You know, about asking for a conference on the subject of women and the diaconate.
Surely not, Frank! The Holy Father is too kind, and has nothing in common with Inspector Harry Callahan, SFPD.
I don’t know, dear reader. He’s pretty cagey, our Papa Francesco. His subtlety is renowned as much as his clarity.
But is it his lack of clarity that is really to blame whenever we read something he has reportedly said that goes against what we believe to be true, good, and beautiful?
What if we’re simply reacting to the latest scoop o’ the day in a reflexive, fear-driven manner, because everything we see is warped by the ideological lenses we all wear? Or in a hope filled manner for the exact same ideologically refracted reason?
That’s the thought that runs through my mind these days. Maybe I’ll expand on that in future posts.
But first, I want to point you to the English translation of what Pope Francis actually said to the women religious who asked the question heard ‘round the world yesterday.
Thanks to Aleteia, we can do just that. Here’s Pope Francis speaking,
This, I remember. There are a number of publications on the diaconate in the Church, but it is unclear what it was like. I think that I will ask the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to inform me about the studies on this topic, because I have responded to you based only on what I heard from this priest — who was a scholarly and true researcher — about the permanent diaconate. And also I would like to set up an official commission to study the issue: I think that it will be good for the Church to clarify this point; I agree, and I will speak, to do something of this kind.
You then say: “We agree with you, Holy Father, who have repeatedly shown the need for a greater role of women in decision-making positions in the Church.” This is clear. “Can you give us some examples of where you see the possibility of a better inclusion of women, and of consecrated women, in the Church?”
I will tell you something that comes after, because I saw that there is a general question. Consecrated women must go to the consultations, the assemblies of the Congregation for Religious: this is for certain. Consecrated women must go into the consultations on the many problems that are presented. Another thing: better inclusion. At the moment, concrete things do not come to mind, but again, as I said before: to seek the opinion of consecrated women, because women see things with an originality different than that of men, and this is enriching: both in discussions, and in decision-making, as well as in concrete reality.
The work you do with the poor, the marginalized, teaching catechesis, accompanying the sick and the dying, is very important “maternal” work, where the motherhood of the Church can be expressed more. But there are men who do the same [work], and it is good: consecrated men, hospital orders… And this is important.
Therefore, on the diaconate, yes, I accept, and a commission that clarifies this well seems useful to me, especially regarding the early days of the Church.
Regarding a better inclusion, I repeat what I said before. If there is something to concretize, ask it now: concerning what I said now, are there further questions that will help me to think? Go ahead…
Read more from the CNA story posted here on Patheos. Then remember that the Church is like an aircraft carrier. She doesn’t turn on a dime.
Maintain an even strain, shipmates!