Can women become deacons?
As things stand, women cannot be ordained as deacons. The question is being considered, however, by a Commission set up by Pope Francis in May 2016 to examine whether women could serve as deacons. It is true that there were deaconesses in the early church (e.g. Phoebe mentioned by St. Paul in his letter to the Romans) but it is not so clear if they were ordained. The word ‘deacon’ comes from the Greek word ‘Diakonia’ which means ‘service’. There is a distinction between ‘ordained deacons’ and ‘deacons’ understood as offering a particular service to the Church. There was, certainly, a liturgical ‘laying on of hands’ and ‘invocation of the Holy Spirit’ as part of women’s reception into the role of deaconess, but scholars are divided as to the true meaning of this ritual and whether it constituted ordination as such. Until this matter is clarified, the status quo remains, i.e. that women cannot become deacons.
Most popular questions
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- Why are there so many different religious organisations?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?
- What’s the difference between a sister and a nun?
- Why would anybody become a priest nowadays?
- I do not consider myself to be exceptionally holy, I try to pray every day and follow the commandments. I have always been very interested in the priesthood but I have never felt a burning passion for it. Could I still be called to the priesthood?
- The idea of public speaking is very challenging to me and I avoid it if possible. How can I be a priest when I hate public speaking?
- As a priest, will I get to see and talk with family and friends regularly?