Card. Müller on the ordination of Deaconettes: “not necessary and not possible”

Gerhard_MullerAs you may remember, some months ago Pope Francis saw to the creation of a group to study the question of female deacons (aka deaconesses, aka deaconettes).  Last November, when the group met for the first time, I wrote: “Their slow march to the vanishing point has begun.”

Perhaps that march won’t be so slow after all.

I saw an interesting story at the German language site Kathnet.   Gerhard Ludwig Card. Müller, Prefect of the CDF, isn’t encouraging the proponents of the ordination of women.

Kardinal Müller, Präfekt der Glaubenskongregation, im Interview mit der „Rheinischen Post“: Bischofs-, Priester- und Diakonenweihe für Frauen „nicht notwendig und nicht möglich, wie es sich aus diversen Studien auch der Glaubenskongregation“ ergebe.

Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Congregation of the Faith, in an interview with the “Rheinische Post”: The ordination of women as bishops, priests and deacons is  “not necessary and not possible, as it is evident from various studies of the Congregation for the Congregation of the Faith.

The CDF is supervising the deaconette study group and the CDF’s Secretary, Archbp. Ladaria, is its chief.

I find the timing of the interview and this statement interesting, given that they will probably be meeting again before too long.

The original interview in German HERE.

Sehen Sie denn als sogenannter Glaubenswächter eine Chance, dass in der katholischen Kirche noch einmal über das Weiheamt auch für Frauen gesprochen wird?

Müller Frauen sind immer wichtig gewesen für das ganze kirchliche Leben – im Bereich der Erziehung, der Bildung und Wissenschaft, der kirchlichen Verwaltung, in der Ehe, Familie. Das Sakrament der Weihe in den Stufen des Bischofs, Priesters und Diakons ist dafür nicht notwendig und nicht möglich, wie es sich aus diversen Studien auch der Glaubenskongregation ergibt.

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  1. CradleRevert says:

    Cardinal Mueller is on a roll! Let’s hope the good Cardinal isn’t silenced.

  2. rtjl says:

    Is it me or has Card. Müller decided to get a bit confrontational. Not content to simply take things in stride and roll with the punches, has he decided instead to push the envelope a bit, “make a mess” as it were? Given so much else that has happened lately, I have to admire his courage. And I have to be grateful for it.

  3. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Maybe he is getting ahead of his immediate superior, remembering that they both serve the same boss?

  4. Traductora says:

    Cdl Mueller had a lot of good things to say in this, including the novel idea that bishops are not allowed to “interpret” AL in conflict with established doctrine, no matter what. I suspect he will not be long for his position. Maybe he figures he’s got nothing left to lose – as Janet Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

  5. stuartal79 says:

    Pope Francis has a very conservative understanding of deaconesses in the early Church. He will not be upset by these comments.

  6. Jon says:

    I imagine he’ll be speaking up even more. His 5-year term is up in July. He knows his fate is sealed.

    I’m sure the commission will be meeting beyond that.

  7. jaykay says:

    Stuartal79: “Pope Francis has a very conservative understanding of deaconesses in the early Church.”

    Or even a very correct understanding? In either case, he will not be upset.

  8. lmgilbert says:

    Here I would like to recall that moment when after having committed to studying for the diaconate in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and having taken several psychological tests, and had a session with a psychologist, and been to a year’s worth of introductory sessions, we deacon candidates met in May at the Dominican House of Studies in River Forest.

    It developed that the entire purpose of this meeting was to raise the possibility that women might be ordained deacons, and to this end the wife of a deacon and the daughter of a deacon gave extensive testimonies/ reflections on just how suitable for the deaconate women would be, and how inevitable it was. The priest archdiocesan chaplain for the Diaconate program stood smiling on together with the deacon in charge of the program. To this I then and there objected, saying among other things that if anything of the kind were to happen, it would be up to the highest authority in the Church, not to us, and I objected to being propagandized along these lines. Several of the men congratulated me surreptitiously and presumably are now deacons. This I followed up by sending further counter-arguments to all the candidates by mail, which I pretty much knew would seal my fate, but at this point I wanted out anyway.

