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Female Deacons: Stalking Horse For Women’s Ordination?

May 8, 2019 Frontpage No Comments

By SHAUN KENNEY

Rumors abound that female ordination is in the cards in a new document from the Vatican “restoring” the female diaconate. What nonsense….
First and foremost, there has never been and can never be a female diaconate in the Catholic Church. Proponents are quick to point to “abbotesses” as late as the fourth century, but the practice died out because it transitioned into the head of a convent. The nomenclature never gave the title the status of sacramental authority.
Second and perhaps more dangerously, it is incredibly naive to think that the proponents of a so-called female diaconate truly believe that it stops with some sort of informal external association with the actual diaconate. Far from it, they will create fictitious holy orders, they will mimic the ceremony of the holy rite, and they will entirely expect to confer the sacramental rites of Baptism, Marriage, and Last Rites.
Once again, we find ourselves faced with a certain branch of Catholicism that seeks to push us more and more toward Episcopalianism. One might helpfully suggest that there already exists a religious tradition that is far more accepting of women’s ordination and the whole list of vices that today’s secular religions all deem to be virtues — and their pews are quite empty, their liturgy quite beautiful, and their continued presence seriously in doubt.
Is there anyone who really thinks that any positive steps toward a female diaconate will be in name only? Or that the glass half full will not be followed up with a full attempt to hijack priestly ordination with the ordination of deacons followed by priests? Bishops? The fabled Pope Joan?
Whom precisely do we need to grab by the scruff of the neck? The problem isn’t a lack of female deacons; it’s a lack of devotion to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The problem isn’t an insufficient dedication to combating climate change, social justice, overweight liturgical dancers in tights, or whether we can give everyone at Mass a role to play during the liturgy.
In politics, the tactic of a “stalking horse” is often employed when you want to buy time. The same is done with a female diaconate; we chase the bright shiny object while proponents know full well what their endgame is. Plausible deniability, but if offered women’s ordination…would they decline it? Of course not.
Such dishonesty is what passes for theology nowadays.

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If we are going to scold Pope Francis, could we try to do so without inventing narratives?
For instance, one commentator has helpfully suggested that the $500,000 donated by the Vatican to feed Guatemalan refugees attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexican border feeds 75,000 for . . . wait for it . . . $6.66 per person.
The horror! Until, of course, you realize that meals cost something closer to $0.10 per person thanks to economies of scale. Eating from home can even be kept to $1 a meal for those of you on a budget. But no…we had to make the cost of a meal precisely $6.66 because Pope Francis was handing out the meals.
These same folks had the audacity to claim that Feeneyism — the rigorist interpretation of “no salvation outside of the Church” — is authentic Catholic teaching. Coming from former Protestants, this is rich theology indeed. Yet Pope Pius IX nailed the door shut on such rigid interpretations. After howls of protest from faithful Catholics, these commentators backed down and changed the topic, but the point had already been made.
This is also the very same set that throws the Second Vatican Council into the air, stating that because it was not an ecumenical council, it defined no aspect of Catholic teaching and therefore can be ignored wholesale. Never mind that Pope Benedict XVI himself has stated rather clearly that the Second Vatican Council does indeed authoritatively teach on ecumenism and religious freedom and that Catholics are morally bound to accept these teachings — such assertions are “unclear” and therefore “ambiguous” enough to be ignored.
Francis has faults. But start stacking these complaints up and what we see isn’t Roman Catholicism but rather a Calvinist Catholicism where individuals triumph over the Magisterium even in defense of the Magisterium.
Naturally, I have very deep reservations about the current condition of the Francis pontificate up to this point. The very rumor of a female diaconate and women’s ordination is theologically preposterous. The presence of the “Velvet Mafia” and the fact that Theodore McCarrick’s hand-picked men are all ensconced in positions of power appalls me. That the sexual abuse crisis continues to fester is abhorrent.
That our bishops take stronger positions on climate change rather than the defense of children in the womb is mentally inconsistent. That our charitable works preach pro-life and family from the pulpit yet operate in the field in precisely opposite ways is disheartening.
All of these things are problems. But swapping out the current Pontiff with another more “woke” (a word that means “gets it” among the youth — I don’t get it either) shepherd isn’t going to fix society. Rather, it just means we get another person to blame.
Francis isn’t flawless, but I can tell you for certain that this Calvinist approach to Catholicism is just as unsupportable as the jokers at National Catholic Reporter who cheerlead the long slouch toward Episcopalianism and consider that a win. The difference between empty pews and full pews is a faith that matters; a faith that sees Christ in the Other.
Playing with rules or wiping them clean only arrogates the individual into the place typically occupied by our Lord.
We are in sales, ladies and gentlemen, not management. Evangelization is hard, screaming heresy or wallowing in it are the easy choices — and we shouldn’t have patience for either.

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This week’s news is unfortunately not so positive. A setback of sorts, as my friend decided to get absolutely smashed over the weekend.
What followed were a series of apologies to friends and solicitations of sympathy….I am not terribly inclined to extend it.
One reader helpfully offers that a good Alcoholics Anonymous program should do the trick — a good one, as experiences with AA may vary from group to group. Unfortunately, my friend has gone to two. Third time is the charm?
Of course, I feel obligated to remind him that he did indeed make a mistake, and worse still that he is letting people down. Self-harm being a component of alcoholism, one supposes that he is keenly aware of this dynamic and cannot treat his future self with the respect he deserves.
It is difficult to watch a person destroy himself. There is little I can do but simply be there, correct as mildly as I can, and continue to point to a better direction.
I struggle with it either way in the handful of cases that God puts before me, yet I am somehow comforted by the fact that our priests literally handle hundreds of these instances every day!
And to think I once thought I had a vocation. . . .
Nevertheless, I am positive that something will give. As before, your prayers for my friend are appreciated more than you realize, and I continue to thank you.
St. Louis de Montfort, pray for us!

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First Teachers encourages readers to submit their thoughts, views, opinions, and insights to the author directly, either via e-mail or by mail. Please send any correspondence to Shaun Kenney c/o First Teachers, 5289 Venable Road, Kents Store, VA 23084 or by e-mail to svk2cr@virginia.edu.

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