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Catholic Groups Launch Conversation about Female Deacons

By: for Religion News Services on June 18, 2017
News Briefs
Photo Credits: Photo courtesy of L’Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis greets participants in a special audience with members of the International Union of Superiors General in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on May 12, 2016. Francis said he is willing to create a commission to study whether women can be deacons in the Catholic Church, signaling an openness to letting women serve in ordained ministry currently reserved to men.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Several progressive Catholic groups are launching an initiative aimed at giving lay Catholics and clergy across the U.S. a direct say on whether the church should ordain women deacons.

Their actions follow the appointment of a panel of experts set up by Pope Francis to consider the controversial question.

The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, FutureChurch and Voice of the Faithful have launched DeaconChat in a bid to promote education and dialogue on the topic. 

“Pope Francis wants to hear the voice of the faithful,” the Rev. Bob Bonnot, head of U.S. priest group, told RNS.  “The church is not a clerical monopoly.”

Deacons are one of the three “orders” of ordained ministry in the church, after bishops and priests, and can fulfill some but not all of the duties of priests, including preaching, conducting baptisms and serving Holy Communion.

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