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Pope institutes commission to study women and the diaconate

August 02, 2016

Following up on comments made in May, Pope Francis has instituted a 12-member commission to study women and the diaconate.

Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, SJ, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will serve as the commission’s president.

Among the members of the commission are Father Robert Dodaro, president of the Patristic Institute Augustinianum; Sister Mary Melone, rector of the Pontifical University Antonianum; and Phyllis Zagano, a National Catholic Reporter columnist and author of several books on women and the diaconate.


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  • Posted by: Jason C. - Aug. 03, 2016 12:13 PM ET USA

    ElizabethD said: "The point of including Zagano, an academic who has written many various things about "women deacons" and who is tenacious about this issue, is so the commission might be credible with "womens ordination" supporters." You're certainly entitled to your hyper-charitable opinion, but there's nothing to support it beyond want-to. As we saw with the Synod, it's those sort of people who ended up writing the official documents---they weren't just partisan window dressing.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Aug. 03, 2016 9:39 AM ET USA

    Francis actually indicated that he understands the research to date to have shown that deaconesses in the early Church were not sacramentally ordained. He has spoken against clericalizing women. Francis has said nothing in favor of "ordaining women deacons".

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Aug. 03, 2016 9:30 AM ET USA

    Pope Francis just exhausts me. With the cultural decay we battle every day here in the West, to be confronted constantly with a Pope who contributes to that decay (there, I've finally said it) is just too much. Question is, where to turn now?

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Aug. 03, 2016 1:49 AM ET USA

    Sorry, but in my little bubble of the universe I don't see the need for male deacons so guess where that leaves me on this issue. And yes, the Pope's vaunted commission seems to have clearly stacked the deck.

  • Posted by: Archpriest - Aug. 03, 2016 12:31 AM ET USA

    Here we go again. Not even one Eastern Catholic on this commission supposedly for "the Universal Church." Ever wonder what it feels like to be chopped liver? How can a Church claiming to be Catholic, i.e. "Universal" arrive at decisions without the fundamental input of the other Churches with whom the Roman Church is n communion.Since when can one patriarchate "go it alone"?

  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Aug. 02, 2016 7:17 PM ET USA

    I'm not so sure of your assumption. Francis has already expressed a bias that accepts the historical fiction of women deacons in the early Church. And if Francis wants it to come out that way, it would not matter if the commission formed a negative judgment. When it comes to his progressive agenda, Francis doesn't tolerate no for an answer.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Aug. 02, 2016 7:20 AM ET USA

    And the punch line... Phylliz Zagano! I participated once in an online class about women deacons that she ogranized, to see what would happen. My ideas (basically identical to Pope Francis' expressed beliefs about women deacons) were not welcome and they banned me from the class. The point of including Zagano, an academic who has written many various things about "women deacons" and who is tenacious about this issue, is so the commission might be credible with "womens ordination" supporters.