Francis has fulfilled a promise made last May in what could constitute an historic move towards ending the Catholic Church’s practice of an all-male clergy-
Pope Francis has created a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church, following up on a promise made last May in what could be an historic move towards ending the global institution’s practice of an all-male clergy.
The Pontiff has appointed an equal number of male and female experts as members of the commission, which will be led by Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria, a Jesuit who serves as the second-in-command of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation.
The Vatican said in a release announcing the commission Tuesday that the Pope had decided to create the group “after intense prayer and mature reflection” and wanted it particularly to study the history of the female diaconate “in the earliest times of the Church.”
The commission’s members include experts in patristic theology, ecclesiology, and spirituality.
Among noted names are: Franciscan Sr. Mary Melone, who heads Rome’s Pontifical University Antonianum, and Phyllis Zagano, a senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in New York who is also an NCR columnist.