Synod calls for more church roles for women, but stops short of diaconate

Father Dario Bossi, provincial superior of the Comboni Missionaries in Brazil, Patiachi Taylor and Leah Rose Casimero leave the final session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 26, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Members of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon asked that women be given leadership roles in the Catholic Church, although they stopped short of calling for women deacons.

In the Amazon, like in the rest of the world, the essential roles women play within the family, the community and the church should be valued and recognized officially, members of the synod said in their final document.

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The document, which synod members voted on Oct. 26, included a call for the creation of “the instituted ministry of ‘woman community leader,’” something they said would help meet “the changing demands of evangelization and community care.”

"...a call for the creation of “the instituted ministry of ‘woman community leader.’”

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Speaking after the vote on the document, Pope Francis said the synod's discussion on women “falls short” of explaining who women are in the church, particularly “in the transmission of faith, in the preservation of culture. I would just like to underline this: that we have not yet realized what women mean in the church,” but instead “we focus on the functional aspect, which is important,” but is not everything.

Synod members also asked Pope Francis to revise St. Paul VI's 1972 document on ministries, “Ministeria Quaedam” (“Some Ministries”), so that women could be installed formally as lectors and acolytes and in any new ministries to be developed.

The final document also asked that “the voice of women be heard, that they be consulted and participate decision making” in the church.

“It is necessary for the church to assume with greater strength their leadership within the church and for the church to recognize and promote it by strengthening their participation in the pastoral councils of parishes and dioceses, or even in instances of government,” the document said.

While noting that a “large number” of participants in the pre-synod consultations asked for women deacons and that several members of the synod itself made such a call, the final document did not include an explicit request for such a move.

Instead, the document asked that Amazon synod members be able “to share our experiences and reflections” with members of the commission Pope Francis set up in 2016 to study the role and ministry of women deacons in the New Testament and in early Christian writings.

When many women are “victims of physical, moral and religious violence, including femicide, the church commits to defense of their rights and recognizes them a protagonists and guardians of creation,” synod members said.

In May Pope Francis told reporters that the 12 theologians and historians on the commission were unable to reach a full consensus on whether “there was an ordination with the same form and same aim as the ordination of men,” but more study was needed.

In his post-vote talk to synod members, the pope gave the same explanation, but promised that he would have the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “reconvene the commission or perhaps open it with new members.”

Pope Francis originally set up the commission at the request of the women’s International Union of Superiors General, and he told the synod he gave the commission's report to the UISG, but he promised to “pick up the gauntlet” thrown down by women at the synod who asked for further discussion.

Quoting a speech from Pope Paul in 1965, the final document said, “The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness.”

That is especially true in the Amazon, where women lead communities, educate children, teach the faith, proclaim the Gospel and work diligently to protect the environment and preserve indigenous cultures, they said.

When many women are “victims of physical, moral and religious violence, including femicide, the church commits to defense of their rights and recognizes them a protagonists and guardians of creation,” synod members said.

The document’s discussion on Catholic ministry and mission in the Amazon urged greater formation of lay men and women, emphasizing their baptismal vocation to be “missionary disciples.” Laywomen, like laymen, must be involved in the “small ecclesial missionary communities that cultivate faith, listen to the Word and celebrate together the life of the people.”

Without specifying further, the document said that “it is urgent for the church in the Amazon to promote and confer ministries for men and women in an equitable manner.”

The Pan-Amazonian Church Network, which helped prepare the synod, released a long statement Oct. 26 signed by its president and vice president: Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who was relator general of the synod; and Cardinal Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, Peru, one of the delegated presidents of the synod.

“The life of indigenous peoples in general, and of women in particular, have given a totally different tone, more alive, renewed and brave to this synod,” they said. “Their clarity, the testimony of their lives, their spiritual connection with the Amazon and their courageous cry for change" have left "an indelible mark on this synod.”

“We still have a long way to go to give these voices the space they deserve,” the cardinals said, highlighting especially the “voice of women” who are “valiantly dedicated to life.”

