I've been in a conversation recently about women's ordination. But not to the priesthood. No, they're taking another angle at it now. Now they're talking about the diaconate. I think that they think if they can enter into Orders through the diaconate, that they will then start with the priestly ordination argument again, saying something to the effect of this, "Well see, we're able to be deacons. If we can be deacons, why can't we be priests? It only follows logically that if we can be deacons, we can be priests..." yadda, yadda, yadda.
What they refuse to understand is that ordination is closed to women at all levels. The diaconate and priestly ordinations are closely related and it is fulfilled in the consecration of a bishop. I also think that the so-called elimination of ordinations to the minor orders has hurt the concept of Holy Orders. I say so-called, because since 1972-1976, the SSPX (while legitimate) was ordaining according to the 1962 (and previous) books with full recognitio of the Holy See. From 1988 to the present, the FSSP and traditional orders such as the ICRSS have been ordaining minor orders, and since 2007 any bishop may ordain minor orders according to the 1962
This begs the question then, if ordination is open to women in the Novus Ordo, wouldn't it have to be open to them in the 1962 books? And it is strictly forbidden in the 1962 books, so...well, that is one argument.
Going forward this post may seem a little disjointed because I'm going to present it in more of a "stream of consciousness" posting as opposed to linear. So, please read along and think of it as me talking to you directly as opposed to trying to map it out in text. I don't do this very often, but I think that for this I'll give it a try.
The problem is that there is NOTHING conclusive to support ordination of
women to the diaconate. Nothing. One can say that women were employed
to help baptize women, but there is NOTHING to say that there was an
ordination to take place.
Insofar as that is the case, logic
dictates that if a woman is not able to be ordained a priest, then she
cannot be ordained a deacon. The Church cannot make something happen
which cannot happen.
This is confirmed by Vatican Council II
which through thorough study Paul VI allowed for celibate and married
men to be ordained. At that time, there was no indication that women
would be allowed to approach orders, for the very same reasons I list
Canon 835 says that the sanctifying office is principally
completed by the bishop. If Sacred Orders are completed in the bishop
and a woman cannot become a bishop, how is that supportable, from a
logical or theological position?
So, to speak to the major dissenting points:
There is no conclusive evidence to support "ordination." The term
διάκονος in Greek does not assume ordination. It assumes ministry.
There is a theological obstacle insofar as the admitting to Sacred
Orders is completed in consecration/ordination to the Episcopate. This
is not possible for a woman and is a huge theological obstacle.
Because there is no conclusive evidence to support ordination and there
is a theological obstacle, then by pure logic, there is a dubium to
admit women to Orders.
two main points are indefensible theologically and philosophically; as
well as the opinion being simply an opinion. If you can theologically
clear the obstacle presented and if you can show conclusively that women
were ordained, I'll revisit my position. But showing the few heretical
sects as being a proof will not suffice.
The fact that we are all one in God's eyes doesn't mean that all
vocations are to be the same. Can anyone point me to where the Church has
ever taught that?
Being counted among the faithful gains you
exactly one thing, being counted among the faithful. Nothing more,
nothing less. It doesn't allow for us to be able to
demand/request/implore admittance to anything.
The Church is
clear on how vocations are to be viewed, for both men and women. This
isn't a matter of dignity, this isn't a matter of power. Those ideals
are modern and have been only made manifest since the admittance of
women to "ministry" in Protestant ecclesial communions. This is yet
another reason why those things which are deigned by man hold very
little weight in the economy of Truth which authentically belongs to the
The Church has definitively taught that ordination is
not open to women. We are to assent our wills to that. We come to
understand it by embracing the teaching of the Church on a rational
How exactly can the Church be wrong? I'm at a total loss. The Church is not a person. The Church is an entity.
One can say that certain leaders of the Church have been wrong in the past, etc...but one cannot say the Church has been wrong.
Plus, if one believes that Christ is the head of the Church and if one believes that Christ is God, how can God be wrong?
teaching of the Church doesn't fall on one person, but from the very
Tradition of the Church itself. So, it doesn't follow that women are
blaming the Church for something it is not capable of doing...Nemo dat non quod habent.
All of the "reasons" some list as valid are human failings not institutional. Man
misunderstands interpretation, man is sinful (as it can be pointed out), but
that speaks to us, not to the Church.
The Magisterium is also
an entity and not an individual either. So, the same position I put
forth previously stands with that argument as well.
talk about the faithful being "empowered." I just don't talk about the
faithful usurping power. Being empowered, in an authentic sense, is
understanding and participating in their vocation in a way which is
consistent with Catholic teaching. I also believe that the hierarchy is
empowered with leadership, both spiritual and temporal with regard to
the Church, but that is a very limited role and very specific.
