Vatican commission has yet to deliberate on it

The Pope created the study commission in August 2016 following a request from the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), a global umbrella g

Aug 09, 2018

By Joshua J. McElwee
The Pope created the study commission in August 2016 following a request from the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), a global umbrella group of the leaders of women’s religious orders. Twenty-three per cent of the respondents hold membership in UISG.

Francis originally agreed to the request to create such a commission during a May 2016 question-and-answer session with some 900 UISG members. National Catholic Reporter (NCR), which was one of two outlets to attend that meeting, was the first to report the news.

The Vatican has released no information about the commission, including whether or how many times it has met, since the release announcing its creation.

Cardinal Luis Ladaria (pic), who heads the commission and is the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spoke publicly about the group for the first time in June. He said it is not planning to advise Francis on whether to reinstitute the practice of ordaining women as deacons.

“The Holy Father did not ask us to study if women could be deacons,” said Ladaria then, adding that his group’s “primary objective” is to consider what role women who served as deacons in the first centuries of Christianity were fulfilling.

Although Pope John Paul II claimed in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that “the Church has no authority whatsoever” to ordain women as priests, many church historians have said there is abundant evidence that women served as deacons in the early centuries of the Church.

The apostle Paul mentions such a woman, Phoebe, in his Letter to the Romans.

(This article first appeared on NCRonline.org, the Website of National Catholic Reporter, and is being used with permission)

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