Women Deacons: At What Price?
JUNE 13, 2016 BY FR. REGIS SCANLON, OFMCAP 3 COMMENTS
First Christian Deaconesses (left to right): Ionia, Lydia, Priscilla, Tryphena, Phoebe, and Tabitha painting by Kostas Xenopoulos
(This article was originally published in the print version of Homiletic & Pastoral Review, July 1996.)
Now that Pope John Paul II has “definitively” ruled out women priests in his apostolic letter to the bishops, others are investigating whether women can be ordained to the diaconate.1 As commonly known the office of deacon makes men members of the “hierarchy” of the Church enables them to preach the Gospel (Acts 6:5-6, 8-13 & 8:5), function as “managers” (1 Tim. 3:12), and “preside over the worship and prayer of the faithful.”2 Authority and leadership, therefore, are intrinsic to the office of deacon. So, we must examine what God has divinely revealed to us through the Scriptures about the role of women in relation to the diaconate. But, first we must examine what God has revealed concerning men and women in relation to authority.