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)