Pope Francis willing to consider Catholic women deacons

Women can not, however, though historians say women served as deacons in the early church.

Since Vatican reforms in the mid 1960s, "permanent deacons" - those who do not plan on becoming priests - can perform numerous same functions as priests, including preach, celebrate marriages, lead funeral services and run parishes. Deacons can perform baptisms, funerals and weddings but they cannot perform mass, give the Eucharist or receive confessions.

Secondly, it asserted that "the unity of the sacrament of Holy Orders...is strongly underlined by ecclesial tradition, especially in the teaching of the Magisterium", and stressed the "clear distinction" between the ministry of priests and bishops versus that of deacons.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on Friday said that Pope Francis's decision to open a panel on the possibility of women serving as deacons within the Roman Catholic Church will bring a "fierce confrontation" within the Church.

"I think that the Catholic Church speaks an terrible lot about women and women's roles, but doesn't often speak with women".

"I accept", the pope said later, according to The National Catholic Reporter.

"This, I remember", he said, noting that while the Church has already published documents on the topic of the permanent diaconate which touch on the topic of deaconesses, including a 2002 document from the International Theological Commission, the conclusion for modern times was still "unclear".

However Vatican media has reported that the Pope did not consider the possibility of ordaining women priests.

"There are lots of women who.do the work of a deacon, but it's not recognised because they are women", she said.

"If you've opened the diaconate to women, you are opening up the door to female priests", Chad Pecknold, a theologian at Catholic University of America, told the Washington Post at the time.

Francis has often championed the special qualities of the female sex, saying in December 2014: "Women are like strawberries on a cake-you always need more of them". Wcela wrote a magazine article in 2012 endorsing the idea.

Progressives in the Catholic Church have long argued that women are pitifully under-represented in the hierarchy, despite the number of women in religious orders (700,000) far outweighing the number of priests and monks combined (470,000).

The move could result in a historic opening of more prestigious religious positions within the church to women, who now have only a limited range of positions from which to choose. "After listening to the people, I decided that until women become part of the process, this is an optional program". "I don't know if the nuns would want to be priests".

Do we require women deacons to assist at naked baptisms? No. "And I think the church's clarity about the male-female difference is real important". Unlike priests, deacons can marry. "Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict were not interested in this conversation".

The group was meeting with the Holy Father to discuss the role of women in the Church as well as the temptations of both feminism and clericalism.

The pope was responding to a question in Rome and did not raise the subject himself, Thavis said. "Essays With Answers", said that until about the 12th century, women were ordained as deacons and considered clergy, but their roles varied among countries and dioceses. "I think it's very positive". He was asked why women were barred from becoming deacons, with one attendee suggesting that he create a commission on the issue.

Among the questions such a commission would answer is whether there were female deacons in the past, what they did in that role, and whether the office should be reinstated today. A statement from the Women's Ordination Conference, a group advocating for a female priesthood, dropped a few names in an official statement.

There are now about 18,000 permanent deacons in the United States, almost double the figure from 1990, according to Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

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