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J Jones
3 weeks 4 days ago

Another article on the topic. https://www.ncronline.org/news/environment/amazon-synod-calls-married-priests-pope-reopen-women-deacons-commission. Pia DiSolenni will surely be back to tell women, that they don't need to be deacons. Pia has been here to quash this discussion while demanding attention and accolades for her own entirely idiosyncratic inclusion in a leadership role, and she condescendingly reminded women who desire and feel called to serve and participate as deacons that they wouldn't get paid. These saintly male deacons don't get paid by the church, ladies! This wouldn't be your meal ticket!
https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/05/28/what-debate-over-deacons-gets-wrong-about-catholic-women-leadership; https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/09/09/should-catholic-women-preach-mass-heres-better-question).

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 weeks 2 days ago

J Jones
Simply unforgivable that Pia Solenni has a view so opposed to your own that you find it necessary to link her to every article printed concerning women so that you can “have another go at bashing her”. Again I suggest you publish your theological credentials so that they can be compared to those of Miss Di Solenni

J Jones
3 weeks 2 days ago

This issue isn't her theology. (It isn't convincing; and credentialed theologists have that covered).

The issue is the sexism and elitism she employs to sell her theology to correct and shame women who want to be fully included in the Church, in the way Pia was included and in other ways.

Every excluded community has been asked to buy a version of what Pia tries to sell other women: thete just is not enough to go around and, besides, this is just the way it is. And it isn't as good as you think: the club isn't as powerful as you think it is and the benefits aren't what you think. Those of us already included have this covered; quit thinking about yourself and go help where you are really needed. And by the way you had better give me credit for working hard and getting in and you had better give them credit for recognizing me and letting me in" (even though there is likely an untold story there).

It is despicable.

Pia, standing on second base on a walk, tells other women to quit demanding to play ball. Again, it is despicable.

And worthy of pushback at every opportunity. It always was, always is and always will be worthy of pushback at every opportunity. As I said, Pia is engaged in an old dynamic, and it is a despicable dynamic. She demanded credit for it, and she got it.

And no, it isn't sour grapes. I am a white American woman, military officer's daughter, sent by two patents with graduate degrees (both Jesuit educated) to be educated at private schools; I have a graduate degree and a professional income as a single person close to the national household median. I am fortunate that my calling to religious life in the Church was to the sisters' communities and that my chosen field has not been preferred by men, or I would have experienced exclusion. But, because of the latter two realities, I haven't experienced exclusion.

Instead, I have experienced inclusion based on the above and I know it and, thus, I know how "inclusion" works to create and sustain exclusion and justify it as moral. It isn't.

And no none of that is "guilt" or "burden" due to privilege that I gained by birth, by family, by circumstance, by privilege begetting privilege. It is acknowledgment that, by virtue of all those circumstances, I do have privilege and every single person in the world is as deserving as I of those circumstances and those privileges. It is truth and THAT is the obligation and burden and it, too, belongs to every single one of us.

Nora Bolcon
3 weeks 2 days ago

Or maybe they couldn't get it passed because no women are voting. Kinda like having a synod on black people's rites and allowing no black people any votes.

Everyday I am that much closer to leaving and just joining a church that actually values women like the Episcopalian Church. Maybe the traditionalists are right, we should just all become Episcopalians if we care about Justice and then the 75,000 Catholics that are left can watch the entire structure collapse due to lack of members and money. We start ordaining married men and no women priests and I am gone baby gone! and so will my family be gone. But that is ok. These Traditionalist will just continue to lie to themselves and tell themselves we left due to some other reason not the real one, misogyny.

J Jones
3 weeks 2 days ago

Yes, Nora. The excluded are always dependent on the included if the goal is inclusion of the excluded.

And that is why those who are included need to be relentlessly challenged by each other and relentlessly challenged by the excluded.

Crystal Watson
3 weeks 2 days ago

Di Solenni is a super conservative, a graduate of conservative religious schools, who worked for conservative organizations like the Family Research Council and Catholic Answers (UK). No great surprise she's from Orange County or that she is against women's rights. To say her theology is slanted is an understatement.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 1 day ago

JJ - you think it "despicable", despicable, despicable (3 times) that Pia is a faithful Catholic, pure and simple. Just think how anti-Catholic that sounds!. For you (and Nora & Crystal), the only acceptable Catholic woman has to be a bad Catholic! You really should take your hate somewhere else, This venom is doing your soul no good..

