Women Deacons: At What Price?

Early Christian Deaconesses 2

First Christian Deaconesses (left to right): Ionia, Lydia, Priscilla, Tryphena, Phoebe, and Tabitha painting by Kostas Xenopoulos

(This article was originally published in the print version of Homiletic & Pastoral Review, July 1996.)

Now that Pope John Paul II has “definitively” ruled out women priests in his apostolic letter to the bishops, others are investigating whether women can be ordained to the diaconate.1 As commonly known the office of deacon makes men members of the “hierarchy” of the Church enables them to preach the Gospel (Acts 6:5-6, 8-13 & 8:5), function as “managers” (1 Tim. 3:12), and “preside over the worship and prayer of the faithful.”2 Authority and leadership, therefore, are intrinsic to the office of deacon. So, we must examine what God has divinely revealed to us through the Scriptures about the role of women in relation to the diaconate. But, first we must examine what God has revealed concerning men and women in relation to authority.

The hierarchy of authority in creation
The author of Genesis states: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man is alone; I will make him a helper like himself” (Gen. 2:18). Following this “The Lord God cast the man into a deep sleep and, while he slept, took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib which the Lord God took from the man, he made into a woman, and brought her to him” (Gen. 2:21-22). And when the man saw the woman, he said: “She is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, for from man she has been taken” (Gen. 2:23). St. Thomas Aquinas commented on this scriptural text by saying:

It was right for the woman to be made from a rib of man. First, to signify the social union of man and woman, for the woman should neither use authority over man, and so she was not made from his head; nor was it right for her to be subject to man’s contempt as his slave, and so she was not made from his feet. Secondly, for the sacramental signification; for from the side of Christ sleeping on the Cross the Sacraments flowed-namely, blood and water-on which the Church was established.3

So, for St. Thomas, man has authority over woman through creation, not as a master has authority over a slave, but as Christ has authority over his Church (Eph. 5:21-24).

St. Thomas, however, explained that there are really two subjections of woman to man revealed in the Scriptures. Beside the above mentioned good subjection of woman to man in creation before Adam and Eve sinned, there is a second and bad subjection of woman to man (“a constant threat”) which is given to Eve as a punishment after she sinned: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16).4 St. Thomas stated:

Subjection is twofold. One is servile, by virtue of which a superior makes use of a subject for his own benefit; and this kind of subjection began after sin. There is another kind of subjection, which is called economic or civil, whereby the superior makes use of his subjects for their own benefit and good; and this kind of subjection existed even before sin. For good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves. So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates. Nor is inequality among men excluded by the state of innocence, as we shall prove (Q. 96, A. 3).5

St. Thomas’s statement does not mean that women are less intelligent than men. According to St. Thomas, the two highest powers of the human soul are the “intellect” and the “will.”6 So, while the intellect “predominates” in man and men are more apt to exercise the intellect (to know) in the act of reason, the will “predominates” in the woman and women are more apt to exercise the will (to love) in the act of reason. Similarly, the Pastoral Commission of the Sacred Congregation of Peoples (Propaganda Fide) stated in July 1976: “‘It is man’s nature to have ideas; it is woman’s to act’. But one should not force this antithesis.”7 It has often been said that, while the man is the head of the family, the woman is the heart of the family. And, perhaps God made the woman from the “rib” of man because the rib is the bone closest to man’s heart.

The imagery of Eve taken from the side (a “rib”) of Adam also depicts equality in “being.”8 But, while the woman comes from the side of the man and is his equal in value or being, she is not equal or the same in role or authority. For she is his “helper” (Gen. 2:18). And, this is a reflection of the personal relations in the Trinity. “The Son” is “ever at the Father’s side” and is his equal in value and being (John 1:18).9 But, while the Son is “subject” to the Father, the Father is not “subject” to the Son (1 Cor. 15:28). For, “Scripture reads that God ‘has placed all things under his feet.’ But, when it says that everything has been made subject, it is clear that he who has made everything subject to Christ is excluded” (1 Cor. 15:27). Thus, Jesus recognized this authority of the Father when he told the disciples after the Resurrection that he must “go to the Father” for “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). So, for St. Thomas, while there was equality in value and being among human persons in the state of innocence before the fall, there was also inequality or distinction in powers and functions. But this inequality in power and function did not indicate a “defect” in these human persons. They were all perfect.10

