Friday, 13 May 2016

Fr Dwight Longenecker: Catholic Women Deacons? Why Not?

Fr Dwight Longenecker: Catholic Women Deacons? Why Not?

"Therefore the evidence from the New Testament and the early church could provide arguments for women being ordained as deaconesses. As the order of permanent deacon was re-established in modern times, the order of deaconess could also be rejuvenated. Although canon law does not presently permit it, the law could be changed. Theoretically, the Catholic church could re-establish a distinct order of deaconess, and advocates would not be shy in pointing out the undoubted practical benefits from such a decision.

A full discussion, however, demands that we would have to question why this change was necessary.

Do we require women deacons to assist at naked baptisms? No. Do we require women to be ordained so that they might have the authority to administer the church’s charitable work? The splendid work of our teaching and nursing sisters precludes the need. Women are already administering the church’s charitable work effectively at every level. Do we need deaconesses to be diocesan chancellors, school principals, parish pastoral associates, directors of faith formation, Vatican administrators, professional consultants, diplomats, journalists, and financial advisors? No. Plenty of women already fulfill these roles. Do we need women to be ordained as deaconesses to be spiritual directors, theologians, cultural activists, broadcasters, evangelists, writers and scholars? No. We have a growing number of women already doing this."

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