    We had already been treated to a woman from an Archdiocesan department telling us that since prayer flows from belief, we can re-orient belief by changing the prayers, changing the symbols, changing the gestures. I was stupefied at how open and sophisticated this rebellion was. In any event I was dismissed from the program, and why? Because I came “to teach and not to learn.”

    Concerning all this I wrote a substantive, informative letter to the Archbishop George and gave it to a friend- at his suggestion- who had connections and could put it directly in the Archbishop’s hands. After several months of my waiting for a reply, the friend told me he had not delivered it, since who was he to correct an archbishop?

    One has to wonder if this could happen in the green wood, what is happening in the dry? All in all it was an amazing, eye-opening, Kafkaesque experience.

  9. Imrahil says:

    Begging your pardon,

    the last half-sentence rather translates to

    “as is evident from various studies, including ones done by the Congregation for the [Doctrine of the] Faith [itself]”.

  10. Imrahil says:

    As for (dear rtjl) Cdl Müller being confrontational,

    well, he has been so since the first day in the office of Bishop of Ratisbon. (When he was introduced with “with all due humility, the name ‘Müller’ stands for quality” by his immediate predecessor Bp. Manfred Müller, but I digress.)

    Here, we might again say:

    There is a Boom!! – Gerhard Müller scores again.

    (Gerhard “Gerd” Müller is the most prolific German soccer goal-scorer in history, and he published a self-chanted song about himself titled “There is a Boom”.)

  11. Athelstan says:

    Deaconettes (non-canonical at first) are coming, and His Eminence is going, I’m afraid.

    But I am glad he spoke up anyway.

  12. Athelstan says:


    Yours is a depressing but believable story.

    And if it was that bad under the admirable Cardinal George, one can only imagine what’s happening now in the program, under the present ordinary.

  13. Nan says:

    Athelstan, deaconettes are not coming. Nor are priestesses! Just the other day, a woman who likes to get her first in at the church told me that I’m so knowledgeable about the church that if she allowed women in positions of authority, I’d probably be chosen. This, merely because I know random facts such as what makes a cathedral or basilica. She knows where I stand but because she sees priests as holding power, she’ll never understand the difference between priests and women who want to be priests.

    Based on my purely unscientific survey, consisting of vocation stories of a few priests and encounters with women who want to be priests, the women are about power, but the priests? That was God’s idea. Most of them didn’t see it coming or resisted their call.

  14. stuartal79 says:

    Athelstan, based on what Pope Francis and Cardinal Muller have said about deaconettes, it won’t happen. Nan is right.

  15. agnus says:

    Necessary? Not Possible? Oh, sure it is….it will just be part of the Church in schism.

  16. dallenl says:

    To be absolutely accurate, it is possible to consecrate (not ordain) deaconesses in a manner similar to two millennia ago but it would be neither necessary nor wise. Not necessary because there are others who are available now who can perform the duties that were historically carried out by deaconesses and unwise because such a consecration today would simply be viewed as an opening for ordination of women to the priesthood. One need only look to the Anglican church to see the order in which this was done. If anything, Cdl Muller put the matter a bit less firmly than might be necessary to set out the Church’s position.

  17. Joanne S. says:

    lmgilbert: how unfortunate that your friend did not pass on your letter to your archbishop after promising to do so. What a betrayal! I can’t say I’m surprised at your experience in the Chicago archdiocese; I am not from that area, but my former pastor was, and whenever he would return to our parish after visiting his home Dominican province, the result of the brainwashing was always evident.
    Whether it was the influence of feminist nuns or criticism of conservative popes like JP II and Benedict, we were told to stand when we should be kneeling at the Consecration, denied a crucifix at the altar, and discouraged when parishioners repeatedly begged for regular Holy Hours. But be encouraged: the Holy Spirit always wins out in the end. That same pastor eventually gave in and allowed us Adoration in the chapel–and it wasn’t long before he, himself, along with his staff, were regulars. I hope that if God is truly calling you to the diaconate that you will not give up–even if it means going outside the Chicago archdiocese to answer God’s call.

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