Former Head of US Bishops’ Diaconate Office Banned in Philadelphia Over Women Deacons

Dec7-coverA former key U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference staffer has been told he is not allowed to speak publicly in the Philadelphia archdiocese because he co-authored a book investigating the possibility of ordaining women as deacons. William Ditewig, a theologian and deacon who previously served as the head of the bishops’ secretariat for the diaconate, has been told his public presence in the archdiocese would cause ‘doctrinal confusion.'” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

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  1. #1 by Dr. Simon Mercieca on December 12, 2012 - 11:23 AM

    I read your article and the interesting study of deacon William Ditewig, related to the presence of female deacons in the church. I am a historian and I am only interested in this argument from a historical perceptive. Some year or two ago, I had the occasion to discuss the existence of female deacons in the early Church in relation to a dissertation written and submitted by a female student, who was following a course in religious formation. This course was given under the patronage of the Catholic Church and is run by a Catholic religious institute in Sardinia. The conclusion is that the historical sources point to the existence of female deacons. They were still active in the church until the 8 or 9 centuries and then, their function was dismissed. At least there is not any more information about them. Furthermore, even their existence in the early church is clouded in mystery. Definitely it is a subject which requires more research and I would like to take this occasion to send you my best wishes and sincere regards for working on this topic. Finally you are absolutely right to differentiate between deacons and priests, even in terms of ordination. What I cannot understand is this whole controversy against Ditewig’s interesting work. I can assure you, that he is not alone in this particular field of research. It is ironic that such type of study is censored while in Europe’s Catholic south, students do not stir any controversy and are allowed to do research without any sort of censorship.e

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