I was chatting with my bridge partner before our game the other night. It’s always an interesting conversation when I explain my ministry/work/clerical status in the Church. My careful discernment of three decades ago has led me to where I am today: a married lay person serving in ministry. That’s largely satisfying, though I have been poked by the occasional priest about the permanent diaconate. Strangely, the last two of the last three of those were seminarian directors.
I was reading Bishop Lynch’s reflections on women deacons here. In recollecting his interactions with female theologians, his point is:
What Margaret Brennan and Genevieve Weber contributed was probably far greater than if they had been ordained. They sure had more freedom to lead.
My own perspective is a greater freedom to serve. I never found a particular welcome in my home diocese of long ago. That would have been different, I suppose, if I had been ordained. But then the welcome would be for the office, not the man. Is that a characteristic of freedom?
While I now have a responsibility for a family, I do not find that hampers my authentic freedom. Not being tied to a particular bishop or diocese, I have the freedom to go where I can serve a parish best and provide for the well-being of a wife and daughter.
The best explanation I have for my non-Catholic friends is to say I’m something of a free agent. The spiritual term would be “pilgrim.” And there is indeed a great freedom in that.