Permanent deacons ‘a gift for the Church’
The Tablet reports:
Permanent deacons are a “gift for the Church” and “do not detract from the vital role of the empowered laity,” Archbishop Michael Neary said as he ordained Tuam’s first three permanent deacons.
In his homily for the ceremony at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Tuam, Archbishop Neary stressed that a vibrant diaconate enhances, expands and empowers the ministry of the laity, the religious and of the priesthood “since the diaconate is a God-given grace and gift to the Church”.
Link to article:
A priest said to me recently what the Irish Church needs is not deacons but priests (women & men married or otherwise).
Yes, Roy, that makes sense. I think that male deacons will not be taken seriously as long as there are no women deacons. Adding another layer of male privilege to an already overclericalised church will do little except to exacerbate the frustration of women who see a a male diaconate as another example of “They just don’t get it, do they?”
So misogyny is ‘a gift for the church’.
Last Tuesday I was in the company of a returned missionary priest of the wonderful age of 82. Father returned to Ireland and for the last 25 years led retreats. Sadly his local PP died suddenly and Father now says Mass once a week and for the rest, apart from Sunday, a eucharistic service led by a lady is celebrated with approval of the local bishop.
From speaking with Father the numbers fall away when no Mass is been celebrated. I leave that up to you to work out why.
Yesterday I had the utmost privilege of joining a faith community on retreat led by a permanent deacon assisted by a man on way to ordination.
From conversation with them, they shared in private the backlash they have received from some ordained clergy who have not accepted their ministry is poor Christianity.
Have we not learnt from our brothers and sisters in the Anglican church and the division brought about through the so blinded decision of ordination of a female to priesthood?
‘The division brought about through the so blinded decision of ordination of a female to priesthood’?
Is that division really so acutely painful now?
In the Church of England it was not ‘a female’ but 32 in a single ceremony in 1994: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_first_32_women_ordained_as_Church_of_England_priests
Was this a ‘blinded’ decision? It was long prepared, since women priests were common in the USA since 1974. Maybe you might say that the USA Episcopalians were ‘blindsided’ by Alison Cheek: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/12/us/alison-cheek-dead.html
Though the Roman Catholic church has sought to take in Anglican clergy who cannot stomach women clergy (not even demanding celibacy of them) the uptake does not seem to be dramatic.
Anglicans are good at handling controversy and pluralism, and female bishops are more and more part of the Anglican landscape (the first one in Japan will be consecrated soon).
African churches generally do not want female clergy, and on this the Anglicans just agree to differ. But there is movement even in the African churches: https://www.anglicannews.org/news/2013/11/central-africa-says-no-to-womens-ordination.aspx At least the possibility of ordaining women is being discussed.
Kenya had its first woman bishop this year: https://religionnews.com/2021/09/15/kenyan-anglican-province-defies-moratorium-to-ordain-woman-bishop/ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317450089_The_struggle_against_patriarchalism_in_Kenya_1980_-_1992_Revisiting_the_history_of_women_ministries
South Africa had its first woman bishop in 2012: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-20408199 and has a small number of women priests: https://mg.co.za/article/2019-04-18-00-faith-is-a-feminist-issue-for-women-in-the-catholic-church/
Ghana had its first woman priest this year: https://international.la-croix.com/news/religion/african-diocese-ordains-its-first-woman-priest/14633
To me it’s simple
It’s anything but a woman!
Permanent deacons ‘a gift for the church’…
Lots of priests think Pope Francis’s bugbear ‘clericalism’ does not exist at all. But they unconsciously follow clericalist scripts in monopolizing authority and control, in the structure of their thought and imagination, and especially in their incapacity to deal with women. The roots of clericalism lie much deeper than we suppose, having many centuries of history behind them. Pope Francis tries to break the mould and get back to the language of the Gospels, which is rather hard to do when one is the world’s supreme cleric, ensconced in the supreme bastion of clerical power. Is synodality a papal Gunpowder Plot (oh, those Jesuits again) designed to blow the bastion to smithereens? Alas, the gunpowder is damp.
Permanent deacons ‘a gift for the church’…
As canon law embeds a parish cleric’s authority to overrule a lay parish pastoral council, the RC church is institutionally clericalist, and does not yet know how to be anything else.
Yet Christian conscience obviously operates among the merely baptised, and among many other Christians. It follows that the church of Christ and the RC church are overlapping but not identical entities – and only RC chauvinism can argue otherwise.
Synodality is therefore more of a challenge to the clerical RC church than to the merely baptised: Can the ordained let go of RC Catholic chauvinism, male, clerical and ‘clubby’?
The church of Christ is truly something else, and is being led by something far more powerful than clericalism. Clergy who don’t get this are truly the ‘left-behind’.