Bad news on the “deaconette” front!

fishwrapThis day it seems that the news goes from bad to worse.  You can see what results from the ambiguities of Amoris laetitia.

You have heard, I’m sure, about the quixotic attempts to pry open Holy Orders for women (an impossibility… or is it?) through their admission to ordination to the diaconate.

Unfortunately, I picked this up from that purveyor of bad news, the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap), which soon will be scheduling conga line dances in dissident parishes near and far.

Keep in mind, friends, before you slit your wrists, that this is based on rumor.  I want to see the Pope’s decree in black on white.  Meanwhile, because I am trying… trying… to be fair and obedient… I am going to work with this.  My emphases and comments.

Francis decrees: Women to be ordained deacons in the “internal forum”

VATICAN CITY — It has been reported that the special Commission established by Pope Francis to study the question of the ordination of female deacons met last month. A well-placed source disclosed that the Commission, which meets under the aegis of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, made sufficient progress in March to be able to submit a recommendation to the Holy Father. [It boggles the imagination that they could get any work done this quickly, but… hey!  Stranger things have happened.  Maybe someone came up with a key insight or piece of information.]

According to a report in the Münchener Beobachter, a member of the special papal study group, Petra Henkys-Asmussen, professor of historicity and theology at the University of Immenstedt, revealed [Of course the Commission’s members aren’t supposed to be talking to the press… but I digress…] that the Commission had recommended that women could indeed be ordained deaconesses. [Please, O Lord, return NOW!]

This positive response from the Commission was then studied by the theological experts of the Congregation who, in turn, made their recommendation to the Holy Father for his final judgment.

Pope Francis, it is reported, accepted the Commission’s recommendation, apparently in contradiction to the Congregation’s determination. [I can believe that.  Card. Müller must be going crazy.]

However, the Holy Father determined that, while the ordination of women to the diaconate could, in fact, go forward, it would at first be conferred in the “internal forum”.  [Behold, the fruits of Amoris laetitia!  But… why not?  If penitents who are not really penitents can, according to their own consciences, be admitted to the sacraments of Penance and to the Eucharist, then why not ordination?  More and more people claim that conscience is supreme.]

The Pope sidesteps the question of the ordination of a woman by suggesting that, [NB] if the woman herself, in prayer with Jesus, concluded that she could be ordained, then she can be ordained. This is because conscience is supreme, [SEE?!?] and the Magisterium has not infallibly closed the issue of ordination of women to the diaconate. Bishops, however, [This is where it gets worse… oh yes, they can always hurt us more…] would not be free in the matter.

It is probable, Henkys-Asmussen related, that if women are convinced that they are called to the diaconate, then bishops and priests must abide by their decision or be suspended a divinis, that is, from exercising their ministry.  [Okay, that’s it.  I’m not waiting anymore.  I now declare  that, in my conscience, I am officially an ‘internal forum’ Monsignor.  I’m getting my new gear the next time I am at Gammarelli.]

It is expected that a decree to this effect will be forthcoming once the Congregations for Clergy, Divine Worship and the Doctrine of the Faith have completed the necessary liturgical texts. [Imagine that nightmare.]

Prof. Henkys-Asmussen affirmed that, while this was certainly going to go forward, she expected that the inter-dicasterial preparations between the Congregations might proceed very slowly. [We can only hope.]

“There are many people, mainly men,” she said, “clerics of the Roman Curia of course, who are set firmly against this determination of the Pope to bring the church forward into the light of equality of all genders.” She continued, “It is good news, but they will try to block it.”

When asked about the very unique method of “internal forum” ordination, Henkys-Asmussen declared, “But naturally, this is a compromise path to avoid what some will see as a shock and even ‘scandal’, as they would put it.  But it is a logical bridge from the Pope’s revolutionary post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Fr Tullio Tomassini, SJ, an instructor of biblical exegesis at the Pontifical Gregorian University and an expert of the Pontifical Theological Commission, which did work on the topic of deacons in 2002, reacted to the news.

“The phrase in the New Testament, ‘Many are called, but few are chosen’, must be reinterpreted in light of history and through the signs of the times.  We, having greater insight now, sense the Christ’s meaning to really have been – if you’ll excuse levity in such a serious matter – ‘many are called, few are chosen, but some push their way in!'”  [Card. Kasper would be proud.]

Tomassini, continued, “When we inter-text that Matthean passage with ‘Go out into the highways and byways and force them to come in’ of Luke 14 we must conclude that the Holy Father discerned the right choice.”

When pressed on the possibility of opening up the ordination of  women to the priesthood as the next step, Tomassini was dismissive.

“In truth”, he said, “the next logical step must be the ordination of the trans-gendered. Now that the Church has made this definitive determination about deaconesses, [HA!] we look more closely at the figure of Phoebe in Romans 16:1. Given the needs of our age, we must ask if the Phoebe of the Bible was really a woman? Or was Phoebe, in fact, a man? What was Phoebe? This is not clear. This biblical ambiguity reminds us that gender itself is not a fixed reality.”  [What did you expect.  He’s a Jesuit biblical scholar, right?]

