By Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi
Francis receiving a Lutheran female"Archbishop",
Antje Jackelé, at the Apostolic Palace in 2015.
The announcement follows unscripted remarks by Francis at an audience for senior nuns in Rome on May 12, in which he promised a group of religious sisters that he would set up a commission to study the question of women deaconesses. While Francis addressed 900 world leaders of the Catholic women religious, the crowd had asked him if the Catholic Church would consider female deacons and he answered: “I believe yes. It would do good for the church to clarify this point. I am in agreement. I will speak to do something like this.”
Now, “After intense prayer and mature reflection, Pope Francis decided to set up this commission”, the Vatican announced in a press release. Rorate-Caeli translated the press release into English and noted that former Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, an admitted sex abuser, has long championed deaconesses. It states: “Let us never forget to whom the merit belongs: if "deaconesses" are ever "ordained", we must do justice and call it , in honor of confessed nephew-molester Bp. Roger Vangheluwe, who led the charge in favor of this move.”
Phyllis Zagano, a left-leaning Hofstra University professor, is a well-known advocate for women’s ordination to the diaconate. She has spoken at events sponsored by organizations that promote women’s ordination to the priesthood. Several other appointees are also individuals who have expressed questionable theological views.
Of course, women leadership in the Catholic Church—in fact, in my personal judgment, women priesthood—IS one of the prominent agendas of Bergoglio’s disastrous “pontificate’’ even though—cunningly—he had previously said that women would not be allowed to enter the priesthood. The inclusion of Zagano, who writes a regular column for the National Catholic Reporter, shows that Francis is at least open to considering the arguments for ordaining female deacons, as she’s a long-time advocate on this issue, convinced it’d be a way of including women in the church’s governance and ministry.
Writing for Harvard’s Divinity school last year, she said that the current practice of not ordaining women deacons is a “merely ecclesiastical law,” meaning it’s a regulation, not a doctrine.
In an article entitled “” for the school’s summer edition of their biannual publication, Zagano also wrote that “given the many evidences of women deacons throughout history, the restoration of women to the diaconate seems to be something Francis could do easily.”
Zagano is one of the most prominent advocates of women deacons, which opens a wide door to arguments for women’s ordination to the priesthood. “There is overwhelming historical evidence that women were ordained deacons by bishops intending to perform a sacrament. If women were sacramentally ordained deacons and the diaconate shares in the sacerdotal priesthood … then women have already shared in the sacerdotal priesthood,” Zagano wrote for America magazine in 2013.
Again, she writes: “The humanity of Christ overcomes the limitations of gender, and no church document argues an ontological distinction among humans except documents that address the question of ordination. This view is not likely to dampen growing worldwide enthusiasm for women deacons.”
In September 2015, just days before "Pope" Francis’ visit to the United States, Zagano spoke at a Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) conference in Philadelphia. WOW dissents from Church teaching that women cannot be ordained as priests. It also embraces and promotes the LGBT cause.
The dissident group welcomed "Pope" Francis’ announcement, saying in a press release that it was “encouraged” by the creation of the commission. It praised the commission’s “gender-balanced” and “lay-inclusive” appointments and mentioned Zagano by name, noting her past participation in the 2015 conference.
In May, Zagano spoke at a teleconference sponsored by FutureChurch, a group that rejects the Catholic Church’s teaching that Jesus ordained his disciples at the Last Supper. FutureChurch advocates for women priests.
The Catholic Church teaches that women’s ordination is an ontological impossibility because Jesus ordained only men and their masculinity is essential to their priesthood and their ability to act in the person of Christ (in persona Christi). Even John Paul II—who opened the door to this scandal by his various actions such as allowing Rev. Sisters to give Holy Communion, etc.—stated clearly in his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 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.”
Because only a baptized man can validly receive sacred ordination (as even affirmed by the scandalous “Catechism of the Catholic Church” of John Paul II (See CCC 1577), and the diaconate is a part of the sacrament of holy orders, only men are permitted to be ordained deacons. The so-called “women deaconesses” in the early Church were NEVER ordained deaconesses, but many modernist theologians argue that they were actually ordained in this role—and Francis supports that!
“That statement is true to some extent”, said Chad Pecknold, professor of theology at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.
“The [Catholic] Church made it very clear that the deaconess was not part of holy orders,” Pecknold said in a phone interview with PBS NEWSHOUR. “She had a job at baptism. Baptisms in the early [Catholic] Church were done when the individual was completely naked. The deaconess’s job was to protect the modesty of a woman during the baptism ritual.”
“Women do way more for the church [now] than the deaconesses of the ancient Church ever did,” said Pecknold. “The office of the deacon is closely tied to the [Catholic] Church’s understanding of marriage. The [Catholic] Church is referred to in the feminine, and the priest are men put in service to the woman [The Catholic Church].”
For the role of women in the Catholic Church, particularly what Sacred Scripture says on the issue, see my piece: A “Feminized” Catholic Church?
See also: Francis 1 Strikes Again: Received His“Esteemed Sister”—Lady “Archbishop,” Head of Insane Lutheran “Church” of Sweden