Skip to comments.Vatican publishes document declaring a “female diaconate” is a possibility in the Catholic Church
Posted on 07/12/2018 2:00:18 PM PDT by ebb tide
July 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) A group of Catholic clergy and theologians, including two bishops, have signed an ecumenical declaration with Anglican clergy published on the Vatican website that affirms the possibility that the Catholic Church might create a female diaconate in the future, which would imply a contradiction of Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Churchs 2000-year tradition.
The declaration also refers to the possibility of ordaining married men to the priesthood.
The document, entitled Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the ChurchLocal, Regional, Universal, purports to explore ways that Anglican practices might influence the Catholic Church, and vice versa. It was agreed to by the Third AnglicanRoman Catholic International
Commission, an ecumenical dialogue group instituted by the Catholic and Anglican churches.
In paragraph 102 of the document, the commission recognizes that some decisions regarding ministry made by provinces of the Anglican Communion are not open to the Roman Catholic community but admits that others potentially are.
Among these it lists a female diaconate; a fuller implementation of licensed lay pastoral assistants; the priestly ordination of mature married men (viri probati); and the authorization of lay people to preach. It also adds the canonical opening of the ministry of lector to women.
Professor Janet E. Smith of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, whose name appears on the declaration as a commission member, told LifeSite that she served on the commission for seven years, but was not satisfied with the text that was ultimately produced for Walking together on the way.
Smith said that she had serious concerns about some of the recommendations and other content and about the fact the some of the most significant points in the document, such as speaking of the regional" church the promotion of a synod of laity who would take part in determining doctrine, and the ordination of female deacons, were not fully discussed during the course of the meetings. She was not invited back to be a part of the commission as it considers the question of how the universal and local church in communion discern right ethical teaching.
The notion of a female diaconate is not defined by the document. If it were to refer to the office of the deaconess, which ceased to exist in the Catholic Church a thousand years ago, it would not indicate that women may enter the clergy as deacons, but rather that they may be given a non-clerical title that would seem to be no longer applicable in the Church.
Deaconesses, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, were women who were assigned to tasks that were only seen as proper for women to carry out, such as the baptism of adult women, who entered into the baptismal font naked, or the delivery of Holy Communion to sick women alone in their homes.
The Council of Nicea, the first ecumenical council held in the Catholic Church, declared expressly that deaconesses were not members of the clergy, and did not have an ordination.
And we mean by deaconesses such as have assumed the habit, but who, since they have no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the laity, stated canon 19 of Nicea, written in 325 A.D.
However, with the use of the term female diaconate, the document may be easily interpreted to mean that a woman may receive ordination to the sacramental grade of order of the Diaconate, a claim that is contradicted by the Catechism of the Church (par. 1577), which quotes the Code of Canon Law by stating, Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination.
The Catechism explains that this is not merely a matter of Canon Law, but the will of God himself for the Church: The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice [to not ordain women] made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible. The Catechism also cites Pope John Paul IIs motu proprio Ordinatio sacerdotalis and Pope Paul VIs Inter Insigniores.
The Anglican Church, which was created by Englands King Henry VIII to facilitate his divorce of his wife Catherine of Aragon and his remarriage to Anne Boleyn in the 16th century, in the 20th century began in recent decades to appoint women as deacons, priests, and finally bishops. However, the Catholic Church does not recognize the validity of the Anglican orders in general, regarding them as non-sacramental.
In Walking together on the way, texts are placed parallel to a text about the Anglican Church in order to indicate similarities with the Anglican tradition. The placement of the text on a female diaconate in a parallel column in the document further suggests that the authors intend to claim that the sacramental grade of order of the Diaconate could be opened to women in the Catholic Church, in a way analogous to that of the Anglicans, who allow women in all of their orders.
Anglicans also have married priests and bishops. As the declaration states, the Catholic Church has the option of permitting the ordination of married clergy, although the Churchs ancient custom is to require celibacy of married clerics, a principle that continues to be enshrined in the Churchs Code of Canon Law for Latin Churches. A small minority of priests, mostly in the eastern rites of the Church, may be ordained as married men who are not required to be celibate, although they cannot remarry if their wife dies.
Among those on the commission are Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, England, and Arthur Kennedy, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, as well as a number of priests, both secular and religious.
Read the full text of Walking together on the way here.
Bad move. You will have millions of lezzies who will finish destroying the Church.
Maybe we should go back to the first alive Pope: Benedict.
Ecumenism run amok.
Priesthood celibacy is not a 2000 year tradition. Male-only priesthood is indeed a dogma of the church, but celibacy is a regulation or policy that could more easily change. Priesthood celibacy was in fact rejected at the Council of Nicea in AD 325. It did not become official policy until the Second Lateran Council in AD 1139. The present-day policy of clerical celibacy dates back to the Council of Trent in AD 1563.
Prior to the complete ban in 1139, policies appeared to be more about protecting church property than ensuring an unmarried priesthood. Canon 33 in AD 305 forbade priests from having sexual relations with their wives and begetting children, but not from entering into marriage. Priests were still getting married in the 11th century when Pope Benedict VIII issued a decree stating that the children of priests could not inherit property from their fathers.
The precedent is with Christ who called MEN to be his apostles and the first Bishops.
I’ll believe Jesus before anyone else.
The Catholic Church is drifting dangerously close to heresy about fundamental points of doctrine. Female ordination is purely Protestant. If Rome goes there, it’s game over.
I bet it does, if Francis is pope for the next two years.
Look at how much damage he has already done.
Thats a lot of change from the group that claims theyre doing everything the Apostles did.
Then Rome should be ok with married priests or single priests who want to marry. If it was good enough for Peter and the disciples.....
“Female deacons and even priests don’t bother me. There is precedence in the early church.”
Really? When Jesus ordained the first priests with “Do this in memory of me”, who were the females present? He decided the issue of a male priesthood; History Channel “specials” pretending Mary Magdalene was an early pope are fabrications.
Rome is OK with married priests in the Eastern Churches; the celibacy is in the Latin Rite (Ukrainian Catholic priests, for example, can be married). As I understand it, in the Eastern Rites higher positions aren’t open to married priests.
There is no description in Scriptures as to what happens to the abandoned wives/families of those Apostles that followed Jesus; all but John died as martyrs.
Do this on in memory of Me was not the ordination of priests. Good grief.
Really? Was it the Holy Spirit sending them forth speaking in tongues? No women there either...
“If anyone shall say that by the words Do this in commemoration of me Christ did not institute the apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests should offer his body and blood: let him be anathema”
Council of Trent
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