A well-placed Vatican source, who requested anonymity, reacted to the news saying, “This is obviously what these days in the media is being called ‘fake news'”. He continued, “[A decision] can’t possibly have happened this quickly. But, on the other hand, these days, who can say? What’s the phrase? ‘Who am I to judge’?[The phrase that keeps on giving.]

Cardinal Ludwig Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Doctrine Congregation, and Greg Burke, the papal spokesman, were unavailable for comment.

The moderation queue is definitely ON.

Due to the highly flammable and dire nature of this story, at first I will let lots of comments stack up in the queue.  In that way I can trim the extreme stuff and keep people from hacking each other to bits.

I’m sure more details about this dreadful turn of events will hit the interwebs soon in force.  In the meantime, pray, keep your head in Lent and…



For the sake of clarity, one of you readers asked via email:

Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

Could you explain in your post what NB means?

Yes, this is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “Nota bene“, often also written “N.B.”, which means, “note, heed well”, or else, “pay close attention to what follows”.  It’s pretty standard now in writing in English.  However, this is not one of those medieval abbreviations that everyone who studies paleography has to learn.  It’s more like i.e. for id est, “that is to say”, or e.g. for exempli gratia, “for the sake of an example”), PS or P.S. for “post scriptum”, “after having written… added after having written what is above”, …. etc.

That leads me to digress on et cetera… but it’s a welcome digression, a good distraction from the nasty news above.  Et cetera is, was, sometimes rendered &c.  That & is called an “ampersand”.  It is, in fact, one of those medieval abbreviations, or ligatures (more than one letter or symbol bound together from Latin ligare). As a matter of fact, the symbol goes all the way back to ancient Rome.  The & is a combination, or ligature, of the letters of Latin et, e-t.  It was once, in English anyway, memorized with the entire alphabet, following z.  When the alphabet was recited, upon reaching the “and” symbol, you would say instead, “and, per se, and”.   Per se … i.e…. “by itself”.  And with that, I’ll leave the cetera for another time.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Deaconettes, Liberals, Lighter fare and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    You had me going there for a minute. I suppose that shows what a topsy-turvy world we live in.

  2. Maximillian says:

    And this is published on 1st April!

  3. Yes, you caught me with this one Father. I was half way down the article, choking on my toast and swearing to be excommunicated rather than minister along side a ‘deaconette,’ when I remembered the date. A good one!

    But if conscience were supreme why stop at monsignor, Fr. Z., why not go all the way to the top?

    [The punishment was suspension a divinis, not excommunication. So, you would still be able to GO TO CONFESSION!]

  4. oldconvert says:

    The sad, the really sad thing about this is, that given the date one might smile gently “nice try, Father Z!”, but as with EOTT, intended satires nowadays become real news in the blink of a Pontiff’s eye.

  5. VexillaRegis says:

    April’s fool! Very funny post with lots of hints…

  6. matthew2368 says:

    Is this an April fools’ day prank?? Or I am just capitulating to wishful thinking?

    Thanks for your blog Fr Z. Please be assured of the prayers of all of your UK readers!

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  7. george says:

    Happy April Fools Day to you too, Father! You almost got me with that one!

  8. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    April Fools!

  9. GrumpyYoungMan says:

    Well played, Father. I still have the pit in my stomach from before I realized what the calendar says today…

  10. G-Veg says:

    Father Z, I wonder if you might provide a clear defense of the male priesthood and then, separately, the diaconate. I ask because this question came up on Thursday, brought up by my fifteen year old daughter. We explored in person a Christi and went to the Catechism. I did not, however, link that back to the Diaconate and fear that my defense was less than it need be. I know this is right. I should like to be able to explain it to my children.

  11. Pastor in Valle says:

    … my calendar tells me that today is 1st April. You wouldn’t be pulling our leg now, Father, would you?

    [Not on your life! That would be classified as inappropriate touch.]

  12. Fr Richard Duncan CO says:

    Reverend Father
    I hope this is what the French call a “poisson d’Avril”, or what we call an April Fool.
    Please? You cannot be serious:)

    [HEY! This was in the Fishwrap!]

  13. Fr. John says:

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

    I hope and pray.

  14. Neal says:

    April Fools.

  15. prayhopedontworry says:

    This must be an April fools joke!!

  16. Iustinius Defensor says:

    Best. April. Fools. Prank. Ever.

  17. Traductora says:

    Sounds like an April Fool’s piece to me. Although everything is so bizarre now that it’s impossible to say.

  18. Northern Ox says:

    Nice one! You had me going up to around the halfway point.

  19. michael says:

    I love April 1st. Bad news like this goes away in an instant!

