Why can women not be deacons?
I was at the the launch of the Vocations DVD in Armagh City Hotel last Thursday night where Cardinal Seán Brady spoke with great conviction and infectious enthusiasm. It was good to see him looking so well and in such passionate form. I do love to see a joyous Christian. Keeps me inspired!
The video featured people from the five different vocations, priesthood, religious life, married and single states and the permanent diaconate. Sean Cardinal Brady’s own small contribution to the DVD was also quite inspiring. He was one of very few who actually spoke about following Christ.
I do not doubt for a minute the sincerity of the two married men featured on the DVD who are studying for the diaconate but I struggle to understand why religious sisters, who do not have the distractions or responsibilities of a spouse, children or grandchildren, are forbidden from applying to this particular state.
The launch and the DVD were sponsored by the Knights of Columbanus. They do good work, I know. I have asked for an application form but been told that I am forbidden to apply. Like the priesthood and the diaconate it is for males only.
God loves us all equally. Isn’t it a pity that His church still favours the male offspring?
I think of the Jesus I’m getting to know and love more each day in the Gospels and I wonder how He must feel at the marginalisation of so many. Didn’t He come on earth to show us that discrimination against any section of the community was wrong? Wasn’t his life an amazing example of love in action, reflecting the love of His heavenly father who loves all his children equally? Didn’t he confound everyone with his attitude towards the status quo, quietly subverting many preconceived notions and still confounding us today. Wasn’t he – isn’t he – absolutely on fire with love, compassion and a sense of justice? Why do we still not hear what he says?
I am just a simple woman of the pews, theologically uneducated but instinctively I feel in my gut that there is a great failure here in the Catholic Church to address that vast untapped resource of women, particularly the religious sisters and single, retired women who have given so much to their faith communities and who could enrich this diaconate in such a great way with their gifts for the benefit of all.
Here is the lovely Vocation Prayer distributed the night of the launch:- Please share.
“Lord, make us generous people, more considerate towards others, more honest with ourselves, more faithful to you. Help us all to find our true vocation in life, so that through it we may find happiness ourselves and bring happiness to others. Lord, grant those whom you call to priesthood or religious life, the generosity to answer your call so that those who seek your help may always find it.”