Sunday, 13 August 2017

CATHOLIC WOMEN DEACONS

THE HISTORY OF WOMEN DEACONS

FROM: CATHOLICWOMENDEACONS.ORG

WOMEN DEACONS IN SCRIPTURE




An Icon of Phoebe, the deacon, named in Romans 16.

Romans 16

In the first two verses of Romans 16, Paul writes:  I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon (diakonos) of the church in Cenchreae.  I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor [prostatis] of many people, including me. In the 1st century the use of the masculine singular title diakonos for a female leader does not have the specificity of meaning that it acquired in later centuries.  Therefore it can be translated as either minister or deacon, but not deaconess, since this title did not emerge until later.  In the first century, the title diakonos is thought to connote an official leadership function such as minister, attendant, or envoy. The latter is the likely meaning in Romans since most scholars believe Paul’s recommendation of Phoebe to the Christian community in Rome indicates that she is in fact the carrier of his letter to that community. However, Phoebe’s other title:, “benefactor” or patron (prostatis) may be the more significant since it reveals that she is among the many wealthy women patrons who hosted house churches and financially provided for Paul and other evangelists in the burgeoning early Christian missionary movement.  It is a sad fact that Phoebe’s important leadership in the early church is inexplicably deleted from the Lectionary when the Romans 16 text is read on Week 31 Year 1.  

First Letter to Timothy

 1 Timothy, traditionally attributed to St. Paul, describes qualifications for diakonoi concluding with what is probably a reference to women deacons:  In the same way, [male] deacons (diakonoi) are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. (1 Tim 3: 8-11)   While it is possible that the wives of deacons are meant, it is likely that the text refers to women ministering in Timothy’s community. The majority of scholars today believe the letter to Timothy was not written by Paul himself but by an author from the Pauline tradition writing some years later when leadership roles were more developed. Carolyn Osiek believes women deacons and local overseers could also have been included in the episcopoi and diakonoi named in the opening greeting of the letter to the Philippians. (12)

WOMEN DEACONS IN TRADITION




An image of a women -- thought to be a deacon --from the Catacombs of Priscilla.

The evolution of women’s ministerial leadership in early Christianity is a complex phenomenon.  It is well documented that even though our earliest writings (Romans 16) give evidence that women served in apostolic ministerial roles alongside their brothers, over the next three centuries their public ministry was increasingly circumscribed. Wealthy women patrons, often widows, played an indispensable role in the expansion of Christianity throughout the Greco-Roman world. Not surprisingly, there is also evidence that they exercised significant political, liturgical and administrative leadership within the earliest Christian communities, including presiding at Eucharist in their homes, at least during the late first and early second centuries (1).  In some places, including Rome, enrolled widows were accepted as a part of the clergy, though male church leaders soon sought to control their ministry in both the East and the West.  

Early Church Documents

One of the earliest church documents, The Apostolic Tradition, forbade the ordination of widows. This is the first known proscription of women’s ordination and it almost certainly means widows were being ordained, or why the need for a rule?  The Apostolic Tradition is thought to have been written in 3rd century Rome by the presbyter Hippolytus who is also known as the first anti-Pope (2).  It is an irony of history that Hippolytus was not in communion with the great church when he wrote The Apostolic Tradition.  A dispute with Pope Callistus led him to break away and some scholars believe The Apostolic Tradition may have been written for his schismatic community (3).  Though recent scholarship is raising questions about the authorship and origins of the document, no one disputes its antiquity because numerous later church orders such as the Apostolic Constitutions and Testamentum Domini rely on it for some teachings (4).  
On the other hand, a late 4th or early 5th century church order, the Testamentum Domini  (from Eastern churches in Syria, Asia Minor or Egypt) not only permits widows to be ordained, but identifies them as part of the Church hierarchy.  While it distinguishes between deaconesses, widows and female presbyters, the greatest responsibility and honor belong to the widows.  Clearly, there was significant diversity in the early church about women’s leadership roles.  That said, in late antiquity it is important to distinguish between sacramental ministry and ordaining women as a widow or deacon; their leadership in liturgical ministry (the Divine Office); and the extent to which they were considered to be members of the clergy. These are not one and the same.  For example, while the Testamentum Domini attests that women were ordained and belonged to the clergy, scholars do not believe they exercised sacramental ministry in the sense of presiding at Eucharist or baptizing, beyond assisting with female anointing (5).   
Nevertheless, though some male church leaders in both East and West sought to curtail the wide-ranging ministry of widows, there is ample literary and archaeological evidence for the acceptance of ordained female deacons. Many scholars believe this was because of the need to control what public ministries women leaders could and could not perform (6).

