According to an article in The Local, a paper for German news in English, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch has called for a “return” to deaconesses in the Church at the conclusion of a multi-day conference to discuss possible Church reforms. In addition to “deaconesses,” the conference proposed to “extend the rights of remarried divorcees to sit on church bodies such as parish councils.” They further discussed the possibility of admitting them to Holy Communion and Confession [blog note, it seems clear here that they are discussing Confession without amending their situation; rather, acting as if it their life of sin is compatible with the normal Christian life].
Regarding deaconesses, let’s first acknowledge that yes there were certainly a group of women in the early Church dedicated to assisting the clergy, and at various times these may have gone by the name of diakonoi or diakonissai, as explained in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Even still, it is not the same thing as “female deacon.” First, it seems that they are inseparable from the widows who live on the Church’s charity and who work to serve the Church in the earliest days of Christianity. We are not speaking of ordination, properly so called, thus, the 19th Canon of Nicaea, and the Council of Nismes both make clear that these deaconesses are not receiving proper ordination, and that they are not being elevated to the Levitical state (source: Catholic Encylopedia).
So, at the end, we are talking about a group of women who had a recognized function of serving in the Church, the details of which are obscure, but concerning which we have irrefutable evidence that they were not considered ordained ministers in the sense of which we speak of ordination.
This, however, does not matter to modern proponents of “female deacons.” The goal here is to push with ever greater force for the priestly ordination of women. Now, we know that Christ will protect his Church, that women will never be ordained (in fact, they cannot be ordained), and that the gates of Hell will never prevail. This doesn’t stop the anti-Christian agitators from pushing to demolish the Church, so that it made me remade into the mystical body of this world.
The same is true for the question of allowing divorced Catholics pretending to be married to a new spouse on the boards of parishes, and of allowing them to receive the Blessed Sacrament. The goal is not to build up, but to destroy.
Now, a quick word of fairness; it seems clear that a great many clergy and faithful in the Church do not seek, as their motive, to destroy the Church. Instead, being poorly catechized, and understanding little of the mind of the Church, they propose things which by their nature lead to her (the Church’s) destruction.
And yet, this brings us to the real problem: Those who should have protected the fort have betrayed it. Rather than seeing the past 50 years’ endless pursuit of novelty as a failed program that has emptied the seminaries, destroyed the convents, transformed priests into social workers, and that has abolished the missionary spirit, the “reformers” just think it hasn’t gone far enough. If only there were a little more innovation and experimentation, they think, we’d finally have that elusive New Pentecost we’ve all been promising.
In the midst of this diabolical disorientation, existing at even the highest levels of ecclesiastical life, let us resolve to work for the only reform that has ever truly worked in the Church – a reform of return to sound doctrine, and a life lived in accord with that doctrine.
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