J Jones
3 weeks ago

Tim, my stated objections to Di Solenni's writings here (see links above) do not have anything to do with her theology. My stated objections have everything to do with the way she uses her position in the Church to speak to other women about their experience in and of the Catholic Church. She explicitly seeks to shape other women's understanding of their role and their understanding of other female theologians in the RCC and, thus, their own faith community. She was unknown to me until I read her two articles here and, after reading the first, I began looking at some of her other comments on the topic of women in the RCC. I found this article, https://thomasaquinas.edu/alumni/faith-action-blog/theological-journey-dr-pia-de-solenni, in which her college reports that her position as theological advisor to her Bishop "was created specifically for her by .. Bishop Vann". I also found this EWTN video https://youtu.be/u-MPUAsaWJk. All of my objections to Di Solenni's are contained in these four items, three of them created by DiSolenni herself. Her words speak for themselves, and the article from her college makes it clear that DiSolenni's leadership role in the Roman Catholic Church is highly idiosyncratic and, circling back around to the beginning of her first article here, make many of her comments on the topic of women in the Church (including the opening paragraph to her first article here) absurd and, yes, despicable. That has nothing to do with her theology or her faithfulness. That has everything to do with the age-old dynamic I described above.
PS My personal world is chock full of Catholic women, most of them far more traditional than I. They are vowed sisters, Cursillestas, Catholic Workers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, deacons' wives, catechism teachers, workers in Catholic non-profits, and a few protest outside PP clinics. My objections to DiSolenni are exactly as I stated above.

You have a fantasy, Tim, about Catholic women who disagree on some topics with other Catholic women. It's weird. You comment often that (summarizing here) women disagreeing with women is a violation of feminism. Tim, feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings and should have the same rights and access and opportunities as men. End of story. Feminism, then, has zip to say about women agreeing or disagreeing with or criticizing or refraining from criticizing women. It is not a club. It is not a sorority. It is not a secret handshake. It is not a loyalty clause. It is the radical notion that women are human beings too and should have the same rights and access and opportunities as men. By the way, it appears to me that Di Solenni agrees with that and is a feminist, everywhere but in the institutional RCC.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks ago

JJ - you are either being completely disingenuous or have a huge blind spot. I listened and read (again) the links you sent about Pia Di Solenni. Absolutely nothing she says or writes differs from what Catholic male clergy or other orthodox Catholic women & men say. She throws no insults around and is respectful about women who disagree with her. So, when you describe her as despicable (x3), or sexist, misogynist, shallow, or standing on her head with circular arguments, you are attacking her person and not the argument, and way out of proportion to her arguments - which can only be because SHE IS A WOMAN who dares defend the faith. The complimentarity of women and men is the Church's orthodox and scriptural understanding of women and men. You say - how dare she, a woman, defend her faith!

Also, your definition of feminism is like a white supremacist saying his neo-nazi movement is just about fairness for Europeans. You forgot the feminist's absolute demand to have complete control of the life of the unborn, to the point of killing another human being (in the millions). I of course accept the not-so-radical notion that women are human beings and should have the same rights and access and opportunities as men. But if it doesn't take into account women's individual preferences and desires, and doesn't accept the reality of the complementarity of men and women, it will be an oppressive form of sameness, and will hurt both men and women. Furthermore, to quote Pia: "We have to move beyond our functional world to a more metaphysical world. In other words, we have to shift the conversation from doing to being." It is an infallible teaching that a small minority of men are called to be priests and that their ordination changes them ontologically, and that this is God's plan. Most men and all women are excluded from the priesthood because they are not called by God. Some women and all men are excluded from the vocation of motherhood, and that too is God's plan. This is theology. You can call me despicable and misogynist for stating this again and for agreeing with Pia, but notice how you keep your greatest wrath for Pia. It can only be because she is a woman. You need to be fairer to women who disagree with you. Your dispute is not with them. It is with the well-established teaching of the Catholic Church.

