« " ... a candidate with seriously complicated woman issues" | Main | “Saudi officials were 'supporting' 9/11 hijackers, commission member says” - TTG »

12 May 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Although, it seems to me, he upsets the more conservative Catholics, I find his approach to continue to be a remarkable event.

I whole heartedly agree, Pat, that providing for women clergy would be a wonderful step forward. My fond hope is that it would reinvigorate the Catholic church.


So many positions in my church are already run by women anyhow - organizing pastoral care, organization of parish events, leading in prayer and reading the lesson, altar girls, administering the sacraments - it seems the next logical step. Our young priest has to juggle two parishes so needs a lot of help.

One other thing. I'd calculate that since Francis became Pope our congregations have increased by at least a third. Most of them young. Although we're in the middle of rural nowhere, we have Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Palestinians, Africans, French, Irish and lots of Poles.

Its always struck me a lot of people on this site are Catholic.

The Twisted Genius

We should note that the office of deacon was only brought back to the Catholic Church after Vatican II. Some more of Francis' remarks during this meeting with Catholic women religious are in this article from the "National Catholic Reporter." I'm sure the full transcript will be available before long. This is one bold and insightful Pope.


In other news, a Vatican conference (not the Vatican itself) recently rejected the just war theory and asked for an encyclical on nonviolence. No word from Francis on this yet.


Bill Herschel

Thank God for Francis. Clergy in the time of Jesus were married. As a matter of fact, most everything in the time of Jesus was totally different from today.

This is off topic, but it is not even remotely off topic. Not remotely. Watch this and tell me who the Christian is running for President? Who is the follower of Jesus? Hint: it's not Hillary "We came, we saw, he died," Clinton. I will spot Trump just about anything he says about domestic policy and pull the lever for him because of this:


This is a decisive moment in American history. Someone is finally speaking to and for the American people. They are listening despite the noise machine turned up to the max. I pray that it ends well.

Mark Pyruz

I've a feeling this is going to rub the wrong way our local Archbishop in San Francisco. He's a hardliner (with a recent arrest for drunk driving).

Not long ago a group of prominent Catholics in our city took the extraordinary step of taking out a full page newspaper ad against him, hoping to be effectively be heard by Francis.

Back to the topic at hand: rendering women deacons almost falls in the category of reform.


Babelfish: But why would it be upsetting to conservative Roman Catholics?

What should upset us Catholics is the disappearance of the clergy. My parish is large. We claim at least 10,000 parishioners. Yet a years ago, we were told at Mass that, in almost 40 years, our parish had not produced a single priest.



Strongly disagree. The history of female deacons in other denominations shows that it quickly spirals downhill into gay transgender clergy supporting more immigration. No a thousand times.



Experience shows that as a church becomes more liberal, attendance drops off.

Appealing to the NYT Ed Board is simply going to lead to Catholics going to SSPX and Orthodoxy.


I always thought the Catholic priesthood should largely be a retirement job for faithful Catholics. The large numbers of retired military, police, businessmen who have decades of experience in the real world, especially integrating their faith with the complexities of the real world, would provide invaluable service to the flock. Also, a guy who has spent a quarter of a century in the military, the police force, the fire department, or the corporate world has some track record for trustworthiness. A lot better than trying to root out potentially flawed candidates through a battery of psychological tests, especially when these candidates haven't even matured. There are plenty of guys I can think of who would perfect for such a priesthood. Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, a devout Catholic who was torn between priesthood and military. Former FBI agent and OK governor, Frank Keating. The late Adm. Jeremiah Denton, a devout Catholic who kept his sanity for 8 years as a POW by mentally going through the Catholic Mass in his mind each day (there is a new book out based on Adm. Denton's memorization of the Mass: http://www.amazon.com/Memorize-Mass-Kevin-Vost-PhD/dp/1633370917?ie=UTF8&keywords=Kevin%20vost&qid=1463091612&ref_=sr_1_7&sr=8-7).


In my last post I referenced a new book inspired by Adm. Jeremiah Denton's saying daily Mass (English and Latin!) in his head while a POW for 8 years in the Hanoi Hilton. Here's an excerpt from the preface:

"Memorize the Mass!" by Kevin Vost (En Route Books and Media, 2016)

Preface: When One's Life Depends on the Mass

“As in all other times of crisis, we relied on our religious backgrounds to give us strength and to help us accept the sacrifice of our monastic existence. I went through the Mass each day in English and Latin, took spiritual communion, and meditated deeply.”
Admiral Jeremiah Denton 1

1 Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton, When Hell Was in Session (Washington, DC: WorldNetDaily, 1998), 189.