  20. VexillaRegis says:

    Can’t resist making another post ;-). Münchener Beobachter was a Nazi newspaper, Immenstedt doesn’t have a university, ordination taking place in the internal forum??! – hilarious -, no link to The Fishwrap, the Phoebe thing is just dozy, and the congregational names seem to be a little bit off ;-)

  21. The Astronomer says:

    Happy April Fool’s day!

  22. Back pew sitter says:

    If this were reported a few years ago nobody would have believed it, but ‘today’ it could just be true!

  23. kentghare says:

    I’m going out on a limb here (and just flailing atound for some way to process it), but I’m calling this a very subtle example of news-parody á là Eye of the Tiber. I pray that is the case.

    If it is not, Fr. Z, don’t aim so low! “Internal-forum” your way right to the top, the Papacy itself, and start setting things back aright!

  24. teechrlady says:

    Dang it, you got me. Happy April.

  25. AMS says:

    Okay, that was just mean! I was on the phone with a friend as I started to read this … so glad I didn’t flip out on him. :-)

  26. Wendy says:

    Are we sure this isn’t fake news? [Ummmm….] I’ve been researching the names in the article and, as far as I can find, there is no University of Immenstedt or even Immenstadt, and the Munchener Beobachter, an official Nazi media organ, ceased publication (understandably) in 1945. Cardinal Muller’s names are backwards and he doesn’t work for the “Doctrine Congregation” (okay, not conclusive, maybe just badly edited). There is no mention anywhere but this article of the two professors, Petra Henkys-Asmussen and Tullio Tomassini (again, not conclusive, but you’d think there would be something out there written by them or about them). The “Pontifical Theological Commission” seems to be an amalgam of International Theological Commission and Pontifical Bible Commission (members of both are on the commission to study women deacons).

    I can envision a conservative Catholic prankster writing this up and somehow getting the NcR to print it, all the while laughing. Or maybe the writer meant to send it to Eye of the Tiber (and got the wrong address). The whole ‘internal forum’ thing lends itself well to satire.

    [Do we have a winner?]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  27. PA mom says:

    The Pope saying yes to women deacons? Transgender women in the bible? Fake news? This can’t be serious.

    Perhaps your server accidentally dropped you on the Onion website?

  28. Stevetop815 says:

    I read to the transgender part when I realized, ah! April fool’s! If not, and this is serious…. No it *has* to be a joke. It needs to be.

  29. Prayerful says:

    I am only hopeful it is fake news, but German bishops have long provided certification for abortion, which gives the comments of that German academic plausibility. It is a German Church rich in earthly wealth thanks to the so called Church Tax, but impoverished spiritually. The narcotic of this German money keeps the corpse of radical Conciliarism on life support. A new Pope will have to do what St JP2 tried but failed to do, which is to end this German war on Catholicism.

  30. Reginald Pole says:

    This is Eye of the Tiber, right? Right?

    [For heaven’s sake, no. Smell the Mystic Monk! You aren’t dreaming. This really is Fr. Z’s Blog.]

  31. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Alarming news, indeed! Sancte Ludicer, ora pro nobis! On the other hand – since you have often asked for good news as a counterweight to these nearly unbearable burthens – I matched five numbers in the megamillions lottery today and will be donating half of the winnings to “formerly WDTPRS.” I know you will put it to good use, especially since, as is evident, you have more free time than in previous days to continue your outstanding ministry of blogging.

    [My snail-mail address is on the side-bar. I’ll wait by the PO Box. That won’t be at all creepy… I hope. I wonder if they’ll let me set up one of my old hotplates and bring a sleeping bag.]

  32. oledocfarmer says:

    The commission appointed by Paul VI to study the matter of artificial contraception strongly endorsed their use. Paul VI — after a rumored impassioned intervention by St. Josemaria Escriva — rejected the recommendation entirely and produced Humanae Vitae.

  33. Paul H says:

    Father, this was a great post, but you’re really going to scare some people who don’t realize that today is April 1!

    (Or can I call you Monsignor now? Can people call you Monsignor if you’re an “internal forum” Monsignor?)

    [Yes, I insist that you call me Monsignor now. After all, it’s my decision according to my conscience and that binds everyone!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  34. DavidR says:

    April Fool?

  35. Charles says:

    Groan! You nearly gave me a heart attack! I was almost an April fool!

  36. KSCoy says:

    Oh Father Z, I’m praying this post is related to this being April 1. I don’t want to be a protestant…..I converted for a reason.

  37. jtransue1112 says:

    I’m praying this is just an April Fools joke…

  38. Simon_GNR says:

    Nice one Father Z! You nearly had me there! Well, in fact you did for about the first 6 paragraphs until I realised what the date is. Good effort.

  39. aegsemje says:

    You had me going until I got to the transgendered part. Then I thought……April Fool’s?

  40. Ralph says:

    Surely this can not be true! Please tell me this is an April Fools joke??

  41. Volanges says:

    April Fool’s joke?

