon role. The local Convent attached to the Parish has the Nuns ministering to the needs of the Parish ie: Counselling, teaching etc and who are highly educated in many areas including women's issues, so it should be interesting to see how the Church would (if this does come to fruition) incorporate female Deacons into the picture.

I don't know how they will get round this:

"The need for training is not the only thing that puts a few years, at least, between Pope Francis’ election and the first modern ordination of a woman as deacon. Canon law would need to be changed, in particular, canon 1024, “A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.”

Anyhow thanks for the information 8ty!

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