J Jones
3 weeks ago

Tim, again, my objection to Di Solenni's writings and words are not to her theology (or yours; sorry, Tim). I disagree with it and have no interest in arguing about it. That Di Solenni is a woman defending her faith is also entirely beside the point. She is not unique in either category which is itself not a criticism; it is simply a fact: her theology is centuries' old and tens of millions of women around the world defend their faith, among them tens of hundreds of thousands of Catholic women, including faithful Catholic women who disagree with Di Solenni. Nothing new under the sun there, Tim.

You misunderstand my use of the words "circle back around the the first paragraph of her first article on this subject here" as a description of "circular arguments".

I was referencing, quite explicitly, the first paragraph of the first article she wrote her on this subject: "Two years ago I was on a panel at the University of Notre Dame where a fellow presenter lamented the almost total absence of women in leadership in the church. Perhaps she did not read my bio or listen to my presentation. During the panel discussion, I finally had to interject that I was the chancellor of one of the largest dioceses in the country and fourth on the organization chart for the Diocese of Orange. (https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/05/28/what-debate-over-deacons-gets-wrong-about-catholic-women-leadership).

In chastising her co-panelists for the second time in public, Di Solenni fails to note that her leadership role followed on the heels of her appointment, by the same Bishop, to a position which was specifically created for her: "A member of the Thomas Aquinas College Class of 1993, Dr. de Solenni is the theological consultant to the Office of the Bishop for the Diocese of Orange, a position created specifically for her by the Most Rev. Bishop Kevin Vann." (https://thomasaquinas.edu/alumni/faith-action-blog/theological-journey-dr-pia-de-solenni).

Having demanded recognition (twice, publicly) for her role in RCC leadership and having cited her herself (twice, publicly) as the rebuttal case to her co-panelists statement that there are not enough women in positions of leadership in the RCC, Di Solenni omits the salient fact that the Bishop who appointed her to her leadership position had very recently created another leadership position specifically for her and then moves on to discourage other women from pursuing their callings and desired leadership roles in the Church by telling them:

1) there aren't enough leadership positions to go around (https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/05/28/what-debate-over-deacons-gets-wrong-about-catholic-women-leadership);
2) that women who feel called to and are advocating inclusion in the Diaconate are "limit[ing]" themselves to "emulating male models"(https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/09/09/should-catholic-women-preach-mass-heres-better-question);
3) re: Deacons, "theirs is not a paid role" and she "admire[s] their selflessness". The vast majority roles women fulfill in the Church, today and across history, are also unpaid, which leaves one to wonder about her point. (https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/05/28/what-debate-over-deacons-gets-wrong-about-catholic-women-leadership};
4) "we have already proven that women and men can do many of the same things" (https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/09/09/should-catholic-women-preach-mass-heres-better-question);
5) women need to focus where they can have real influence (https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/05/28/what-debate-over-deacons-gets-wrong-about-catholic-women-leadership);
6) and "the Church isn't really all that powerful anyway" (this EWTN video https://youtu.be/u-MPUAsaWJk).

Di Solenni is engaged in very old dynamic. Having slipped through the clubhouse door because a friend propped open the door (that "position created especially for her by Bishop Kevin Vann"), she then goes on to tell all those who don't have a Bishop to create new leadership roles for them that there is not enough room in the club she joined for everyone else who seeks to belong; their motives for belonging to the club she joined are misguided; she is staying in the club but they are needed elsewhere; and, cherry on top, the club isn't nearly as great as they think it is anyway. Again, the issue is not her theology. Again, the issue is not that she is a woman defending her faith. She is not unique when it comes to either her theology or her identity as an orthodox Catholic woman.

The issue is that Di Solenni slipped through the clubhouse door when a friend propped it open for her and is now busily telling other women all the reasons why they shouldn't want to or try to participate in the club, too. That is an old dynamic, and it is reprehensible behavior.

My dispute is 100% with DiSolenni's written and spoken words in the articles and videos I have cited here. I know that is dissatisfying for you. I leave you to it.

