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  #21  
Old 3rd July 2010, 08:47 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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It is speculative to say that women might be ordained as deacons. It is even more speculative to say what tasks would be appropriate for them.

Ron it is indeed very speculative. Why are you a proponent of this idea ?
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  #22  
Old 3rd July 2010, 09:53 PM
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Ron it is indeed very speculative. Why are you a proponent of this idea ?

It is an unanswered question, as to whether or not women can be ordained as deacons. It is a question that the Magisterium will need to answer.

My speculative answer is based on my understanding of men's and women's roles and on the nature of the roles of deacon, priest, and bishop.
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  #23  
Old 4th July 2010, 12:17 AM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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It is an unanswered question, as to whether or not women can be ordained as deacons. It is a question that the Magisterium will need to answer.

My speculative answer is based on my understanding.

Yes of course. But why do you speculate that women will be ordained to the deaconate based on your understanding of men's and women's roles ?

Last edited by Pontifex : 4th July 2010 at 12:29 AM.
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  #24  
Old 4th July 2010, 02:24 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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I think I've already explained that in my posts above.
Do you disagree? If so, why?
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  #25  
Old 4th July 2010, 09:24 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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I think I've already explained that in my posts above.
Do you disagree? If so, why?

Well, I am trying to form an opinion.

Here is diaconal profile outlined in the First Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy:

"Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for gain; they must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then if they prove themselves blameless let them serve as deacons. . . Let deacons be the husband of one wife, and let them manage their children and their households well; for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith which is in Jesus Christ" (1 Tim 3:8-10, 12-13).

The qualities listed by Paul are prevalently human, almost as if to say that deacons could carry out their ministry only if they were acceptable models of humanity. Although there is the reference that deacons be the husband of one wife, it think it could be applied to women (a contrario) should they become deacons. Ron, do you have the scripture reference where it shows that there have been women deacons in early Christiniaty ?
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  #26  
Old 4th July 2010, 10:18 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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The qualities listed by Paul are prevalently human, almost as if to say that deacons could carry out their ministry only if they were acceptable models of humanity. Although there is the reference that deacons be the husband of one wife, it think it could be applied to women (a contrario) should they become deacons. Ron, do you have the scripture reference where it shows that there have been women deacons in early Christiniaty ?

There are two Ecumenical Councils that mention women deacons.

The Council of Nicea:

"Similarly with regard to deaconesses and all in general whose names have been included in the roll, the same form shall be observed. We refer to deaconesses who have been granted this status, for they do not receive any imposition of hands, so that they are in all respects to be numbered among the laity."

The Council of Chalcedon:

"No woman under forty years of age is to be ordained a deacon, and then only after close scrutiny. If after receiving ordination and spending some time in the ministry she despises God's grace and gets married, such a person is to be anathematised along with her spouse."
http://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/chalcedo.htm

But I believe that the words above 'ordained' and 'ordination' had a somewhat different meaning in that time period and context. This document has never been understood as granting to women deacons the Sacrament of Orders to the deaconal degree. The earlier Council of Nicea made clear that women deacons are among the laity. So the later Council must be interpreted in that light.

[Romans 16]
{16:1} Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is in the ministry of the church, which is at Cenchreae,

This verse is usually mentioned in discussions on this topic, since in Greek the text reads: who is a 'diakonon' (servant) of the church at Cenchreae.

However, none of these sources answers the question as to whether or not the Church has the authority to ordain women deacons. It is an open question.
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  #27  
Old 5th July 2010, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
There are two Ecumenical Councils that mention women deacons.

The Council of Nicea:

"Similarly with regard to deaconesses and all in general whose names have been included in the roll, the same form shall be observed. We refer to deaconesses who have been granted this status, for they do not receive any imposition of hands, so that they are in all respects to be numbered among the laity."

The Council of Chalcedon:

"No woman under forty years of age is to be ordained a deacon, and then only after close scrutiny. If after receiving ordination and spending some time in the ministry she despises God's grace and gets married, such a person is to be anathematised along with her spouse."
http://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/chalcedo.htm

But I believe that the words above 'ordained' and 'ordination' had a somewhat different meaning in that time period and context. This document has never been understood as granting to women deacons the Sacrament of Orders to the deaconal degree. The earlier Council of Nicea made clear that women deacons are among the laity. So the later Council must be interpreted in that light.