Women Deacons in the East

The office of female deacon or deaconess was more prevalent in the East than the West.  We first see the Greek title diakonos with a masculine grammatical ending given to the female deacon Phoebe in Roman 16.  It has been falsely assumed that the diakonos title was replaced with the feminine deaconess (diakonissa) by the 3rd century.  However, though the evidence for what these women did is vague, the diakonos title for women deacons, as well as the term diakonissa recurs in both literary and archaeological inscription until the 6th century (13). 
One example is a 4th century tombstone on the Mount of Olives with a Greek inscription that reads: “Here lies the minister and bride of Christ, Sofia the deacon, a second Phoebe. She fell asleep in peace on the 21st of the month of March . . .” The Christian community in Jerusalem apparently understood Sofia’s ministry to be part of a 300-year-old tradition dating back to the Phoebe of Romans 16. Notable is the fact that for both Phoebe and Sofia, the Greek word diakonos is used, a masculine ending. There is ample archaeological evidence of other female deacons who ministered from the 1st to the 6th centuries in Palestine, Asia Minor, Greece, and Macedonia (14).   
Scholars Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek surmise that “Phoebe and other unnamed women deacons like her in the first and perhaps second century belonged to an office or function that was not distinguished by sex" (15).  Nevertheless, Phoebe’s 1st century leadership role probably bore little resemblance to those of later deaconesses.  The Didascalia Apostolorum  (Teachings of the Apostles) is a document that reflects the pastoral situation of the Church in Syria and Palestine in the late 3rd century. It concerns itself among other things with the organization of ministry and leadership in the Church. The Didascalia goes to great lengths to restrict the role of widows, but it approves the public ministry of female deacons, permitting them to teach and anoint but not to baptize.  
 A later church order, The Apostolic Constitution, further restricts the ministry of women deacons by forbidding them to teach. Listings of church rules (canons), however, are often found to be more prescriptive than descriptive. Literary and archaeological data not infrequently point to more expanded roles for women than one would surmise from the written rules. Hence we read of Olympias, Dionysia, and other women deacons assisting in the liturgy, financially supporting and advising male church leaders, serving the poor, and, most usually, teaching women and anointing them at the time of their baptism. There is ample archaeological and literary evidence of other female deacons who ministered in the East from the 1st to the 6th centuries (16,17).  

Women Deacons in the West

The literary and archaeological evidence for female deacons in the West does not appear until the 5th century when texts proscribing women presbyters also appear. Western Conciliar documents plainly indicate the displeasure of churchmen over women’s ordination to the diaconate or any other office.  Canon 26 of the Council of Orange held in November 441, forbade the ordination of female deacons. Likewise in 517, the Council of Epaon abolished “the consecration of widows who are called women deacons”(18).  
However, as we have seen, texts written by male church authorities are one thing and the actual ministry of women is quite another.  Literary references to women deacons in the West, while not abundant, are definitely present over a seven century period. They are found in wills, letters and chronicles of women deacons. Remigius, the bishop of Reims (433-533) left a will bequeathing part of a vineyard to “my blessed daughter, Helaria the deaconess” well after the Council of Epaon forbade such a ministry (19).   



A Stature of the Deacon, Radegund in Paris. By Louis Desprez. Photo © Marie-Lan Nguyen

