Association of Catholic Priests Statement on the Permanent Diaconate
11 August 2017
The Leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests fully supports Fr Roy Donovan (Cashel & Emly) in his statement (see below) on the decision by the Archbishop of Cashel & Emly to set up a group to investigate initiating the permanent diaconate in his diocese.
Roy’s objection is based on the fact that currently the Church confines the diaconate to men, even though Pope Francis has a commission working on the history of women deacons in the early church, with a view to possibly opening the diaconate to women also.
We would further call on every diocese in the country to hold off on the introduction of the permanent diaconate until such time as the Vatican Commission reports, and Pope Francis makes a decision based on that report.
We believe that proceeding with the introduction of a male permanent diaconate at this time, and thereby adding another male clerical layer to ministry, is insensitive, disrespectful of women, and counter-productive at this present critical time.
Statement by Fr. Roy Donovan
DEACONESSES FOR ARCHDIOCESE OF CASHEL & EMLY!
Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly has “asked a group of people, both lay and clerical, to be part of a group, to be chaired by Fr. Tom Fogarty, to examine all aspects of the Permanent Diaconate for the Archdiocese. This group will begin its work in the autumn”.
Permanent Diaconate excludes women. Introducing the Permanent Diaconate, without women, is extending Patriarchy in the Archdiocese. What are the implications of this when already there are so many women involved on the ground, in all kinds of ministries, without been given much status and power? Have they not also earned their place at the top table? It has been suggested by some that one of the reasons why men get involved in the Diaconate, is that it gives a certain amount of power and status.
Pope Francis set up a Commission in July 2016 to study the diaconate and the role of deaconesses in the early Church.
Is this group set up by the Archbishop going to pre-empt the Commission and introduce deaconesses?!
Allowing a male only diaconate further questions the nature of relationships priests have with their mothers, sisters and nieces. It also questions the nature of relationships priests have with women.
There are women in the Archdiocese who believe they are called by God to be priests ie. Marese Skeehan (Thurles), Nóirín Ní Riain (Murroe & native of Caherconlish) who was recently ordained as a minster in the One Spirit Inter Faith Seminary Foundation.
We have a long way to go to implement the originality of the Gospel of Jesus –a ministry of equals among equals. After all, Mary Magdalene, known as the Apostle to the Apostles, was the first minister of the good news – proclaiming that Jesus is alive!
Fr. Roy Donovan P.P., Caherconlish/Caherline
Link to interview with Roy Donovan on RTE1 Radio Interview starts at 01:35
Links to articles on Roy Donovan’s statement;
The Irish Times