Archive for May 12th, 2016

Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful would welcome Pope Francis’ women’s diaconate commission

Pope Francis may soon initiate a commission to study ordaining women as deacons in the Catholic Church, according to media reports today (May 12). Equality of women in the Church has long been an issue with Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful, which would welcome such a commission.

VOTF has long been called for all baptized Catholics—women and men—to have equal access to all positions within the Church and a voice in all decision-making processes. VOTF encourages conversation on all ministries and opportunities for women, with special attention to restoring the female diaconate.

Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., senior research associate-in-residence, Hofstra University, has written widely regarding a women’s diaconate in the Church and spoken often to VOTF audiences. She said today: “I am delighted that in this time of Pentecost the Spirit has brought the question of women deacons to the Holy Father’s mind, and I hope and pray that I will be able to assist whatever commission he establishes.” Zagano is the author of Women Deacons? Essays with Answers, and the recipient of VOTF’s St. Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson award.

The Pope made his comments on the possibility of a commission to study a women’s diaconate during a meeting in Rome today of the International Union of Superior Generals, which represents about a half million Catholic women religious.

Voice of the Faithful presents its views on women deacons on its website in a paper it commissioned from Carolyn Johnson, Ed.D. Click here to read “Women Deacons: How Long Will It Take the Catholic Church to Open This Door,” and click here to see a bibliography of suggested readings on women in the Church that VOTF compiled for its 10th Year Conference in 2011.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Francis to create commission to study female deacons in Catholic church / National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis has announced he will create a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church, signaling an historic openness to the possibility of ending the global institution’s practice of an all-male clergy.

“The pontiff indicated he would create such a commission during a meeting at the Vatican Thursday with some 900 leaders of the world’s congregations of Catholic women religious, who asked him during a question-and-answer session why the church excludes women from serving as deacons.

“The women religious, meeting with the pope as part of the triennial assembly of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), told Francis that women has served as deacons in the early church and asked: ‘Why not construct an official commission that might study the question?’

“The pope responded that he had spoken about the matter once some years ago with a ‘good, wise professor’ who had studied the use of female deacons in the early centuries of the church. Francis said it remained unclear to him what role such deacons had.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

Voice of the Faithful’s Women’s Initiative is dedicated to the proposition that all baptized Catholics—women and men—have equal access to all positions within the Church and have a voice in all decision-making processes. VOTF encourages conversation on all ministries and opportunities for women, but we focus our project work primarily on the restoration of the female diaconate.

Women Deacons: How Long? — paper on restoring the female diaconate to the Church (15 pages)

Suggested Readings: Women in the Church — additional resources and information on women’s roles (9 pages)

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