Catholic women deacons by 2020

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posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 04:33 PM
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Whenever a new Pope comes along, he gets plenty of free advice about what he should do with his vast power. As such advice goes, this one seems practical, concrete, achievable, and it may even be the right thing to do:


Pope Francis now settles into his first full week as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. ...
The Roman Catholic Church should ordain women as permanent deacons by the end of this decade, beginning during Francis' pontificate. That way, one leader can oversee the reform, if the groundwork begins now. Here's why women should be ordained as deacons without further avoidable delay.


uncertaintist.wordpress.com...

There are not going to be women Roman Catholic priests any time soon, and even married priests are a long shot. This proposal doesn't change that, but it does address a specific questionable inequity. Nuns have long been doing the work of deacons, with the same lifetime commitment, but without the deacons' sacramental support and without the deacons' prerogative to have a normal family life.




posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 08:48 PM
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Originally posted by eight bits
Whenever a new Pope comes along, he gets plenty of free advice about what he should do with his vast power. As such advice goes, this one seems practical, concrete, achievable, and it may even be the right thing to do:


Pope Francis now settles into his first full week as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. ...
The Roman Catholic Church should ordain women as permanent deacons by the end of this decade, beginning during Francis' pontificate. That way, one leader can oversee the reform, if the groundwork begins now. Here's why women should be ordained as deacons without further avoidable delay.


uncertaintist.wordpress.com...

There are not going to be women Roman Catholic priests any time soon, and even married priests are a long shot. This proposal doesn't change that, but it does address a specific questionable inequity. Nuns have long been doing the work of deacons, with the same lifetime commitment, but without the deacons' sacramental support and without the deacons' prerogative to have a normal family life.


Are you familiar with the "third orders" of religious life? Those in third orders are free to live normal family lives, yet maintain their vows.

And I don't think there will ever be women getting ordained in any way, shape, or form at all. Jesus set the example. Also, more results here.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 09:01 PM
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reply to post by eight bits
 

I personally have nothing against this, being something of a non-conventional Catholic, as you know, but I'm not sure that we'll see it, due in part to the lack of demand. A lot is expected of Deacons, but my experience is that they are mostly just supplementary to Priests -- they can administer the Eucharist, but they can't substantiate it, so you can't just send them off on their own to lead a congregation.

In addition, their numbers are on the rise:


The number of Catholics in the world and the number of deacons, priests and bishops all increased in 2010, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics.

The Vatican said the number of bishops in the world increased from 5,065 to 5,104; the number of priests went from 410,593 to 412,236, increasing everywhere except Europe.

The number of permanent deacons reported -- 39,564 -- was an increase of more than 1,400 over the previous year. 97.5 percent of the world's permanent deacons live in the Americas or in Europe. (Source)

I know from my aunt (the retired nun,) that postulants are effectively non-existent in her order, and that seems to be across the board (at least in the United States.) But I'm not sure that the Vatican will necessarily make the logical leap that female Deacons would be an effective way of re-engaging the gender within the church.

I suspect that Pope Francis has a lot more on his plate than he, or we, could have imagined, and will be focusing on issues unrelated to increasing the role of women in the church. I foresee internal reforms, an increased effort on ecumenicalism, and more emphasis on the church's role in the Third World, particularly among the poorest of the poor.

Nice article, though, thanks for the link



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 09:43 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
reply to post by eight bits
 

just supplementary to Priests -- they can administer the Eucharist, but they can't substantiate it, so you can't just send them off on their own to lead a congregation.

What does that mean?!

Very curious..



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 09:58 PM
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Originally posted by NewAgeMan

Originally posted by adjensen
reply to post by eight bits
 

just supplementary to Priests -- they can administer the Eucharist, but they can't substantiate it, so you can't just send them off on their own to lead a congregation.

What does that mean?!

Very curious..

There are three beliefs as regards Christian Communion:
  1. Transubstantiation (Roman Catholic) - The bread and wine are changed into the literal body and blood of Christ, in accordance with his words at the Last Supper
  2. Consubstantiation (Lutheran) - Christ is "infused" into the bread and wine
  3. Non-substantiation (pretty much everyone else) - Communion is a remembrance of Christ
See The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Only Catholic Priests (and Bishops, Cardinals and the Pope,) can turn the bread and wine into Christ. I'm not sure what the Lutherans teach as regards consubstantiation.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:08 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 

Are you saying that under no circumstances could a woman ever administer the Eucharist and have it "turn into the body of Christ"?

