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So Much For The Female Diaconate!

May 15, 2019 Frontpage No Comments

By SHAUN KENNEY

Pope Francis on his return trip from the Balkans put the project of women’s ordination cum female deacons on ice. Reports indicated not only that the commission was split, but that there was enough of a consensus to admit that female deaconesses were an ontological impossibility.
This did not please either the German or American delegations to the commission, and reports singled out Phyllis Zagano, who has been in effect a proponent of women’s ordination (despite her protestations that the form isn’t chasing the substance). Zagano et al. cry foul at the charge every time, yet there is no question in anyone’s mind that — should women’s ordination to the diaconate be on the table — such proponents would take full advantage of such latitude to push for women’s ordination.
Of course, any female diaconate — holy orders or not — is an ontological impossibility. Any simulacrum of a female diaconate by restoring the role of “abbotesses” to some sort of middle position would not be a deacon in the truest sense of the word; just a pale imitation. Jesus Christ Himself chose men to receive sacramental Holy Orders. If Pope John Paul II was not clear enough on the matter — and JP II very nearly invoked papal infallibility in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in 1994 — what more evidence do the reformers require?
The episode is worth noting if for no other reason than it is once again evidence that Francis is not as progressive as his handlers. The German bishops in particular are doing almost everything possible to manufacture a “Third” Vatican Council by fiat in order to rescue their precarious financial condition back home. Not having an episcopal tradition as the Anglo-American world does, they are perhaps deaf to the charge of adopting the ecclesiology of Henry VIII rather than of Benedict XVI.
One wonders how to communicate to the powers that be that Catholics sitting in the pews don’t want changes to tradition. The attraction of the Catholic faith — apart from the Eucharist — is that it doesn’t change, isn’t swayed by public opinion, remains salt and light in a mediocre and dark world.
Academics can make themselves interesting by proposing odd interpretations of Church history, but the fact of the matter is that the collected tradition of the Church through the teaching office of the Magisterium deserves more than just our respect — it deserves our fidelity.
For one, I’m glad to see the Pope is still Catholic.

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At this rate, it appears as if the letter charging Pope Francis with heresy is a dud, not least of which for the reason that Pope Francis himself apparently has no clue that the letter exists.
One of the important things about a heretic is that they are obstinate in their rejection of a dogmatic truth of the Church. Not only are they obstinate, they are public in doing so, and what’s more they are public in doing so when challenged directly.
This was the purpose (at least obliquely) of the four cardinals’ dubia, not as an effort to correct Pope Francis publicly, but as an effort to head off the possibility of any orchestration (particularly by the German bishops) to weaken the Magisterium on questions of marriage and divorce.
Yet we would not be talking about a moral laxity in the end, but rather a direct moral contravention. In short, the Bergoglians would have to be challenged (as Raymond Cardinal Burke has done), and they would have to point blank say that yes, this is indeed what was before, and we reject that interpretation entirely.
More to the point, Pope Francis would have to come out and argue this directly. This would not be a scenario where the “development of doctrine” would have “evolved” in such a way as to present an entirely contrary view of the Catholic faith — an argument proffered by the Society of St. Pius X, the Feeneyites, and various sedevacantist sects that reject ecumenism and religious freedom in the Second Vatican Council. Rather, it would have to be the wholesale rejection of a dogmatic truth, with full knowledge and intent.
For those of us frustrated with the confusion coming out of the Vatican — and I am certainly among them — it is tempting if not cathartic to simply lay the charge of heresy on the table and demand that others reject the claim. Yet such a claim would be akin to a diagnosis that your lung is diseased and must be removed when in fact we still don’t know whether that is the case.
Heresy is a drastic claim, a morally serious charge that must be leveled with moral seriousness. While many of the signatories are individuals that I know and respect, some were perhaps not as well-formed as they were. Certainly the organizations who peddled it are investing a great deal of effort shoring up the document, but when you’ve lost EWTN? You’ve lost.

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Massimo Faggioli is a professor at Villanova University, the putative dean of the Catholic left in the United States and a prominent figure in Europe as well, perhaps not so much for his scholarship as he is for his communicative and combative style.
One of his comments on Twitter last week? “Pope Francis is the best possible embodiment of the Catholic sixties.” To which Twitter erupted in howls of laughter, the most sarcastic of which reads: “Savage attack on the Pope from America’s greatest theologian.”
Ouch.

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As I was editing this, news came that Pope Francis has issued a motu proprio outlining how charges of sexual misconduct are to be handled when leveled against Catholic religious. At first glance, it is an improvement on what prevailed before in the United States, Australia, and Chile.
Unfortunately, it does precious little to clear out the nest of the snakes who were installed in the wake of the “Long Lent.” Better guidelines are one thing, but what about the men who are implementing these guidelines?
So long as McCarrick’s legacy continues to define the Church, the abuse crisis will continue to fester underneath the skin of the faithful. We deserve better than that.

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Once again, my friend seems to continue to self-medicate, this time for a very long 72-hour period that saw a good number of those who were trying to help him push away.
Many of you who have written have suggested Alcoholics Anonymous, and I have recommended this to him as well. I suspect he is hesitant because this would introduce a religious sentiment into the discussion…and as before, after the priest at our local parish would not see him on the day he was at his lowest point? He is more hostile to the idea than ever before.
Mr. S had an interesting recommendation: pipe smoking as a substitute. Sometimes it is just a matter of doing something with your hands, contemplating the world, and so forth. I do have to say that pipe tobacco is one of the best bad habits I have acquired over the last 10 years.
Another letter writer helpfully offers the intercession of the Venerable Matthew Talbot, a man who drank himself into oblivion for 15 years before “taking the pledge” and going sober. As a substitute for drinking, he replaced it with prayer, quit his old job, and started over as a secular Franciscan.
I have had this conversation with my friend, specifically about life having a 100 percent kill rate (with notable exception) and the need to give your life in service to something more.
As a special note, I would ask you to pray for the soul of my great-uncle, Joseph Zogbi, who passed away peacefully on May 8, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was the last of my grandmother’s generation, lived a full life, leaves behind a wonderful family…and was a great man in every sense of the word.
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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