Recent declarations from the Vatican followed by assenting decrees from a number of bishops make it clear that Roman Catholic hierarchs will not entertain questions about ordaining women priests.
They’ve underscored their decrees with excommunications, notably Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois and the women who have been ordained as part of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement.
While priestly ordination is seemingly off the table and out of bounds, what is emerging is a fairly open discussion about ordaining women to the permanent diaconate.
Three recent media events have drawn attention to conversations fermenting in church circles for some time already.
In a recent interview with NCR, Carolyn Johnson, who taught permanent deacons and their wives in the Brooklyn, N.Y., diocese in the mid-1990s, recalled how she was often asked why women weren’t allowed to earn credit for the courses they took alongside their husbands and how she felt about preparing…
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