Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, said the Synod should reflect on the possibility of allowing for female deacons as it seeks ways to open up more opportunities for women in Church life, reports NCR Online.
Where possible, qualified women should be given higher positions and decision-making authority within church structures and new opportunities in ministry, he told Catholic News Service yesterday..
Discussing a number of proposals he offered the Synod fathers to think about, he said: “I think we should really start looking seriously at the possibility of ordaining women deacons because the diaconate in the Church’s tradition has been defined as not being ordered toward priesthood but toward ministry.”
Currently, the Church permits only men to be ordained as deacons. Deacons can preach and preside at baptisms, funerals and weddings, but cannot celebrate Mass or hear confessions.
Archbishop Durocher said he dedicated his three-minute intervention to the role of women in the Church – one of the many themes highlighted in the Synod’s working document.
The working document, which is guiding the first three weeks of discussions, proposed giving women greater responsibility in the Church, particularly through involving them in “the decision-making process, their participation – not simply in a formal way – in the governing of some institutions; and their involvement in the formation of ordained ministers.”
Archbishop Durocher, who recently ended his term as president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, told CNS that much of his brief talk was focused on the lingering problem of violence against women, including domestic violence. He said the World Health Organisation estimates that 30 percent of women worldwide experience violence by their partner.
Photo: Archbishop Durocher arrives for the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the Family on Sunday