An interesting initiative called “DeaconChat’  has been launched by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, FutureChurch, and Voice of the Faithful.

On May 12, 2016 Pope Francis — responding to a question posed by members of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) — said that he would establish a commission to study the question of ordaining women deacons in the Roman Catholic Church.

That commission was formally announced in August and began its work in November of 2016.

As the commission undertakes its work, it is important that Catholics — lay and ordained — undergo their own study and discernment of the history and present possibility of ordaining women to the diaconate. Many Catholics — clergy included — are eager to learn more about this topic.

Thus, the goal of “DeaconChat” is to bring the ordained and the laity together in conversation to continue to learn and discern together.

For full details of this initiative link on the link underneath.

Similar Posts


  1. Phil Greene says:

    I am really struggling with this initiative.

    It appears that we must have an absolute perfect model for women deacons before it will be allowed. More conversations must take place , people must go to their priest , bishop etc. to help them and the parish discern how women can contribute … as a deacon , but maybe not.. let’s see what comes from the conversation…!
    Did we have such a call for engagement when male deacons were first suggested . Did we invest so much time and have the perfect model for male deacons beforehand? .. do we have the perfect model now..? Are all priests/bishops fully engaged in the development of this ministry?
    Why is the Catholic church so at odds with offering equal opportunities to everyone… how can our children engage with such silliness..?
    There are certain times when the inverted pyramid will work , but this is not one of them, or it is no longer one of them, the laity will be there to support the (positive) decision and process once the decision is made .. we have talked too long about it .. the church . CDF etc. must have all the information it needs surrounding this issue .. I can’t understand how they would need more!!
    A change in mindset combined with a sense of urgency would be more helpful in finding ways to bring forward some REAL progress.
    Is this initiative just another distraction from REAL action..? let’s hope not.

  2. Martin Murray says:

    I share your frustration Phil. In one sense its great that we are getting opportunities to discuss and the possibility of ordaining women to the diaconate. But yes, in another it’s actually shocking and shameful that we even have to. Maybe this is part of the protracted process that goes with any and all initiatives in the Catholic Church, but again yes, let’s get on with making it happen!

  3. Mary Vallely says:

    I’m not sure the diaconate is the answer to the shortage of priests, not the way it is structured at present. How many male spouses would be as supportive of their deacon- in-training wives as the wives are of their deacon- in -training husbands, I wonder? I cannot see why we cannot just ordain women although priestly formation is in desperate need of re-structuring, and deep, deep discussion. Is the present model effective in 2017?
    What we need to do is change the mindset of those men AND women who see gender as an obstacle and for all of us to see each person, regardless of gender, as one who is made in the image of God and therefore one who can act in persona Christi.
    I concur with what Martin Murray says @2. Discussion is good and as far as I know we haven’t been forbidden from discussing women’s entry to the diaconate unlike ordination to the priesthood!
    The following is worth reflection.

