Women deacons in the Catholic Church are closer to reality than ever
Women deacons in the Catholic Church seem closer than ever, after a number of decisions Pope Francis made this year to give women a greater role in the faith. The change would mean a huge step forward for gender equality in the largest religious denomination.
“It’s not about sex, it’s about what vocation you have,” said Michelle Kraebel. “I think God chooses you.”
Kraebel is a deacon at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Depew. She grew up Catholic, but left the faith 17 years ago because she does not allow women deacons.
“I wanted to do more, and I couldn’t do more where I was. And it was a struggle. It was a big struggle for me to make that final decision. I felt guilty,” he said. she declared. “But then I realized I’m not leaving anything. I’m getting better. I’m answering the call I get.”
Kraebel also supports women deacons in the Catholic Church because it would free pastors who are not in great demand to care for their flocks and allow lay people to become more involved in their faith. Catholicism is the largest denomination in the world, United States, New York State and Western New York, with some 3,000 Catholics for each priest.
She spoke about what she was allowed to do as a Lutheran deacon that she couldn’t do as a Catholic.
“We can’t get married. My slogan is always, ‘I can’t marry her, but I can bury her. “And I did a funeral,” Kraebel said. “I can do pastoral visitation if needed. I can do baptisms. I can preach and lead a service. The only thing I can’t do in a service is give out communion. The pastor has to do it. “
Prince of Peace has a pastor wife, by the way.
Who are the Catholics?
The number and diversity of Catholics and the variety of community services they offer – from schools and health care at charities and cemeteries – are among the reasons why the Church exercises such influence in family life and in society. When Pope Francis gives half of the population a bigger role, both Catholics and non-Catholics take note.
“With regard to a movement towards the ordination of women as deacons, it will meet a lot of resistance from many camps,” said Reverend Aidan Rooney.
Rooney is Vice President for Mission Integration at Niagara University. He agreed that women deacons would be a big problem, and maybe one should be made.
“I think the main thing for Roman Catholics is that the Eucharist is the center of our lives, to celebrate the Eucharist. We say it everywhere and we say it clearly in some of the most basic teaching documents of the Church, “Rooney said.” But when you don’t have ordained ministers, you cannot have the Eucharist. So what are you doing? And I think that’s the theological push to watch what we’re doing about ordination. “
The Catholic Church clearly states that men and women were made equal in the sight of God, but since Eve, the first woman created by God, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, women had no official role in the Church hierarchy – until recently. .
“Religious institutions, especially the Catholic Church, are a conservative institution. I don’t mean that politically. I mean that in its ability to change, ”Rooney said. “You have to remember that it took almost 90% of his time for all the major Protestant churches. Founded in the 15th and 16th centuries, it was not until the end of the 20th century that they admitted women to managerial positions. move quickly. “
Thus, change often occurs through a progressive divine representative on Earth.
Decisions of Pope Francis
In JanuaryPope Francis changed Church law to officially allow female readers during services and allow them to assist male priests during Mass and Holy Communion. In February, he appointed two women to high positions in the Vatican, which have always been held by men, and reconvened an international commission to study whether women should become deacons. (He hasn’t been able to make a decision since his first meeting in 2016.) This month he created the Catechist ministry, to enable lay people – and men – to help teach the gospel.
Allowing women to become deacons, women to become priests, and priests to marry are the main means debated to help attract more offerings from the flock and revitalize the faith, but the international community is much more distant on women. priests and priests married than on women deacons. .
“The theological reason for this is the argument of tradition, an expression of Christ’s will mediated by the church,” Rooney said. “If you admit a woman to sacred orders as a deacon, then you have made a statement about the symbology involved and the ability to receive sacred orders. The Catholic Church, in particular, is very insistent that all of its developments be in continuity and not a break with the past. “
Recent polls show about 80% of American Catholic women support female deacons (compared to about a third of Catholic bishops.) Mooney said young people, in particular, lean towards inclusion.
“The backbone of almost all parishes is women, in leadership and in ministry for sure. One of the foundational tasks of the church – educating young people – is largely carried out by ministry. education for women, ”he said. “I think that one of the most important is that of the leadership at the diocesan level, the number of women who are at this stage chancellors of the diocese and of the archdiocese. And the number of women who have risen to leadership positions in some of the Roman dicasteries now. I think these are substantial movements. “
There are many different ways to live a faith. Krabel said she felt “a leader, not just a participant” since becoming a Lutheran and a deacon.
“I find it very hypocritical for any religion to say, ‘you can’t do this because you’re gay’ or ‘you can’t do this because you’re a woman’ or ‘you can’t participate because you don’t ‘That’s not like us’, “Krabel said.” I’m no expert, but I don’t think when you go to heaven they’ll care about your color, who you slept or what sex you are. I think what kind of person you are and how you are? Have you lived and been a good person, you know? I think what’s on the inside matters more than what’s on the outside. “