Catholic Church split on women deacons, Vatican document shows


Vatican Divided on Women Deacons, Document Reveals
Pope Francis Reaffirms Stance as Church Debates Women’s Roles

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VATICAN CITY, July 9 (Reuters) – The Catholic Church remains divided on the issue of allowing women to serve as deacons, according to a Vatican document released on Tuesday, weeks after Pope Francis ruled out any changes. This topic is among those to be discussed at the upcoming synod of bishops.

The first session of the synod, held last year, was inconclusive. On Tuesday, the Vatican released a working document for the second and final session scheduled for October.

“While some local Churches call for women to be admitted to the diaconal ministry, others reiterate their opposition,” the document stated. It added that the issue of women deacons would not be on the synod’s agenda, but that “theological reflection should continue, on an appropriate timescale and in the appropriate ways.”

Priestly celibacy, another potential reform topic, was not mentioned. However, African bishops are exploring the implications of polygamy for the Church in Africa, with a report due at the October meeting, according to Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.

Greater Recognition for Women

Deacons, who are ordained ministers like priests, must be men in today’s Church, though women deacons existed in early Christianity. Contemporary deacons can preach, teach, baptize, conduct weddings, wakes, funerals, and even run parishes, but cannot celebrate Mass.

The Vatican document emphasized the need to “give fuller recognition” to women in the Church, stating that “by virtue of Baptism, they enjoy full equality.”

In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired in May, Pope Francis firmly said “no” when asked about women deacons, though he acknowledged that women often perform deacon-like roles. “Women are of great service as women, not as ministers,” he said.

Cardinal Grech noted, “As of now, it is a ‘no’ (to women deacons), but the Holy Father has said that theological reflection and study must continue. For me, this is not a contradiction.”

Inclusivity and Church Reform

The document, known as “Instrumentum laboris,” was created after consultations with bishops’ conferences, theologians, Catholic institutions, and associations worldwide.

Although the text did not specifically mention LGBT people, it called for greater inclusivity. “A need emerges in all continents concerning people who, for different reasons, are or feel excluded or on the margins of the ecclesiastical community or who struggle to find full recognition of their dignity and gifts within it,” it said.

It also highlighted calls for greater transparency and accountability of Church leaders, and more involvement of lay Catholics in Church affairs, particularly in response to sex abuse and financial scandals, as well as pastoral matters.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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