Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

Catholic World News News Feature

No Opening toward Female Deacons, Theologian Says October 17, 2002

VATICAN, Oct 17, 02 ( -- The secretary of the International Theological Commission has issued a statement indicating that, contrary to earlier reports the group has not left the door open for the ordination of women as deacons.

On the contrary, Father Georges Cottier reports, the work of the International Theological Commission, which recently concluded a study on the topic, tends toward the conclusion that women cannot be ordained to the diaconate.

In an interview with the Roman news agency I Media earlier this month, Msgr. Roland Minnerath, a member of the Commission, said that the group's report "does not exclude that we could have some future development" in the Church's position regarding women and the diaconate. The French theologian had observed that any new development would have to come from the teaching magisterium rather than from theologians.

However, Father Cottier-- who is the theological of the pontifical household as well as secretary to the Commission-- emphasized that the group "had not concluded that any opening is possible regarding the ordination of female deacons." On the contrary, he said, the theologians' work had led toward the conclusion that women are not eligible for the diaconate.

Father Cottier acknowledged that the Commission did not reach a final verdict on the issue. He agreed with Msgr. Minnerath that "the magisterium must give the authoritative judgment" on the issue.

The International Theological Commission recently concluded an in-depth study of the diaconate. The group's report will be used as the basis for a new document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.