I’ve been looking around for information on the members of the newly appointed Commission that will study the question of deaconettes.
I found an interview with the German theologian Karl-Heinz Menke at Die Welt. HERE It doesn’t have an auspicious headline, but it winds up being fairly good.
For example (my fast translation, which I am sure could be polished.):
Denn das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil hat die Frage endgültig geklärt, ob der Diakon das Sakrament des Ordo empfängt. Das Sakrament des Ordo wird nicht nur vom Bischof und vom Priester, sondern auch vom Diakon empfangen. Wenn es also nur ein einziges Sakrament des Ordo (in drei Stufen, also Diakon, Priester, Bischof) gibt, würde die Zulassung der Frau zum sakramentalen, durch Weihe übertragenen Diakonat ihre Zulassung auch zur Priester- und Bischofsweihe bedeuten.
The Second Vatican Council conclusively clarified the question whether the deacon receives the Sacrament of Orders. The Sacrament of Orders is received not only by the bishop and the priest, but also by the deacon. If there is only one Sacrament of Orders (in three stages, that is, deacon, priest, bishop), the admission of women would be sacramental, transmitted through ordination, diaconate would mean their admission to priestly and episcopal ordination.
Which is clearly impossible.
Women cannot be admitted to the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
The diaconate is a grade of Holy Orders. Since the diaconate is a grade of Holy Orders, women cannot be deacons, not in any sacramental sense. It could be possible to cobble up some legislation to let women do some additional things that don’t require Holy Orders, but, whatever they would be called (e.g., nuns), they wouldn’t be deacons in the sense that men can be.
Whatever might be unearthed about the ancient deaconettes (that hasn’t already been unearthed), the decisions about modern deaconettes would have to depend on our modern understanding of the Sacrament of Orders.
Anyone out there who says she is interested solely in the diaconate for women, should instantly, clearly, publicly, renounce any hope for sacramental ordination.
Ceterum autem censeo unicam stolam umquam feminis induendam esse mustelinam.