Archive for category Women Deacons

Catholic organizations launch new effort, ‘DeaconChat,’ to foster dialogue on women deacons

 

 

 

 

The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, FutureChurch, and Voice of the Faithful are launching a new initiative to foster education and conversation on women deacons.

DeaconChat, brings Catholics―both lay and ordained―into dialogue.

On May 12, 2016, Pope Francis―responding to a question posed by members of the International Union of Superiors General―said that he would establish a commission to study the question of ordaining women deacons in the Roman Catholic Church. That commission was formally announced in August 2016 and began its work in November 2016.

“Already in 2013, AUSCP called for consideration of ordaining women deacons. As the papal commission continues its work, it is important that Catholics―lay and ordained―undergo their own study and discernment of the history and present possibility of ordaining women to the diaconate,” said Fr. Bob Bonnot, Chair of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests. “DeaconChat provides that opportunity.”

“This initiative is designed to foster educational efforts to enrich dialogue on women deacons,” said Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director of Voice of the Faithful. “The program has three important components: learning, sharing, and connecting.”

“The initiative includes important educational materials, a link to purchase Phyllis Zagano’s book Women Deacons: Past, Present and Future, and guides for inviting clergy to dialogue,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch. “We hope Catholics in the United States and around the world will be inspired to start a conversation in their parish.”

Go to http://www.CatholicWomenDeacons.org/support/deaconchat to download the DeaconChat materials.

Contact:
Fr. Bob Bonnot, Chair, Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, 330-397-1257, auscpbonnot@gmail.com
Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director, FutureChurch, 513.673.1401, debrose@futurechurch.org
Donna Doucette, Executive Director, Voice of the Faithful, 1-781-559-3360, bdoucette@votf.org

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Deacons, women and the call to serve / America: The National Catholic Review

This special web round-table discussion is sponsored by America Media and the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture. Two in this series of three round-table discussions on the potential of a Catholic women’s diaconate have been published.
The current Vatican commission exploring the possibility of women deacons has raised a number of questions about their role in the church. As ordained ministers who are neither priests nor lay people, the actual role of deacons in the parishes where they minister remains unclear to many Catholics. What are deacons, and how has their role changed over history?
Could women deacons revolutionize pastoral ministry and transform the church? How can the diaconate better meet the changing needs of the faithful today? Join us for a roundtable discussion sponsored by the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and America Media featuring:
  • Nancy Dallavalle, theologian and vice president for mission and identity at Fairfield University
  • Deacon Greg Kandra, blogger at Aleteia’s “The Deacon’s Bench,” multimedia editor at Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
  • Rita Ferrone, contributing editor at Commonweal and blogger at “Pray Tell Blog”
  • George Demacopoulos, theologian and founding co-director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University
  • James Martin, S.J.,  moderator, author and editor-at-large for America Media

By The Editors at America: The National Catholic Review — Click here to read the rest of this article and access links to videos and transcripts of the roundtable discussions.

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Women deacons commission to meet in Rome for first time Nov. 25-26 / National Catholic Reporter

The new Vatican commission studying the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church will be meeting in Rome for the first time as a full group Nov. 25-26.

“The dates of the meeting, anticipated in recent months, was first reported Saturday by the U.S. newspaper Newsday, which spoke to commission member and NCR columnist Phyllis Zagano.

“Pope Francis’ creation of the commission, formally known as the Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate, has been seen as signaling an historic openness to the possibility of ending the Catholic church’s practice of an all-male clergy.”

by Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Women deacons, set in stone / Commonweal

“… the evidence for women deacons is on the literal rocks themselves, carved in marble or limestone, on chancel screens or tombstones.”

Those not predisposed to support women deacons in the present day often consider the initiative to be a recent, feminist, perhaps postmodern quest, an innovation unmoored from historical tradition. What often goes unnoticed in the discussion about women deacons, though, is how much of the ancient evidence comes from concrete archaeological discoveries.

“Advocates are not reading between the lines of history, creating things that aren’t there in the plain sense of some text. They’re not looking under every proverbial rock in hopes of finding a meager piece of evidence. No, the evidence for women deacons is on the literal rocks themselves, carved in marble or limestone, on chancel screens or tombstones.”

By Michael Peppard, Commonweal — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Commending Phoebe / America: The National Catholic Review

“‘I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae,’ wrote St. Paul in the Letter to the Romans (16:1). What did Paul mean when he referred to Phoebe as a deacon? What kind of diakonos was she? How did she serve the church? Was she ordained as a deacon? And if so, what did her ordination mean? These questions, which may once have seemed arcane, have taken on greater urgency in the wake of Pope Francis’ recent decision to appoint a commission to study the historicity of women deacons …

“As indispensable as it is, the historical data is neither wholly conclusive nor ultimately dispositive. The church’s discernment regarding women deacons must be guided, in the words of the International Theological Commission, by ‘a greater knowledge of both historical and theological sources, as well as of the current life of the Church’ (emphasis added). We should also bear in mind this additional insight of the commission: ‘Nowhere did the [Second Vatican] Council claim that the form of the permanent diaconate which it was proposing was a restoration of a previous form…. Vatican II never aimed to do that. What it re-established was the principle of the permanent exercise of the diaconate, and not one particular form which the diaconate had taken in the past.’

“This raises a question: If the church discerns in light of its reflection on the historical and theological data and the current life of the church that, at a minimum, it enjoys the freedom to admit women to the permanent diaconate, then should we do so? Yes, we should. What might that mean for the church today?”

By The editors at America: The National Catholic Review — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.

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Stop shaming women for seeking equal power in the church / National Catholic Reporter

In late June, on a flight back from Armenia, Pope Francis told a team of reporters that he was angry.

“What made Francis angry wasn’t the continued deaths of countless refugees, or the latest instance of environmental degradation or some grim statistics about rates of human trafficking. No, what angered him was the suggestion, by some in the media, that he had ‘opened the door to deaconesses,’ after his May 12 dialogue with the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) …

“But the pope’s anger over the notion that admitting women to some form of the diaconate was already a fait accompli suggests the depth of angst conjured by even the suggestion of offering women a semblance of authority in the church.”

By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this column.

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Members of Francis’ women deacons commission express diverse views / National Catholic Reporter

The members of Pope Francis’ new commission to study whether women might serve as deacons in the Catholic church have expressed a wide range of views on the subject in the past, with some clearly supportive of the possibility while others say there is no firm historical precedent to follow.

“Very few members of the commission — comprising six men and six women and led by Vatican Archbishop Luis Ladaria — have made public comments since their appointments were announced in a brief press release Aug. 2.

“But as many of the appointed experts are theologians or other kinds of academics, some — like member and NCR contributor Phyllis Zagano of Hofstra University — have written extensively on the subject in the past.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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