And didn't Jesus want it to be a symbol and a remembrance for his loving sacrifice? He didn't mean for it to be taken literally and yes I know what he said "this is my body".. "this is my blood", then saying "eat and drink in remembrance of me."

And no I don't need to see pics of bleeding wafers..

P.S. I've been moved to tears of gratitude in taking communion so I understand fully it's significance.


edit on 18-3-2013 by NewAgeMan because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:18 PM
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Originally posted by NewAgeMan
reply to post by adjensen
 

Are you saying that under no circumstances could a woman ever administer the Eucharist and have it "turn into the body of Christ"?

I don't know that there is any reason to say that's the case, no.

(I should point out that it doesn't "turn into the body of Christ" upon administration, and ALSO that I'm not a "real" Catholic -- I'm a Protestant convert, who likely has a lot of Protestant still in him, lol.)


And didn't Jesus want it to be a symbol and a remembrance for his loving sacrifice?

That, I suppose, is a matter of interpretation, but no, I don't think so. In light of Jewish theology and what he was describing, no, it makes sense if he was describing his literal being, and less sense otherwise.

Part of the reason that I converted to Catholicism is due to my study of the early church, and the fact that the earliest records of the church show that the Eucharist was celebrated in a fashion as it is today in the Roman Catholic Church.



posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 01:57 AM
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IsidoreOfSeville


Are you familiar with the "third orders" of religious life? Those in third orders are free to live normal family lives, yet maintain their vows.


Yes, but third order lay-religious aren't ordained.

Maybe permanent deacons "shouldn't" be ordained, either, but that was decided back in the 1960's, and they are. There are about 40,000 deacons worldwide (I am told). So, apparently there is some use for an office which combines ordination with ordinary family life. The remaining issue, then, would be whether that opportunity should be offered to women as well.


Jesus set the example


That is, of course, one of the counterarguments. However, the "iconic argument," assuming that it has any force at all, may have different applicability to different offices.

adj

I think the problem looks different worldwide versus in the developed areas. Worldwide, the Church is growing, and picking up priests from the newly converted, some of whom in time become bishops. What pays for that is the donations from chirches in wealthy areas of the world. A good deal of that wealth is disposed of according to the preferences of women.

A deacon isn't, and isn't supposed to be, a substitute for what only a priest does, preside at the reserved sacraments. The priestly role isn't unique to apostolic-succession Christianity. But, as even the Jerusalem apostles noticed, as the priests over at the Temple could have told them, there's a lot more to running a church than administering sacraments to the already-adhering. So, a priest is not necessarily a deacon-substitute, either.

I think your observation here is shrewd:


A lot is expected of Deacons, but my experience is that they are mostly just supplementary to Priests


How deacons are deployed is entirely up to the local bishop, and so it varies from place to place. But the diversity of diaconal assignments is staggering. Maybe in your location, deacons aren't well used (or deacons with distinctive skills and experience aren't available where you live). That doesn't rise to an argument, in my view, that women shouldn't be deacons or that the priority in addressing the issue would be misplaced.

And, um, if I may intrude into your conversation with another member


ALSO that I'm not a "real" Catholic -- I'm a Protestant convert, who likely has a lot of Protestant still in him, lol.


Surely you've noticed that, since Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church has a lot of Protestant in it, too. Besides, I remember when you were a Protestant; I always thought you were a very Catholic one
.



posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 07:03 AM
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Catholic Women Deacons by 2020

NOPE. NEVER GONNA' HAPPEN. Deacons and priests are ordained and those are only for men. This is a teaching of the church which cannot change - a doctrine. Doctrines can not change. They are considered to be rules set in stone by Christ Himself. Disciplines can change. Celebacy is a 'discipline' so it can change ... no women priests is a 'doctrine' so it can not.

And Deacons are ordained just like priests are so they fall under that doctrine.

