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Pope Francis Reaffirms Stance Against Ordained Female Diaconate

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Pope Francis has once again reaffirmed his steadfast opposition to an ordained female diaconate, maintaining a consistent stance that women should not become clergy within the Roman Catholic Church. This reiteration came during an interview with CBS News anchor Norah O'Donnell on the network's flagship magazine program, "60 Minutes."


By Catholic Online (California Network)
5/21/2024 (3 weeks ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Catholic Church, Pope Francis, female diaconate, holy orders, traditional teachings, women's roles

During the interview, O'Donnell inquired, "For a little girl growing up Catholic today, will she ever have the opportunity to be a deacon and participate as a clergy member in the Church?"

"No," the Holy Father replied unequivocally.

Pressed further by O'Donnell on whether he was open to the idea of a female diaconate, Pope Francis responded, "If it is deacons with holy orders, no."

He emphasized the distinct and vital role women play within the Church, saying, "Women have always had the function of deaconesses without being deacons. Women are of great service as women, not as ministers within the holy orders."

The Holy Father highlighted the importance of women's roles in the Catholic Church, describing them as "the ones who move changes forward, all sorts of changes." He praised women for their bravery and their intrinsic role as protectors and custodians of life. "Women are masterful custodians of life. Women are great. They are very great. And making space in the Church for women does not mean giving them a ministry, no. The Church is a mother, and women in the Church are the ones who help foster that motherliness."

He also pointed out the unwavering loyalty women demonstrated during Jesus' crucifixion, noting, "Don't forget that the ones who never abandoned Jesus were the women. The men all fled."

Last year, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Church's doctrine that women cannot become priests or modern Church deacons, stating that "holy orders is reserved for men."

In his first in-depth interview with a U.S. broadcast network, Pope Francis touched on various subjects beyond the topic of women in the clergy. Here are some notable highlights:

On Immigration:

"The solution is migration, to open the doors to migration. For an immigration policy to be good, it must have four things: for the migrant to be received, assisted, promoted, and integrated. This is what is most important, to integrate them into the new life."

On Washing the Feet of Female Prisoners:

"It is true, this time it was only women because it was a women's jail. And the message is that men and women, we are all children of God. That men and women, we are all apostles and we all can lead. Let us not forget that the bravest apostles, the most courageous, were the women: Mary Magdalene, Mary Salomé, and Mary of Santiago. They stayed with Jesus to the very end."

On Retirement:

"It has never occurred to me. Maybe if the day comes when my health can go no further. Perhaps because the only infirmity I have is in my knee, and that is getting much better. But it never occurred to me."

Pope Francis' steadfast adherence to traditional Catholic teachings underscores the Church's commitment to its long-standing doctrines and the distinct, invaluable role of women within the Church, honoring their contributions while upholding sacred traditions.

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