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Wait till those “women deacons” find out that they have to be celibate and wear nuns’ habits

May 20, 2016

From my latest for First Things:

Armenian women deacons: Actually, they were nuns.

 

The nunnishness of the early Christian women who became deaconesses is striking. And it is a feature that persisted, even into fairly recent history. Deaconesses disappeared from both the Western and Eastern Orthodox Churches during the Middle Ages, when the office of “deacon,” with its specifically liturgical functions of preaching and reading the Gospel, became a formal part of Holy Orders and thus open only to men. Only the Armenian Church continued to ordain deaconesses to serve at the altar, up through the early twentieth century. And it should be noted that every one of those Armenian deaconesses was a nun, often the abbess of her convent.

I suspect that few of the women who suddenly feel the “call” to the Catholic diaconate in light of Pope Francis’s statement will likewise be willing to enter nunneries—much less to adopt the very feminine title of “deaconess.” Most of those pushing for women deacons are interested not in restoring an aspect of early Christian history but in acquiring political power in today’s Catholic Church. Their goal is the priesthood and, ultimately, the episcopate—just as it was for women deacons when the Anglican Church began recognizing their office as part of Holy Orders during the 1960s. Our aspiring women deacons view the female diaconate not as a historical revival, but as a camel’s nose in the clerical tent.

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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