Why Not Women? A bishop makes a case for expanding the diaconate.
Can women receive sacred orders? Let us consult several authoritative sources. Canon 1024 of the Code of Canon Law states, “A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.” In 1994 Pope John Paul II said, “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” And the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has weighed in on the issue more than once. A statement in 1995 read, “This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written word of God and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium.” And in 2010 the doctrinal congregation stated, “both the one who attempts to confer sacred ordination on a woman, and she who attempts to receive sacred ordination incur a latae sententiae [automatic] excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.” And so the issue is settled.
Or is it?
Development of Early Church Ministries
Jesus chose the Twelve and others to help spread the word that God was working in the world uniquely through him. After his death and resurrection, local communities of believers formed; and within them leaders emerged or were chosen. In a natural way, the shape of such leadership was often borrowed from contemporary society. There were episkopoi, or “overseers,” in synagogues, who managed finances and sometimes settled disputes, and overseers in the civic world responsible for community projects, like the building of a road. There were presbyteroi, or “elders,” councils of men who formed administrative boards in synagogues and other religious institutions. Adopted by the Christian communities, these offices would develop into the episcopate and priesthood.
Very early in the life of the church, around A.D. 55, the Letter to the Philippians names the episkopoi and diakonoi among its addressees. This latter group is our focus. Many ministries contributed to the fruitful life of the community. Some were transient, like speaking in tongues or prophecy, while others, like teaching, required more permanence. In the New Testament, a whole range of such contributions to community well-being are clustered under the heading of the Greek verb diakonein and its related nouns. An inclusive translation of these words would be “to minister,” “ministry,” “minister.” A diakonos in the secular society of the day was someone chosen and entrusted by another person with carrying out a specific task. This meaning carries over in the ministry words found in letters written by or attributed to St. Paul. Such services entrusted to a believer by God and/or the community could range from preaching the Gospel to encouraging the community to taking up a collection for hungry believers in Jerusalem during a famine.
In the First Letter of Timothy, which most scholars date at the end of the first century, the word “deacons” appears to be used in a more narrow way. Requirements for the office (3:8-12) are not especially “spiritual” but basic to living with integrity: “dignified,” “not deceitful,” “not addicted to drink,” “not greedy,” “holding fast to the mystery of faith,” “tested first,” “must be married only once and manage their children and their households well.” What exactly the deacons did is not spelled out, although in Acts 6 and 7 they care for the needy and preach.
1 Timothy also stipulates that “women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers, but temperate and faithful in everything.” Much has been written about whether these women are the wives of deacons or deacons themselves. There is good reason to believe that they, too, are deacons. Paul in the Letter to the Romans famously calls Phoebe a diakonos, the only named individual explicitly so designated in the New Testament.
Here a note of caution is called for. It would be premature to make judgments about the diaconate today from these passages, since the specific nature of this ministry is not clearly defined.
What Deacons Did
By the third century, the hierarchical structure of church communities had developed into the now familiar pattern: bishop at the top, then priest, then deacon. Deacons, ordained with an imposition of hands, taught, cared for the needy and assisted in the celebration of the Eucharist and baptism. In some places they administered the finances of the community.
Circumstances also created a need for women to serve as deacons. Since persons were unclothed when they were baptized, having men ministering to women would have been highly improper. The same reservation would apply to men visiting sick women in their homes.
Women deacons instructed women converts and greeted women who came to the Christian gatherings. There is no evidence that they had a public role in teaching or preaching. By the end of the fourth century in the Eastern churches, they were considered part of the clergy, made so through the laying on of hands.
Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek in Ordained Women in the Early Church: A Documentary History, sum up the situation in the East: “Female deacons…exercised liturgical roles, supervised the lives of women faithful, provided ongoing care for women baptizands, and were seen going on pilgrimage and interacting with their own families and the general population in a variety of ways.”
