The fact that women were ordained deacons in the West up to the Middle Ages should give the Latin-rite Church food for thought.
While the Eastern Church had always been much more open to the difference between what is a sacrament and what is only a sacramental sign, Latin-rite teaching on ordination had since been far more precisely defined.
Asked what he has told committed women who feel discriminated against in a Church where only men are ordained, Cardinal Schönborn responded:
I admit that this does sometimes seem strange. I can understand the malaise which women feel when they see only men concelebrate [Mass]. I can understand that we must look like a men’s squad up at the altar.
“First let us wait and see what the Vatican commission concludes,” Cardinal Schönborn observed.
- While no one doubts historic precedent for women deacons exists, it is not clear they were "ordained" in the way that's typically understood in both the Latin and Orthodox Churches.
- Why did women deacons disappear from the scene...not those reasons propounded by the stormy petrels--the pro-women deacon propagandists--but what careful and sober historical research reveals...even if the finding are what the stormy petrels have been propounding.
Right now, the sometimes overheated political, social, and theological rhetoric is running way ahead of the facts and much of it is based upon "feelings" and so-called political "rights." If there are to be women deacons, at least let it be for the correct theological and ecclesiological reasons.
Moreover, expressing "cautious openness" isn't the equivalent of "cautious optimism."
Let the facts lead where they may.
Let the discussion begin...
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