[Romans 16]
{16:1} Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is in the ministry of the church, which is at Cenchreae,

This verse is usually mentioned in discussions on this topic, since in Greek the text reads: who is a 'diakonon' (servant) of the church at Cenchreae.

However, none of these sources answers the question as to whether or not the Church has the authority to ordain women deacons. It is an open question.

Interesting.

If the Church decides to ordain women to the deaconate, it will have to consider if this is an ordination by the laying on of hands and if it is sustained by a specific sacramental grace which inserts her into the sacrament of Orders (to the deaconate degree). The Councils you cite along with the fact that the Magisterium has already ruled infallibly that it does not have the authority to ordain women to the priesthood would indicate that such a decision would fall outside of holy orders. But maybe not.

One question that would require deepening would be to understand the profound reality of this ministry. Lumen Gentium (n. 29) defines the laying on of hands on the deacon as being not "ad sacerdotium sed ad ministerium", that is, not for the celebration of the eucharist, but for service.

If women deacons become ordained, their ministry would have to be one of service. This service would have to be conducted according to the proper roles of men and women, but this is not a specificity of this sacrement in my view. The proper roles of men and women precedes this sacrement.

Finally, should the Church decide to ordain women to Holy Orders (at the deaconate degree) their ministry would have to be dedicated exclusively to works of charity and assistance and in the direction of communities or sectors of church life, especially as regards charitable activities. This is the ministry most characteristic of the deacon.
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  #28  
Old 5th July 2010, 11:30 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
If the Church decides to ordain women to the deaconate, it will have to consider if this is an ordination by the laying on of hands and if it is sustained by a specific sacramental grace which inserts her into the sacrament of Orders (to the deaconate degree). The Councils you cite along with the fact that the Magisterium has already ruled infallibly that it does not have the authority to ordain women to the priesthood would indicate that such a decision would fall outside of holy orders. But maybe not.

Currently, the term ordination refers only to the Sacrament of Orders. So if the Church decides to ordain women, it would mean that they could receive that Sacrament to the deaconal degree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
One question that would require deepening would be to understand the profound reality of this ministry. Lumen Gentium (n. 29) defines the laying on of hands on the deacon as being not "ad sacerdotium sed ad ministerium", that is, not for the celebration of the eucharist, but for service.

"ad sacerdotium sed ad ministerium"
[not] to the priesthood, but to to service
In other words, the role of deacon is substantially different from the roles of priest and bishop. It is primarily a role of service, not a priestly role.

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Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
If women deacons become ordained, their ministry would have to be one of service. This service would have to be conducted according to the proper roles of men and women, but this is not a specificity of this sacrement in my view. The proper roles of men and women precedes this sacrement.

I agree with the first sentence above, but I don't understand the rest.

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Originally Posted by Pontifex View Post
Finally, should the Church decide to ordain women to Holy Orders (at the deaconate degree) their ministry would have to be dedicated exclusively to works of charity and assistance and in the direction of communities or sectors of church life, especially as regards charitable activities. This is the ministry most characteristic of the deacon.

I agree with this statement. The problem is that women already are lectors and emhCs and altar servers, so if they are ordained as deacons, they will end up with a role at Mass like that of male deacons, a role that I believe is not fitting to female deacons.

So while I think that the Church has the authority to ordain women deacons, I don't think that it would be prudent at this time, because there is so little understanding about the proper roles of men and women.
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  #29  
Old 5th July 2010, 10:16 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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I agree with the first sentence above, but I don't understand the rest.


In other words, it is not the sacrament of holy orders (to the deaconate degree) itself that defines her proper role. He role is 'pre-defined' because she is a woman according to God's plan. Each of our roles are therefore tailored to our respective christian vocation. In this case, potentially a woman being ordained to the deaconate.
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  #30  
Old 5th July 2010, 10:27 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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In other words, it is not the sacrament of holy orders (to the deaconate degree) itself that defines her proper role. He role is 'pre-defined' because she is a woman according to God's plan. Each of our roles are therefore tailored to our respective christian vocation. In this case, potentially a woman being ordained to the deaconate.

Yes, I agree. A woman has a certain role in that she is a woman. If women are ever ordained to the deaconate, this role does not nullify her role as a woman. And therefore she cannot claim, on the basis of being an ordained deacon, that she can take a role only intended by God for men.
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