Testimony about women deacons in the West is much scarcer and does not appear until the fifth century. Inscriptions from Africa, Gaul, Rome and Dalmatia, for example, each name a woman deacon. The decrees of three church councils in France, in 441, 517 and 533, prohibiting their ordination are testimony that the institution continued for at least 80 years after its prohibition. It is remarkable to note that in 1017, Pope Benedict VIII wrote to the bishop of Porto in Portugal giving him authority to ordain presbyters, deacons, deaconesses and subdeacons.
By the end of the sixth century, however, the office of deacon for women outside monasteries was already in decline. One of the reasons given for this is the notion of cultic purity, meaning a suitability to approach sacred places and objects. It was believed that menstruation and childbirth made a woman ritually “impure.” Another factor was the move away from adult baptism—with its attendant nudity and need for modesty—to infant baptism. Communities of nuns would take over the nursing, charitable and teaching ministries without being ordained deacons. By the 12th century, women deacons anywhere were rare.
The permanent male diaconate was also disappearing. Tensions arose over the understanding and practice of the ministry of priest and deacon. Many of the services of the deacon were gradually absorbed into the priesthood or taken up by other orders: subdeacons, acolytes, doorkeepers. The diaconate changed from a permanent office into a step on the way to priesthood.
The Current Situation
In recent years, several Eastern Orthodox Church conferences have called for the ordination of women to the diaconate. The Armenian Apostolic Church, which is not in union with Rome but is recognized by Rome as being in the line of succession to the apostles, with mutual recognition of sacraments and orders, has always had women deacons, though only a few serve today. Their ministry includes service at the Eucharist.
But what about the Roman Catholic Church?
The Second Vatican Council opened a new era by returning the diaconate to a permanent order. Today about 40,000 men throughout the world are deacons. Knowledge of the historical presence of women deacons would raise the issue of their ordination. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a declaration in 1976 that reaffirmed the exclusion of women from the priesthood. The official commentary commissioned by the C.D.F., however, had acknowledged the existence of “deaconesses” in the early church but was uncertain whether they had received sacramental ordination. The congregation had decided that this discussion “should be kept for the future.”
The first draft of what was to be a pastoral letter by the bishops of the United States on the role of women in society and the church appeared in 1988. It stated, “we recommend that the question of the admission of women to the diaconal office” be submitted to thorough investigation and that “this study be undertaken and brought to completion soon.” Differences of opinion emerged as the letter worked its way through discussions by the full body of bishops. When the letter was finally approved in November 1992, it noted that admission to the diaconate was among the concerns women had brought to the committee. The letter acknowledged “the need for continuing dialogue and reflection on the meaning of ministry in the church, particularly in regard to the diaconate, the offices of lector and acolyte and to servers at the altar.” The document was approved for release not as a pastoral letter of the episcopate but as a committee report. The sense of urgency or priority had disappeared.
Obstacles to considering women for ordination to the diaconate were formidable. Canon 1024 limited sacred ordination to males, as we have seen. This exclusion was based on the practice of Jesus and the church’s long tradition of ordaining only men and on the so-called iconic argument. Articulated regularly, as in Pope John Paul II’s “Letter to Women” of 1995, the reasoning is that the person ordained is to be an icon, or living representation, of Jesus as bridegroom and shepherd and therefore male.
In 2009 a very significant paragraph was added to Canon 1009 of the Code of Canon Law. It states that bishops and priests “receive the mission and capacity to act in the person of Christ the Head; deacons, however, are empowered to serve the People of God in the ministries of the liturgy, the word and charity.” This wording had already appeared in the modified Catechism of the Catholic Church issued in English in 1997. In other words, the diaconate is a sacred order but with a difference from the episcopate or priesthood. Bishops and priests represent “Christ the Head,” but this characteristic is not included in the description of deacons in their service to the people of God. Iconic maleness is not a requirement for them.
The International Theological Commission advises the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on important doctrinal matters. In 2002, it issued the results of its study on the diaconate under the title “From the Diaconate of Christ to the Diaconate of the Apostles.” This study also anticipates the change in Canon 1009 by emphasizing that “the unity of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, in the clear distinction between the ministries of the bishops and priests on the one hand and the diaconal ministry on the other, is strongly underlined by ecclesial tradition, especially in the teaching of the magisterium.” As for the ordination of women to the diaconate, it concludes, “It pertains to the ministry of discernment which the Lord established in his Church to pronounce authoritatively on this question.” It leaves the ordination of women to the diaconate an open question. It is rumored that more than one bishop, from the United States and other countries, has raised the issue during ad limina visits to the Vatican.