In the mid 6th century, the Frankish queen Radegund, was ordained a deacon by Bishop Medard, a bishop of Noyons and Tournai. Other women deacons in the West known to us by tombstone inscriptions include Anna, a 6th century woman deacon from Rome, Theodora, a female deacon from Gaul buried in 539 and Ausonia, a 6th century woman deacon from Dalmatia. In 753 the Archbishop of Ravenna, Sergius, “consecrated his wife, Euphemia, a deacon (diaconissa).” And in 799, an account of Pope Leo III’s return to Rome reports that he was greeted by the entire population including “holy women, women deacons (diaconissae) and the most notable matrons.”20   Abbesses in the western church were sometimes deacons as well.  Some commentators on canon law in the 9th and 10th centuries simply assumed that abbesses were deacons (21).  
Despite persistent early efforts to suppress women deacons in the West, we find a letter written in 1017 by Pope Benedict VIII conferring on the Bishop of Porto in Portugal “in perpetuity every episcopal ordination not only of presbyters but also of deacons or deaconesses (diaconissis) or subdeacons” (22)  This privilege was continued by subsequent Popes in various dioceses up to the time of Bishop Ottone, the Bishop of Lucca in Italy (1139-1146). Abelard and Heloise – 12th century theologians—both referred to Heloise as a deacon (23).   

Ordination Rites for Women Deacons in the East

For centuries scholars have agreed that the earliest rituals used to ordain female deacons are the same as those used for male deacons. Jean Morin, a 17th century liturgical expert, catalogued a large collection of ordination rites in Greek, Latin and Syriac:   Three of the most ancient Greek rituals, uniformly one in agreement, hand down to us the ordination of women deacons, administered by almost the same rite and words by which deacons (were ordained).  Both are called ordination [χειρτονια, χειροθεσια]. Both are celebrated at the altar by the bishop, and in the same liturgical space.  Hands are placed on both while the bishop offers prayers.  The stole is placed on the neck of both, both the ordained man and the ordained woman communicated, the chalice full of the blood of Christ placed in the hands of both so they may taste of it (24).     
An 8th century prayer for ordaining a woman deacon reads:   Holy and Omnipotent Lord, through the birth of your Only Son our God from a Virgin according to the flesh, you have sanctified the female sex.  You grant not only to men, but also to women the grace and coming of the Holy Spirit.  Please, Lord, look on this your maidservant and dedicate her to the task of your diaconate, and pour out into her the rich and abundant giving of your Holy Spirit.  Preserve her so that she may always perform her ministry with orthodox faith and irreproachable conduct, according to what is pleasing to you. For to you is due all glory and honor (25). 

Ordination Rites for Women Deacons in the West

An 8th century liturgical book of Bishop Egbert of York contains a single prayer used for ordaining either a male or female deacon.  This is the earliest ritual in the West for the ordination of a woman deacon.  The prayer reads: Give heed, Lord, to our prayers and upon this your servant send forth that spirit of you blessing in order that, enriched by heavenly gifts, he (or she)might be able to obtain grace through your majesty and by living well offer an example to others… (26).  Other rituals for the ordination of female deacons appear in 9th, 10th and 12th century sacramentaries and pontificals. By the 13th century the ordination rites for women deacons were eliminated from the Roman Pontifical and do not appear again. 

What happened?

By the 12th century, women deacons in the East had become very rare. A 12th century Greek canonist Theoldore Balsomon wrote:  “In times past, orders of deaconesses were recognized and they had access to the sanctuary, but the monthly affliction banished them. . . .” (27).   In the 14th century, another eastern canonist, Matthew Blastares, acknowledged that while women deacons had existed, this was eventually forbidden by later fathers “because of the monthly flow that cannot be controlled.”  In the West, even though Pope Gregory I (590-604) said that menstruation should not be an obstacle to women attending church, purity rules eventually prevailed. In the end, women deacons would be banned in the main, because of their normal biological functions. 
Perhaps the most significant factor leading to the demise of women deacons in the West came in the mid-12th century when the definition of ordination underwent a dramatic shift.  In the first millennium, a Christian was ordained, consecrated or blessed to perform a specific job or ministry needed in the community. Gary Macy writes:  “Ordination did not give a person, for instance, the irrevocable and portable power of consecrating the bread and wine, or of leading the liturgy; rather, a particular community charged a person or persons to play a leadership role within that community (and only within that community) and that person or persons would lead the liturgy because of the leadership role they played within the community”(28). 
During the 12th century, the definition of ordination came to signify that recipients were given an indelible character marking them as different from other Christians.  Now the priest and only the priest received the power to consecrate bread and wine. Further, the indelible character and power to consecrate was portable and could be exercised anywhere, in any community. Ordination came to include only ministries that related to service at the altar. Thus only the orders of priest, deacon and subdeacon were recognized.  Finally, “all of the other earlier orders were no longer considered to be orders at all” (29).   
A highly influential late 12th century western canonist, Huguccio of Bologna, wrote that even if a woman were to be ordained it would not “take” because of  “the law of the church and sex” (30).   In other words, the fact of being biologically female prevented women from being ordained, and what is more, because they were biologically female, they never could have been truly ordained in the first place. Therefore all past female ordinations were not ordinations at all, at least according to the new understanding of ordination.  Given that male ordinations in previous centuries also entailed a different understanding of the meaning of orders, one could argue that those male ordinations didn’t “take” either, a point that seems to have escaped our esteemed canonists.