As I said, because of where I have lived over the last two decades, almost all of the Catholic women in my life are far more conservative than I am; we disagree on a great deal; and they are good women and good friends. Funny how that works. I leave you also to your right-wing rants about feminism. It is good to know you get the sarcasm in the saying about feminism but you fail to understand why it remains a radical (root) issue. I also leave you to your fantasies about women and disagreements between them.

***Tim, I am curious. When did you convert to Catholicism?

Tim O'Leary
2 weeks 6 days ago

JJ - Sorry to disappoint you. I am a cradle Catholic. You still miss the point of Pia's arguments, which is that of Pope Francis - clericalism is an inordinate obsession to the perceived power in the clergy. You think there is some deprivation going on because women cannot be ordained. Feminism is always "gimme, gimme, gimme." They grasp at what they perceive as a powerful position, even if they really don't even want the role and don't believe in what the Church teaches anyway. Like a dog in a manger, just because some man has it, they must demand it. They grasp at sex without responsibility because they see men being promiscuous, forgetting that the damage to the unique feminine psyche uniquely harms them. They demand the right to contracept or even abort a child because they think that gives them freedom. The fundamental problem of the feminist ideology is its failure to give the feminine its due. It is a false anthropology, an anti-Christian anthropology.

J Jones
2 weeks 6 days ago

Tim, I get it that you choose not to acknowledge my factual issue with Di Solenni's written words here and elsewhere. I get it that you are wedded (pun intended) to your fantasy about feminism and feminists. It is a strange one. I sincerely think you need to get out more. Peace, Tim.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 4 days ago

I thought this was a synod on getting the sacraments to the remote people in the Amazon delta, not about Amazonians of Ancient Greece? This article suggests the indigenous peoples were just a pawn in heretical progressive shenanigans.

J Jones
3 weeks 4 days ago

Imagine! Catholics able to recognize that women, who are approx 50% of the human population, might be relevant to discussion of human life and community and, thus, leadership

Douglas Fang
3 weeks 4 days ago

“…heretical progressive…”. Who is heretical here? Someone who considers himself/herself wiser than the collective wisdom of the Pope and Synod of Bishops working under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? If someone cannot accept that the Holy Spit is working in a mysterious way here and now when there is a gathering of the Synod of Bishops with the Pope in Rome, he/she should not pretend to proclaim the true Catholic faith anymore. If faith is something that is true only when it conforms to your understanding of the revelation of God, no matter how sincere you are, then you act exactly like the Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus, who believed so sure in their thousand’s years of Jewish faith and tradition and condemned Jesus to death.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 4 days ago

Douglas - Don't be a pharisee yourself and chill. I was not referring to the Holy Father about the progressive heretics, but about those who have pushed for overturning infallible teaching. That would be heresy. The ordination of married men is not a doctrinal issue, but one of discipline. The ordination of women to the priesthood is a doctrinal issue, as stated by the Magisterium, the popes (including Francis) and the CDF and therefore to oppose infallible teaching is heresy. Just what in that logic do you not get, if you are Catholic? Also, the Holy Spirit does not "in a mysterious way" contradict Himself. That would be voodoo (seemingly now popular in some heretical progressive circles).

As to criticizing the management or prudence or wisdom of a pope or bishop or priest, that is what you do whenever you criticize the handling of the child abuse scandal or the finances or clerical appointments or whatever. That is never heretical in itself, even if it is not always informed. One can even criticize saints for their mismanagement, as some have rightly done with St. Pope JP II the Great. people are fallible even when saints. The Holy Spirit does not make men perfect when they become pope. he just prevents them from teaching error.

J Jones
3 weeks 4 days ago

Douglas, it is a very very very tidy and self-justifying and -confirming argument that ultraconservative Catholics like Tim cannot allow themselves to question because their faith is tied to those arguments created and reified by humans.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 3 days ago

JJ - it is just how Catholicism works, without all the gobbledygook faithlessness the ultraprogressives try to bring in to depart from the Church Jesus founded. Every progressive wing of every progressive Christian denomination play the same game - to remove Christ and His teaching from the center, and to relativize Holy Scripture and to make it a slave to modernist thinking. Everywhere it is tried, people leave. Since so many of the peoples of the Amazon are leaving the faith for Pentacostalism and paganism, one has to ask what the missionaries of the past 20 years have been preaching and teaching? As Scripture says: by their fruits you will know them (Mt 7:16, Lk 6:44).

