Monday, January 16, 2017

"Deaconesses" Next?

The push for "deaconesses" in the Catholic Church has been at a low rumble for at least 40 years; I recall discussing it with a friend in the '70's.  He had been taught that ordained deaconesses actually existed in Apostolic times. 

(Well, of course that's what he was taught:  he was a student at Abp. Weakland's seminary!)

That's not exactly true, of course.  Yes, deaconesses existed.  No, they were NOT ordained.

Their functions were described in the Dictionary of Catholic Theology:

...They were virgins or widows, officially entrusted with the function of assisting the clergy. Two texts, the Didascalia (third century) and the Apostolic Constitutions (end of the 4th century) tell us about the missions entrusted to the deaconesses, in the Latin and Greek churches: caring for the poor and the sick of their sex; Be present during a particular conversation with a bishop, a priest or a deacon; Helping women prepare for baptism by instilling in them the elements of doctrine; Take the necessary physical findings in the event of legal proceedings; To keep the door by which the women were to enter the church, by securing order in the female assembly; Finally, to assist the bishop in the administration of the baptism of women, the baptism of adults taking place by immersion....

Some interesting concepts there, eh?

You want to bring back deaconesses?  Bring back orderly women's assemblies and sex-selective doorways, too.

1 comment:

GOR said...

The agitation for 'deaconesses' is just the thin edge of the wedge for women's 'ordination'.