Yes, I know all about the chances of snowballs surviving in the netherworld, but I still think Pope Benedict XVI is moving toward ordaining Catholic women.
Of course it contains the usual misinformation that women in the early Church acted as deacons, without mentioning that the normal role of deaconesses in the early Church was helping to baptize women in full immersion fonts.
Three times in the last year or so, the pope’s comments leaned in that direction. The telltale words are “governance” and “ministry.” Each is technically reserved to the ordained.
In the flood of ideas coming from the scholar-pope, the theme of charity stands out. Would a pope turning 80 on April 16 ordain women to minister in charity?
A year ago, a Rome priest publicly asked Benedict if women could be included formally in Church governance and ministry. Surprisingly, Benedict said yes. He said so again on German television last August.
The idea that “governance” and “ministry” is only for the ordained is just a form of clericalism and a form of it that I guess progressives are for.
Of course Cardinal Razinger replied in a Dubium:
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 (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
But I guess since he didn’t say "Hell no" that leaves some room for "telltale" signs.
When Benedict talks about women, he always begins by deflecting the idea of women priests, pointing out that Jesus chose male apostles from among his men and women disciples. Such is the Catholic Church’s fundamental argument against women priests.
But that has nothing to do with women deacons. In fact, Benedict has now — three times — reiterated that women were actively engaged in Jesus’ ministry. And “ministry” is the key word when we’re talking about deacons.
Ministry is what deacons do: They minister in and through the word, the liturgy and charity. Deacons preach. Deacons participate in the Mass. Deacons manage the Church’s charity, or at least they used to.
Deacons watched over the stores and treasures of the early church. They cared for the poor and the orphaned, for the homeless and the widows with church funds, properties, and possessions. They even paid the salaries of the priests.
I guess if you are not ordained a deacon you can not care for the poor and the orphans. The homeless and widows need help, but sadly you have to tell them that you are not a deacon.
That may not be the case today, but it begs the question: why not? As Catholicism is increasingly bereft of priests it is concurrently flooded with deacons — there are over 15,000 in the United States alone. These are capable men, able to run a parish plant, manage Catholic charities, or oversee the cemeteries or the various aid societies of a parish or a diocese. They can free priests to do priestly — rather than diaconal — ministry.
What exactly is a "parish plant?" I assume it is not some potted plant but perhaps a view of the parish as some kind of sacramental factory. Once again though I can’t see from her example why anybody can perform the jobs she cited and not be ordained.
If Catholicism were to return to its older tradition, that would add women to the mix. Then women could oversee church money and properties on behalf of the pastor or the bishop. What if women watched where the money went? Perhaps then there might be more money around for the poor and maybe fewer financial scandals.
You learn something new everyday. I was not aware that original sin applied only to men.
And what if women deacons ministering in charity could preach each Sunday? Would not the church hear more about the way the gospel functions in the real world, here and now, in the 21st century?
Well women can preach all they want. Just not at the homily during Mass.
It’s just a thought, but it might be Benedict’s idea too.
Well as a prophet I hope she keeps her day job.