So, men and women are not so different. We just have a different understanding of
empowerment. I don't mean it to be a societal (in this case, society =
Church) liberation, but rather finding freedom within the spirit of the
law as applied to the letter of the law. The justification doesn't have
to come from me, I know from Tradition that this is the case, the
justification must come from you, as your view of "empowerment" is not
an authentic understanding what it means to be empowered.
A point of clarification. The Church ORDAINED porters, lectors,
acolytes, exorcists and sub-deacons after their entrance into the
clerical state with tonsure, until 1972. At which point the minor
orders were suppressed for Novus Ordo installations and the lector and
acolyte were then installed, with no entrance into the clerical state
until deaconate ordination.
This suppression while still being
the norm is now merely one way of looking at ordination. If a man is
formed according to the practices of the books of 1962 (which is utterly
and completely legitimate), he does in fact still enter the clerical
state, he is ORDAINED to the minor orders and this culminates in
ordination to the deaconate and ultimately the priesthood.
utterly illogical to think that if the books of 1962 still hold force
(which they do) that a gender change is somehow available to the books
The only way this can be legitimized is a completely
fallacious view of the priesthood and the roles one plays in the
ministerial priesthood v. the royal priesthood. Admission to the royal
priesthood via baptism does not assume that any one person, male or
female will be admitted to the ministerial priesthood.
of having a transitional deaconate is clearly one of understanding that
there is a fullness of the episcopacy. If one does not go through the
process of ordination without the possibility to become a bishop then what value is there. The
Apostles had to go through a similar process whereby they were servants,
then they were ministers pro tem, then they were bishops. This is
clear in looking at their relationship with Christ, both before, during,
and after the PDR.
The idea of being a transitional deacon is
very important for one who is studying to become a priest. It teaches
the seminarian how to minister, how to serve and how to be charitable.
While a layman can certainly do this, having it formalized is certainly a
very worthy application. Also, the ordination also solidifies two
things, a formal commitment to celibacy and a promise of obedience to
I think that the biggest travesty is related to
this though. I think that the 19 year hiatus from ordaining the minor
orders seriously undermined the whole of the ordained ministry, not just
the transitional diaconate. The admission of candidates to the
clerical state and then ordaining them through the processes seems to be
a much more logical step.
I do understand the permanent
diaconate. I just don't like it. I think that the idea behind it is
illogical. By and large the idea behind the permanent diaconate has
failed. The idea that the Church would become inundated with deacons as
a "salvation" of vocations simply hasn't come to pass. I would say
that by and large it has failed, so much so that one bishop has
forbidden his deacons from preaching during the Mass on a regular basis
and another has suspended the program in his diocese altogether. The
intention of the permanent diaconate wasn't to be a replacement for the
priesthood and essentially that is what has been envisioned by those who
advocate it. It is seen as an alternative to the priesthood and that
neither follows the charism as traditionally understood in the early
Church nor is it what Pope Paul VI understood it to be with his
promulgation of the motu proprio.
So, how do we, as faithful Catholics respond to this:
"After thorough consultation, it was determined that it is not
in the church’s power to ordain women — not just that it won’t, but
that it can’t. There is nothing the church can do to “make” the
ordination of women valid.
is because the Catholic Church does not manufacture what is true, but
looks at the way things are, the way God has given them to us.
Over time, the question “So, do you want to be a priest?” has become, to me, offensive.
It implies that the ordained ministry is the only way to be “in” the
church, and that my current roles as a lay Catholic woman are somehow
sure seems that Ms. Thomas is on to something. It sure seems to me
that by "pushing" for the ordination of women to any ministry is pigeon
holing women? Why would a woman of Ms. Zagano's obvious liberal acumen
want to pigeon hole women into only being truly relevant if they be
ordained? It sure seems to be a smack in the face of authentic
Lincoln is the only diocese I know of that has not allowed females to serve at the altar.
how can anyone possibly be serious in any contention that women are not
referenced in the liturgy. Women are lectors and women are servers and
women are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Women serve as
ushers, women bring up the gifts, women are organists (and god forbid,
piano players) and women are cantors. Women make up large parts of
choirs. Often to the purposeful exclusion of men.
Perhaps it is because they want to have their cake and eat it too?
really think that they need to check their view over. Women are not
excluded, and I even daresay that if they would buck up and DEMAND that their
pastor pray the first Eucharistic prayer, they'll see several invocations
of women. Actually, I think that realistically if they DEMAND that their
pastor pray the Eucharistic Prayer I, they'll see 8 specific mentions of
women proper and we can assume that the priest and the faithful will
pray for females during the two mementos (of the living and of the
So, if they REALLY want to be inclusive of women, then be
inclusive and stop complaining about things which are an illusion. The
Church includes women in her formal prayers, but it is so rarely used
that most women don't realize the importance that the Church put on
women in her formal prayers.
As an aside...how about they start championing
the rosary, if they don't already....it is a great laudatory prayer for
women, invoking the Blessed Virgin 154 times. But it is so much more...But hey, we have to start somewhere, right?