Does Pope Francis Have Precedent for Female Priests?Breaking News
tags: religion, Pope Francis
The key question for Francis is: Were deaconesses clergy in the way that they are today? Did ancient people mean the same thing by “deacon” that modern Catholics do? The strongest evidence for deaconesses comes from a late fourth-century Syrian document known as the Apostolic Constitutions. It contains instructions for the ordination of a deaconess by a bishop. The fact that they are ordained suggests that deaconesses are part of the clergy, but against this we have to put the statement made by a member of the Council of Nicaea in 325 c.e. that deaconesses “have no imposition of hands [that is to say they weren’t formally ordained by a bishop and thus they were] numbered only among the laity.”
The “historic openness” of the Church to female deacons is important because many Church teachings about the priesthood are based on the precedent set by Jesus. The reason why only men can serve as priests is not only because, as Francis said this week, the priest serves “in persona Christi” and as an “icon of the apostles” (for which gender is important), but also because Jesus only selected 12 men as apostles. If it turned out that Jesus selected women as apostles, let’s say Mary Magdalene, then that particular argument for the necessity of an all-male priesthood would be substantially eroded.
comments powered by Disqus
- The Debt Ceiling Law is now a Tool of Partisan Political Power; Abolish It
- Amitai Etzioni, Theorist of Communitarianism, Dies at 94
- Kagan, Sotomayor Join SCOTUS Cons in Sticking it to Unions
- New Evidence: Rehnquist Pretty Much OK with Plessy v. Ferguson
- Ohio Unions Link Academic Freedom and the Freedom to Strike
- First Round of Obama Administration Oral Histories Focus on Political Fault Lines and Policy Tradeoffs
- The Tulsa Race Massacre was an Attack on Black People; Rebuilding Policies were an Attack on Black Wealth
- British Universities are Researching Ties to Slavery. Conservative Alumni Say "Enough"
- Martha Hodes Reconstructs Her Memory of a 1970 Hijacking
- Jeremi Suri: Texas Higher Ed Conflict "Doesn't Have to Be This Way"
- New transcript of Ayn Rand at West Point in 1974 shows she claimed “savage" Indians had no right to live here just because they were born here
- The Mexican War Suggests Ukraine May End Up Conceding Crimea. World War I Suggests the Price May Be Tragic if it Doesn't
- The Vietnam War Crimes You Never Heard Of