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German prelate's support for female deacons confuses the faithful, theologian says

Catholic World News - May 03, 2013

An influential Catholic theologian has said that the president of the German bishops’ conference risks confusing the faithful by suggesting the ordination of women as deacons.

Father Manfred Hauke, a theology professor at Lugano, told the Catholic News Agency that it would be “ambiguous” to refer to women as deacons, since the Code of Canon Law clearly reserves ordination to men, and the Vatican declared in 2008 that anyone attempting to ordain a woman would be subject to excommunication.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, the president of the German bishops' conference, had said that the question of female deacons should not be considered “taboo.” The German prelate made his comment at the conclusion of a meeting of the German episcopal conference.

In the past some women who performed charitable works for the Church were known as deacons. But Father Hauke emphasized that they were not ordained for sacramental ministry, and a study by the International Theological Commission in 2003 found “no historical basis for the sacramental diaconate being bestowed on women.”

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