  42. dwengerpriest says:

    Nice April Fool’s.

  43. Peter in Canberra says:

    I think Fr Z needs to go to confession for giving the faithful heart attacks. Even though it is 1 April.

    [My supreme conscience is clear.]

  44. HeatherPA says:

    “And will not God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard? I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?”

    How much longer, O Lord? How much longer?

    [A reeeeeeally long time, I’m afraid.]

  45. jazzclass says:

    Surely, something like this would damage relations with a certain personal prelature you’re trying to create with a certain group of traditionalist priests. His Holiness can’t please everyone.

    [How true! Well, at least that true for you, in your reality. It doesn’t have to be true for others. Don’t impose your truth!]

  46. Del Sydebothom says:

    This comes off as fake. Obviously, I could be wrong, but it reads like something someone made up.

  47. Akita says:

    April Fools!

  48. jsing says:

    I an a man today and I have done an “internal forum” on myself and believe I should be a priest. Do I just let my bishop know so he can ordain me?

    [It sounds to me as if you need more discernment.]

  49. scotus says:

    The Münchener Beobachter was a völkisch newspaper edited by Rudolf von Sebottendorf. In the course of 1920 it became the official Nazi organ, becoming the Voelkischer Beobachter. (People’s Observer), and remained the leading Nazi party newspaper until 1945.
    It was edited by Karl Harrer.[citation needed]
    On 24 May 1919 Philipp Stauff, a Berlin journalist, good friend of Guido von List and Armanist, wrote an obituary to him which appeared in the Münchener Beobachter called ‘Guido von List gestorben’, on p. 4.
    April Fool to you, too.

  50. Thomas S says:

    I hate April Fools jokes.

    [And yet they always speak well of you.]

  51. Tominellay says:


  52. And a Happy April Fools to you too. But does this hermeneutic allow for me to be the pope if I really, really, really feel I am? At least in the internal forum? So whose name do I use in the dyptics?

    [Dyptics or dip-ticks? Either way, the list could be long, now that this option is open. We now run the risk of plenty of “internal forum” anti-Popes. O tempura! O-mochi!]

  53. jazzclass says:

    You got me! I didn’t even crosscheck.

  54. Imrahil says:

    Speaking of that, I need to get my watch in order, which still shows a date in late March.

    Good and elaborate one. (“Münchner Beobachter” was, I believe, the name of the infamous Völkische Beobachter until the Nazis bought the paper. Völkischer Beobachter translates to National(ist) Reporter.)

    [Scratch a Fishwrapper and find… you know.]

  55. Kathleen10 says:

    I pity the clerics who now have to operate in this frightening system. Unfortunately, there will be no place to hide, no possible way to throw the moles off the track by the occasional, positive references to the man or his exhortations, because he intends to find every single one and punish and dismiss them. He will have his way, this humble man.
    As someone here recently said “Thank you maam, may I have another?”. You’ll be punished and by God, you’ll like it. You’ll smile and say “What a lovely idea! I always did think John Paul II was wrong when he declared this a closed topic”. Only then will you save your career.
    It is now impossible to sit here and write calmly. I am no musician on the Titanic.
    If not NOW for the formal correction, then never. If this turns out to truly be in the works, and it does not get addressed within a very short period of time…very short…

  56. thomas tucker says:

    You had me going until I remembered what day it is.

  57. bombermac says:

    It seems to me that at least half the news coming out of the Vatican today is downright foolish. Still, whatever’s happening around us, there’s nothing foolish about your exhortation for us to go to confession!

    [Only true fools neglect confession.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  58. Tamquam says:

    You are too modest by far, dear Father, becoming an ‘internal forum’ Monsignor is small potatoes. Come up higher, friend! Be the ‘internal forum’ Cardinal Archdeacon of Holy Novosti, Cathedral church of the ‘internal forum’ diocese of Novedades de las Pampas. If you are going to hacer lio, haz gran lio!

    [I really shouldn’t talk about this, but some people, I won’t say who, have heard that I am already an “internal forum” Cardinal in pectore!]

  59. ShenValleyLewis says:

    You really had me in a panic there Father, until I realized what it day it was!

  60. anniemw says:

    You definitely had me going, Father.

    First, the hilarity, then the horror, then back to hilarity when I realized it’s April 1st.

    It all sounded SO REAL, until things got really wacky toward the end, and then the fact that you did not include a link.

    The GO TO CONFESSION part is real, though!!

  61. HFL says:

    Happy April Fools Day Father Z!

  62. Wendy says:

    And in other news, Fr. Longenecker reports that the Holy Father wants to join the Anglicans.
    It’s that silly day, isn’t it? But only until noon.

  63. Juan Carfuneral says:

    If this is an April Fools joke…it isn’t funny.

  64. entirelyuseless says:

    I hate April 1st. For the people who realize that’s what day it is, or people who just see how ridiculous the things are anyway, reading these things does no good; and one just feels sympathetic embarrassment for the sake of all the people who believe them.

