motto of the Society of Jesus, the religious order to which Pope Francis belongs. But you could have fooled me. I would have thought it was, "Too little, too late."
That's what occurred to me after reading "Pope Francis Says Panel Will Study Whether Women May Serve as Deacons," on the front page of the New York Times. Or, in other words, Pope Francis is thinking of forming a group that may discuss why women still can't be priests.
What? Say it ain't so!
Don't worry; according to the article (all emphasis mine):
Lucetta Scaraffia, the co-editor of a monthly magazine on women and the church distributed with the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said that although the pope’s words were encouraging, they did not necessarily reflect the views of most bishops.
“I doubt much will come of it,” Ms. Scaraffia said. “I think the pope would like to open discussion, but there is strong resistance” to any ordination of women.
Facing a shortage of priests, the church in the United States has for decades been actively encouraging men to become deacons to fill the gaps. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says there are now more than 13,000 men serving in what is called the “permanent diaconate.”
Deacons are ordained ministers in the Catholic Church, and in many parishes they handle many of the same tasks that priests do. They are permitted to preach at Mass, perform baptisms, witness marriages and conduct funeral services. Deacons currently must be men over the age of 35, and they may be married (though if a deacon’s wife dies, he is expected to remain celibate).
So, like priests, deacons must be male; but unlike priests, they can't be under 35. They don't have to be single or celibate unless their wife dies, in which case they must be. Got it.
“The real problem is that they can’t figure out why a woman can be ordained a deacon but not a priest,” according to Phyllis Zagano, an advocate of women’s ordination.
Oh, that's an easy one:
...women cannot be ordained because the disciples of Jesus were all male.
They were all fishermen, too (I think), had beards and wore sandals. So what?
Every other denomination I know of has women clergy. I guess it's just a matter of time before the Catholic Church follows suit:
Creating a Vatican commission is no guarantee of change. Such commissions can take years to reach conclusions and are only advisory. Pope Paul VI rejected the majority report of a Vatican commission in 1966 that, after three years of study, essentially recommended that the church lift its ban on artificial birth control.
Can you believe it? Fifty years later, married Catholic couples still can't practice birth control, which explains why so many of them have eight, nine or even ten children, just like when we were kids.
Every once in a while I wonder why I'm a lapsed Catholic. (Not really.) But it's articles like this that remind me.