Despite all the MSM and catholic media hoopla, brouhaha and hullabaloo in the wake of Pope Francis’ impromptu remarks about studying the notion of deaconesses (aka deaconesses), I don’t think much is going to happen.
Neither does a writer at The Guardian:
Pope Francis is a master at playing to the crowd. But we won’t get female deacons
Initial, breathless media reports that suggested the pope was on the verge of allowing women to be ordained as deacons: “Francis’ openness to studying the possibility of women serving as deacons could represent an historic shift for the global Catholic church, which does not ordain women as clergy.”
As much as I would like to believe it, that’s not going to happen.
Francis is the master of being all things to all people, using “off the cuff” remarks to sound progressive but changing nothing when it comes to actual church rules.
Remember Francis’ comment in 2013 about homosexual people: “who am I to judge?” Francis’ teaching on the family released last month did not remove the church’s judgement that homosexual people are disordered. [Ummm… that’s not what the Church teaches, but let’s move on.]
In this case, the pope isn’t just playing to the crowd; he’s setting them up for disappointment. [No, this is also wrong. There is no “crowd” who wants this. There are a few people here and there.] The pope says the role of ordained women deaconesses is unclear and he will ask the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to study it.
Great! I’m guessing they’ll start with their 2002 report, From the Diakonia of Christ to the Diakonia of the Apostles. Its conclusion? Deaconesses in the early church “were not purely and simply equivalent to the deacons.” [If they truly “study” the question, they can’t ignore that document.]
Then the CDF will likely move on to the book Priesthood and Diaconate, written by its head, Cardinal Gerhardt Mueller. It also determines that there is no equivalence between deaconesses and male deacons in the early church. [If they honestly study the notion, they can’t ignore that book.]
The point? There is zero chance that this study, by this congregation headed by this cardinal, is going to find some theological basis that women can be ordained permanent deacons today. [Yep.]
More likely we are going to hear the usual “feminine genius” and “complementarity of the sexes” claptrap. You know: women deacons played a particular role. They were a minor deaconate. They were not equivalent to men. They were only ordained in the early church to minister to women (eg, baptise them by full immersion when it would have been improper for men to see a woman naked). There is no need for such a ministry now. Their ordination did not equal “holy orders.” Blah, blah, blah. [In other words, she doesn’t like “reality”.]
I hope I’m wrong. Forty years of being a Catholic feminist tells me I’m not going to be. [Nope. You are not wrong.]
I’m not alone. [Indeed not! There are tens of supporters for this!] The Women’s Ordination Conference, [which could also be Conference for the Ordination of Women…] while welcoming the study, notes that in the same meeting with the women, Pope Francis repeated the church’s argument that women cannot act “in the person of Christ” and therefore cannot preach or preside over the Eucharist. The conference commented:
WOC rejects this flawed interpretation that a male body is a necessary condition representing the Body of Christ. Upholding this discrimination, as though it were the will of God, is simply indefensible. [God discriminates all the time, by the way.]
So, another unhappy feminist turns on Francis.