  65. Mike says:

    Happy April, Father.

  66. Gaetano says:

    “Now that the Church has made this definitive determination about deaconesses, [HA!] we look more closely at the figure of Phoebe in Romans 16:1.”

    Did Tomassini just assume Phoebe’s gender? For shame!

    [You have a point. It may be that Tomassini, an older fellow, isn’t yet secure in his own gender ambiguity. Also, I am usually tempted to take statements at face value and let them simply mean what they say. That said, however, he is a Jesuit. Perhaps he, like some of his prominent “brothers/sisters/questioning”, is only inclined to look closely at the figure of Phoebe if Phoebe were determined to be … well….]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  67. FrPJ says:

    Hah! Happy April Fool’s Day!!!!

  68. Once again….O God, please clean up this mess!

  69. frsbr says:

    April fools!

  70. Merryartsgolfer says:

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

  71. Fr. Kelly says:

    Poisson? or Poison?
    My confidence in the protection of the Holy Spirit tells me the former.
    I wish I could have enough confidence in His Holiness to say the same of him.

  72. BarefootPilgrim says:

    We have it on Good Authority – ‘…an enemy has done this’ (Matthew 13:28)

  73. Deo volente says:

    Since the veracity of this story could be suspect, and as other stories appearing today are bizarre, is it possible this is simoly an April Fool’s Day stunt to stir the true Catholics into the vapors? Simply asking…

  74. donato2 says:

    You had me going, enough to ruin my breakfast. Not funny.

  75. glennbcnu says:

    Thank you for a great April Fool’s day article….it is fitting that it is a “fishwrap” edition, as today I will be putting paper fishes on the backs of all my French speaking friends…..

    [Ahhhh…. you got it.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  76. dcheney says:

    April Fool? … please!

  77. wanda says:

    OK, Fr. Z. Pretty please that this is an April Fool’s Day joke. Pleeeease.

  78. glennbcnu says:

    Once I got to “internal forum” I “saw what you did there”….. ;)

  79. oledocfarmer says:

    April Fools??

  80. AnthonyJ says:

    Happy April Fools Day, Father!!

  81. Ad Orientem says:

    PLEEEAAASE tell me this is an April Fool’s joke.

  82. Jann says:

    “in the internal forum”. LOL Very clever, really funny.

    “Please, O Lord, return NOW!”

  83. kashort says:

    April Fools?

  84. Absit invidia says:

    . . . this is April Fools Day, no? Or did AL water that down as well?

  85. RobJ says:

    Is this an April Fools joke?

  86. Gregg the Obscure says:

    A few years ago I wrote up a set of instructions for a task at my then job. I used “NB” a couple of times. The recipient of the instructions said she thought the “No Brainers” were really helpful.

    Happy April First to all and sundry.

  87. Still laughing! I hadn’t turned my Traditional Calendar to April before I read this. Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner ! Best April Fool’s Day joke yet. Certainly the yuks are great medicine , thank you Monsignor… ( I bet that gear is going to be EPIC!)

  88. Mike of Arkansas says:

    I almost forgot what day it is!

  89. majuscule says:

    Oh Father! I feel like the dead Fishwrapper fish illustrating the story. I can’t believe I got so many paragraphs in before the light of day dawned.

    Hook line and sinker…

  90. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf,

    Surely it’s April 1st, and you’re pulling a fast one on us. Sacraments can’t be conferred in the Internal Forum.

  91. amenamen says:

    If you have never seen the Call of a Deaconette in the Internal Forum, here is rare footage of a modern Phoebe herself responding to a Call. In very early April, I believe:

    Nota Bene: Notice the very brief imposition of hands (id est, only one hand, the left hand, per se, at least the thumb and forefinger, leaving out the pinky, etcetera).
    & Nota Bene again: The One issuing the call imposes his hand, not on the head, but on the feet, but saying no words, because words would render the Internal Forum too “external”.
    Post Scriptum: The Internal Forum need not be “internal”, per se, but may take place in an external forum (e.g., in a truck or a car port).

    [Ah… how I miss the Sabine Farm and the Feeder Feed.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  92. jnppo says:

    I hope this is an April Fool’s joke.

  93. polycarped says:

    Very good…

    A happy April to you too.

  94. therecusant says:

    Father, I’m a little surprised you didn’t comment on this bit, “There are many people, mainly men, clerics of the Roman Curia of course, who are set firmly against this determination of the Pope to bring the church forward into the light of equality of all genders.”

    Note “all genders.” Not BOTH genders, but ALL genders. Ugh.

  95. pelerin says:

    I trust this is an April Fool – or is it?

  96. Hans says:

    C’est une bonne blague!

    […du bon blog?]

  97. Ages says:

    Happy April 1 to you, too, Father. ;-)

  98. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Fake April Fools day “news”?


  99. StephenM says:

    Happy 1º of April.

