Ordain women? Vatican synod gets an unexpected proposal

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Demonstrators calling for the Catholic Church to include women priests gather prior to the arrival of Pope Francis at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, for a prayer service and meeting with U.S. bishops, in Washington, on September 23, 2015. This is the first visit ever to the U.S by the pontiff. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mike Theiler
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-PHILLY, originally transmitted on Sept. 26, 2015.

Demonstrators calling for the Catholic Church to include women priests gather prior to the arrival of Pope Francis at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, for a prayer service and meeting with U.S. bishops, in Washington, on September 23, 2015. This is the first visit ever to the U.S by the pontiff. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mike Theiler *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-PHILLY, originally transmitted on Sept. 26, 2015.

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(RNS) The idea is to ordain them as deacons, not priests. But if the idea floated among 270 leading churchmen flies, it would represent a historic breakthrough for the Catholic Church -- or, perhaps, a return to a New Testament tradition.

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  • Bernardo

    Too little, too late!! The cat is out of the bag. Said religion as is all Christianity severely flawed theologically and historically. Its treatment of 50% of their membership for the last two thousand years is only one of the many flaws.

  • Paula

    So let me get this straight. Even if there is scriptural precedent for women as deacons (Romans 16:1 — Phoebe) conservatives say “no how, no way.”

    Their argument for only male priests is something like “because there are 12 apostles, all men.” An argument they get — from scripture.

    This makes no sense.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    In terms of the intersection of religion and culture, your first sentence may indeed have merit. The brand of Christianity is forever tarnished by the Protestant religious right and right-wing Catholicism, not to mention Putin’s brilliant stratagem to unite Russian Orthodoxy with Communism over behind the Iron Curtain there.

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  • Unless it’s a “Transitional Deacon” there should be no problem. The transitional
    goes on to be a priest. If one is not going to be a priest, why should anyone
    object? Deacons, for instance in the Episcopalian churches, who do not go on
    to be priest do basically what any lay person does in most churches. With the
    “two teared” system, the are not allowed to Absolve, Bless, or Preform the “Act”
    of changing bread and wine, to body and blood. A deacon “assists” by holding
    a Bible or other Liturgical book. They stand by, they assist, they distribute, much
    like many other churches along with the Roman Catholic. In short some people remain “deacons” their entire lives. It is not always a “stepping stone”
    in ANY church.

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  • David

    If we consider the argument valid that only men can be bishops (and by extension priests) since the 12 apostles were men, then I can see how it can also be argued that if the diaconate is a separate role rooted in the appointment of the 7 in Acts, then the restriction of men only would not apply to the diaconate since they served a different function than the Apostles.

    However, note that while the 7 were appointed specifically to a ministry of service, two of them, Stephen and Phillip did a lot more than just serve tables! They preached, evangelized, and baptized.

  • Geoff

    NB: Mgr Durocher is Archbishop of Gatineau, not Quebec.

  • Betty Clermont

    Papal lapdog Gibson will grasp at any straw – no matter how dishonest – to keep portraying this pontificate as “liberal.” Gibson knows well that the opinion of one archbishop carries no weight and that the pope and his men have made their position on women perfectly clear.

  • David Gibson

    Papal lapdog! That makes my day, Betty. Grazie! Better still, it’s close to a papal palindrome…

  • Deacon John M Bresnahan

    How come no interviews or comments on this issue from Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners or the Moslem world, or Africa, or Latin America. It seems most of the media coverage is designed to promote a western agenda.

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  • Janice Poss

    Our ‘capacity’ is to struggle until change happens, women cannot bend to a male idea of ‘women’s theology’ because that’s what we’ve had for the last 2000 years. We need ‘women’s theology’ to come from the women. Men need to start reading what we write to expand and fill in the half of the church’s pie that has been half-baked for far too long. Women can and are leaders whether that comes from men or not. Kaspar’s half-baked idea of a patronizing ‘blessing’ is not and will never be enough. Full ordination — nothing more and nothing less!! We are already 85% of the ministry population in American churches and probably elsewhere as well-take Botswana for instance! As I keep saying, time’s awastin’ guys, get on it–NOW!

  • FrankieB

    Sorry Janet, what you want is available in the Protestant denominations. As one great thinker once said….feminism is to theology what cancer is to the human body.