"In the midst of writing that book, I received an email from Major Valpiani, a U.S. Air Force officer and experimental test pilot. He had read one of my books on the memory techniques of Sts. Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas, and he asked me if I could give him suggestions on how to memorize the parts of the Mass. You see, he had found through the Internet that I’d written an article called “Memorize the Mass!” on a now defunct Catholic social media site, and he wondered if I could share it with him. I remembered the article but found that my Word program didn’t! I was unable to track down the article for him, but I told him that I remembered the basics and could share those with him. What intrigued me about his email, however, was the story behind his question. Major Valpiani had heard a recording of a talk from a man who had mentally repeated the Mass every day to preserve his sanity and sanctity during nearly eight years of confinement, also as a POW in North Vietnam, like Stockdale. That man, Jeremiah Denton, had been Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron Seventy-Five aboard the USS Independence and was shot down on July 18, 1965, two months before James Stockdale. His ordeal as a POW lasted nearly eight years. He, like Stockdale, later became an admiral, and then he became a U.S. senator from Alabama. I responded to the major that I had not heard of Admiral Denton but had, coincidentally, just written about Admiral Stockdale. In his response he told me that in fact the two were friends! That was news to me. Stockdale had not mentioned Denton in the books I’d read. Admiral Denton’s story was clearly one that I had to investigate. Sure enough, in his book Hell is in Session , Denton described how he and Stockdale cooperated in keeping the American POWs alive and in preserving their dignity. He described as well, in the quotation that started this preface, that throughout those years, many of which included solitary confinement and a variety of ongoing tortures, he did indeed go through the Mass each day in his head, both in English and in Latin!"



Despite my handle, I am not Greek, but I have lived, worked and taught here for the better part of 40 years. I was raised Presbyterian in the liberal NYS synod and am an ordained elder. My wife, a childhood friend from our little village, was raised Roman Catholic--a scandal to both families. Both of us have for many years been what would be called "lapsed," at lest in the Roman Catholic Church.
I taught ethics and business ethics for many years and have long been interested in Just War Theory, especially during the Kosovo Campaign (1998-1999) when I taught Greeks and many students from Greece and other Balkan states including several of the former Yugoslavian Republics as well as Albania. Fortunately the tensions did not boil over here in the form of violence on the campus where I taught, but there were verbal confrontations.

This is the Greek Orthodox position on Just War Theory: http://incommunion.org/2005/08/02/no-just-war-in-the-fathers/

Greek Orthodox priests can be married, and I believe they are limited in their possibilities to ascend the hierarchy. We have taught and worked with several and their children, whom we love and admire. We also have a Goddaughter, a female Armenian girl, now a young woman with a child. In the Armenian church, they required me, the male, to be her official Godfather rather than my wife. The situation is even more complicated, since our Goddaughter is partnered with a young Albanian (religion unknown if any) her age, the father. They are wonderful parents, both economic migrants of sorts from 20 and 20+ years ago with pending residency status and no venue to marry, although their child is registered here in the Greek birth registry.

Apologies for the length of this, but this is one data point that is likely missed regarding the Balkans in the 21st century.

The Twisted Genius

Bill Herschel,

You are among the bamboozled. Trump wants to bomb the shit out of the oilfields in Syria, then send in a ring of US troops to protect the fields as Exxon rebuilds them so we can take the oil. He also wants to deliberately kill the families of terrorists and torture the terrorists. Naturally he wants to build a big beautiful military force to do this. He's Borg, perhaps a slightly different strain of Borg, but still Borg. At least he's not talking trash about Russia... yet. If he ever convinces himself that Ukrainian natural gas fields and agricultural land are worth money, he may want to put a ring of troops around that as well. Of course he could just be talking bullshit just as he may be talking bullshit about that beautiful wall and deportation. We just don't know.


As a more than somewhat conservative Catholic living in a country in which the overwhelming majority are either Atheists or Lutherans (Dansk Folkekirke) I'm for it. It's mostly women running the parishes anyway and any of them that I know are specifically doing it AMDG I see no reason why they can't act as deacons. Doing a bit of googling the office of deacon goes back to the earliest days of the Church it also seems that the current status of the diaconate as a sort of apprenticeship stage towards the priesthood is relatively new.