  100. jameeka says:

    But Father, but Father…. how will we KNOW you are an IF(fy) Monsignor?

  101. Tiber Swimmer 2012 says:

    I have discerned, by my supreme conscience in the “internal forum”, that I am the Holy and Supreme Pontiff. I shall lead the faithful as Pope Constantine II. Try not to swoon when I walk by……

  102. roma247 says:

    Please tell me this is just a really, really bad April Fool’s Day prank.

    This one is dangerous. Likely to drive a lot of good Catholics to total despair.

  103. Michael says:

    HA! I see what you did there Father…..

    Happy April Fools!!

  104. John Grammaticus says:

    and I was having such a good day…..

  105. dowirz says:

    Any chance this has something to do with April Fools’ Day?

  106. Charivari Rob says:

    April 1st.

    Among the clues…
    – you cite the Reporter, but don’t link. Usually you’re pretty meticulous about linking sources.
    – “Internal Forum”? As in – Confession internal forum, where those in it are not permitted to discuss/confirm/deny it, ergo it would be an ordination they could do nothing with?

    I’ve got enough snow & slush outside my window for April, thanks.

  107. Panterina says:

    Surely an April Fool’s joke?! I hope… please let it be so!

  108. rdb says:

    Bad news indeed but the logic helped me a few years back. I audited Tullio Tomassini’s course at the Greg. At the end of my oral exam he gave me a grade of 4. I then told him that my conscience felt like I deserved a 10. He not only changed my grade to a 10 but also went on to reafirm me with a butterfly sticker. His classroom was indeed a safe space.

  109. TheDude05 says:

    April Fool’s!

  110. jst5000 says:

    Interesting that this comes out on the first day of April……or is it? Don’t torture us, Fr. Z :)

  111. Mariana2 says:

    Münchener Beobachter, Father? Nice try.

  112. lmgilbert says:

    Ummm, I emailed Prof Haggn-Daz about this in the external forum ( and he suggests, though not definitively, that one probably needs to read this through the hermeneutic of April first.

  113. Serviam says:

    Please, oh please, tell me this is an April Fool’s joke. It is, right?


    It must be, because otherwise I…. can’t…..
    Well, I just….. can’t…. find the words…..

    April Fool’s!

    It is also a First Saturday.
    Prayers up people.
    Sacrifice, fasting, and PRAYERS.

  114. Maynardus says:

    Oh, good and dear father, you must come up with some sort of keyword to be deployed early-on in a post such as this one to clue-in those of us with disorders of the cardiac or nervous systems that what follows is published with tongue firmly planted in cheek… else we are seized with a fatal apoplectic fit, or some such horrible and improvised end!

    I was about halfway through this and my long-suffering wife saw that all-too-familiar look of anguish on my reddening face. “What”, she asked in the same solicitous tone she uses when one of the younger children stands before her with trembling jaw and misty eyes, “is raising your blood pressure so quickly my dear husband?”

    I hadn’t but begun to re-read it aloud when I realized the date… now my face was REALLY red!

    Well done, Pater!

  115. Bender says:

    Thankfully, this is April 1.

  116. Montenegro says:

    You got me! I read the whole thing, started freaking out, realized the date and then called you some uncharitable names in my head! ? All in good fun! April Fool’s!! Thanks for the laugh Fr. Z. :-)

  117. Benedict Joseph says:

    How much clearer does the current situation need to manifest itself before the correct and rightful judgement be rendered and the corrective, admittedly unprecedented, be achieved?
    The earlier contribution on the fourth commandment includes this statement:
    This commandment includes and presupposes the duties of parents, instructors, teachers, leaders, magistrates, those who govern, all who exercise authority over others or over a community of persons.”
    One must ask if the one exercising the authority of the office is doing so reasonably and legitimately. Is railroading an agenda fueled on ideology worthy of adherence? We are dealing with an ecclesiastical issue with its roots in Roman Catholic theology – Holy Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the perennial Magisterium. The proposed action unearths a host of additional questions that require the deepest analysis. The very least of which are what exactly is the agenda of the current pontificate? From whence its motivation? Its ultimate goal? Were they to be clearly addressed much would be resolved. Subterfuge is unacceptable.
    Submission to authority exercising ecclesiastical office with idiosyncratic motivation is enabling the erroneous and an offense against justice and charity – and not the least to the very person executing that office.


  118. arga says:

    Very inventive April Fools’ joke, Father. You had me there for a minute. Or two.

  119. fishonthehill says:

    What’s going on? No comments? Where’s the outrage? Good one Fr. Z

  120. rodin says:

    Last week I finished a nine-day novena of rosaries for Pope Francis and the Church and I hope to do that again soon. Maybe if enough of us do that we could achieve a Lepanto effect. In any case, a lot of prayer is needed.

  121. Yosef says:

    Surely this must be some sort of cruel April Fool’s stunt they are pulling….. surely?