THE MINISTRY OF DEACONS





Because of the work of scholars such as Gary Macy and others, we now know that first millennium titles for church orders such as bishop, priest and deacon are not equivalent in meaning to the same titles today. For example, in some 3rd and 4th century church communities, deacons served as important administrators of church properties whose authority was second only to that of the bishop (7). 
The earliest references to deacons in the New Testament are found in Paul’s letters. According to Carolyn Osiek, the opening lines of Paul’s letter to the Philippians “contain a reference found nowhere else in the greetings of his letters: he and Timothy greet not only the holy ones or saints in Philippi, but add a greeting to their episkopoi and diakonoi” (8)  The Greek word episkopos does not yet mean what later came to be the office of bishop but “is more likely a reference to the leaders of house churches, groupings of believers that met in private houses for worship and other means of nurturing their faith life”(9)   The term diakonoi is “a general word for official representatives, ministers, attendants, and agents. Here it refers to a designated group of persons who provide some kind of assistance in the community”(10).   
Acts 6: 1-6  tells us that seven men were called to do the diakonia (service) of the table leaving the apostles to do the diakonia of the word.  This text is commonly cited as the first installation of men to the diaconate. However, it is notable that the men are never given the title diakonos [deacon, minister] as was Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2. They did receive a laying on of hands to minister to the needy, and because of this, the text is often cited as the first example of ordained deacons. The early deacon Stephen performed miracles, preached and was eventually martyred, and Philip the deacon preached and baptized in Samaria (Acts 6:1-6, 6:7-7:60; 8:4-40).  In later centuries the role of deacon came to include pastoral work, baptism, care of the poor, assistance at liturgies and in the 4th century, could include management of church property, the upkeep of churches and cemeteries and care of the sick and widows. According to John Wijngaard, in St. John Chrysostom’s time:  “…the entire government of the temporal affairs of the Church lay in the hands of deacons” (11).   
By the 12th century, the separate ministry of deacon was subsumed into the priesthood, becoming a preliminary step to ordination. Only at the second Vatican Council did the separate ministry of permanent deacons reemerge.

Named and Unnamed Women Deacons and What They Did

  • Manaris, Romana: prepared women for baptism and offered them hospitality during the transitional time before and after 
  • Unnamed Deacon of Caesarea: provided hospitality and protection to socially vulnerable women Susanna: served as advocates and agents for laywomen in the church 
  • Theophilia: travelled with women pilgrimsSevera of Jerusalem: conducted pilgrimages themselves 
  • Eugenia, Jannia, Olympias, Theodula, Valeriana: served as monastic superiors
  • Unnamed deacon of Theodoret served as trusted teachers 
  • Lampadion, Elisanthia, Martyria, and Palladia: were members of monastic communities but not superiors
  • Marthana, Matrona of Cosila: supervised important centers of pilgrimage 
  • Eusebia: lived in their own houses
  • Elisanthia, Martyria, Palladia: supervised liturgical roles of women and led them in liturgical prayer
  • Athanasia of Korykos: raised a foster child
  • Women deacons in 5-6th century Edessa: poured wine and water into the chalice at the Eucharist and other actions in the sanctuary in the absence of a priest or deacon 
  • 5th century unnamed woman deacon with multiple later historical citations: proclaimed the Gospel and other Scriptures in assemblies of women

DEVELOPMENTS

In 1995 the Canon Law Society of America study reported that it is within the authority of the Church to ordain women to the permanent diaconate,  and only a few adjustments to canon law would be needed.31   In 1974, a member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission (ITC), Cipriano Vagaggini OSB (1909-99), published detailed research that women deacons in Church history were ordained within the sanctuary by the bishop, in the presence of the presbyterate, and by the imposition of hands (traditional historical requirements for ordination).  In 2001, over 30 years after Paul VI had asked the commission to explore the question of a female diaconate; the Theological Commission said only that the teaching office of the Church had yet to decide on women deacons. (32)

PAT SAYS:


MOTHER FRANCES MEIGH ON HER ORDINATION DAT 14.9.1998

I have agreed with the ordination of women for more than 20 years now.
It was that belief that led me to agree with Frances Meigh's request to me that I ordain her a deacon and priest in 1998.
Mother Francis (86) continues as a hermit priest, iconographer and artist in her hermitage at Forkhill in County Armagh.
It is all summed up very beautifully in a poem by Frances Croake:

Among the animals in the cold dank dark of a stable,
After the pain, and the bleeding, and the birthing;
Mary looked down at the baby lying across her legs
And said: “this is my Body. This is my Blood”.

In the shadows on the bleak Calvary hill,
After the pain, and the bleeding, and the dying;
Mary looked down at the broken frame across her legs
And said: “This is my Body. This is my Blood”.

It's just as well that she said it to Him then.
For now, dry old men,
In brocaded robes belying barrenness,
Ordain that she cannot say it to Him now!



49 comments:

  1. This report needs to be brought up to date:

    In 2016 Pope Francis set up a commission to examine the issue.

    https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-institutes-commission-study-female-deacons-appointing-gender-balanced

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  2. So was Mary a priest?

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    1. She was the first person to give the world the Body of Christ.

      If a woman can do that literally surely she can do it sacramentally?

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    2. A wonderful reply, Pat,from you at 10.07

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    3. Answer the question Pat

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    4. "A priest is an ordained minister of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican Church, authorized to perform certain rites and administer certain sacraments".

      According to that narrow linguistic definition Mary was not a priest.

      But you are asking the question like one of the Pharisees Jesus condemned for their narrow legalism.

      In the wider mystical sense we could say Mary was a priest - the first person to give the Body of Christ to the world and the human being in whose womb Salvation was formed.

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    5. Narrow legalism... The mark of a clergy man who gets on in the Catholic Church.

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    6. Pat has answered your question away above and beyond what you deserve.

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    7. If you amadans want to pick a fight with the Mother of God that is up to you. Although you probably don't believe that Mary was the Theotokas. Yup thats a big word for the internet assembled theology lite brains you have. Very sad narrow shackled minds you have.

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  3. Women Deacons. Not a problem. Ask any Irish mammy. Who sorts out baptism first holy and confirmation. Who negotiates with priest and church re marriage and says "ya have to go to the course" Who is the backbone of any parish. Unless things have seriously changed it is the mammy.

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  4. In the diocese of Liverpool women have been trained to do funerals. In Canada a nun has been trained to baptise. This has to come everywhere. Women do most of the work in parishes any way. They will soon be doing weddings.

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    1. Grannys and mothers have been baptizing babies at the kitchen sink for ever.

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    2. Arlene's on fire.13 August 2017 at 11:20

      If anything the church is feminised enough. There are no men under 50 in most congregations (though there are plenty at Traditional Latin Masses). Why do we always want to clericalise the laity anyway? Permanent deacons are a waste of space and a clerical promotion for busybody male parishioners.

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    3. I agree 11.20, we already have a male permanent deacon in our parish and he is intensely disliked by the people in general. They view him as taking over the place even though we have our own Priests. Another gripe is that he constantly wears his clerical collar and sees it as some form of prestige. Its things like that which gets up people's noses. I personally think the laity have little understanding of what a deacon is and what is his role. (Armagh Diocese)

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    4. ".. busybody male parishioners.." is your description of male permanent deacons and yet you claim the Church is over-feminised--So presumably those busybody males are not nosey enough to infiltrate your congregation on a normal Sunday basis? No? -I think what you said was that they were in short supply, particularly those under 50.
      So who makes up the body of the congregation then? Of course--females! Could it be that they are the people with the keenest interest, Arlene? But not just good enough to qualify to train as deacons, is that it? Very odd..

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    5. Anyone can baptise. In Canada the sister officiated at a wedding of a past student.

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    6. And those who are at the Tridentine Masses are dressed in lace as good as any granny. (And that's only the clergy.) Just look Google the Dowager Burke on permanent retirement in Malta.