Why Women Deacons?
Women already minister extensively in the church. Consecrated religious serve in various fields. Thousands of other women serve in diocesan offices; in parishes as administrators, pastoral associates, directors of religious education, in the whole spectrum of parish life; in hospitals; in prisons. In contrast to the women of ancient times, women today play a very important part in public life, holding high offices in government, business, the professions and education. Cultural reasons to exclude women from the diaconate, at least in the West, no longer apply.
Ordaining women as deacons who have the necessary personal, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral qualities would give their indispensable role in the life of the church a new degree of official recognition, both of their ministry and of their direct connection to their diocesan bishop for assignments and faculties. Besides providing such women with the grace of the sacrament, ordination would enable them to exercise diaconal service in the teaching, sanctifying and governing functions of the church; it would also make it possible for them to hold ecclesiastical offices now limited to those in sacred orders. And as the International Theological Commission document points out, what the Second Vatican Council was proposing was not a “restoration of a previous form” but “the principle of the permanent exercise of the diaconate [italics in the French original and in the English translation] and not one form which the diaconate had taken in the past.” Who knows what new and grace-filled enrichment of that ministry might grow from the ordination of women as deacons?
The ordination of women to the diaconate is separate from the question of the ordination of women to the priesthood, as this discussion has, I hope, shown. That issue was addressed by the 1995 declaration of Pope John Paul II. Regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate, it is up to episcopal conferences and bishops, to theologians and historians and to concerned Catholics to raise the issue for wider and more public consideration.
Listen to a conversation with Bishop Emil A. Wcela.
I still wonder how was it that the Vatican allowed the publication of Cardinal Martini's last interview. Maybe, in this era of technological communication and free press they couldn't stop it.
The material in this welcome article is based on structural rather than Spiritual tradition. When we look at the now well-cemented tradition of ordination for men only (despite numberous scriptural and archeological suggestions otherwise) we are seeing through the lens of an institutional church, a church that is not currently using an Apostolic model, but rather an institutional model (top down unilaterally teach, sanctify and rule) that is reemerging as the central power attempts to repress the Spirit invited through Vatican II.
If Church models such as the Community as the Body of Christ or Servant Church, which sees the Divine rather than the Institution as the center of the church, we might well have continued or established and welcomed the gifts of women in a sacramental role.
Change of focus invites new insights.
In a spirit-centered church, more interested in revelation than in institution, my vocation and that of many many of my sisters to priestly ordination, would at least had the blessed possibility of discernment. That would allow for the question of fitness to be engaged because it would acknowledge that through call and baptism the Spirit can indeed invite each of us. Structure here trumps Spirit at every turn.
The people of God are often denied sacramental life based on rules, not call.
As Spirit would have it, my vocation was discerned and encouraged, blessed and journeyed with by the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, a tradition that is, incidently, in apostolic succession. Now through Grace and their willingness, I am able to be in ministry to groups of people whom the Roman Church has managed to abandon: those who have marriage problems, those who are gay/bisexual/transgender.
There is much left to be learned from the ways in which the Spirit, who blows where She will, wishes to invite Her people into the work of this world.
Call me simple, and I'm certain many would, but a child of God is a child of God, man or woman, and each is equally capable of hearing God's calling loud and clear-none should be prevented from following where that calling leads.
