Will Bishops Consider Women Deacons?

Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, said the Synod of Bishops on the family should reflect on the possibility of allowing female deacons as it seeks ways to open up more opportunities for women in church life. Where possible, qualified women should be given higher positions and decision-making authority within church structures and new opportunities in ministry, he said on Oct. 6. “I think we should really start looking seriously at the possibility of ordaining women deacons because the diaconate in the church’s tradition has been defined as not being ordered toward priesthood but toward ministry.” Archbishop Durocher also told synod participants that the World Health Organization estimates that 30 percent of women worldwide experience violence by their partner. In the apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” in 1981, he said, St. John Paul II told the church that it had to make a clear effort to end “degradation of women in our world, particularly in marriage.” To address this problem the synod could clearly state “that you cannot justify the domination of men over women—certainly not violence—through biblical interpretation.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Henry George
2 years 5 months ago
You can't help wondering why God ever created the two genders given Modern Theologians and Bishops who wish to eliminate all practical differences. If you allow Women Deacons, then Women Priests, Bishop and Popes are just around the corner. The Bishop knows this and ought to be honest about his intentions.
catherine roberts
2 years 5 months ago
And this would be bad why, Henry?
Lisa Weber
2 years 5 months ago
Ordaining women as deacons would be a major step forward for the Catholic church, not because the diaconate is ordered to ministry but because it is impossible to lead without being able to speak publicly. All women are silenced at the principal liturgy simply because they are women. Catholic women need leaders more than they need more women in ministry. Ministry maintains a power differential between the minister and the one being ministered to. Leadership is about organizing, inspiring and directing peers. Ideal leadership will be a collaborative effort between men and women and ordaining women deacons would be a step toward that.
Bill Stewart
2 years 5 months ago
What harm could come from discussing it? May go nowhere, or may lead to serious exploration down the road. Isn't that part of the purpose of this gathering?
William Rydberg
2 years 5 months ago
I remember Archbishop Durocher from seeing and frequently (at least for a Bishop) hearing him at the Toronto Newman Centre when I recollect there was a lot of things happening... All I will say is that in my humble opinion finding him in front of a microphone clad with a controversial issue is his style... :) In this case he appears to want to redefine the Sacrament of Holy Orders - lets just say I am not surprised to see him in the spotlight. But I am not against dialogue so long as Scripture, the Magisterium and Tradition are equally represented in attendance...


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The U.N. report documents cases of extrajudicial murders committed by police, illegal house raids and threats and harassment against journalists and social and political activists in Honduras.
Jackie McVicarMarch 20, 2018
An employee wrapped in a blanket talks to a police officer after she was evacuated at a FedEx distribution center where a package exploded on March 20, 2018, in Schertz, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In their joint statement, the Texas bishops echoed Chief Manley’s appeal to the community. “We ask all people in our dioceses to remain vigilant, and to pray and work for peace,” the bishops said.
Paul StinsonMarch 20, 2018
The challenge of finding families for homeless youth and for those in group shelters is creating the latest flashpoint over competing civil rights claims. (iStock/bodnarchuk)
Catholic Social Services refuses to place foster children in homes headed by same-sex couples; the city of Philadelphia says this policy violates a nondiscrimination law.
My approach to the mystery of A.L.S. is a bit different than that of the famed physicist.
Elise ItalianoMarch 20, 2018