Pope did not say he would ordain women deacons, says Vatican

With Sr Carmen Sammut

Pope Francis "did not say he intends to introduce a diaconal ordination for women," and he certainly did not speak about the ordination of women priests, according to Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, reports the Catholic News Service.

On Thursday Pope Francis met members of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the leadership group for superiors of women's orders and accepted a proposal that he establish a commission to study the role of New Testament deaconesses and the possibility of women serving as deacons.

After some news outlets reported the Pope was considering ordaining women deacons and comments were made about women deacons leading to women priests, Fr Lombardi issued a clarification on Friday.

He insisted "it is wrong to reduce all the important things the Pope said to the religious women to just this question."

Women and the diaconate "is a question that has been discussed much, including in the past, and that comes from the fact that in the early Church there were women who were called deaconesses, who carried out certain services within the community," Fr Lombardi said.

Pope Francis told the Sisters that he thought it would be a good idea to form a commission "to take up this question again in order to view it with greater clarity," Fr Lombardi said.

"But one must be honest: The Pope did not say he intends to introduce a diaconal ordination for women and even less did he speak of the priestly ordination of women. In fact, talking about preaching during the eucharistic celebration, he let them know that he was not considering this possibility at all."

In a video statement May 13, Sr Carmen Sammut, superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Africa and president of the UISG, said the Sisters "had proposed that there would be a commission. He accepted that proposal and has said that he would bring that forward so that it could be studied even more than it has already. And I hope that one day there will be a real decision about this."

Photo: Pope Francis embraces Sr Carmen Sammut, President of the International Union of Superiors General, during an audience with the heads of women's religious orders on May 12 (CNS) 

FULL COVERAGE

Pope did not say he'd ordain women deacons, spokesman says (CNS)

Catholic Church not set on women deacons (AAP/SkyNews)

What did Pope Francis actually say about the female diaconate? (CNA)

US Catholics cautiously hopeful women may one day be deacons (Reuters/RNS)

Vatican urges caution on “diaconess case” (Vatican Insider)

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