Thursday, May 2, 2019

"We're waiting on the Decision about Women Deacons" Tom Roberts, My Response: A First Step toward Full Equality for Women in the Church

Bridget Mary’s Response to NCR Article: "We're waiting on the Decision about Women Deacons"  by Tom Roberts

My Response: A First Step toward Full Equality for Women in the Church: I think Pope Francis will affirm women deacons  because 1) women were ordained deacons for 1200 years according to historical evidence, 2) the pastoral need for women's leadership, wisdom and compassion is great in the contemporary church and 3) women are equal images of God and finally  this theology will be put into ministerial practice.  The official recognition and ordination of women deacons would be a first step toward the full equality of women in the Church. It is not the end game, but a step in the right direction.

Our international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement offers a renewed model of priestly ministry in a new paradigm of inclusive faith communities where all are equal and empowered to live fully the vision of Jesus in an open, evolving faith and ministry of service that welcomes all especially those who are marginalized and excluded.   I believe that our institutional  Roman Catholic Church can no longer put God in a box.  Both its theology and liturgical practices are still rooted in medieval understandings. I believe in a theology of blessing in which we are beloved images of the Divine, loved infinitely beyond our wildest imagination. In humility and truth, we can live fully, peacefully and joyfully in the midst of the imperfections, the chaos, and the holy messes of our own lives, our church and of our beautiful world. 

 The Union of Superiors General will welcome the news, but so will millions of Catholics throughout the world including many supporters of our Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement!  Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,, 703-505-0003,

Full Article:
"We're waiting on the Decision about Women Deacons" Tom Roberts

Will he or won't he?
That's the question being asked in some circles as the date approaches for the pope's appearance at this year's May 6-10 meeting of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the leaders of the world's congregations of Catholic women religious.

Every three years the group meets in Rome, and during the last gathering, in answer to a question from the group, Pope Francis agreed that it would be good to appoint a commission to study the history of women deacons.Explore this free Global Sisters Report e-Book with in-depth reporting on refugees and how
Her travel schedule since the commission completed its work last summer has been frenetic, a whirlwind lecture tour about women and the diaconate. There is arguably no single force more responsible for elevating the issue of women deacons and advocating the cause than Phyllis Zagano.

I caught up with her at the end of March at Holy Trinity Parish in the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Georgetown, where she delivered a version of the 5,700-word talk that she had given during a packed-hall appearance just a week before at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. (See the video of that event here.) It is not unusual for inspirational speakers in the Catholic universe to attract big crowds. But Zagano's audiences hear page after page of precision, the kind of serious, meticulously documented research that is the product of years of work. A friend who also attended said afterward that she felt as if she'd been given homework for the next year — and she meant it as a compliment.

Amid all the serious content, Zagano's got the comedic timing of a polished performer and lots of material to work with as she scrolls through the words of popes and bishops and the endless ways in which they expressed how they despised women, did not want them touching sacred vessels, were abhorred that women should be present on the Catholic sisters are helping worldwide.
The commission was formed within three months, in August 2016, and last summer, having completed its work, the commission sent a paper to the pope. So the big question this year is: What's Francis going to say about women deacons?
One of the appointed members of the commission is Phyllis Zagano, who writes a column that appears monthly on these pages. Zagano is one of those people who has a CV that makes one wonder if she was born with an earned Ph.D. and got on with life from there. She actually did it the hard way. Her bachelor's degree is from Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York. She has master's degrees in public relations from Boston University, in English from Long Island University, in theology from St. John's University and a doctorate in religion and literature from State University of New York at Stony Brook.

She is senior research associate-in-residence and adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra University. Visit her page on the Hofstra websiteand gain access to her talks, all of her publications, the titles of the books she has written and edited (more than 20), her columns beginning with the years she wrote for Religion News Service, and a link to the ones she has done monthly, since 2010, for NCR.
altar. And there's the tale of her arrival at Casa Santa Marta (where the pope lives and where she stayed for long stretches during her work for the commission) for the first time and finding out that she had been listed on the registry as "Monsignor Zagano."

Speaking of the upcoming meeting, she said, "I don't know what will happen. But, boy, if I were the pope, I wouldn't want to walk into a room with a thousand nuns and not answer the question." There are "tea leaves" that give some indication. First, if silence gives consent, the pope may be headed in the "yes" direction on the question of women deacons. No one has heard any dissent. And, in fact, a yes on the question at this point would simply be a step beyond what has already been determined. Previous Vatican and theological commissions who have considered the question, said Zagano, "haven't said no, they just haven't said yes."

The reason they haven't said "no," in Zagano's view, is the preponderance of evidence that exists showing that women deacons, no different in their ordination from men, were clearly a part of the church from its earliest stages through about the 12th century. Spoiler alert, but here's the conclusion of that long talk: First, "women can, and do, image Christ."

And:The overwhelming amount of literary, epigraphical and historical evidence regarding women deacons indicates there are even more facts about them, especially more ordination liturgies, either undiscovered or permanently lost, but we do know that they existed. We do know they were ordained by bishops and that they served these bishops in ministerial capacities. I think both the church and the world are progressively affirming that woman are made in the image and likeness of God. It would seem then, that it is entirely possible that nothing restricts women from diaconal ordination.

She also sees a possible indication in the lineamenta or questionnaire sent out ahead of this fall's synod on the Amazon. It contains a query about "official ministry for women." She said that use of the phrase "official ministry" can only mean ordination. Whatever the decision, she said she has emphasized with officials close to the pope that he "can't kick this can down the road any longer. He just can't."
Circle your calendar. The schedule at the moment has the pope attending the meeting on May 10.
Stay tuned.


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