From The Guardian-
Pope Francis has made many friends outside the Catholic church and many enemies inside it. His latest, throwaway suggestion that women might be ordained deacons will make him thousands of new friends – and even more embittered enemies. For it touches directly on the most neuralgic question in contemporary Catholicism: the constitution of the priesthood.
Deacons aren’t priests, of course. They don’t, in Catholic doctrine, have the thaumaturgic powers of absolution and consecration; they can’t represent Christ in the ways that only priests can. But they do represent the church; they are in holy orders. And, at the moment, they have to be male, as do priests and bishops. On the other hand, they can be married, which very few Catholic priests can be.
The difficulty for traditionalists is that there were very clearly women called “deacons” in the New Testament. The arguments against ordaining women priests come down ultimately to the fact that Jesus didn’t do it, and neither did the early church. This is extended backwards into a belief that the whole of creation is gendered, so that being male or female has a cosmic, metaphysical significance. And that imaginative picture in turn forms the background to all Catholic teaching about sexuality.
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