“Francis can no more ordain women than he could baptize ducks or dead people.”
As the highly questionable Amazon Synod thankfully comes to a merciful end, many are asking if Francis will now authorize the ordination of women as deaconesses (Holy Orders). I recall reading of deaconesses once long ago and far away.
So I dusted off my 66-year-old copy of my Catholic Dictionary and looked up “deaconesses”. Turns out that the same was already discussed and ruled upon in 325 AD during the First Council of Nicaea.
The Church Fathers ruled that if any of the ordained adhered to any previously held heretical belief (as was somewhat common in the Early Church, such as denying the Duality of Christ, etc.), it was incumbent upon them, as the Southern Baptists say, to “Get right with God” and renounce such.
The Catholic Dictionary specifically cited deaconesses as elderly women who taught other women their catechism, minded brides-to-be, visiting ailing women, etc.
For those who mistakenly considered deaconesses to be somehow ordained members of the clergy, Canon 19 makes clear that “deaconesses” are essentially nuns.
Or as Canon 19 states, those who have “assumed the habit…”
The same Church decree MADE CLEAR that deaconesses are now and never were to be counted among the ordained clergy.
Golly gee, has the Council of Nicaea wrong for the past 1,694 years? I think not. To put it bluntly… if The Church was wrong then, it’s wrong now.
So this isn’t a case that Francis may want to ordain women, the truth of the matter is that he can’t.
Francis can no more ordain women than he could baptize ducks or dead people.
Concerning the Paulianists who have flown for refuge to the Catholic Church, it has been decreed that they must by all means be rebaptized; and if any of them who in past time have been numbered among their clergy should be found blameless and without reproach, let them be rebaptized and ordained by the Bishop of the Catholic Church; but if the examination should discover them to be unfit, they ought to be deposed. Likewise in the case of their deaconesses, and generally in the case of those who have been enrolled among their clergy, let the same form be observed. And we mean by deaconesses such as have assumed the habit, but who, since they have no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the laity.
Keep in mind that when the Council Fathers referred “the Catholic Church”, it was in regards of all of Christianity. After all, the Great Schism between Rome and Constantinople was still more than 650 years distant.
All Christians in good standing with the Council of Nicaea teachings and rulings were considers to be members of the Catholic (Universal) Church of Jesus Christ.