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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
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Zagano accuses DDF staff of ‘ridiculous’ heresy

September 08, 2023

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CWN Editor's Note: Phyllis Zagano, a prominent proponent of the ordination of women to the diaconate, said during an online lecture that staff of the Congregation (now Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith who oppose her position have based that opposition on a sort of heresy.

“The idea of some kind of a fourth order non-ordained has been floated, and I think that will be disastrous because the argument that I was given twice in person by staff in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is that women cannot image Christ,” she said.

“Can you spell heresy? I mean that’s ridiculous. That’s really what is called na├»ve physicalism,” she continued. “The mistake is between the human male Jesus and the Risen Lord. The Risen Lord is in you and in me. If I can’t see Jesus in males and females, I don’t see Jesus at all.”

In 2016, Pope Francis named Zagano to a commission to study the issue; the commission’s results were inconclusive. Earlier this year, Zagano argued for her position in the Vatican newspaper.


An earlier version of this brief had suggested that Zagano said the Vatican staff members had fallen into heresy because of their opposition to the ordination of women as deacons; in fact her comment was that it is heretical to say that women cannot be images of Christ.

Also, the earlier version incorrectly reported that the quote came from a lecture given in New Zealand; it was actually an online presentation for the Australian Catholic University Centre for Liturgy..

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Sep. 08, 2023 10:27 PM ET USA

    Christ did not judge reality 2 millennia ago the way that society judges it today. He chose His 12 Apostles not because He was constrained by rabbinical law to pick only men, but because they were to be fathers to His disciples. Just because Western society today professes an inability to distinguish a man from a women; this does not mean that this reality was unknown in earlier times. The constitution of the human species from the beginning manifested m/f complementarity and distinctiveness.

  • Posted by: td4207 - Sep. 08, 2023 8:43 PM ET USA

    This papal appointment is but another confusing act by Pope Francis that sends mixed signals about commitment to previously decided policies of his predecessors.