From the looks of things around here, the last thing that seems obvious is growth of the church, in fact it looks like the opposite. It makes me want to ask the Church: are you trying to promote growth or with archaic ideas and restrictions preventing it? Especially with the subject of women. Women are a viable, valuable and essential part of our society, our world, our church. To ban them in any area in any respect is to thwart productivity and healthy growth. You may as well deprive a plant of water and sunlight and expect it to grow as to deprive the church of the much needed energy, contributions and enrichment women can and are so eager to contribute and nourish our church with. It is not alright to continue to use their talents, time, expertise and energy in areas that benefit a particular project or take up the slack due to dwindling vocations and out of one side of the mouth say that this is okay, and out of the other remind them that they may not fulfill their calling to the fullest if it be where it is considered to be an "only men allowed" area. Women are not stupid. We are fully aware that we are not second class citizens. I would say to the Church: Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. Instead, let the Holy Spirit flow where she may and watch the fruits of the Spirit flourish as never before!
Women are doing diaconal service now. My husband and I were in Deacon Formation for 4 1/2 years, when he changed his mind. I was ready to serve as a "Deacon Couple". As a Catholic School teacher and Spiritual Director there are many things I can do. I lector, EM, am a Music Minister, serve on the Liturgy Board, and Pastoral Council. I give Retreats and workshops in my Diocese, and when allowed, conducted Word and Communion Services, when our priest was on Retreat. As a delegate for our Synod I spoke at the unofficial meeting, on the ordination of woman to Diaconate. "... the Catholic Church has been One, Holy, Apostolic Men's Club. It is time for the Ordination of Women!"Deacons preach. We need to hear a woman's voice too! We have alot to say. Having been given the gift of an awesome education, I do not want to bury it. The Church would be thriving now, if women were truly allowed to use all their gifts and talents. The Spirit of Phoebi is alive!
What concerns me more immediately is the jeopardy in which we have placed the source and summit of our Christian life, the Eucharist. What we do about this will determine the contours of the church to come.
At one point in his Pontificate Blessed John Paul II said the deaconate was not a part of Holy Orders, but something altogether other. It's been made to look "priestly" but it's not. It's "ministerial" in service to Christ and his Church whom we are. So Bishop Wcela's suggestion may be ecclesially sound.
However, the same Holy father "definitively" declared that the Church does not have authority from Christ to ordain women to the priesthood, implying if she could she would. So the case is closed. I used to wonder if St. Paul gave some wriggle room on the subject, teaching that, "in Christ there is neither male, or female." Isn't priesthood all about being "in Christ" or as they say, "in persona Christi." But I guess not. I'm not rooting for women priests, just doing some undefinitive musing, agreeing entirely with St. Augustine who said, "We must always FEEL with the Church." I do, but where there's wriggle, I like to wriggle!
Incidentally, women in the priesthood is not the brainchild of the Women's Liberation Movement et al, but goes 'way back to 494 when Pope Gelasius I put an end to the practice that has crept into the Church in Southern Italy and Sicily. Canon XI of the Fourth Laodicean Council also forbade the practice.
Whatever the need, the Spirit will guide the Church. Hopefully the Church is attentively listening
Given the above, I find it very hard to imagine why women would want to get involved in something which appears to me to be so unjust.
While a married man may be ordained, an ordained man may not marry. If a married deacon's wife dies, he may apply via his provincial council of bishops (the USCCB in the US) to remarry. Typically, this permission is granted if he has "legitimate reasons for seeking a partner", as the writer suggests.
Thank you, Phyllis Zagano, for the clarification.I'm not quite sure that needing to "get permission" makes the issue "go away" for me. I agree with Craig B. McKee that there is a dense, hidden, and complex multi-layered substratum to be explored.
The Church needs to hear the voices of women. Being the primary liturgy is the Mass, allowing women to preach is the most important aspect of having women deacons.
A appreciate the scholarship involved in tracking down ordinations of women int he past. But I think that for today, we need only appeal to EVOLUTION! As we now know, evolution involves not only the anatomical structure of the human body, of plansts and aninale, etc, but to EVERY institution of human origins: whether of politcs, art, music, work, societies, etc. thus it can apply to all religions, christian included. It is now time for the women to be ordained to the deconate and even priesthood because of their special gifts, contributions they can made, and,even for the lack of male ordinands.
