Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bishop Emil Wcela Urged "Public Consideration" of Women Deacons?/But Will Women Deacons Be a Step Forward? by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Dear Friends,
In a recent article in America magazine, Bishop Emil Wcela urged "public consideration" of women deacons on the part of bishops, bishop conferences, theologians, historians and all concerned Catholics.
Cardinal George promised to raise the issue of women deacons in Rome after a Chicago parish asked him to support the candidacy of a woman leader to the permanent diaconate. At this writing, we know groups have met or are meeting with bishops in three other U.S. dioceses.
FutureChurch has developed a brand new resource: Women Deacons: Why Not Now? to help Catholics learn the rich history of female deacons, discover why the Church should restore the female diaconate, and implement a discernment process to surface women candidates to present to the bishop of their diocese.
In the past year, FutureChurch's Save Our Parish Community project catalyzed a landmark change in Vatican policy. We discovered it IS possible to influence Rome once a critical mass decides to do something.
Please help us create a new critical mass on behalf of women, especially women preachers, in our church. The packet contains everything you need to educate and advocate for women deacons in the Catholic Church.
We hope to create local networks of people willing to work on this issue. Email us if you are interested in becoming a local educator and/or activist in your diocese
Thanks so much.
Liz England Chris Schenk
 
Bridget Mary's Response: Will Catholic Women Deacons Be a Step Forward?
I am not sure women deacons will be a step forward if they are subordinate. Will the Vatican do it as positive "PR" effort to placate millions of Catholics, including priests and bishops pushing for women's ordination?
Perhaps it is closer than we think.

 Pope Benedict has paved the way with a recent statement indicating the difference between priest and deacon in the church's theology.
 
However, in this view, women deacons would still be subordinate. The institutional church's view states that the priest must bear a physical resemblance to Christ, and thus, must be male to represent Christ at the altar!  Ladies, need not apply to this all-male boys club! 

In Galations 3;28, St. Paul reminds us that our baptism makes us equal images of Christ.   

Perhaps, our initiative, the  international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement has propelled the Vatican to move forward with the ordination of women as permanent deacons. 
Sister Chris Schenk of Future Church and Call to Action and dedicated scholars, like Phyllis Zagano  and John Wijngaaards, have been promoting the ordination of women to the diaconate for years.

In my view, women should not settle for second-class citizenship in our church.  Yes, of course, women deacons will be a first step in the direction of  women's ordination to the priesthood. However, what is needed is a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals. This is the reason that RCWP is a major challenge. Our Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is a renewed model  of priestly ministry that is open, egalitarian and represents an end to the clericalism that is at the heart of Vatican patriarchy. We need women deacons and priests who are united with the people with whom they serve as equals and partners! Adding a collar and stirring is not enough and could be a step backward!

As we know,  thousands of women deacons were around for the first 1000+ years of the church's history, so it is nothing new and this is what the Vatican will say when they announce it!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
 

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