  122. yatzer says:

    I’m really hoping this is for April Fool’s day. Please God.

  123. ghp95134 says:

    Felix Aprilis Stultorum Dies?

  124. dholwell says:

    Fr Z,

    Any chance this is just a bad April fool’s joke?

    Vivat Jesus!

  125. Geoffrey says:

    Okay. I fell for it. I had a knot in my stomach and began searching for a suitable blade before I decided to locate the ORIGINAL article online. Then I remembered what day it is. Now I am singing a Te Deum, Lent or not!

  126. Patrick says:

    If this is an April Fool’s, totally got me until the Cardinal Kasper mention.

  127. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Ha, ha, ha! April Fool!

  128. Inigo says:

    And a merry april fools day to you dear Monsignor!

  129. uncletomcobley says:

    “Neither doth any man take the honour to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was”.- Hebrews 5:4
    No MAN may take the honour, so I suppose a woman can.
    Seeing as the news comes on the 1st anniversary of the Pope’s reported decision to allow concelebration in the EF (which was never implemented), I should not worry too much.

    [My spies tell me that they are still working on that one.]

  130. Mike says:

    This is surely an April Fool’s joke, eh?

  131. iPadre says:

    I’m so excited! I would like four or five of them and I can sit in the pews.

    April fools! You had me for a short time.

    [Imagine how fast traditional vestments will come back, the birettas, the lace….]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  132. joekstl says:

    Happy April 1 everybody! LOL

  133. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    This came from Eye of the Tiber, right? Or Eccles Is Saved or Ignatius His Conclave? Please tell me that Fishwrap has taken to satire. My head hurts.

  134. That Guy says:

    April Fools, right? Ha!

  135. MWindsor says:

    April Fools?!

  136. KatieL56 says:

    One of your best April Fool posts yet, Father Z!

  137. Nightcrawler says:

    Please tell me this is an April Fools Day item. Not sure why else you would have tagged it as “Lighter Fare”

  138. JimGB says:

    I almost believed it until the transgender reference. Not even Framcis would be that “out there.” +Kasper, maybe.
    I was almost expecting a report that Cardinal Cupich had issued a statement that the Chicago Archdiocese would accompany prospective deconettes as they try to discern the voices in their heads.

  139. MarkJ says:

    Nice April Fools Day joke… right?

  140. Eugene says:

    I am speechless …how long O Lord

  141. Barnacle says:

    April fool! I nearly fell for it…

  142. John1Disciple says:

    Father Z I was under the impression that deaconesses didn’t have the same rights as deacon so are we to assume that deaconesses will have the same powers as male deacons?

  143. Leppert says:

    I’m sure the more learned will be able to articulate my thoughts more coherently but this really can’t come as a surprise to anyone.

    Francis is certainly the most obviously ‘worldly’ pontiff in recent times and the world seems to have gone mad with the cult of ‘self determination’ in recent years.

    Forget nature and the natural order of things, how we feel is now king! If you want to be a woman today and a man tomorrow, that’s fine. If you identify as a small rodent or a toaster? Well, who are we to judge?

  144. John1Disciple says:

    I happen to think that all sisters might be helpful serving the church but not to preach certainly not to marry etcetera just sayin.

  145. mattg says:

    If this was someone’s attempt at a “funny April Fools joke”–they failed on all counts, save the date.

  146. Del Sydebothom says:

    It just occurred to me that it is April 1st.

  147. msc says:

    And a happy Aptil fool’s day to you, Fr.!

  148. Greg Smisek says:

    What is this “internal forum” of which you speak? It sounds like some sort of repressive, closeted construct from the Dark Ages. We’ve moved beyond that. We now flaunt from the rooftops our diverse ways of being human (with Twitter and the Jerry Springer Show and celebratory dance), especially those things the male hierarchical oppressors once caused to be spoken of in hushed tones and with societally imposed shame. I will not rest until deaconesses receive the public response they deserve.

  149. jaykay says:

    Given that this is 1st April… dies stultorum omnium. Sed spero.

  150. cajunpower says:

    April fools! (?)

  151. Nicholas says:

    I know, through Faith, that the Church cannot fall. Therefore, I know that She will not contradict Herself in any of Her teachings.

    Men, however, can fall. And I fear for the souls of good Catholics who may be scandalized by this. I have known a few Catholics who have apostazised into Orthodoxy because of the actions and perceived actions of the pope.

    May God have mercy on all us sinners.

  152. Baritone says:

    I am hoping against hope that this is an April Fools story at some level. That said, it is my understanding that a woman is invalid matter for the sacrament of Holy Orders and that the Church cannot change the matter of the sacraments. Thus a female deacon is a theological impossibility no less than a female priest or bishop.

  153. Happy April 1st to you, as well, Father Z! To be honest, I was not worked up by the post because–thanks to a book by Dietrich von Hildebrand–I understand that I have a duty not only to worship as a Catholic under Peter, but also to remain faithful to his successor to the extent that he can be understood through the lens of the Magisterium.