Is it a doctrine or a discipline?

Not only did Pope John Paul II address this doctrine in his 1994 Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger at the time) attested to the certitude of the doctrine that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women in his Responsum ad Dubium on Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in 1995: "This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium . .



Originally posted by IsidoreOfSeville
Are you familiar with the "third orders" of religious life? Those in third orders are free to live normal family lives, yet maintain their vows.

I was a third order Carmelite (discalced) for 10 years.

edit on 3/19/2013 by FlyersFan because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 07:58 AM
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FlyersFan


NEVER GONNA' HAPPEN.


Well, it has already happened, long before the Roman Catholics were separate from the rest of the apostolic succession. So, now we're down to whether it can happen again in the Roman church schismatic.


This is a teaching of the church which cannot change - a doctrine.


Not quite, that's the current situation for requiring external genitalia of a priest or a bishop. John Paul II used the magic words in 1994 in connection with priest, and not in connection with deacons, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, mentioned in what you quoted.

Whether or not the diaconal gender restriction is a teaching is an open question. The diaconate is a separate vocation, with no priestly function, so it would be entirely consistent to deny the priesthood to one group, but not deny that group the diaconate.(Which, of course, already happens when the "group" is married men.)

Also, unlike deacons, there is no history of women priests in an apostolic succession church until the last century.
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edit on 19-3-2013 by eight bits because: inadvertantly remarked upon a statement directed toward another member.



posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 05:01 PM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


eightbits, what's your understanding about ordination into the diaconate and to the priest hood?



posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 05:13 PM
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eightbits, what's your understanding about ordination into the diaconate and to the priest hood?


My understanding that there is one sacrament, Orders or Holy Oriders, and that there are three degrees of orders, deacon (or, from Latin instead of from Greek, minister), priest and bishop.

Until the 1960's, almost all deacons were "transitional deacons," men who were deacons with the presumption that they would soon be ordained as priests. Since the OP proposal isn't to ordain women priests, we are not talking about transitional deacons, but "permanent deacons," which were among the innovations of the Second Vatican Council, to revive that office and to make it sacramental.

How am I doing so far?



posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 05:33 PM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


I'd say pretty spot on.. but maybe I'm confused by your post then... my understanding is there were female deacons in the early church, yes, but it was mostly for reasons of modesty and propriety in the ancient society.

And yes, Vatican II did introduce the "permanent diaconate" but my understanding of deacons is that their are only 3 (I think) sacraments they cannot do, yet their ordination are of the same Orders.

So maybe I misunderstand you. Are you asking for some sort of special class? Say like how a Warrant Officer functions in the Army??



posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 06:30 PM
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So maybe I misunderstand you. Are you asking for some sort of special class? Say like how a Warrant Officer functions in the Army??


It's funny, that is one of the occupational analogies I thought of. Staying within the scope of religion, though, it is amazing how thoroughly the position coincides with the non-Anglican Protestant concept of "minister."

Even apart from the issue of women deacons, I think the permanent diaconate needs a mission statement
. But, as I said to adj, the way the permanent diaconate is structured, it's really up to each individual bishop how he uses the opportunity.

There's no inherent reason why a deacon would be a priest-substitute, or that a priest would be a deacon-substitute. If it works out that way, then it is because of a bishop's choice to do that.


Vatican II did introduce the "permanent diaconate" but my understanding of deacons is that their are only 3 (I think) sacraments they cannot do, yet their ordination are of the same Orders.


It's three they can do... As I understand the sacramental situation:

Bishops only: Orders and Confirmation

Priests only: Eucharist (the consecration), Penance, Last Rites

Ordained only: Matrimony (witness for the Church - or delegate that role to a lay person in extraordinary circumstances)

Depending on circumstances, anybody: Eucharist (administration), Baptism, Matrimony (witness, layperson if delegated)


but maybe I'm confused by your post then... my understanding is there were female deacons in the early church, yes, but it was mostly for reasons of modesty and propriety in the ancient society.


Clement of Alexandria thought Apostles' wives (not necessarily ordained women) contributed to the general "propriety" of the early preaching to women in an unspecified, but apparently varied, ministry to women. It is also clear that at some times and places there were women whose principal function was to accompany other women into the water of full immersion baptism while a priest presided nearby.

