Commission on Women Deacons Has 1st Meeting

Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith chairing study group

Vatican City

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The Vatican press office reported that today, the first meeting of the Study Commission on the Diaconate of Women took place. This commission was established by Pope Francis on August 2 with the purpose of doing an objective study on the situation of deaconesses in the early Church, mentioned for example in Romans 16.

Chaired by Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Commission members will meet in morning and evening sessions over two days in the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Holy Father established the commission after he told some 900 women religious belonging to the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) in May that it would be a good idea to look into the history of women deacons in the Church.

The new commission is set to do further work on the theme, which was discussed in a 2002 document (part iv) of the International Theological Commission.

In June, the Pope spoke of the commission on his return flight from Armenia, in an in-flight press conference. On that occasion, he said he had been “a little annoyed” with the press for how they had handled the news of the commission.

He explained that after he had acknowledged the issue could be studied and that he would “‘tell the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to set up this commission’. The next day [the headlines read]: ‘Church opens the door to women deacons!’

“To tell the truth, I was a little annoyed with the media because this is not telling people the whole truth.”

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