Thursday, September 3, 2015

On Feast of Phoebe, Deacon, Letter to Pope Francis Urging Restoration of Diaconate/Bridget Mary's Response: Affirm Women Priests' Movement as Leaders and Prophets today

Bridget Mary's Response:
The full equality of women in the church is the will of God.  Pope Francis should lift all excommuncations against women priests, our supporters and all Catholics who follow their consciences. 
 It is imperative that the entire church live the fullness of the priesthood of the baptized. Women priests are living a renewed priestly ministry in an inclusive church within an empowered community of equals.  
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

Letter to Pope Francis

Dear Bridget Mary

Below is the text of a letter which we have sent to the Pope asking him to reconsider the matter of the diaconate for women. To read the documentation and history of women's diaconate click here. There is also an opportunity to support this appeal and sign the letter!
 

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Dear Pope Francis,
Respectfully we ask you restore to women the sacramental gift and grace of diaconal office in our Holy Catholic Church. How better may we embrace the Spirit of the age than by giving such freedom and dignity to women, for the good of all, in equality and fraternity?

Contemporary research shows that tens of thousands of women served as ordained deacons during the first millennium of the Church: in Italy, Gaul, Greece, Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt. That they received a full diaconate ordination is clear, a ‘sacramental’ ordination in today’s theological language. Here is a prayer of 780AD:
Holy and Omnipotent Lord,
through the birth of your Only Son our God from a Virgin according to the flesh,
you have sanctified the female sex.
You grant not only to men, but also to women the grace and coming of the Holy Spirit.
Please, Lord, look on this your maidservant and dedicate her to the task of your diaconate, and pour out into her the rich and abundant giving of your Holy Spirit.
Codex Barberini Gr.336
Many documents confirm that these ordinations were by the imposition of the bishop’s hands and took place in the sanctuary during the Eucharistic Liturgy immediately after the Anaphora. Several of your predecessors authorised Sacramentaries containing ordination prayers for women deacons.

There should be no room in our Church today for the rationale which subverted female deacons in the Middle Ages: the phobia concerning menstruation and the conceit that women are innately inferior to men.

The need for the ministry of women deacons is plain in every country. May your hands be the first to restore the diaconal dignity to women.
With respect and love,

The Trustees, Patrons and Staff of the Wijngaards Institute


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