Tuesday, August 2, 2016

One blogging Priest comments on news of new Papal Commission studying women as deacons in early church; believes this will not result in changes to Holy Orders today

New Commission on Deaconesses formed

Here is something pretty bizzare…
This has come out of the blue like a… that thing that comes out of the blue.  A bolt?  A raise in your health insurance premium?  A sprained ankle?  My point is that, as I write, none of the usual suspects are crowing about this yet, and the sun is rising here.  That means that this wasn’t known by enough of the right (read = wrong) people so that it would be leaked to approved sources to help them write about it, spin it before anyone else could.  I’ve only seen it mentioned at Jesuit-run (surprise) America and Zenit, but in a neutral way.
From today’s Bolletino:
Istituzione della Commissione di Studio sul Diaconato delle donne, 02.08.2016
Il 12 maggio 2016 il Santo Padre, nel corso dell’incontro – svolto in forma di dialogo nell’Aula Paolo VI – con le partecipanti all’Assemblea Plenaria delle Superiore Generali, ha espresso l’intenzione di “costituire una commissione ufficiale che possa studiare la questione” del Diaconato delle donne, “soprattutto riguardo ai primi tempi della Chiesa”.
Dopo intensa preghiera e matura riflessione, Sua Santità ha deciso di istituire la Commissione di Studio sul Diaconato delle donne, chiamando a farne parte i seguenti:
Ecc.mo Mons. Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.I., Arcivescovo tit. di Tibica, Segretario della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede. [This is good news.  He was involved with this question before.]
Rev.da Suor Nuria Calduch-Benages, M.H.S.F.N., Membro della Pontificia Commissione Biblica;
Prof.ssa Francesca Cocchini, Docente presso l’Università «La Sapienza» e presso l’Istituto Patristico «Augustinianum», Roma; [We’ll see.]
Rev.do Mons. Piero Coda, Preside dell’Istituto Universitario «Sophia», Loppiano, e Membro della Commissione Teologica Internazionale; [Okay.]
Rev.do P. Robert Dodaro, O.S.A., Preside dell’Istituto Patristico «Augustinianum», Roma, e Docente di patrologia; [Excellent.]
Rev.do P. Santiago Madrigal Terrazas, S.I., Docente di Ecclesiologia presso l’Università Pontificia «Comillas», Madrid;
Rev.da Suor Mary Melone, S.F.A., Rettore Magnifico della Pontificia Università «Antonianum», Roma; [This is probably good news.]
Rev.do Karl-Heinz Menke, Docente emerito di Teologia dogmatica presso l’Università di Bonn e Membro della Commissione Teologica Internazionale;
Rev.do Aimable Musoni, S.D.B., Docente di Ecclesiologia presso la Pontificia Università Salesiana, Roma; [Good news.]
Rev.do P. Bernard Pottier, S.I., Docente presso l’«Institut d’Etudes Théologiques», Bruxelles, e Membro della Commissione Teologica Internazionale;
Prof.ssa Marianne Schlosser, Docente di Teologia spirituale presso l’Università di Vienna e Membro della Commissione Teologica Internazionale;
Prof.ssa Michelina Tenace, Docente di Teologia fondamentale presso la Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Roma;
Prof.ssa Phyllis Zagano, Docente presso la «Hofstra University», Hempstead, New York. [Not good news but predictable.]
I know a least a little bit about a few of the people on the list.  Some I’ve never heard off.  There are at least a few good scholars and necessary fields are represented, with a range of language skills.  Others, … meh.  There are several people from the ITC, which suggests that Archbp. Ladaria (presently Secretary of the CDF) had something to do with this.  The ITC already wrote about the question, but didn’t take a hard position.  They left it an open question, but, according to my reading, leaned away from saying that it was possible to ordain.
You might recall that Pope Francis, during an off-the-cuff Q&A with the International Union of Superiors General (heads of women’s religious orders), said that he’d think about a commission to study the question of deaconettes.  It seems that he thought about it!
The question will eventually be resolved (frankly, it probably is already) wholly on the basis what it means to be ordained TODAY, not centuries ago.  What do Holy Orders mean NOW.  That’s the key.  Inevitably our present understanding of Holy Orders will trump history, philology, etc.  I suspect that this move will forever bury the question, and properly so.
The moderation queue is ON.

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