Saturday, 14 May 2016

LMS Chairman| Female deacons: why not?

LMS Chairman| Female deacons: why not?

"Another reason is that giving out permanent ministries to the laity, instituted by special blessings or even, in the case of permanent deacons, by sacramental ordination, carries with it a huge danger of clericalisation. I should concede that at least some of the roles are perfectly real; having people trained and ready to perform them is genuinly a service to the Church; and having a blessing or formal induction can hardly be a bad thing in itself. Nevertheless, the multiplication of these ministries tends to embed the idea that involvement in 'the Church' is involvement as a cleric or quasi-cleric. It reinforces the unfortunate idea that it is only clerics who have real power and prestige in the Church, and that to get a slice of the action you need to become a cleric too. Thus, if women are to be given power in the Church, they must at least become quasi-clerics.

This is a disastrous road to go down, because far from undermining clericalism, it reinforces it, and buries still more deeply the reality of the separate, important, and dignified role of the laity. The laity, whether male or female, don't need to inducted into some footling role in the parish as the priest's little helpers in order to have something to do for the Kingdom of God. As Vatican II taught with great emphasis, our work for the Church is principally in the world, not in the liturgy or the parish office."

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