More Deacons?

St OlympiadaSo, women deacons.

You go to bed and get some sleep and wake up and Pope Francis is making some part of the Church explode.

One bit of snark: if anybody writes “deaconess” in the comment boxes below, be warned: I will edit.

Study and discernment is a good thing. My take on clamping down on discussion: it never kills a serious issue and likely attempts to thwart the Holy Spirit in a not-so-virtuous way. It also tends to backfire on prelates who appear to have nothing constructive or credible to say about gagged church issues that matter.

In speaking with friends in a few dioceses, the advent of the permanent diaconate meant a swell in ordinations at the beginning. Later, fewer prospective candidates after the Church caught up with the backlog of those called and gifted to serve.

Bishops are still responsible in their dioceses, so the local discernment of particular deacon candidates properly lies there.

I have little else to say. I’m not female, nor have I discerned a call to Orders, so there’s nothing personal in it for me. Over the years, I’ve known women who had the gifts. A few are ordained outside of Roman Catholicism today. Others continue to serve in ways quite similar to how deacons served in apostolic or patristic times.

Any other comments?

St Olympiada Image credit.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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9 Responses to More Deacons?

  1. charlesincenca says:

    I say he’s treading ideological water as there is nothing that alleviates the very clear and present danger of the diminished, nee disappearing priesthood. Furthermore, if Francis’ impetuous sola scriptura precedent leads to formal consideration of upending centuries’ worth of tradition, why start with female deacons, restore the married apostolate and presbytery? That’s pretty sola scriptura enough for him and for now.

  2. Todd says:

    Disappearing priesthood … could be a regional phenomenon. Could be a crisis in baptism, and that we haven’t moved from the theology of the membership card to a theology of discipleship. I think that as a Jesuit, he’s a bit more open to discerning the issue. Just for being open to a commission, he’ll get more love than his two predecessors on it. And that’s enough to explode another segment of Roman Catholicism.

    • Jim McCrea says:

      In times like this I like to remember these words of wisdom from someone we know:

      “Decision-making without dissent makes discernment difficult.” (Todd Flowerday)

  3. Chris says:

    “You go to bed and get some sleep and wake up and Pope Francis is making some part of the Church explode.”

    YES, isn’t the Holy Spirit wonderful.

    I think this study is a good idea and think ordaining women deacons would be a good idea too. A very good idea indeed. One that will have many positive effects on the Church.


  4. Liam says:

    Very distantly tangential thought as this topic makes me think of Pentecost. I realize that on Sunday this will be the setting of the Sequence for Pentecost at my current parish:

    Todd, how do you think that would sound with dulcimer as accompaniment?

    This text invites such wonderful musical settings. The original Latin text is supernally beautiful, and the chant beautiful as well, but other settings shine as well. At my former parish, we sang this lovely setting by Paul Gibson (there’s an embedded mp3 file of the opening excerpt):

    • Todd says:

      Richard Clark’s setting is marvelous. Some thoughts on a dulcimer adaptation … You could play the whole piece an octave up with a woman’s voice. Otherwise, the right hand is very accessible for an “expanded” 17-16 dulcimer. I could do it on mine. The left hand below mid-staff not. Playing 8 notes at once probably means a duet unless the adaptation was more arpeggiated than Richard’s intent seems to be. In my head, I wonder about a bass (viol or fretless electric) plus dulcimer.

      • Liam says:

        Richard Clark loves ensembles – historically, the schola at the 9:30AM Mass often has a one or more string players, a flutist and/or trumpeter as well. (The parish is not only a territorial parish, but a university parish abutting Berklee, Boston Conservatory but also serving NEC and Northeastern and a cluster of other colleges.)

  5. charlesincenca says:

    Why do you guys wait to debut marvelous works to me right before the solemnity, dah NYAH beet!

    • Liam says:

      FWIW, there no reason why the Pentecost sequence text could not be sung at Offertory/Preparation (even Communion – if one takes a Trinitarian understanding of Communion) during Ordinary Time. Each period of Ordinary Time is preceded by a hinge feast where the Trinity – including but not limited to the Holy Spirit – are manifested, after all, and Ordinary Time is the period where we see the working out of it. Admittedly, it requires a movie-view understanding rather than a photo-view approach to Sunday liturgy, but then again I’ve long bleated about the impoverishment that the latter approach brings to liturgy planning.

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