Well said Fr. Thomas #30. St. Catherine of Siena advised Popes, St. Joan of Arc led men in battle, they didnt need to be ordained to bless the Church with their gifts. Female diaconate should perhaps be explored. Yet predicatbly some of you of have devolved this discussion into women being priests. The Church as the bride of Christ can only bear spiritual fruit from a male ordained clergy representing Christ. Natural law; males and females procreate. A female priesthood creates a lesbian relationship with the Church that will bear no fruit.
An attestation to the extent that society has degraded is the current push for women in combat, as if combat were some neighborhood social gathering instead of the horrific reality it is. War, combat, is hard enough on men but is utterly destructive of the kindness, compassion and generosity of women, the femininity of women. Femininty must be nurtured and protected (from bad men, in far too many cases) a concept regarded as a quaint anachronism in contemporary society, much like character, integrity, honor and all the rest of it.
Deacons are more than peripherally involved in evincing the often exceedingly difficult moral stds which much be upheld for the evolution of a good, moral, stable society. Womens' femininity generally would stand in the way of asserting and living these hard truths. - e.g. abortion, viewed by far too many as a compassionate response to the exceedingly difficult circumstances a woman whose emotions have been played on by an evil and opportunistic man, professing undying love where none exists, finds herself in when she becomes pregnant. The way out, the way to remedy things per the dismayingly large number of people who evince this dismaying and evil mindset, is the destruction of the obviously innocent nascent child (children are obviously innocent whatever the circumstances of their conception - another obvious truism which wouldn't have to be explicated in a normal, much less evil society than ours), who is crushed, sliced and dismembered so as to 'remedy' the problem.
Things don't always occur in just this way as women, regrettably, in spite of their usually loving tendencies, are also capable of evil, sometimes grave evil. Indeed many abortions, maybe most, occur as a result of irresponsibile sexuality, convenience. Kill the child and the (trite) problem's gone. We're depraved.
It's not for nothing that moral and social norms have been so strongly effected in most societies over the milennia, they're the glue holding things together, and it's only now, in our current crazy, deranged, catastrophically evil times that they've ever been seriously questioned.
Women shouldn't be deacons - NOT on scriptural grounds (which, as the article points out, are shaky), NOT on canonical grounds (perhaps more terra firma here), but because their inherent biological femininity would make them "less tough" or Heaven forbid, more PASTORAL on abortion or other Church teachings?
She's a troll, dude. Don't feed the troll.
200 years ago no nation on earth had a woman president or prime minister; no university or college had a female president.
In the secular world todayI see online a 20th century list of dozens of female presidents or prime ministers of their country (I don’t see Hillary Clinton’s name: she is only United States Secretary of State), and of female university and college presidents.
In the Catholic Church todaysome still object to girls as altar servers.
Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini died 31 August 2012. On 1 September 2012 the premier Italian daily Corriere della Sera published what Cardinal Martini had given as the “interview to be published after his death.” (Probably the Osservatore Romano would have just mentioned it as the very beautiful, personal, spiritual testament of the deceased saintly cardinal…). This is Carlo Carlo Maria Martini’s statement in his last interview: “The Church is 200 years behind the times.”
I teach at a major Catholic university. Most of my Catholic students do not -according to their own reports- attend Mass regularly. Many of these young people simply are not interested the Church.
So you can argue as long as you like about whether female deacons can dance on the head of a pin. Fewer and fewer people are listening.
However, the young I teach seem to feel a deep hunger for the spiritual dimension of life. They are finding nourishment in Buddhism, Sufism and the Hindu mystical traditions.
JP II's cooments referenced in comment 20 above seem to be a move to draw a line between deacon and Priest/bishop, contrary to Paul VI. Interesting.
Re: Post #20, I add the following addendum to what I said.
But why stop with women as deacons? How about lay women and men in the College of the Cardinals? The Cardinalate is honorary, having no sacramental, or intrinsic connection to Holy Orders whose members function as Papal advisors and diplomatic envoys, etc., ecclesial jobs that laity can handle very well. Of course, some cob-webby church requirements would have to be negated, but it wouldn’t be the first time that our church wisely negated some of her directives on the book. Is that suggestion absolutely too far off the wall? Yes, as I said earlier, May the Holy Spirit guide!