  4. Phil Greene says:

    Yes Martin , Gender bias , like Racism is unfortunately part of our lives.. but to see it enforced so forcefully by an organisation that tells us to love one another reeks of hypocrisy.
    Thankfully we are see more enlightened spirits such as your own, many on this site and others in their own way pushing through and out the other side of this type of stunted thinking.
    Mary, of course I agree with in principle that discussion is good, but up to a point.. too much discussion can unfortunately be seen as an end in itself.. Then we just have a broken record stuck in a permanent loop which soon becomes annoying and ends up in the bin. This may be exactly what some people are wishing for… One can almost hear the hushed voice in the background saying “careful what you wish for..”
    Gender bias , along with race/colour bias will always be an obstacle in some shape or form in my opinion.. I don’t like it , but acknowledge its existence , and understand that unless those that want to bring about change actually take some action then the power balance will not shift. But doing it alone bears no fruit as we have witnessed too many times!
    From what I have read you are an inspirational lady Mary, one can see leadership comes very naturally to you and you also have the necessary knowledge and expertise, so many of the required boxes are ticked already. Pardon me for saying so, but I do wonder why you have not tried the Anglican Church.. you have your dreams (hopes) and you have as much right to those dreams as anyone else.. this is your personal choice of course and really none of my business, I just hate waste of obvious talent as opportunities are withheld by those who wish to remain in control at the full expense of others.
    Regarding the diaconate Mary , it may fall short , but right now isn’t it better to have it as an option ? All our employment legislation would have started from a male perspective and was improved upon by necessity, enlightened persons and/or courageous hard-fought legal battles. Why not have in place first then improve it where necessary (minus the legal battles one hopes)..
    The ordination of women, … this, in my opinion , is a long-term goal.
    Re-structure Priestly formation – what can be done in the short-term and what must be left for another day. Recalling married priests back to their vocation could easily be accommodated in the short-term. As Anne said before there are lots of priests’ houses that are big enough to house a family, and they are already catering for this set-up in England… the model is there to be followed.
    Allowing priests/religious to marry if they so choose – another short-term goal.
    I am not being frivolous here or discounting what you feel so deeply and personally, I recognize the need for deep discussion, but let’s try to have some needs met before we all die and there are no religious left to bury us..
    I do not understand your comments regarding whether we are forbidden or not to talk.. Pope Francis has said he wants Dialogue, open dialogue, two-way .. so this is quite clear.. if it’s forbidden by a particular person in his employ then we must ask the pope why his important message is being ignored. But Francis will unfortunately either retire or die in the near future, so this question may need to be asked sooner rather than later. His office shows excellent example to all by actually responding to letters.
    A beautiful, inspirational song released in 1987 by a beautiful songwriter, Labi Siffre, never ceases to move me, it’s called “something inside” please try to find a few minutes to listen to it!

  5. Mary Vallely says:

    Thank you, Phil @4. You ask why I don’t consider joining the Anglican Church. I have great respect for Anglicans as I also do for Presbyterians and Methodists but I cannot and will not abandon my own Church because it’s where I feel at home. Home, as they say, is where the heart is and I just don’t get that sense of wonder and awe and belonging in any other Church. The Eucharist is the heart of the home so why would I go somewhere else?
    Every home needs improvement however and sometimes a wall knocked down or a room added on can make it more appealing and welcoming. I love the continuity and that connection with all those faithful souls who have gone before us and cared so dearly for this same home. It sustains me and the simple truth is that I love it.
    I still firmly believe however in the necessity to criticise but to do so in a constructive way. We all need to learn how to accept criticism and not be on the defensive. An Irish bishop recently warned at an ordination ceremony of ‘hostility ‘ and ‘persecution’ towards the Church. Not the most sensible advice to give one newly ordained starting off his ministry in such a defensive attitude. Criticism usually has a nugget of truth in it. If it hasn’t then ignore it and get on with imitating Christ in words and actions.
    Perhaps the female diaconate would indeed be a stepping stone towards full integration of the sexes and a positive force for good. I doubt very much if it will be in my lifetime. I take your point, Phil, about words being useless by themselves but new ears and eyes are opening every day and can pick up on those words and you just never know their impact. Yes, it feels like Groundhog Day much of the time and I am as guilty and maybe more guilty than most of repetition of the same ideas and words more often than I should be. Mea culpa. ?
    Regarding my comment on forbidden discussions I was just drawing attention to the ridiculous fact that we are forbidden to even discuss women’s ordination. Pope Francis has at least set up a Commission to look into women in the diaconate but still forbids any discussion on women’s ordination. Ludicrous indeed.
    Will google that song and singer. Thank you!

  6. Phil Greene says:

    Mary, your positive light shines through like a beacon , thank you, it is much needed as one can get lost in frustration! If my comment regarding repetition came across as a personal criticism then I apologise, it was meant as a general observation and reflects my impatience with the institution. Your love and joy of/in your Faith and Church is truly encouraging and evangelical .. a great loss to the Priesthood and the people of God.

Join the Discussion

Keep the following in mind when writing a comment

  • Your comment must include your full name, and email. (email will not be published). You may be contacted by email, and it is possible you might be requested to supply your postal address to verify your identity.
  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger. Comments containing vulgarities, personalised insults, slanders or accusations shall be deleted.
  • Keep to the point. Deliberate digressions don't aid the discussion.
  • Including multiple links or coding in your comment will increase the chances of it being automati cally marked as spam.
  • Posts that are merely links to other sites or lengthy quotes may not be published.
  • Brevity. Like homilies keep you comments as short as possible; continued repetitions of a point over various threads will not be published.
  • The decision to publish or not publish a comment is made by the site editor. It will not be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are not published.