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    7. 13:22 I'm in the same parish as you, an absolute gentleman your writing about and loved by all.
      There is some that you just never will please and you're one off those persons.
      We all have different personalities and he's no different. Go get a life!

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    8. 15.19 I have a life thanks and I enjoy it to the full. You don't know what parish I belong to so how can you comment in that way. There are permanent Deacons in several parishes in the Armagh diocese. I am merely reporting what many say about the Deacon, they are not necessarily my views so you were quick to judge in the wrong again. I often wonder when people make sweeping statements like "he is loved by all", what do you base that on or arrive at such a conclusion?

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    9. The priests are getting older, fewer and sicker. There is enough work in a parish to sink a battleship. Most of the laity don't have the confidence to do a lot, so for those that do, it is good that they help them. Does it matter if they are male,female,second or lay people? Yesterday has gone..and it isn't coming back!

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    10. ".. you're writing about.."

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    11. No self-respecting straight man under 50 would be seen dead in your average Catholic church. Camp priests and a congregation of old women. Same demographic as a bingo hall. No wonder there are no seminarians.

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    12. And yet in many churches there has to be a crèche area and /or special Children's Liturgy to help the main body of the church be reasonably quiet for most of the Mass. My church has both facilities as there are so many young families. Of course there must be some one-parent families among us but it is good to see both parents in many instances. If for any reason there is no (trained and vetted)volunteer to act as overseer, then we can have a slightly noisy Mass. My parish is in Down and Connor.

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    13. @18.46
      Really?
      Have you been to Mass recently?
      --Or for that matter, have you been to Bingo?
      Try both before you trot out the old threadworn stereotype.

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    14. @18.46
      Really?
      Have you been to Mass recently?
      --Or for that matter, have you been to Bingo?
      Try both before you trot out the same old threadworn stereotype.

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    15. @ 17.14
      Ewer righting a bout.

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  5. The only thing that bothers me is that they will end up tangled up with the clerical culture. My priest would like me to do it but I just to not like the people in the Cathedral.

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    1. Not a valid reason @10.43
      You don't like the people? I think you need to dig a LOT deeper than that.

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  6. I think there could be resentment within certain congregations and perhaps power struggles. There is a nun who is Administrator of a parish in England and some moan a lot about her responsibilities and the limited power she has, I think it's resentment.

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    1. There is an old saying that to try to hold back an idea "whose time has come" is like standing on the beach trying to hold back the tide! Perhaps the time is close to ripe for women deacons... the change in mindsets... the acceptance and inevitability.. If that is the case, then nothing can stop it.

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  7. 10.53. The church will always have its own version of internal politics and bitchiness. Think of the stereotypical hair salon-transfer the model

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  8. "Bitchiness". That is just how I saw it!

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  9. Pat,
    I have a friend in Maghera who insists that the longer he lives the more he is convinced that women are only good for two things. Making love and making stew!

    Moneyglass Mick

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  10. What about women "making people" to replace the population, Mick? Yes?

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    1. Ha ha! That's him toul!

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  11. The permanent deacons are bringing a normal voice, not effeminate, and a sense of real vocation to parishes. They don't get paid and have jobs and families from which they are qualified to speak to people from experience. Priests don't like that. Seen a few permanent deacons in parishes and people, nearly all, like their presence. Me....the jury is still out for a while.

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  12. A woman's place is in the kitchen

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    1. "A woman's place is in the kitchen" - - you think?
      Absolutely... provided she is a professional top quality chef. No problem with that.

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  13. 20.28: I have no problem with permanent Deacons. There is one who works with me. I have no difficulty and most priests, like myself, are glad to have them in our parishes. We would also welcome Women Deacons and Women Priests as we believe it is their baptismal right. Many priests are very imaginative in giving meaningful responsibilities to parishioners. When done in a prayerful, discerning way, the quality of Parish life is noticeable.

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  14. Pat, I notice that when relevant, important issues are introduced you get very little intelligent and constructive blogging. A small but few repetitive fans. But when there is gossip, supposed scandal, tittle tattle about Bishops and clerics the crowds come flowing like a tsunami with their nastiness and vitriolic hatred...Proves that, apart from a few intelligent bloggers, most people here have only one interest - denigrate and humiliate the Church and as many clerics as possible. Thus, this blog which could be fruitful is a forum for hate mongers of Church and priests and for disloyal, malcontents within the Church.