#39 As for churches empty have you been in churches here in the US? Many parishes are thriving. Numbers of male seminarians are increasing. The Church is booming in Africa. #40 How therefore is the church "tanking?"As Christ said the gates of hell will not prevail on his bride the Church.
Also how are women second class citizens when we have Mother Mary as co-redemptrix and patroness of the Americas? Catherine of Siena patroness of Italy, St. Bridget patroness of Ireland, etc, etc.? Just because there are roles and you can always get what in life doesnt mean you are being treated unfairly. Our American and Western culture is so obessed with what I want and me, me, that we lose sight of the Gospel message and dare I say; obedience. If Jesus can be such a model to us through his relationship to the Father can we not try and do the same?
As to the argument that Jesus ordained only males, it is also true that he ordained only Jewish males, some of whom were married. So today shouldn't we be ordaining only male jewish converts, both married and single?
And as to the argument about being the image of a male Christ, what happens in Baptism? Aren't we all baptized into the Trinity? We are all images of Christ, priest, prophet and king!
As a 21 year-old undergraduate student double majoring in Philosophy and Political Science, I think I should be more shocked by the level of heresy and DISobedience among not only the laity commenting here, but the clergy as well. Christ commands not to let one of these little ones fall into sin: that is the nature of heresy, to know that you disagree and openly spread your opinions. I know that my expectations for most of today's laity to understand theology, let alone a desire to study it, is appallingly low. All you people can do is focus on the cultural side of this Bishop-Emeritus' argument; if denying women sacred orders was solely on the basis of some concocted-misogynistic tradition, then you have a case.
However, the Scripture passages he quotes are unbelievably poor translations of the Latin vulgate (I'm a Classics/ Latin minor, so I read Cicero, Augustine, and Medievals for scholarship), not to mention well outside of the entire context. Phoebe is actually referred to as "ministra", not "diaconus", as his Excellency asserts. This could merely be stating her role as an EMHC, which is implicit in the name, Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, with those ordained the only ordinary ministers of the sacrament.
I am very confused as to why the Latin vulgate says in Timothy 3:12:
"Diaconi sint unius uxoris viri", which has been translated to English as "Deacons may be married only once". Odd, my Latin translation seems to read "Let the Deacons be husbands of one wife". In Latin, subject and object are so because of their endings, with "viri" meaning men or husbands in a plural nominative (its's the subject of the sentence) and "Diaconi" also plural nominative (subject/adjective agreement in gender, the rules of Latin) with "uxoris" being the singular genitive form of wife (literally "of wife"). It's written in the text folks, argue with St. Jerome if you don't believe me.
The book he references written by a professor of Harvard, (very promising deinde!), does not even have an imprimatur nor a nihil obstat; moral of the story, don't believe everything you read, use that natural light of reason God gave you!
I also thought it laughable, at best, that another point of justification was the fact that three different councils decreed against women ordination, and the fact that it remained a topic for 80 years justifies defying Church authority. The Church says that abortion is wrong, that rape is wrong, that God is Triune, that Christ was fully man and fully God, and yet Catholics disagree frequently and steadily with these things, does that justify their disobedience? If you think so, why are you Catholic?
Shall I continue? In CCC 1538 "Integration into one of these bodies in the Church was accomplished by a rite called ordinatio, a religious and liturgical act which was a consecration, a blessing or a sacrament. Today the word "ordination" is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, delegation, or institution by the community, for it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a "sacred power" (sacra potestas)5 which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. the laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination."
St. Ignatius says in CCC 1554, "Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father, and the presbyters as the senate of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church".
1570 Deacons share in Christ's mission and grace in a special way.55 The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character") which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the "deacon" or servant of all.56 Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity.
In the end, man and woman have uniquely separate roles within the Church; no one is greater than anyone else save Christ and Mary... the only perfect human without divinity is a woman, and people complain. I think the Church has always upheld the dignity of women, but that laity and clergy aren't too good at following directions and screw-up what was good (Vatican II might have been good, but everyone thought it meant relativism). I'll leave you to ponder the words of St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, and many others: "The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of rotten bishops".