Friday, January 25, 2019

"I got a glimpse of the future of women deacons, and it's troubling" by Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter, Women Deacons and Women Priests Are Here by Bridget Mary Meehan

Catholic scholar and author Phyllis Zagano speaks during a symposium on the history and future of women deacons Jan. 15 at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus in New York City. Looking on is Jesuit Fr. Bernard Pottier, a member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

My Response: I agree with Jamie Manson's response to the future of women deacons. It could get ugly and become a painful, divisive issue in dioceses and parishes if women deacons are forced to deny that the full equality of women in the Church must include women priests. 

Let me be candid, we already have women priests and deacons who minister in inclusive communities in the United States, Europe, South America, South Africa, and Asia. Since 2002, our international RCWP movement has grown from the Danube 7 to approximately 260. While the Vatican has yet to open a dialogue with us, justice like a river is flowing and a new Church is emerging where women priests are already serving. The truth is that God is already working through women priests in the Church now. 

It is time for Pope Francis and the hierarchy make the connection that fundamentally women priests are a justice and human rights issue. There are no exclusions or exceptions to the  the presence of the Divine working through women in the church and society. God is working through women priests and deacons now in our movement who are leading the Church toward living the full equality of women whether the bishops acknowledge it or not!  
I pray that the ordination of women deacons will be a wake up moment celebrating our unity and diversity as loving and faith-filled members of our Church, not a divisive issue that pulls us further apart. 

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Jamie Manson writes: 

, ..."I could not help but wonder, is this what it is going to be like if women do become deacons? Will every woman deacon have to promise that she will never suggest that women should be priests? Will every woman deacon be expected disassociate herself from the issue like this?
And if that is the case, doesn't it mean that women deacons who actually do support women priests will have to self-censor and keep their convictions hidden, as every male bishop, priest and deacon who secretly supports women priests is expected to do today? And if these women deacons don't keep silent, won't they face same discipline, or coercions to recant, or threats of expulsion that male advocates for women priests do?
Pope Francis has repeatedly said that the issue of women priests has been decided and the door is closed. Why wouldn't women deacons be compelled to parrot that response or face the same consequences?
Will women deacons will be put in the painful situation of having to silence other women who dare to press the issue of women priests?

The truth is women should be priests, and we should be unafraid to say so, because allowing women to be priests is simply the just and right thing to do.
The truth is a church that claims to have such a radical commitment human rights and human dignity ought to understand that it has a profoundly influential role in telling the world that women are fully human and truly equal and completely entitled to the rights, roles and responsibilities given to men both in society and in the church.
The truth is a church that claims that God is everywhere and that God works through all of creation should not stand in the way of God's longing to work through the gifts, strengths and power of women as priests.
I appreciate and respect that the commission members believe in good faith that they are taking an incremental approach to getting women inclusion in the church..."

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