J Jones
3 weeks 3 days ago

Tim, I leave you to your railing.

Douglas Fang
3 weeks 3 days ago

Tim – thank you for your response. It really does confirm my assessment of your type of Catholics…

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 3 days ago

You’re welcome Douglas. Likewise.

A Fielder
3 weeks 2 days ago

Tim, you made a reference to "infallible" teaching. What you should have written is "definitive." I know we are splitting hairs, but they are not the same.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 1 day ago

A Fielder - the definitive means infallible in this case, according to 3 Popes - St. JP II, BXVI & Francis. The most recent reiteration of this "infallibility" was in May 30, 2019 by Cardinal Ladaria, the head of the CDF of Pope Francis, in response to questions on the infallibility of this question "John Paul II referred to this infallibility in Ordinatio sacerdotalis....To hold that it is not definitive, it is argued that it was not defined ex cathedra and that, then, a later decision by a future Pope or council could overturn it," he states. "Sowing these doubts creates serious confusion among the faithful, not only about the Sacrament of Orders as part of the divine constitution of the Church, but also about the ability of the ordinary magisterium to teach Catholic doctrine in an infallible way." See the 3 key references linked below.
Wed May 30, 2019: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/ladaria-ferrer/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20180529_caratteredefinitivo-ordinatiosacerdotalis_en.html
1995: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/concerning-the-teaching-contained-in-ordinatio-sacerdotalis-2133
1994: https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1994/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19940522_ordinatio-sacerdotalis.html

Jim Smith
3 weeks 4 days ago

In the actual Amazon, there are more than 140 different language groups and thus scores of different pagan cultures and creeds.
So, to talk about the Amazon people is as meaningless as talking about African people.when it comes to particular issues.

We must remember, NONE of the above mentioned language groups ever had the characteristics of the Amazons, the female self-governed military trained warrior princesses; they are the usual male dominated groups ruled by a big man with women and children as property or chattels. DNA studies have shown that up to 40% of the children are fathered by the big man, laboratory tested fact.

Neither the Pentecostals nor the Protestants are ignorant of these things and deal with the evangelistic and catechistic and pastoral challenges appropriately.

Crystal Watson
3 weeks 3 days ago

So we still can't be deacons, still can't be priests. We can be "community leaders" which I believe means we can do all the scut work. That's the way Pope Francis wants it, so they pleased their boss. The statement that the church "commits to the defense of women's rights" is a joke - the church is one of the main impediments to the rights of women and one of the main examples of institutionalized sexism.

J Jones
3 weeks 3 days ago

Crystal -- read the article I linked to above. It appears Pope Francis is likely to re-open the commission on the diaconate.

I agree: the sexism in the Roman Catholic Church and heralded by so many Catholics (men and women) is repugnant, and it won't last. This synod makes it clear to me. It won't last. There is going to be a lot of hysterical carrying on and then it will change.

I just read a story about a priest in a small town who was panicked about the decrease in vocations to the priesthood. He banned girls from being altar servers so that role could be saved for boys who might be intimidated by the skill and commitment of the girls. I thought to myself: there it is, the whole thing in a nutshell.

The world has changed in fundamental ways. The idea that God is invested in men running the Catholic Church is a comic absurdity to most of the world.

Crystal Watson
3 weeks 3 days ago

Hi J. Thanks for the link. I'd like to be hopeful about the pope and women deacons, but I'm not because ... 1) it wasn't his idea to explore the issue, 2) in speaking about women deacons in the early church, he basically dismissed their duties, 3) his commission on women deacons was not created to decide if women can be deacons now, but to decide what the role of women deacons in the past was, something that's already been studied a lot, and 4) real women deacons would be ordained, and that would mean they could in theory be priests as well, something Francis has said would "never" happen in his church. Maybe I'm wrong, but Francis has said a lot of derogatory and sexist things about women and he has done nothing to counter his words, so I don't believe he thinks men and women are equal or that women deserve to be ordained as deacons or priests.

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