Bridget Mary's Response:
The Vatican newspaper may be sending a green light in support of women deacons. This first step toward the full equality of women in the church could eventually lead to women priests, bishops and open up leadership positions to women in a more inclusive, egalitarian church. The Roman Catholic Church needs a renewal of ministry in the community of the baptized, where all gifts are called forth and affirmed in a non-clerical, empowering circle of spiritual equals. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
September 29, 2016
"Nearly two months after Pope Francis instituted a commission to study women and the diaconate, L’Osservatore Romano has published an article on deaconesses and the early Church.
Carlo Carletti, an archaeology professor at the University of Bari, said that the starting point for any examination of the topic is Romans 16:1, in which St. Paul refers to “our sister Phoebe, a deaconess.”
Of the 30 inscriptions that refer to deaconesses, said Carletti, 25 have been found in Asia Minor (in modern-day Turkey).
Carletti attributes this geopraphical concentration to the legacy of St. Paul, who included women in his missionary activity. In the West, on the other hand, “the diaconal ministry … remained constantly a male prerogative.”