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    1. The real ones humiliating and denigrating the Church are the bishops, clergy and seminarians involved in the scandals.

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    2. It never ceases to amaze me 22:48, the depth of denial that exists in people like you, who cannot see the extent of the harm that immoral priests and seminarians - along with the bishops who enable them - are inflicting on the Church.

      Are you not concerned about that? Do you not care at least about the immortal souls of men masturbating online, hooking up on Grindr etc?

      It's not about tittle tattle (though there may be some who come here for that). It's mostly about outrage at the damage these men are being allowed to do.

      Kindly extract your head out of your own ass 22:48. You're not a not that long ordained late vocation by any chance are you?

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    3. Once again Pat, you deliberately miss the point. You see no good in any Bishop, none whatsover!! And you most definitely contribute twisted responses to men, who, despite their admitted failings, are good people..I admire majority of bishops and priests. I witness their good works. Of you, I have lost all respect. You live in your own small world, Lazy, nothig good to do all day.......

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  15. Anon 23.57: my brain is far from where you imagine it to be, but yours is somewhere in the gutter. Of course I abhor abuse of any kind but when encouraged by people like you and Pat, cohorts come out from everywhere to throw rocks at all clerics and at the Church. Yes, I know the damage caused by the failures of the Church and its personnel, but DO NOT TAR all with the same brush. There is a tone of absolute bitchiness about your words. Keep them in your gutter and - perhaps if you opened your eyes a little more beyond your tiny mind, you'll witness immeasurably good work being done by many, many PRIESTS....I see it and I thank God for the witness given by many priests and religious. Yes, shame has been brought by some but the vast majority of priests are good. They too need our affirmation and gratitude. I know you may have difficulty in understanding this piece but get help......

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    1. My brain is not in "the gutter" and I do not tar all priests with the same brush. I am fully aware of all the good done by most priests.

      If you, however, are blaming Pat Buckley's blog for the scandalous antics that are the cause of shame to all Catholics, then you are truly in deep denial. Pat Buckley did not cause these scandals.

      These priests with their sinful behaviour are exposing our Faith to ridicule and bringing our beloved Church into disrepute.

      Do you have any children or grandchildren anon at 14:39? Have you ever had to try explain these disgusting antics to your family whom you are trying to keep in the Faith and practicing it?

      Save your opprobrium for the priests and religious who are truly in the gutter and who are bringing the worst type of ridicule on the Church and our Faith!

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  16. 16.04: No, you are not in the gutter now....I tell my children the TRUTH but I make sure they hear it from me and not through a biased, nasty and vitriolic blog like this. Pat of course is not responsible for the shame rhe Church brought on itself but if you look back at some of his contributions, you cannot but suspect and conclude that he has a huge anti Catholic agenda. Do you aporove of Pat printing innuendo about certain induviduals without any suggestion of wrongdoing on their part? Do you aporove of Pat traipsing through the country photographing priests's homes and inferring all kinds of sinister, unproven and baseless accusations about them? Pat is right sometimes but all too frequently he loses the run of himself. He is not all discerning about bloggers, allowing many of them to unfairly and unjustly incite hatred against priests. Pat had and has a very fractured relationship with the Catholic Church, most of them "Pat-made". He is not a victim. His life is not so pure. I speak my mind against all wrong and abuse, whoever the person is, but I would not paint all clergy with same brush. I agree, those who commit heinous acts should face full justice from the proper courts and not through the tabloud, guttery, nasty, self righteous bloggers here. Pat is capable of much goid - but he is weighed down with a baggage from the past that prevents him to see the goodness in other clerics and Bishops. Surely you must agree that the obsessive nature of his "concerns" suggests a pathological un-wellness!! Ask Pat - who among the clergy and Bishops he once knew - and who were very kind to him -does he like?

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    1. I'm no spokesperson for Pat. So I will leave him to answer all those things himself. He is well able! No - I do not approve of innuendo etc against innocent people. That is very unjust. I am simply tired of bad men dragging the whole Church through the mud. Simply that! God bless you.

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  17. 17.32. You are a respectful person. I apprecite your comments......but I still think Pat has a very nasty side to him....

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