There are those who ridicule St. Thomas’s theology of the woman because he said: “As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten.”11 That this statement is based upon faulty knowledge of biology and reflects the prejudice of the ancients against women, cannot be denied. But, it must be remembered that, when St. Thomas mentioned this opinion, he was not advancing this statement as part of his own argument. In fact, he was accepting this statement as an argument against his own position which was exactly the opposite. When St. Thomas wrote his Summa Theologica, he raised objections against his own opinions and replied to these objections at the end of his argument. Thus, St. Thomas held that “The woman should have been made in the first production of things (along with the man).”12 But, he acknowledged an objection by others based upon the biology and zoology of the Philosopher (Aristotle):

Objection 1. It would seem that the woman should not have been made in the first production of things. For the Philosopher says (De Gener. ii. 3), that the female is a misbegotten male. But nothing misbegotten or defective should have been in the first production of things. Therefore woman should not have been made at that first production.13

In response to this objection St. Thomas stated:

Reply to Obj. 1. As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence; such as that of a south wind, which is moist, as the Philosopher observes (De Gener. Animal, iv. 2). On the other hand, as regards human nature in general, woman is not misbegotten, but is included in nature’s intention as directed to the work of generation. Now the general intention of nature depends on God, Who is the universal Author of nature. Therefore, in producing nature, God formed not only the male but also the female.14

Obviously, St. Thomas would have never held that woman was created as a defect or a misbegotten man. St. Thomas surely knew that “God created man in his image” as “male and female” (Gen 1:27) and that God saw that everything was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Once more, he also knew that, if there was a defect in creation before the fall of Adam and Eve, it would have been God’s fault which is impossible since God is “perfect.”15

So, while St. Thomas erred by allowing the faulty zoology and biology of Aristotle to be used as an argument against his own position, he deflected its negative influence (i.e., “on the other hand”) by means of sacred Scripture and his own excellence in philosophy and theology.

St. Paul’s teaching on male-female relationship in the Church builds upon Genesis 2:18-23. St. Paul says to husbands and wives, “Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5:21). He says to the wives: “Let wives be subject to their husbands as to the Lord; because a husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the Church, being himself savior of the body. But just as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things” (Eph. 5:22-24). And, he says to the husbands: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and delivered himself up for her” (Eph 5:25).

John Paul II points out that, according to St. Paul, there should be a “mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ” between the husband and wife (cf. Eph. 5:21).16 Thus, even though man has authority over woman according to creation, man is to use this authority to bring about a mutual subjection of the man and woman to each other based upon their free commitment to one another for the love of Christ. This is the purpose of the sacrament of matrimony by which the man and the woman are to “be subject to one another.” In this way, the woman’s punishment due to original sin, the “constant threat” of the man having a “rule” over the woman (Ben. 3:16), is overcome through the sacrament of matrimony.

It is also true that this hierarchy of authority in creation, or this mystery of human sexuality, finds its supreme fulfillment in the religious life, when the man or the woman freely embraces celibacy or virginity for the sake of the kingdom of God in vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.17 Here the consecrated religious is to obey the authority of the Church in all things except “an order manifestly contrary to the law of God, or the constitutions of the institute, or one involving a serious or certain evil.”18 This free subjection of one’s will to God through subjection of oneself to the authority of the Church in all things but sin is the perfect fulfillment of that hierarchy of authority found in God’s creation. Thus, the threatened “rule” of the male over the female in Gen. 3:16 is overcome in a supreme way through the free subjection of men and women religious to the Church in consecrated celibacy or virginity.

Now let’s examine women in relation to the hierarchical diaconate.

Women and the diaconate
As previously mentioned, today some are trying to argue for the possibility of ordaining women to the hierarchical diaconate of the Church through Holy Orders.19 Thus, an Ad Hoc Committee of the Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) recently stated that the Church had ordained deaconesses in the past. The CLSA said that “by the third century there clearly were women deacons,” and because “the evidence points to an ordination parallel to that conferred on men to be deacons, … it does indicate that this possibility is not foreclosed to the church.”20 So, the CLSA appears to say that it is possible for the Church today to ordain women to the office of deacon and thereby enable them to preach and teach at the Eucharist and to have canonical authority over Catholic men and women in parishes where there are no priests.

