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Female Synod adviser appointed by Pope Francis says ‘women deacons’ are a ‘possibility’ – LifeSite

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — One of the female advisers appointed to the Synod by Pope Francis has said women deacons are “a possibility.”

In an interview with the news outlet of the German bishops, katholisch.de, theology professor Maria Lucchetti Bingemer said that thanks to Pope Francis, “There is already more visibility of women in leadership positions, and this creates an ecclesiological fact: Women are no longer just passive, they occupy spaces and do it very well.”

“This could open up a future in which female deacons or even priests are a possibility,” Bingemer claimed, contradicting dogmatic Catholic teaching.

“However, if the office of deacon is introduced, the process will be cautious and consensual, as is always the case in the Church,” the professor said.

Bingemer praised Francis for allowing theologians to “speak loud and clear” on many issues, including the role of women in the Church. Female theologians like herself would no longer be sanctioned for speaking out in favor of women’s “ordinations.” Bingemer has done so in her book Transforming the Church and Society from a Feminine Perspective, in which she criticized the exclusively male Holy Orders as degrading toward women.

In February, Francis announced the appointment of six new consultants for the Synod on Synodality, including three women. Next to Bingemer, two other female advocates for women deacons were appointed: Sister Birgit Weiler, professor of theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, and Professor Tricia C. Bruce, president-elect of the Association for the Sociology of Religion.

READ: Pope appoints female deacon advocates to Synod as October meetings confirmed

In a recent article for the Herder Korrespondenz, Weiler stressed that in the Amazon regions, bishops would appoint women to lead congregations and administer the sacrament of Baptism. This is why, according to Weiler, in numerous consultations on the Amazon Synod and the working document for the continental phase in Latin America and the Caribbean, the request was made to “ordain” women to the permanent diaconate.

Bruce told katholisch.de that there are many women who “feel called to the diaconate and those who would discern a vocation if the way were opened to them.”

“Many women feel called to forms of ministry that are not currently available to them,” Bruce said.

“Lay women make up the overwhelming majority of those involved in the Church in the U.S.,” she stated. “The priesthood in its current structure and quantity needs collaboration to meet the many needs in the Church.”

The heterodox statements of the three female consultors appointed by Francis appear to be part of a broader push for some form of female diaconate. Last week, Cardinal Mario Grech, one of the two leading cardinals in charge of the Synod on Synodality, stated that “the female diaconate and a different space for women in the Church are a natural deepening of the Lord’s will.”

Last month, Sister Linda Pocher, a nun who previously addressed Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals, attested that Francis “is very much in favor of the female diaconate.”

Catholic impossibility of ‘female deacons’

As LifeSiteNews Vatican correspondent Michael Haynes explained in a recent article, the Catholic Church has pronounced the impossibility of female deacons.

“The diaconate, as part of the sacrament of Holy Orders, is not possible to be opened to women,” Haynes wrote.

In his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II taught, “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

In 2002, the Vatican’s International Theological Commission wrote after much study that:

  1. The deaconesses mentioned in the tradition of the ancient Church — as evidenced by the rite of institution and the functions they exercised — were not purely and simply equivalent to the deacons;
  2. The unity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, in the clear distinction between the ministries of the bishop and the priests on the one hand and the diaconal ministry on the other, is strongly underlined by ecclesial tradition, especially in the teaching of the Magisterium

In 2019, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), spoke with LifeSite’s Dr. Maike Hickson about the issue of female ordination, issuing a categorical clarification about the Catholic prohibition on the matter of women as priests or deacons:

It is certain without doubt, however, that this definitive decision from Pope John Paul II is indeed a dogma of the Faith of the Catholic Church and that this was of course the case already before this Pope defined this truth as contained in Revelation in the year 1994. The impossibility that a woman validly receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders in each of the three degrees is a truth contained in Revelation and it is thus infallibly confirmed by the Church’s Magisterium and presented as to be believed.

In 2018, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., the current prefect of the CDF, defended the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis as bearing the mark of “infallibility,” with John Paul II having “formally confirmed and made explicit, so as to remove all doubt, that which the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium has long considered throughout history as belonging to the deposit of faith.”

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