However, it does not follow that women deacons typically existed only for that one function, although perhaps some did. Also, my understanding is that the church still has lay women who might be ministered to more effectively and conveniently by a woman. So, I don't see that as a problem in the historical situation, that a woman, like any other deacon, would perform ministerial services for which she, and not a priest or a male deacon, were the better qualified, all things considered.

In ancient times, it may well have been that women played only the roles that only women could play. In modern times, the problem is that half the people who can play almost any role are women, and yet only the other half is allowed to serve with the benefit of a sacrament.



posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by eight bits
 



It's three they can do... As I understand the sacramental situation:

Not sure how it fits in there, but only Deacons or higher can read the Gospel during Mass. That was one of the things that I gave up when I converted (though I'm a Lector and can do the other two readings.)

Because I was on the track to become a Deacon in the Methodist Church when I left, I looked into what it takes to become one in the Catholic Church, and they make converts wait five years, and won't ordain anyone over sixty years old, so my window would be pretty small. As a widower, I would not be allowed to remarry (not a big deal) and I'd have to commit to spending a fair amount of the day in prayer (also not a big deal, though the Liturgy of the Hours goes throughout the day, which would interfere with work.) Given the role that I see the two Deacons at my local parish serve, which is pretty minimal, I'm not sure I'm up for it. But time will tell.



posted on Mar, 20 2013 @ 05:30 AM
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adj


Not sure how it fits in there, but only Deacons or higher can read the Gospel during Mass.


Right. Isidore's question and comment were specifically about sacraments. There are ministerial functions, besides the sacraments, that are reserved to ordained people, and within orders, reserved by degree as well.

As to reading the Gospel, there is a general instruction about lay participation in church matters,

www.vatican.va...

Article 3 reserves the liturgical homily to the ordained, although the laity may speak within a homily (personal testimonies and dialogs, for instance), as arranged with the ordained homilist. However, there doesn't seem to be anything specific there particularly about the reading of the Gospel during mass.

In American practice, paragraph 59 of

old.usccb.org...

Makes "by tradition," rather than citing any canon, a reservation of the Gospel reading to an ordained man. I suppose you could also argue that since the liturgical homily is an expansion upon the Gospel reading, the two should be viewed as an integral unit, hence the restriction on the liturgical homily naturally extends to the Gospel reading.

This issue came up in the blog post, because the basis of St Francis being identified as a deacon is on account of his never having been a priest, but in a famous story, he is depicted as reading the Gospel and preaching the sermon at a mass. Hence the inference that he was a deacon.


Because I was on the track to become a Deacon in the Methodist Church when I left,


That's funny, I was thinking of you this morning in that regard. A popular assignment for Catholic deacons (although maybe not in your area) is looking after church financial affairs, at the parish or higher levels. I notice that in secular life, many accountants are women. Just saying
.
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edit on 20-3-2013 by eight bits because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 20 2013 @ 05:33 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


I was a third order carmelite for 10 years.
Sounds like you might have a calling to a third order.
Franciscan ... Dominican ... Carmelite.
You might want to look into them ....



posted on Mar, 20 2013 @ 09:07 AM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
You might want to look into them ....

I will do so, thanks for the pointer



posted on Mar, 20 2013 @ 09:12 AM
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Originally posted by eight bits

Because I was on the track to become a Deacon in the Methodist Church when I left,


That's funny, I was thinking of you this morning in that regard. A popular assignment for Catholic deacons (although maybe not in your area) is looking after church financial affairs, at the parish or higher levels. I notice that in secular life, many accountants are women. Just saying
.

Our parish has a "business manager" who does the finances and is, ironically, a woman. She's commented in the past about doing the Liturgy of the Hours, though I'm not sure in what context.

I'm on the Finance Committee (made the mistake of checking the box on my "Talents Survey", and they jumped on that and appointed me a month later, lol,) and that's about as much as I want to be involved in it. Unlike my Methodist church, where I was Treasurer and on the Finance Committee, this is a significant parish, and Catholic finances are a lot more complex, so managing things is a full time job.





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