The CLSA is correct when they say that there were deaconesses in the early Church. St. Paul does mention the woman, “Phoebe, who is a deaconess of the church of Cenchreae” (Rom. 16:1). He also mentions “women” when he discusses the qualifications of a deacon in 1 Tim. 3:8-13. Because St. Paul discusses “women” in this paragraph entirely devoted to deacons, one should assume that, at the time of St. Paul, the Church did have women who were called deaconesses. But, since the words of St. Paul, “I do not allow a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over men” (1 Tim. 2:12) occurs only two paragraphs earlier in the very same letter to Timothy (when St. Paul is speaking about the conduct of women in public assemblies), one must also assume that it is these very women deaconesses that St. Paul does not allow “to teach, or to exercise authority over men.” So, these deaconesses did not function the same as the men deacons who could teach and preach, and who were given authority in the Church.

Now, it is common knowledge that deaconesses in the early Church were not admitted to the hierarchical diaconate which was a sacrament and part of Holy Orders. No doubt, women sporadically preached and administered the sacraments as deacons in various places but these cases were always looked upon as abuses of Church law by misguided bishops. And, Church councils were quick to correct the abuse. Thus, Herbert Thurston states in the Catholic Encyclopedia that “Such restrictive measures seem to be found in the rather obscure 11th canon of Laodicea (c. 364), and in the more explicit 19th canon of the Council of Nicea (325), which last distinctly lays down that deaconesses are to be accounted as lay persons and that they receive no ordination properly so-called.”21 Also, T.J. Riley says in the New Catholic Encyclopedia:

While deaconesses were sometimes referred to as ordained, there is no evidence of their having been regarded as possessing sacramental power. The principal duty of the deaconess was to assist at the Baptism of women, which in ancient times was performed by immersion and included several ceremonies that could not be performed with propriety for women by male ministers. Deaconesses also performed many works of pastoral administration for the women of the Christian communities.”22

And, this is stated specifically by 4th century Father of the Church, St. Epiphanius:

And although the order of deaconesses is in the church, it has not been instituted for priestly function or any such administration, but in order to provide for the modesty of women, to be present at the time of baptism, to see whether she has suffered anything or has been molested, or to assist when the woman’s body has to be disrobed, and so that she may not be exposed to the eyes of men who perform the sacred rite, but can be seen only by the deaconess. She, by the priest’s order, takes care of the woman while she is disrobed.23

So, the order of deaconess was not part of hierarchical Holy Orders, but existed only to satisfy good church order, especially to provide for the protection of the woman’s virtue of modesty during the reception of the sacraments and elsewhere. The fact that the non- sacramental nature of the deaconesses of the early Church is common knowledge, found in both old and new Catholic encyclopedias, makes one wonder: What new information has the CLSA discovered to prove that women belonged to the hierarchical diaconate of Holy Orders in the early Church and that “this possibility is not foreclosed to the church” today?

Now, there may not be any new information. Perhaps the CLSA is listening to today’s scripture scholars who have come to a new evaluation of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:12-14, which the early Church believed excluded women from the hierarchical diaconate. St. Paul says: “Let women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted them to speak, but let them be submissive, as the Law also says . . . for it is unseemly for a woman to speak in church (1 Cor. 14:34-35). And, St. Paul says to Timothy:

“For I do not allow a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over men; but she is to keep quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and was in sin “(1 Tim. 2:12-14).

Obviously, since St. Paul recognized that women can prophesy during public worship with head covered (1 Cor. 11:5) and since women were able to teach doctrine unofficially in the early Church (Acts 18:26), St. Paul’s statement, that “I do not allow a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over men,” referred to official teaching in the Church and to official Church leadership. While women could be charismatic leaders and teachers in the Church, as was St. Catherine of Siena, they could not be official leaders of men.24

Scripture scholars in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (JBC), however, comment on St. Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 14:34-35 (“it is unseemly for a woman to speak in church”). And, they say that “these verses are not a Corinthian slogan, as some have argued, but a post-Pauline interpolation.”25 In fact, they say that “The injunctions reflect the misogynism (hatred for women) of 1 Tim. 2:11-14 and probably stem from the same circle.”26 But, if they really mean that 1 Tim. 2:11-14 teaches “misogynism,” then they are either blaspheming God or saying that 1 Tim. 2:11-14 is not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Most likely, they are suggesting that we should ignore these passages because they are not from St. Paul. Rather, they would suggest, the woman hating culture during the time of the early Church inspired some community (“circle”) to make these words up under St. Paul’s name so that women would not be able to preach and have authority over men as priestesses and deaconesses. In other words, woman priests and deacons were just not culturally acceptable at that time and this is the origin of 1 Tim. 2:11-14.

However, as many know, the ancient pagan religions had priestesses or women who officiated in sacred rites, like the “Vestal virgins” of the ancient Roman religion or like the “priestess of Artemis Hymnia in Orchomenus” and the priestesses of the ancient “Mystery Religions.”27 And, according to the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “A few heretical sects in the first centuries, especially Gnostic ones, entrusted the exercise of the priestly ministry to women: this innovation was immediately noted and condemned by the Fathers, who considered it as unacceptable in the Church.”28 Saints Irenaeus, Cyprian, and Epiphanius, along with Tertullian and Origen all condemned the notion of women priests.29 The point here is that St. Paul and the Church Fathers’ refusal to allow women to speak in churches and officiate at sacred rites was not due to cultural conditioning. For the cultures at the times of St. Paul and the early Church of the Fathers permitted women to speak and officiate at sacred rites as priestesses.

Similarly, it has been suggested that the rules or ordinances of St. Paul about women speaking in churches should be treated as a custom, just like St. Paul’s statements saying that women should have their heads covered when praying in churches (1 Cor. 11:2-6). But the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith distinguished between these two Pauline ordinances for women when it explained St. Paul’s rule for women to cover their heads:

But it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on the head (1 Cor. 11:2-6); such requirements no longer have a normative value. However, the Apostle’s forbidding of women “to speak” in the assemblies (cf. 1 Cor 14:34-35; 1 Tim 2:12) is of a different nature, and exegetes define its meaning in this way: Paul in no way opposes the right, which he elsewhere recognizes as possessed by women, to prophesy in the assembly (cf. 1 Cor 11:5); the prohibition solely concerns the official function of teaching in the Christian assembly. For Saint Paul this prescription is bound up with the divine plan of creation (cf. 1 Cor 11:7; Gen 2:18-24); it would be difficult to see in it the expression of a cultural fact.30

Thus, when St. Paul speaks about the wearing of a “veil,” he refers to it as a “sign” in the context of a “custom” within a culture (1 Cor. 11:10 & 16). Exegetes have stated that “Paul’s argument is based on his view of nature and propriety, i.e., the custom of the earliest Christian communities.”31 He even lets the Corinthians decide the issue: “I will let you judge for yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God unveiled?” (1 Cor. 11:13). So, while a woman should wear a veil, the issue may not be a serious matter in every culture.

But, when St. Paul gives his rule in 1 Tim. 2:12-14, “I do not allow a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over men,” he gives no evidence that he considers this to be just a matter of “sign” or “custom,” nor does he let Christians decide this matter for themselves. Rather, after giving a direct rule (“I do not allow”), he immediately appeals to Scripture for justification: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived (first), but the woman was deceived (first) and was in sin.”32 Thus St. Paul is basing his rule, that women must neither teach in assemblies nor have authority over men, on the divine revelation found in Genesis 2:18-22 & 3:1-13. So, this rule of St. Paul is not due to cultural conditioning but is part of the “divine plan.”

But, the same can hardly be said about the judgment of the authors of the new JBC who say that 1 Tim. 2:11-14 teaches “misogynism.” For, one should apply the same form criticism to the statements of these scripture scholars that they apply to St. Paul’s scriptural teachings. And, since the authors of the new JBC are writing from within today’s radical feminist culture, their judgment of 1 Tim. 2:11-14 could very well be conditioned by their “Sitz im Leben” (the life-situation)” i.e., today’s radical feminist culture and agenda.33 If this is so, then the real radical feminist culture of today is the more likely basis of their judgment (that 1 Tim. 2:11-14 teaches “misogynism”) than some hypothetical “post-Pauline” woman-hating “circle” of early Christians!

So, the possibility of women being included in the hierarchical diaconate of the Roman Catholic Church hinges on the question: Is St. Paul’s rule in 1 Tim. 2:11-14 (“For I do not allow a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over men”) a divine law? For, if it is a divine law, the Church’s rule, which excludes women from the diaconate, cannot change because the divine law is “eternal” and “unchangeable.”34 And, as mentioned earlier, it is quite clear that St. Paul based his rule in 1 Tim. 2:11-14 on the divine law, because he explicitly appealed to the divinely revealed teaching of Gen. 2:18-24 as the basis for his rule. Thus, those who want to change the present ruling of the Church to permit women deacons must attack 1 Tim. 2:11-14 itself by challenging its authenticity as inspired Scripture.

But, Pope St. Damasus I and the Council of Rome (382), stated: “Now indeed we must treat of the divine Scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun.”35 Following this the Council of Rome listed the authentic Scriptures, which include:

The Epistles of Paul [the apostle] in number fourteen. To the Romans one, to the Corinthians two, to the Ephesians one, to the Thessalonians two, to the Galatians one, to the Philippians one, to the Colossians one, to Timothy two, to Titus one, to Philemon one, to the Hebrews one.36

And, the Second Vatican Council stated that it “accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts,” and this Council itself quoted “2 Tim. 3:16-17.”37 Furthermore, the Council said that these books of the Scriptures, which have been with the Christians since the early days of the Church, “teach” the truth of God “without error.”38 Once more, Pius X “condemned” the statement that “Divine inspiration does not so extend to all Sacred Scripture that it fortifies each and every part of it against all error.”39 So, 1 Tim. 2:11-14 is fortified “against all error.”

Now, the same authority of the Church that certified 1 Timothy certified the other Scriptures too. Therefore, to doubt the authenticity of any part of 1 Timothy is to doubt the authority behind the Canon of Scriptures. And this implies a doubt about the entirety of Scripture and Tradition, i.e., the deposit of the Catholic Faith itself, including the Second Vatican Council. But, since one cannot disbelieve the message of the apostles and the Church and be saved (Matt. 10:14-15), this doubting of 1 Tim. 2:11-14 is a very grave matter for which one risks his eternal salvation. Now, we know that Jesus said: “For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul” (Matt. 16:26). But, for women deacons?

  1. John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, May 22, 1994, No. 4; Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) Ad Hoc Committee, “Canonical Implications: Ordaining Women to the Permanent Diaconate,” Origins 25:20 (Nov. 2, 1995).
  2. Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, No. 29; Enchiridion Symbolorum (Denzinger), No. 42, 30th edition. All citations of the Enchiridion Symbolorum will be cited simply as Denzinger and will be from this 30th edition.
  3. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1a, q. 92, art. 3.
  4. John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, Aug. 15, 1988, No. 10.
  5. St. Thomas Aquinas, 1a, q. 92, art. 1, reply to obj. 2.
  6. St. Thomas Aquinas, 1a. q. 82, art. 3.
  7. Pastoral Commission of the Sacred Congregation of Peoples or Propaganda Fide, Danis le cadre, July 1976, in Vatican Council II: More Post Conciliar Documents, edited by Austin Flannery, O.P. (Northport, New York: Costello Pub. Co., 1982), p. 322.
  8. B. Vawter C.M., A New Commentary on Holy Scripture, No. 151g, edited by Rev. Reginald C. Fuller D.D., Ph.D., L.S.S., Rev. Leonard Johnston S.T.L., L.S.S., Very Rev. Conleth Kearns O.P., D.S.S. (Nashville and New York: Thomas Nelson, Inc. Pub., 1975), p. 178. Vawter referring to his previous statements on Gen. 2:21-22 begins his comment on Gen. 2:23 by saying “the significance of all this . . . woman was not an inferior being to man.”
  9. Denzinger, No. 39.
  10. St. Thomas Aquinas, 1a. q. 96, art. 3, reply to obj. 3.
  11. St. Thomas Aquinas, 1a. q. 92, art. 1, reply to obj. 1.
  12. St. Thomas Aquinas, 1a. q. 92, art. 1.
  13. St. Thomas Aquinas, 1a. q. 92, art. 1, objection 1.
  14. St. Thomas Aquinas, 1a. q. 92, art. 1, reply to obj. 1.
  15. St. Thomas Aquinas, 1a. q. 4, art. 1.
  16. John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, No. 24.
  17. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, Nov. 22, 1981, No. 37.
  18. Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, Evangelica Testificatio, June 29, 1971, No. 28 in Vatican Council II, Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, edited by Austin Flannery, O.P. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1992), p. 694.
  19. John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, No. 4.
  20. Canon Law Society of America, 350-351. My emphasis.
  21. Herbert Thurston, “Deaconesses,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, p. 652. Thurston cites (Hefele-Leclereq, Conciles, I, 618). My parenthesis.
  22. Herbert Thurston, “Deaconesses,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, p. 652. Thurston cites (Hefele-Leclereq, Conciles, I, 618). My parenthesis.
  23. Traditio Catholica, Saeculum V. Annus 403, EPIFANOU, S. P. N. EPIPHANII, Constante in Cypro Episcopi {Opera Quae Reperiri Potuerunt Omnia, accurante et denuo recognoscente J. P. Migne, Patrologiae Graecae Tomus 42, “Adversus Collyridianos” (II), No. 1060, (Turnholti, Belgium): Typographi Brepols Editores Pontificii, n.d.}, pp. 743 & 746. English translation supplied. My parenthesis. The Latin is: Quanquam vero diaconissarium in Ecclesia ordo sit, non tamen ad sacerdotii functionem, aut ullam ejusmodi administrationem institutus est, sed ut muliebris sexus honestati consulatur, sive ut baptismi tempore adsit, sive ut inspiciat si quid passa sit, aut molestiae pertulerit, sive ut cum nudandum est mulieris corpus, interveniat: ne virorum, qui sacris operantur, aspectui sit exposita, sed a sola diaconissa videatur; quae sacerdotis inandato mulieris curam gerit, quo tempore vestibus exuitur.
  24. Johannes Jorgensen, St. Catherine of Siena, (London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1938), pp. 202, 236-237.
  25. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, O.P., “The First Letter to the Corinthians,” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, edited by Raymond E. Brown, S.S., Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., and Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1990), p. 811 (64).
  26. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, O.P., p. 811 (64). My emphasis and parenthesis.
  27. R. W. Bolle, “Priest and Priesthood,” New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 11, pp. 767-768.
  28. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Inter insigniores, Oct. 15, 1976, No. 1, in Vatican Council II: More Post Conciliar Documents, p. 333 and no. 7.
  29. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Inter insigniores, No. 1, p. 333, note 7.
  30. Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith, Inter insigniores, No. 4, p. 336. My emphasis.
  31. The New American Bible, “The New Testament,” translated by the Members of the Catholic Biblical Association of America (New York: Benziger, Inc., 1970), note to 1 Cor. 11, 2-16, p. 250.
  32. Dr. Witham, The Douay-Rheims New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 1 Tim. 2:13-14, first published by the English College at Rheims, A. D. 1582, compiled by Rev. Fr. Geo. Leo Haydock (Monrovia, Ca.: Catholic Treasures, 1991), footnote on verses 13-14, p. 1567. This is my parenthesis based on the revelation that Adam was also deceived, but secondarily (Gen. 3:12). “‘Adam was first formed . . . and was not seduced.’ That is, was not at least seduced first, as the woman.”
  33. W. J. Harrington, O.P., A New Commentary on Holy Scripture, No. 635a, p. 804.
  34. Second Vatican Council, Dignitatis Humanae, No. 3.
  35. Denzinger, No. 84.
  36. Denzinger, No. 84. My emphasis.
  37. Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, No. 11.
  38. Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, No. 11.
  39. Denzinger, No. 2011 & 2065(a). My emphasis.
Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap About Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap

Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap, was ordained in Aug. 26, 1972. He is currently in the process of developing the Julia Greeley shelter for homeless, unaccompanied women in metro Denver. He is spiritual director and chaplain for Mother Teresa of Calcutta's Missionaries of Charity in Denver, as well as being one of the spiritual directors for the Missionaries of Charity in the western United States. He was director of prison ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver, from 1999 to 2010; a chaplain for Missionaries of Charity at their now-closed AIDS hospice, Seton House, and at Gift of Mary homeless shelter for women in Denver from 1989 to 2008; and in 1997, he was sent by Mother Teresa to instruct Missionaries of Charity in Madagascar and South Africa on the subject of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist . His articles have been published in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, The Catholic Faith, Soul Magazine, Pastoral Life, and The Priest. He has also made two series for Mother Angelica's EWTN: "Crucial Questions," "Catholic Answers," and "What Did Vatican II Really Teach?"


  1. Avatar LisaAnneElizabeth says:

    I do not believe women deacons are the answer…
    I do wish they would explore the possibility of married Priests.


  1. […] via Women Deacons: At What Price? – Homiletic & Pastoral Review […]

  2. […] women for full immersion baptism. Much has been written on this subject by many authors, including myself when the subject of women deacons last reached a full boil in […]

  3. […] women for full immersion baptism. Much has been written on this subject by many authors, including myself when the subject of women deacons last reached a full boil in […]