  154. alansides says:

    Oh NO!

    Now it’s 4/2/17

    What’s it mean?

    I was thinking Deaconess was as Acolyte was to the aspirant. They could train the altar girls.

  155. Felipe says:

    Wow…. I was bummed out all day until I came back to read the comments LOL What a relief!!! I’m sure my prayers for The Church were not in vain.

  156. Bruce says:

    My wife is right, sometimes I’m an idiot.
    I had such a long stressful day at work yesterday that I did not check out Father’s blog.
    Got up early today.
    No work today, I can relax, it’s going to be a good day.
    Made my coffee and I thought, I should check out Fr. Z’s blog and see whats going on in the Church and the world. I am almost finished reading this post, my teeth are grinding, my blo0d pressure is spiking, then I finally realized the date.
    You got me.
    I am such a moron.

  157. G-Veg says:

    Oh my, I am quite red in the face! I entirely missed that this was an April Fool’s Day post, Father!

    (That this MIGHT be true, tells us something about the present state of things, I think.)

    Good show, Sir.

    Oh, and the question stands, if you have the time.

  158. Del Sydebothom says:

    I tell you, April Fool’s is no fun when one has Asperger’s. No sir, no fun at all.

  159. Benedict Joseph says:

    Ho, ho, ho…
    I fell for it, yes [the only one I did fall for yesterday]. This speaks to Fr. Z’s genius and my naiveté [to be kind] and/or paranoia and/or vigilance. Honestly, given a recent historical event I thought this annual contrivance came in the middle of March… Who knew?
    Nevertheless, I will keep my comment in the file for when it is required, for that day is sure to arrive regarding this imagined abomination, or one yet even more grievous.
    Well done Father Z!

  160. introibo2016 says:

    Happy (Belated) April Fools’ Day!

    I myself did not check the blog yesterday either. You completely got me. I do not know if it because I have not had my coffee yet, but I was sold until I opened the combox.

    After being in seminary for eight years, and experiencing the ways that the “External Forum” and “Internal Forum” (spiritual direction, not confession, in this context) were blurred firsthand, whenever I see those dreaded words my heart sinks and I cry out to God for justice. Perhaps that weakened me so much that I ‘let myself be duped’ as it were.

    Thanks for the good humor, Fr. Z. May Pope St. John Paul II pray for us on this, the anniversary of his death.

  161. Bruce says:

    By the way, my wife just told me that if I fell for the Phoebe biblical reference then I am not reading the Bible enough.

  162. Mariana2 says:

    “O tempura, O mochi”

    ROLF, Father.

    [ 恐れ入ります ! ]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  163. Phil B says:

    This was downright cruel! The great thing about the post is that it can do double duty as the first draft for a more serious post, say in a couple of years.

  164. Dcn PB says:

    Do you have a “schmuck of the day” star? If you do, it would go to me because I totally fell for it even though it all sounded rather fishy.

    Good one.

    You’re killing me Smalls.

  165. Sonshine135 says:

    Oh dear! What to do when one reads this on April 2…..Logically, look at when the post was made. You got me very good their Father. Now I have to clean up my screen from the spittle-flecked nutty!

  166. ts says:

    Hook, Line and Sinker did I partake of the tasty morsel dangled before me. Into the boat was I reeled, promptly gutted, fileted, placed on ice. The apt fisherman turning over in his mind “how shall I prepare this meal? Broiled, Grilled, fried? Over Rice?” The cast iron skillet was brought out and I simply laid in, thoroughly cooked, through and through. Down the hatch I went, to the stomach through the gullet. A tasty meal was I on this the day for fools. And now I know from whence we get the word gullible for if one is so then in the gullet one goes!

  167. A.D. says:

    April Fool’s Day right back at you, Father. Excuse me . . . Mosignor!

  168. ocsousn says:

    The insane and monomaniacal invariably lack a sense of humor. Could we even imagine such a spoof on the “progressive” side of current ecclesial debates? “The Mantilla is Back: Vatican decrees that all women must cover heads in church”? “Excommunication for attempted civil marriage to be restored”? Revolutionaries and fanatics are notorious bores. Well done Fr.Z, you are a tribute to the cause of both truth and sanity!

  169. G. Thomas Fitzpatrick says:

    This one was better than the Philly Cheesesteak Italian Ice that popped up in my feed. I might have tried that. But I don’t think I could stomach deaconettes.

    The tragedy is that this could be real news soon.

  170. Huber says:

    Seems I missed Father Z’s extraordinary jubilee day of stella auro (not to be confused with the delicious

    Oh, if only I had a gold star…

  171. Hans says:

    C’est une bonne blague!

    […du bon blog?]

    Oui. C’est exact. La bonne blague du bon blog. La poisson d’avril du prêtre persistant.

  172. Hans says:

    Le poisson.

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