DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     March 5-7, 1999     vol. 10, no. 45

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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JESUIT REVIEW SEEKS DISCUSSION OF FEMALE DEACONS

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) A year after the Vatican issued a document outlining the role of permanent deacons, the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica has again raised the question of whether women might be ordained to the deaconate.

          The March 10 issue of the Jesuit review points out that in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II specifically foreclosed the possibility that women could ever be ordained to the priesthood or to episcopal office. However, La Civilta Cattolica argues, the Pope "did not close the door to a female deacons." The article carries particular weight because essays in La Civilta Cattolica generally carry the tacit approval of high officials at the Vatican and in the Society of Jesus.

          The article goes on to explore the history of the deaconate, observing that some historical studies have found evidence of female deacons in the early Church. There is substantial disagreement among historians as to the women who were known as "deacons" played a role comparable to that of ordained male deacons. Most scholars agree that the female deacons played a more restricted role, especially insofar as they could not be ordained to the priesthood.

          La Civilta Cattolica contends, however, that the Church needs a "deeper theology of the deaconate" in order to settle the question of female deacons. The crucial question, the article suggests, is whether the relationship between the priesthood and the deaconate should emphasize the "complementarity" of the two roles, or the fundamental unity of Holy Orders.


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

March 5-7, 1999       volume 10, no. 45
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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