With apologies for the length of this quotation:

"The Deacon In History

But first one needs to know something about the deacon in history. We initially encounter the deacon in the famous passage in Acts 6:2, where Peter says it is not proper for the apostles to give up preaching so that they can wait on tables. Accordingly, they ordained seven deacons, including the proto-martyr Stephen, to serve the Christian community. By the end of the ancient world the deacon was the bishop's assistant, serving as his "eyes and ears," taking care of church property as well as administrative matters.

Deacons quickly became VIP's. One measure of the importance of the deacon in the early church is the number of deacons elected pope in the early Middle Ages. Of the thirty-seven men elected pope between 432 and 684 A.D., only three are known to have been ordained to priest before their election to the Chair of Peter.[2]

In the course of time the bishop's principal assistant, the , came to be called the archdeacon and by the fifth century his role had developed into a powerful ecclesiastical office. He had charge of church administration and of the care of the poor and thus held the purse.

When archdeacons became too dominant sometimes their bishops were minded to "kick them upstairs" by ordaining them priest whereupon they would lose the office of archdeacon. Saint Jerome said, "" ("the archdeacon thinks himself injured if ordained priest"), for then he would lose his powerful archdiaconal office. Pope Gregory the Great, in fact, once upbraided a bishop for ordaining his archdeacon priest with a view "craftily to degrade the aforesaid archdeacon."

In ensuing centuries the archdeacon acquired the duty of supervising and disciplining the lower clergy. Because of this role the archdeacon acquired the right to examine candidates for ordination, and in the ordinals we find the archdeacon now presenting to the bishop candidates for priestly ordination and attesting their fitness.

Beginning with the eighth century, the right to discipline the clergy brought to the archdeacon ordinary jurisdiction and his own separate church court. And soon we find that at least the larger dioceses were divided up into several archdeaconries, each headed by an archdeacon who presided over a first instance tribunal and carried out visitations to correct abuses and infractions of church canons. The archdeacon also served as the bishop's administrative assistant in instituting clerics to their benefices and watching over the decency of worship and the repair of churches within his territory. In many places the archdeacon of the see city also acted as vicar capitular, or diocesan administrator of the vacant or impeded see.

From the eighth to the thirteenth century the power of the archdeacon waxed greatly and archdeacons began to exercise quasi-episcopal powers. Like bishops, they even began to appoint vicars and officials to carry out their administrative and judicial functions, respectively. With the development of the benefice system, moreover, archdeacons were no longer removable at the whim of the bishop, since their archdeaconry was now considered a benefice in which they had a life interest that was protected by law, barring judicial privation for good cause. Their wide powers and fixity of tenure made archdeacons serious rivals of bishops whose own authority over them had begun to recede into something like that of a metropolitan over his suffragan bishops. So powerful had the archdeacons become that a reform movement was spawned and bishops began to counter the power of the archdeacons by appointing priests as their vicars general and officials (or judicial vicars). These priests enjoyed powers similar to those of archdeacons but, importantly, their office was not a benefice and they served at the pleasure of the bishop and were directly subject to his control. Once established, these alternatives set the scene for a frontal assault on the power of the archdeacons.

The Council of Trent's reforms drastically restricted the archdeacon's power. Archdeacons were deprived of the power of excommunication and of their jurisdiction in matrimonial and criminal matters. No longer could they make visitations and order the correction of abuses, unless asked to do so by the bishop. By the seventeenth century the once-powerful office had been reduced to that of a master of pontifical ceremonies and the last vestige of the office was the liturgical role in the ordination service of presenting the ordinands to the bishop at priestly ordinations.

Now the office of archdeacon was merely ceremonial and the real power had passed to the vicar general, vicar capitular and the judicial vicar-all priests. The order of deacon itself became a mere apprenticeship to priesthood lasting only a few months, even though until 1917 a deacon still could be canonically appointed pastor of a parish or canon of a cathedral or cardinal of the Holy Roman Church—as in the case of Pius IX's Secretary of State, Giacomo Cardinal Antonelli (1806-1876), who never proceeded beyond the order of deacon."

Source: https://www.ewtn.com/library/CANONLAW/DEACYEST.HTM (The full article is well worth reading as it specifically addresses the situation of the Church in the US).

