Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Pope names six women, six men to study women deacons

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis has appointed six men and six women to a commission to study the issue of women deacons, particularly their ministry in the early church.

In addition to the 12 members named Aug. 2, the pope tapped Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to serve as president of the commission.

The pope set up the commission at the request of the International Union of Superiors General, the organization for the leaders of women’s religious orders around the world. Meeting the group in May, Pope Francis said that while his understanding was that the women described as deacons in the New Testament were not ordained as male deacons are today, “it would be useful for the church to clarify this question.”

The International Theological Commission, a body that advises the doctrinal congregation, included the question of women deacons in a study on the diaconate almost 20 years ago. While its report, issued in 2002, did not offer recommendations for the future, it concluded that biblical deaconesses were not the same as ordained male deacons.

In June, Pope Francis told reporters that he had asked Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the doctrinal congregation, and Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the superiors’ group, to suggest scholars to include in the study group.

At least one of the members Pope Francis named to the commission — U.S. scholar Phyllis Zagano — has written extensively on the role of women deacons in the early church, arguing that they were ordained ministers and that women can be ordained deacons today. Zagano is a senior research associate in the religion department at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

Another U.S. scholar also is among the 12 commission members: Augustinian Father Robert Dodaro, president of the Pontifical Augustinian Institute in Rome and a professor of patristic theology specializing in the works of St. Augustine.

The other members of the commission are:

* Spanish Sister Nuria Calduch-Benages, a member of the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family and member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

* Francesca Cocchini, a professor of church history at Rome’s Sapienza University.

* Italian Msgr. Piero Coda, a professor of systematic theology and member of the International Theological Commission.

* Spanish Jesuit Father Santiago Madrigal Terrazas, professor of ecclesiology at the Pontifical Comillas University in Madrid.

* Angeline Franciscan Sister Mary Melone, a theologian and rector of Rome’s Pontifical Antonianum University.

* Father Karl-Heinz Menke, retired professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Bonn and member of the International Theological Commission.

* Rwandan Salesian Father Aimable Musoni, professor of ecclesiology at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome.

* Jesuit Father Bernard Pottier, professor at the Institute of Theological Studies in Brussels and member of the International Theological Commission.

* Marianne Schlosser, professor of spiritual theology at the University of Vienna and member of the International Theological Commission.

* Michelina Tenace, professor of fundamental theology at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.

By Cindy Wooden / Catholic News Service

CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano: Pope Francis greets Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General, during an audience with the heads of women’s religious orders in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on May 12. During a question-and-answer session with members of the UISG, the pope said he was willing to establish a commission to study whether women could serve as deacons.

 






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry
    Dec 25 Diocesan Television Christmas Special Fox 21
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Jan 412:00 am Class 2019 Ordination Retreat
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Jan 812:00 am Retiro Espiritual de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 1210:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate