Podcast: Will the new commission on women deacons turn out any differently from the last one?

Catholic scholar and author Phyllis Zagano speaks during a symposium on the history and future of women deacons Jan. 15, 2019 at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus in New York City. Looking on is Jesuit Father Bernard Pottier, a member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission. The event was hosted by the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) 

In April of this year, the Vatican announced the creation of a new commission to study the female diaconate, following up on Pope Francis’ promise to reopen the question at the behest of the Amazonian bishops.

Listen and subscribe to Inside the Vatican on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Pope Francis had set up a previous commission to study the roles of female deacons in the early church in 2016. Though that commission’s final report had not been published, the pope described its findings as inconclusive and the members as “toads from different wells.”

This week, on our last episode of “Inside the Vatican” before our summer hiatus, I speak with one of that commission’s members, Hofstra University Professor Phyllis Zagano. We discuss the church’s history not only of ordaining women deacons, but also the recent history of the conversation around ordaining them again.

Take the Inside the Vatican Listener Survey!

When the new commission was named in April, some who favor reinstituting the female diaconate expressed concern that the many of the new commission’s members opposed ordaining women deacons. On this week’s show, Ms. Zagano, who favors ordaining women deacons, gives her take on the new commission: “Looking at the membership, they are, interestingly enough, qualified to answer a single question that I think still needs to be determined on behalf of the Holy Father, which is, what is the ministry of the diaconate today? … And if you describe that, then what about that can a woman not do?”

Links from the show:

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of Pope Francis.]

The latest from america

Many are wondering after the lack of response by the Vatican to questions raised about what Pope Francis actually said about civil unions.
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 24, 2020
Saying that his parents "taught me the importance of faith and prayer from a young age," Trump went on to say that "Melania and I have gotten to visit some amazing churches and meet with great faith leaders from around the world."
Blessed Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who used his computer programming skills to spread devotion to the Eucharist, was beatified in Assisi, Italy, Oct. 10, 2020. (CNS photo/courtesy Sainthood Cause of Carlo Acutis)
Acutis’s beatification is a beacon to all those who live their lives, for better or for worse, increasingly online.
Mike SeayOctober 24, 2020
“The government doesn’t want to reunite the children with their parent...They don’t see it as their role.”
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 23, 2020