Author Topic: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women  (Read 1069 times)

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Offline Jetavan

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Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« on: February 13, 2012, 09:39:35 AM »
Quote
Macy, author of The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West (Oxford University Press, 2007), writes that there is ample scholarship to show that “women served as deacons from the earliest centuries of Christianity and remained active in both the Eastern and Western churches until the 12th century.”
....
Why did the practice come to an end? Macy cites 12th- and 14th-century canonists and concludes, “It seems that the major reason women stopped being ordained deacons in both the East and the West was the gradual introduction of purity laws from the Hebrew Scriptures. Menstruation and childbirth were seen as impediments to women serving at the altar or to their eventually being ordained.” The other thing that occurred, he says, was a “radical change in the definition of ordination” after the 11th-century church reform movement and the 12th-century Scholastic and canonical debates. Before that time, ordination was the assignment of a certain task or role in the community; after, it was defined as conferring a power that could be exercised in any community. Macy quotes the 12th-century canonist: “But I say that a woman is not able to receive orders. ... If therefore a female is in fact ordained, she does not receive orders.” Macy explains, “In other words, even if a woman were ordained, it would not ‘take.’ The mere fact of being a woman would negate any effect ordination might have.” In one century, “writers moved from conceding that women were once ordained, to teaching that women never were ordained, to teaching, finally, that women never could and never would be ordained.”
I guess one question would be: how was "ordination" defined in this time period? And I thought purity laws existed, in some form, in the earliest days of the Church.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 09:41:44 AM by Jetavan »
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Offline Melodist

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 09:51:39 AM »
Something that may be of interest.

Quote from: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.iv.ii.html
Ordain also a deaconess who is faithful and holy, for the ministrations towards women. For sometimes he cannot send a deacon, who is a man, to the women, on account of unbelievers. Thou shalt therefore send a woman, a deaconess, on account of the imaginations of the bad. For we stand in need of a woman, a deaconess, for many necessities; and first in the baptism of women, the deacon shall anoint only their forehead with the holy oil, and after him the deaconess shall anoint them:  for there is no necessity that the women should be seen by the men; but only in the laying on of hands the bishop shall anoint her head, as the priests and kings were formerly anointed, not because those which are now baptized are ordained priests, but as being Christians, or anointed, from Christ the Anointed, “a royal priesthood, and an holy nation, the Church of God, the pillar and ground of the marriage-chamber,” who formerly were not a people, but now are beloved and chosen, upon whom is called His new name as Isaiah the prophet witnesses, saying: “And they shall call the people by His new name, which the Lord shall name for them.”
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2012, 03:01:18 PM »
Well, at least the office of Cardinal is open to women.
If you will, you can become all flame.
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Offline J Michael

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2012, 03:14:43 PM »
Well, at least the office of Cardinal is open to women.

 ???
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Offline biro

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2012, 03:18:17 PM »
 :o

Uh, what?
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2012, 03:21:32 PM »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Offline J Michael

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2012, 05:13:17 PM »
:o

Uh, what?

I know I'm old, and dense, etc., etc., etc., but.............."...the office of Cardinal is open to women." ?  Meaning women can be made Cardinals?  Since when?  Or, does it just mean that women may enter through the door of the physical office of the Cardinal, and if he's in, chat with him (or not, if he's not in a good mood)??
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Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2012, 06:04:25 PM »
Well, at least the office of Cardinal is open to women.

Current Canon Law requires that those named cardinals be at least priests and receive ordination as bishops, unless dispensed by the Pope.  This is usually the case for theologians so named and they are usually named after they turn 80 so they are ineligible to vote in conclave anyway.  Historically, rarely were there cardinals who were not at least deacons and these were in minor orders so they were clerics.  Technically, since the cardinalate is of ecclesial not divine origin, the office could be abolished altogether or laymen and women could be named.  I could also be elected Pope.  Neither is likely to happen.
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Offline J Michael

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2012, 02:14:38 PM »
Well, at least the office of Cardinal is open to women.

Current Canon Law requires that those named cardinals be at least priests and receive ordination as bishops, unless dispensed by the Pope.  This is usually the case for theologians so named and they are usually named after they turn 80 so they are ineligible to vote in conclave anyway.  Historically, rarely were there cardinals who were not at least deacons and these were in minor orders so they were clerics.  Technically, since the cardinalate is of ecclesial not divine origin, the office could be abolished altogether or laymen and women could be named.  I could also be elected Pope.  Neither is likely to happen.

Thanks, Fr. Deacon.  That's what I thought--hence my post with the  "???" above.  Couldn't figure what on earth they were talking about.  But, that's nothing new  ;D.
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2012, 08:23:03 AM »
"Alesandro told NCR that there is now an understanding that the diaconate is different and plays a completely separate role from the priesthood.

This idea was reinforced in 2009 when Pope Benedict XVI altered the Code of Canon Law, specifically Canon 1009, to make an important distinction between the priesthood and the diaconate. The canon reads, "Those who are ordained in the episcopate or presbyterate [priesthood] receive the mission and faculty of acting in the person of Christ the Head. Deacons, however, receive the power of serving the People of God in the ministries [diakonia] of the liturgy, the word, and charity."

With this fairly new understanding, Wcela stated, that "iconic maleness is not a requirement for [deacons]," only bishops and priests represent "Christ the Head.""
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 08:23:20 AM by Jetavan »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
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Offline mike

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2012, 10:17:37 AM »
That's true.

Offline MarkosC

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Re: Authors distill issues of the diaconate and women
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 12:17:43 PM »
"Alesandro told NCR that there is now an understanding that the diaconate is different and plays a completely separate role from the priesthood.

This idea was reinforced in 2009 when Pope Benedict XVI altered the Code of Canon Law, specifically Canon 1009, to make an important distinction between the priesthood and the diaconate. The canon reads, "Those who are ordained in the episcopate or presbyterate [priesthood] receive the mission and faculty of acting in the person of Christ the Head. Deacons, however, receive the power of serving the People of God in the ministries [diakonia] of the liturgy, the word, and charity."

With this fairly new understanding, Wcela stated, that "iconic maleness is not a requirement for [deacons]," only bishops and priests represent "Christ the Head.""

I am told that the patristic sources are quite clear that the role of the Deacon is one of service, and is NOT a primarily liturgical office. Ref: Father Nicholas Afanasiev's (decidedly not infallible but good nonetheless) book on the orders in the Antique and Late Antique Church, "The Church of the Holy Spirit" or Father Deacon John Chryssavgis' book on the diaconate.  

Were these accurate (both books seem sound to me, though I'm no historical theology expert), the revised Latin canon law merely formalizes this "older", "lost" or whatever you want to call it understanding.  
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 12:18:10 PM by MarkosC »
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