The Catholic Encyclopedia entry is here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04647c.htm

The Twisted Genius


I agree that the disappearance of the clergy is upsetting. The reestablishment of the diaconate by Vatican II was a wise move. Opening it up to women is also wise. Back in the day, things were different. There was an annual open house in Waterbury, Connecticut where a large number of Catholic orders would have booths for the many boys who thought they might have a vocation to the priesthood. It was like a "Nation's Gun Show" for future priests. For several years, I thought I might become a Maryknoll missionary. Instead, I became a Green Beret.


In historical terms, this would be a reversion to the practices of the Christian movement as it emerged in the first 150 years of its existence. Simple services of the embryonic communities often involved women in ritual roles - whether the meeting was in the open or hidden from the authorities. (A few years ago, a relief was discovered in a Rome catacomb depicting this - the Vatican archeologists of course jumped in with the claim that the woman depicted was not carrying the host but rather was a servant girl). The patronage of wealthy aristocratic women, so important in those early years in urban settings (where Christianity first took root before spreading into more rural areas that would long remained populated by pagans = peasants) may have contributed to this phenomenon. Unfortunately, Christian communities existed in a cultural space between two strongly patriarchal societies - those of the Hebrews and those of the Romans. The movement's gender liberalism was seen early on (I believe even by Paul) as a potential obstacle to its acceptance and spread.

Once Christianity became organized as a Church in the 2nd century, male dominance in a hierarchical structure was inevitable. There was no other model. There everywhere is a strong correlation with a religion's degree of organization, on the one hand, and both its degree of authoritarianism and subordination of women on the other (even in Buddhism and Hinduism which are far more complex in every respect). On this score, Islam - loosely organized - may have been influenced by the Jewish and Christian models as well as the tribal organization of Arab society.


On married priesthood, the practice was common under around the 10th century when the Church found a compelling need to ensure its receiving the full inheritance of all clerical officials. Hence, wives and children were a financial liability for the cash strapped institutions.


True but without a priest there is no point of attendance and importing a Third World-er, what "my" church has done, is in my opinion not useful to keep conservative attendance up


Ye gods:

"Strongly disagree. The history of female deacons in other denominations shows that it quickly spirals downhill into gay transgender clergy supporting more immigration. No a thousand times."

Evidence in support of this contention please.

Lot of box ticking no?

Female? Yup we're agin them when they get uppity.
Gay? Yup we're agin them too.
Trans? Yup we're surely agin them.
Immigrants? We're passionately agin them an we want someone to build a wall for us. A Ha Ha would be nice too.

Catholic: "universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all. pertaining to the whole Christian body or church".

So far as I know "Catholic" has not yet come to mean excluding everyone we do not like from communion with the Church.


Everything I have seen says Trump did not oppose the Iraq War before it started. Do you have evidence otherwise?




Have to weigh in with Tyler here. Where is the evidence a feminized Church will flourish? Evidence seems to the contrary . . .

Just trying to be pragmatic.

Richard Armstrong


How many years does your experience within the Catholic church does your experience amount to ??


"Experience shows that as a church becomes more liberal, attendance drops off."

That misses the point. Without priests it becames quite irrelevant whether the attendance is slightly higher or not. The parish dies, sorry.

As protestant German living in catholic Austria I can only say that the Cathalic church has severe issues and woman as priests and most importantly marriage for priests are essential parts of the solution IMHO. Otherwise the church will shrink at an alarming rate.

People are not longer interested to have eiher guys as contact persons, who are >70 years old, or are imported from countries with quite different culture and often do not understand the issues of their parishioners.


Matthew 19:12

"For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him RECEIVE It."

Bill H

Interesting to hear that viewpoint. My father was a career military officer, converted from lapsed Methodist to Anglican while serving in England during WW2. He then became an Episcopal priest and actively served in that capacity in towns where we were stationed throughout his Air Force career.

He and I were pretty close, so perhaps my perception was tainted, but it seemed to me that the men he led in uniform thought very highly of him and the people in his parish adored him.

Some people think the dual career was odd, but at the time it seemed perfectly natural. He wore it well.



Good grief yes the option is to throw Catechism out the window because the new Progressive religion demands we cater to every passing fad.

SSPX and Orthodoxy seem to have no problem finding priests, which flies in the face of your assertion vs. What is going on with Anglicans and Episcopolians, which is quickly becoming a gay social club.

Do you ever post anything that isn't disingenuous horsesh-t?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad