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Pope Francis Appoints Committee to Study Possibility of Female Deacons
In another heartening move from Pope Francis, he has appointed a committee to study the
possibility of women serving as deacons in the church.
The pontiff has appointed an equal number of male and female experts as members of the
commission, which will be led by Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria, a Jesuit who serves as the
second-in-command of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation.
The Vatican said in a release announcing the commission Tuesday that the pope had decided
to create the group “after intense prayer and mature reflection” and wanted it particularly to
study the history of the female diaconate “in the earliest times of the church.”
Bridget Mary, Roman Catholic Womanpriest and prolific writer and commenter
about such issues, responds:
The gender balance and makeup of this Commission is a positive first step in the study of fe-
male deacons in the Roman Catholic Church. It is my hope that this study could lead to a deeper
appreciation of our earlier tradition of women deacons, priests and bishops in leadership roles
in the church, and to the full equality of women as priests, bishops, and decision makers in a
more inclusive, egalitarian church . The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is work-
ing to transform the clerical, dominator approach of the institutional church to a community of
equals model where all are welcome to celebrate sacraments at the Banquet of God's infinite
"It could be a world-changing decision"
The Washington Post
has an article on the Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women emphasizing how
much disagreement remains in the Church about this and similar issues involving the status of
women. “I can’t underscore enough how groundbreaking this is for the Church,” Boston College
theologian James Bretzke said in May.
However, Rev. Karl-Heinz Menke, another member of the commission, has argued that if women
cannot be priests, then they cannot be deacons either.
To read the
NEWS OF WOMEN PRIESTS & DEACONS
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Listen, Pray, and Act for Justice and Equality: A Message from Sister Simone
I believe we are all challenged by the Gospel to do our work differently. We are challenged to
fight for a vision of who we are called to be in our nation and our world. To create this vision,
we need to enter into a contemplative space where we let our guard down, listen to the Spirit,
and act out of that centered space. We call on our elected officials to do the same deep listen-
ing, that leaves us all open to hear stories of people around us and grasp reality in new ways.
We are being called to a new level of engagement and action. Hard as it will be, we are called
to take a radical dive into the deep listening that can reveal the new way forward. Let us com-
mit to seeing the nourishment of our community in this very struggle. Only love can cast out
hate, and we accept this challenge.
Our Commitment to Mending the Gaps Continues.
We believe that we are stronger as a nation when we take decisive steps to
create a just economy and a more inclusive society.
We commit to working for policies that are effective in lifting families and
individuals out of poverty across the nation.
We confess that on nearly every measure, African-American and Latino Americans expe
rience systemic obstacles in the quest for success.
We know that women are the cornerstone of many families, yet are still
more likely to be pushed into poverty than men.
We pledge to work for an end to the racial and gender wealth gaps. And we con
tinue to lift up the importance of intersectionality in pursuit of an economy that puts
people – not profit – at the center, and a society where no one is excluded.
We can and must do better, as individuals, as a
community, and as a nation.
So, in the new reality, let us begin to advocate strongly together, but also begin a time of
deep listening. Let us share with each other what we hear. Then, we are prepared to lift up a
vision of the 100% where all can work together to heal our nation.
"At the Edge of Inside" by David Brooks
Roman Catholic Women Priests Are Leading
on the Edge of Inside the Catholic Church
by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP