Traditional-Leaning Priests Mentally Ill… Mgr Loftus (Echoing Papa Francis)

funny-mental-illness-cartoonfamily-sufferIt’s been a while since we’ve reported on the dreadful writings of Monsignor Basil Loftus, whom we dubbed “Mgr Leftus” because he has, without doubt, abandoned the Catholic Faith of 2,000 years for the newer, if manifestly fewer, modernist version. I haven’t read his column for ages, but this morning, Sunday, 22nd January, a reader insisted that I take a copy of  his latest offering, because it really is, literally, a very nasty piece of work.  Having read today’s claptrap, I thought I’d post some extracts for discussion, knowing full well that there’s no point in writing to his bishop (Diocese of Aberdeen and Diocese of Leeds – as if we don’t have enough heretics of our own up here, they brought him up from England) because both bishops totally ignored the Open Letter we sent to them, some years ago.  True to type, they have allowed him to continue, unchallenged, to attack Catholic Faith and Morals, to the great scandal of many of the faithful. Shame on them. 

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that at a time when society is emphasising that we must de-stigmatise mental illness, the Pope and Mgr Leftus would think twice about using it as a term of abuse. Wouldn’t you? But no. Far from it. 

The good Monsignor spends most of today’s column citing, with obvious approval, Pope Francis’ assertion that young men who apply for seminary “with the intention of adhering to a pre-Vatican II liturgy” (i.e. the traditional Mass) are undesirables (if not deplorables!)

Stretching back to 2015, Mgr quotes the Pope addressing a meeting of priests in the Diocese of Rome: “to ordain these types of seminarians is like placing a mortgage on the Church”  and cites the Pope’s warning to bishops a short time later that they must “think twice” when a young man is ‘too confident, rigid and fundamentalist’ telling them to beware when admitting candidates to the seminary, because ‘there are mentally ill boys who seek strong structures that can protect them, such as the police, the army and the clergy.’ [All quotes taken from Francis’ concern over liturgical young fogeys, The Catholic Times, 20 January, 2017] 

Speaking to bishops, says Mgr L, Pope Francis opined that “Tridentine-rite liturgies celebrated by priests who had never known the Church under the old rite were ‘a manifestation of moral and psychological imbalances.’  And, a delighted Mgr L goes on, the Pope warned newly appointed bishops in 2015:  “Be careful when a seminarian seeks refuge in rigidity – because underneath this there is always something bad.”

cartoonhearingvoices

The traditional Mass is described as “its own shop window” in today’s savage attack,  not to be”reinforced”  in seminaries “or by the use of outdated episcopal carnival-costumes” (that is this terrible priest’s standard way of describing the sacred vestments). 

The entire article exudes evil. As one American bishop said (and I quoted him, with source, in our newsletter at the time) “To be indifferent to the old rite is one thing; to hate it comes straight from Hell”. 

Now, there’s a thought for the good Monsignor.  Instead of blethering on about “rigid fundamentalism” he ought to try it sometime. Would make much more interesting reading that the baloney he churns out week after week in the Anything-But-Catholic Times.  

Comments invited… 

Rocky Road From Dublin: Irish Bishops In Rome – seeking end of celibacy?

The Irish Bishops are in Rome for their ad limina visit

shamrockBelow, report from The Irish Catholic…

The Irish hierarchy will not ask Pope Francis to consider permitting priests who left to get married to return to ministry at a meeting in Rome next week after failing to reach a consensus, The Irish Catholic can reveal.

However, Bishop Leo O’Reilly, who first brought the proposal for discussion with his fellow Irish bishops, said the issue may well come up during a series of meetings the Irish bishops are due to have with the Pontiff and senior Vatican officials in coming days.

The possibility of married men being ordained to the priesthood in Ireland may come up in next week’s meeting between the bishops and Pope Francis, according to the bishop who in 2015 said the idea should be considered.

The bishop’s observation comes against a background of rumours that the Pope is willing to allow married former priests to return to ministry in Brazil on a phased and experimental basis, and as Ireland’s bishops are due to make their first ad limina visit  to Rome in a decade.

In June 2015, Kilmore’s Bishop Leo O’Reilly said he was liaising with other bishops about setting up a commission to discuss the possibilities of ordaining married men and of appointing female deacons, saying that the Pope encouraged individual bishops and bishops’ conferences to be creative in looking at ways to do ministry in the future, and that Ireland bishops must “consider all options”.

Saints are used to handling snakes...

Saints are used to handling snakes…

However, Dr O’Reilly told The Irish Catholic, no decision was made when he raised the matter with his fellow bishops in 2015. 

“There was a discussion about it at the bishops’ conference, and it was inconclusive – there was no decision taken at that point, and that’s where it rested,” he said.

“Where it came from originally was the diocesan pastoral plan,” he said, highlighting how it had arisen following an 18-month listening process in his Kilmore diocese which had led in turn to a diocesan assembly and a new diocesan pastoral plan to tackle such challenges facing the Church as the declining number of priests.

“The request of the plan was that I would bring it to the bishops’ conference, which I have done,” he continued. “I don’t know whether there is anything more that I could do on it.”

At the same time, he said, there was a chance that the proposal could be raised at next week’s ad limina visit of the Irish bishops to Rome. “I’d say it’s possible,” he said, “because I would have sent in the pastoral plan as part of the submission of the report to the Vatican.”  Source

Comment…

Well.. will Catholic Irish eyes be smiling at the end of this ad limina d’ye think, at all, at all? 

Scotland Preparing For Lay-Led Funerals

tombstoneripGalloway prepares for funerals without priests.

Galloway Diocese is training up laity to carry out funeral services without a priest.

Last week the first lay Catholics attended funeral training at St Brides in West Kilbride in Ayrshire.

The scheme is similar to one adopted by Liverpool Archdiocese in 2012.

The family of the deceased would still be offered a requiem Mass (right) with a priest but a ‘funeral service,’ which could be carried out by a lay person and would not involve the sacrament of Communion, would also be an option.

In a recent parish bulletin, St Bride’s parish priest Fr Joe Boland said: “All over the world, lay men and women have been conducting funerals for years. Obviously they cannot say Mass, but not every funeral involves Mass, and in that case there is nothing a priest can do that a lay person cannot do.

“This will sound strange to many of you, but as the number of parishes covered by one priest grows, it will become more and more necessary,” he went on. “This is not the case here in West Kilbride at the moment, but the current situation will not last forever. There will inevitably be resistance to the idea of lay people exercising this ministry, but that is to be expected. It will work itself out”

Maureen Knight, who is responsible for pastoral care at Liverpool Archdiocese, told the SCO a similar scheme there had been a great success.

“We’ve had 120 people go through the training programme,” she said. ”The negativity around it has been minimal.

“We find that there are people coming to funerals that have very little connection with the church so this is an easier way,” she said. “Rather than the requiem Mass we would want, this is another option.”

She also said the change had helped ‘care of the bereaved become the responsibility of the whole community.’

“The lay funeral minister, they can be with the family beforehand, talk about things they might be afraid to talk to a priest about,” she said. “And they can visit them afterwards, look after them a bit more.”

A 1997 Vatican document on the laity fulfilling priestly duties says ‘the non-ordained faithful may lead the ecclesiastical obsequies provided that there is a true absence of sacred ministers and that they adhere to the prescribed liturgical norms.’

It also states that ‘in the present circumstances of growing de-christianization and of abandonment of religious practice, death and the time of obsequies can be one of the most opportune pastoral moments in which the ordained minister can meet with the non-practising members of the faithful,’ so ‘it is thus desirable that priests and deacons, even at some sacrifice to themselves, should preside personally at funeral rites in accordance with local custom, so as to pray for the dead and be close to their families, thus availing of an opportunity for appropriate evangelization.’

At present there are no plans for similar programmes in the other seven Scottish dioceses  Source – Scottish Catholic Observer

Comment:  

It’s that “at present” that is the worry. How long before all the usual parish busy-bodies are organising funerals across Scotland? Conducting YOUR funeral?  I say “your funeral” because none of them will ever organise mine. Be assured. Over my dead body, as they say, so to speak.  You’ll get my drift. Does this resignation to the lack of vocations suggest to you, as it does to me, a total loss of divine and Catholic Faith?  

Is the Church finished? Without priests, remember, there IS no Church, so why is the hierarchy concentrating on creating a lay-led Church instead of concentrating on restoring the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Faith and Liturgy? If they did that, the vocations would come – no doubt about it. So, what’s going on? Who, on this earth, really wants a lay person conducting his/her funeral?      cartoonimagefunerals

A Tale of Two Priests & Two Masses

From America Magazine…

An ordinary Sunday morning. No parish assignment, no preaching. So I decide to go to a church that celebrates the Latin Mass every Sunday at 11 AM. I knew it would be in Latin, but I wasn’t sure if it would be the old Tridentine or new post-Vatican II Latin Mass. Clearly it was Tridentine! One reason to attend was to see if I could feel comfortable being the main celebration of the Latin Mass.  

A female altar server assists at a Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley in 2013.Pilot file photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

A female altar server assists at a novus ordo Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley in 2013.

The church was half-filled, older men and women, some families with children, and a number of people in their 30’s who followed with their missals. The music, all in Latin, was in abundance with 90 percent sung by the choir and little by the congregation. The opening procession included 8 servers in surplices (all male), an assistant to the priest and the main celebrant…

REACTIONS. During the celebration I felt very uncomfortable. It was strange and foreign. Even though I was very familiar with the Tridentine Mass from my childhood, it seemed remote and distant. The Mass seemed to focus on the priest whose words for the most part could not be heard (they were in Latin anyway!) and who rarely faced the people. The choir performed well and their singing overrode the priest, who had to wait several times until they finished singing.

In my mind I could not but think back to the Second Vatican Council, and all that the Council and subsequent documents tried to bring about – active participation, emphasis on the important things, vernacular, elimination of accretions and repetitions, etc. It was sad and disheartening. What happened? Why would the Catholic faithful seek out and attend this older form of the Mass? Is the Tridentine Mass an aberration? What does it say about the reforms of Vatican II?

After the Mass, I was tempted to talk with some of those present. But I decided not to as I feared I would have been negative and perhaps controversial. My feelings were still very raw. One thing I know: I myself will never freely choose to celebrate the Tridentine Mass.  Click here to read article in full

From Traditional Catholic Priest (Blog)…

Constantly I hear from people that they do not go to the Latin Mass because they do not understand Latin.  (Some even think that the homily is in Latin.)  So please, just for now, let us put aside the argument of the language; Latin or English and go to the prayers and actions that are part of the rubrics of the two masses.  Let us also look at who is the center of focus and the way the people participate, dress and receive God in Holy Communion at the two masses. 

Traditional (Latin) Mass

Traditional (Latin) Mass

As a priest, I want to re-clarify what are the differences on how Jesus is treated in the two masses.   This will be from my own stand point as a priest who has for years celebrated the New Mass in English and Spanish, and now, for the last 7 years offered the Ancient Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…

From my view up on the altar, the difference between the Ancient Mass and the New Mass is like day and night.  Archbishop Sample, from Portland Oregon, put it well when he said at the Sacra Liturgia Conference in Rome, that he wants all of his priests to learn and offer the Latin Mass because of the effect it has on them understanding their role as priests.  He said that offering the Holy Latin Mass has changed him completely and now he finally understands the sacrificial aspect of his priesthood..

As a priest who says the New Mass and the Latin Mass, the Latin Mass has by far more rubrics built right into the Latin Mass to protect the Body and Blood of Jesus from being desecrated in any manner.  It clearly has the strong sacrificial component of the Holy Mass and priesthood.  It does not have the protestant emphasis on the Last Supper and “doing this in remembrance of Me” like the Luther advocated.  It also has prayers and gestures that facilitate more easily the adoration that Jesus deserves from us His creatures.  And because of this, the Latin Mass pleases God way more than the New Mass. Click here to read article in full

 

Comments invited – how did YOU vote in the poll: and why?

Pope seeks “new ways round” Anglican Schism – leave it to the God of Surprises!

From The Telegraph 5/10/16…

Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury have publicly pledged to press on towards the full reunification of the [  ]  Catholic and Anglican churches – while admitting they “do not yet see” a  solution to differences over the female clergy and sexuality.

pope-justinwelbyThey insisted they were “undeterred” in their desire to heal the split between the two churches which emerged amid the convulsions of the Reformation, which began 500 years ago next year.

In a joint declaration in Rome, where they led prayers together, they spoke of decades of progress on reaching common ground on the major areas of disagreement but acknowledged there were still “serious obstacles” to full communion.

These, they acknowledged, include the ordination of female clergy in the Church of England and other Anglican provinces, a move viewed by
[ ]  Catholics as a fundamental breach with its teaching that bishops follow in an unbroken line of male succession from the original apostles.

While we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred.

 They also singled out “more recent questions regarding human sexuality” – a deliberately vague reference to the controversies especially within the Church of England over the possibility of effectively blessing same-sex marriages and gay bishops.

Crucially, however, they signalled that they would seek new ways around their theological differences, saying they believed God would “open new doors”.

They also urged their respective clergy to join forces on the ground, making the most of the “certain yet imperfect communion” the two churches already share.

And, strikingly, the Archbishop, the Most Rev Justin Welby jointly led the service with a female priest, his interim chaplain the Rev Julia Pickles, by his side. [all emphases added]     Read more here

Comment:

It’s that word again – “new”.  We’ve had the new Mass, new rosary, new catechism, new code of canon law, new morality, new philosophy of Catholic education and now, predictably, new ways round schism.  We’ve had New Labour, now we have New Catholic.  

IS there any way round the Anglican schism, now that they have women “priests”, and with the official approval of same-sex “marriage” on the horizon.  Well?  

Teenager Issues Challenge: Don’t Change The Mass – Let The Mass Change you…

Award-winning American author Dan Graham’s article Words That Count first appeared in our newsletter, Issue No. 51, September, 2008….Dan’s original article was easily one of the most popular we’ve ever published, as was the updated version published in the newsletter in 2010. In recent weeks I’ve been approached for copies of it (available on our website) so it might be worth airing it on the blog at this time.  American spellings prevail. 

Dan Graham, Award winning author

Dan Graham, Award winning author

This paper methodically compares the texts of the Tridentine Mass 1945 (TM) and the Novus Ordo Mass 1973 (NOM) so Catholics can better understand differences. The method is simple: off-the-shelf software WordListCreator™ alphabetizes and counts words in a text. I used the English translations. I simply compare the words and counts from both masses and ask: what does the NOM remove or add? My operating principle comes from St. Thomas Aquinas: whatever is objectively real is objectively true. This method helps avoid the acrimony that often derails fruitful discussions about the two masses. I present my two conclusions, then my supporting findings by working through a comparison of the words in the TM and NOM. Readers can review the data and come to their own conclusions. The first conclusion is that the two masses differ profoundly. Some argue that the differences in the two missals are trifling, a mere preference of style, but a close examination of the text proves otherwise.  Click here to read the entire article and then share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

 

Comment: 

For those Catholics who believe that the only change to the Mass has been the switch from Latin to the vernacular, this article will (or should) come as a shock.  However, the Catholic sense has been dulled to the point of extinction, so for a lot of Catholics, probably the majority, the “shock” will be nothing more than a mild surprise accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders and a “well, so what?”   Still, there’s been an increase in Catholics showing an interest in the Traditional Mass recently – at least, that’s been my personal experience. What about you? And what about the teenager who quoted a friend of his to me, a girl who had summed up the problems in the Church today with the words I’ve used in the headline above (may it not occur to her to sue me for copyright): “Don’t change the Mass” she reportedly said: “Let the Mass change you…”   Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, thou hast perfected praise. (Matthew 21:16)

 

“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you - for you alone?” St.Thérèse of Lisieux

“Do you realize
that Jesus
is there in the
tabernacle
expressly for
you – for you
alone?”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux 

“Deaconesses”: Phoebe A Red Herring

“Deaconesses,” Strictly Speaking, Never Existed
On Francis’ New “Deaconess” Panel

by John Vennari   – Catholic Family News

woman_minissterIf “deaconesses” are approved, we will face an embarrassing imitation of contemporary Protestant practice – ministerettes in goofy robes pretending to be men, usurping activities that belong to the priest alone. 

There never was nor can there ever be the office of “deaconess” in the Catholic Church.

When I use the word “deaconess” in this context, I mean a female counterpart to the male office of deacon. There was never any such office.

If the term “deaconess” appears in Church history, we find it to be an imprecise term that will vary not only from age to age, but from one geographic location to the next. Father Aimé George Martimont, author of the scholarly and definitive work on the subject titled Deaconesses, An Historical Study, observes “The Christians of antiquity did not have a single, fixed idea of what deaconesses were supposed to be.”1

Yet on August 2 of this year, Pope Francis created a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic Church. Pursuing such a venture can only ignite further chaos in the Church and confusion among the faithful.

Extremely Limited Function

There was never an office of deaconess in the Latin Church.2 We do come across references to deaconesses in various Greek and Eastern Rites. Yet the office is not uniformly found in the Oriental churches, and all mention is sporadic between the second and tenth centuries. Some Eastern Church territories, such as the church in Egypt, Ethiopia and the Maronites never accepted any office of deaconess.3

The women who were called “deaconesses” were not ordained in any sacramental sense of the word, but received a kind of blessing for certain ecclesiastical service. These “deaconesses” were primarily consecrated women whose work was highly restricted – usually limited assistance to other females. This included assisting women at baptisms and other services where the presence of men would have offended modesty.

“Moreover,” writes Father Martimort, “it must be even more strongly emphasized that deaconesses were never allowed to teach or preach in public.”4

It is of no use to appeal to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans in which Phoebe the “deaconess” is mentioned. The mind of the Church on this matter is summarized in the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas. We read, “The Angelic Doctor commenting on the New Testament … saw Phoebe in the Epistle to the Romans only as one of those women who ‘served’ Christ and the Apostles, or who carried out works of charity in the manner of widows of 1 Timothy 5:10.”5

As for the Latin Church, we provide three ancient and authoritative texts that demonstrate how foreign was any idea in the early Church of women deaconesses, women’s ordination, and women serving in the sanctuary.

As early as the 4th century, there is the fiery directive from the bishops of the Council of Nimes in 396 A.D.:

“Equally, it has been reported by some that, contrary to the apostolic discipline – indeed a thing unheard of until now – it has been observed, though it is not known exactly where, that women have been raised to the ministry of deacons. Ecclesiastical discipline does not permit this, for it is unseemly; such an ordination should be annulled, since it is irregular; and vigilance is required lest in the future anyone should have the boldness to act in this fashion again.”
The Council of Orange in 441 A.D. spoke likewise,

“In no way whatsoever should deaconesses ever be ordained. If there already are deaconesses, they should bow their heads beneath the blessing which is given to all the people.”6

Then there is the forceful decree Necessaria rerum of Pope Gelasius, addressed to the bishops of southern Italy, dated March 11, 494. While not dealing directly with deaconesses, it manifests how alien was the idea of women in the sanctuary performing any form of priestly function:

“It is with impatience that we learned this: divine things have suffered such a degradation that female ministers serving at the sacred altars have been approved. The exercise of roles reserved to men has been given to the sex which they do not belong.”7

What would the Bishops of Nimes, the Council of Orange and Pope Gelasius say about the plethora of lady-readers, altar girls, “let us pray to the Lord” prayer leaders, liturgical dancers and Eucharistic ministerettes now fluttering in great numbers throughout post-Conciliar sanctuaries?

No Continuity

As we follow the work of Father Martimont – whose calm, meticulous, thorough scholarship includes vast historical references from liturgical texts, euchologies (Eastern Rite), pontificals, ecclesiastical legislation, homilies, letters and other pertinent documents – we learn “the continuity of true ecclesiastical discipline was lacking in the case of deaconesses.”8 There is no continuity from the ancient days of the Church until now. Only a modernist pick-and-choose antiquarianism – forbidden by the Church – could “justify” any thought of establishing the office of deaconess.

Even in Eastern Rites the practice was not observed “always, everywhere and by everyone.” The presence of deaconesses was so infrequent and scattered that we see in the writings of St. Jerome, a man who traveled widely in the East and knew it well, he “nowhere spoke about deaconesses, not even in his letter 394 to the priest Nepotian, to which he indicates the proper attitude to adopt toward virgins and widows.”9

As noted earlier, the institution of deaconesses was most often involved with the baptism of adult women. In various Eastern Rites at the time, in a ritual that connects baptism with Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, adults were baptized naked – a practice happily long extinct.10

Thus writes Father Martimont, “’As long as adult baptism were the norm, the necessity that brought about its creation [the office of deaconess] was geographically limited and rapidly becoming obsolete.” Even during this time the woman assisting the adult women being baptized did not necessarily have to be a “deaconess” but could be a pious matron of the congregation.11 Again, the practice only occurred in various churches of the Eastern Rite, never in the Latin Rite.

A concise summary of the deaconess’ limited function is contained in the Canonical Resolutions of James of Edessa (Eastern Rite) written somewhere between 683 and 708 A.D. The instruction proceeds in a dialogue format:

Addai: Does the deaconess, like the deacon, have the power to put a portion of the sacred Host into the consecrated chalice?

James: In no way can she do this. The deaconess did not become a deaconess in order to serve at the altar but rather for the sake of women who are ill.

Addai: I would like to learn in a few words what the powers of the deaconess in the Church are.

James: She has no power over the altar, because when she was instituted, it was not in the name of the altar, but only to fulfill certain functions in the Church. These are her sole powers: to sweep the sanctuary and to light the lamps, and she is only permitted to perform these two functions if no priest or deacon is available. If she is in a convent of women, she can remove the sacred Hosts from the tabernacle [= cabinet], only because there is no priest or deacon present, and give them out to the other sisters only or to small children who may also be present. [Comment: Keep in mind this is within the context of the Eastern Rite where the consecrated Eucharist is not touched by human hands, but delivered to the communicant by means of a small spoon – JV] But it is not permitted to her to take the Hosts off the altar, nor carry them to the altar nor indeed in any way to touch the table of life [the altar]. She anoints adult women when they are baptized; she visits women who are ill and cares for them. These are the only powers possessed by deaconesses with regard to the work of the priests.”12

Even if we come upon ancient Eastern Rite rituals that speak of “ordination” of deaconess, the word “ordination” is here used in a loose sense that has nothing to do with the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The Patriarch Severus of Antioch, writing in the sixth century, explains, “In the case of deaconesses … ordination is performed less with regards to the needs of the mystery than exclusively with regard to doing honor.” He continues, “In the cities, deaconesses habitually exercise a ministry relating to the divine bath of regeneration in the case of women who are being baptized.”13

Anachronism and Ambiguity

The office of deaconess – sporadic as it was – virtually disappeared by the time of the eleventh century. So much so that Greek and Eastern Canonists of the Middle Ages did not even know who or what deaconesses were, for by then deaconesses had long since ceased to exist.14 The office had become an obsolete curiosity.

Nothing could be more anachronistic than an attempt to “revive” the office of deaconess in a manner unrelated to its limited practice in the early Church, and use it as an official title to formalize today’s raging novelty of women in the sanctuary and “lay ministers” of the Eucharist. ratzinger-lutheran

Yet this is precisely the aim of Francis’ new deaconess panel, which consists of six men, six women – a politically-correct gender-balanced structure rather than a panel of scholars of unquestionable competence regarding the Catholic Faith of all time.

The panel includes Phyllis Zagano, senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in New York, a bold advocate of women’s ordination.15 It’s not hard to guess what the panel’s conclusions may be – a forgone conclusion in favor of approving some form of “deaconesses.” As we know from the British satire Yes, Prime Minister, “The government never publicly opens the debate until it has already privately made up its mind.”

We are painfully aware of the distasteful tactics of modern discussions that seek to introduce more revolution: Muddying the historical waters, imprecision of terms, clever use of anachronisms, calculated ambiguity, significant silence concerning any historic fact that frustrates the forgone conclusion of the panel’s ultimate aim. Combine all this with the massive ignorance of today’s un-catechized Catholics who are children of the Vatican II revolution, under the sway of the bucking-bronco Bergoglio pontificate that favors novelty and deprecates alleged “small-minded rules.” The results can only be lethal for doctrinal and liturgical integrity.

“Fraught with ambiguity”

There is no need to re-study the matter of deaconesses, especially when the definitive work of Father Martimort already demonstrates that the ancient, sporadic office of deaconess has nothing to do with women performing priestly functions.

We can do no better than close with the final paragraph of Father Mortimort’s superb work. He writes: “The complexity of the facts about deaconesses and the proper context of these facts prove to be quite extraordinary. There exists a danger of distorting both the facts and the texts whenever one is dealing with them secondhand. It is also difficult to avoid anachronisms when trying to resolve the problem of the present by reference to the solutions appropriate to a past that is long gone.”

Father Martimort concludes: “For the fact is that the ancient institution of deaconess, even in its own time, was encumbered with not a few ambiguities, as we have seen. In my opinion, if the restoration of the institution of deaconesses were indeed to be sought after so many centuries, such a restoration itself could only be fraught with ambiguity.”16

Any move toward the establishment of “deaconess” stands already condemned by the consistent teaching of the Popes, manifested in that of Benedict XV who warned, “We wish to have this law of the ancients held in reverence,‘let nothing new be introduced, but only what has been handed down.’ This must be held an inviolable law in matters of Faith.”17

A new office of deaconeness introduced in the post-Conciliar Church will resemble nothing of history and contain nothing that has been handed down. The practice existed only sporadically in various geographical locations of the Eastern church, was severely restricted in its activity, and had disappeared by the 11th century.

If “deaconesses” are approved, we will face an embarrassing imitation of contemporary Protestant practice – ministerettes in goofy robes pretending to be men, usurping activities that belong to the priest alone. The office of deaconess will further accustom Catholics to see women in roles of ecclesiastical leadership and pave the way for more discussion of “women priests.”

The introduction of the destructive novelty of “deaconess” can only lead to further degradation of the Church and the priesthood. It must be firmly resisted. Source

Comment:

We’ve covered this topic from time to time in the newsletter, pointing out that female deaconesses in the early Church had a very limited role indeed, and never did this role involve participation in liturgy, similar to male deacons.  The Pope has already stressed that there can be no women priests. Assuming that he is not changing his mind about that, does he not, then, realise that he is giving false hope and propaganda material to the proponents of women’s ordination by creating this entirely unnecessary “study” into the possibility of allowing “deaconesses” in the Church?  I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with John Vennari’s closing remarks that “the introduction of the destructive novelty of “deaconess” can only lead to further degradation of the Church and the priesthood [and] must be firmly resisted.”  What about you? Do you agree?