“The time has come to take women’s place in the Church ‘seriously,’ according to the Archbishop of Gatineau, Québec. The French-speaking bishop, Paul-André Durocher, openly promoted the idea of a female diaconate that would include the celebration of the sacraments of baptism and marriage.
He was speaking on Radio Canada’s Sunday evening chat-show, Tout le monde en parle (‘Everyone’s talking about it’), where he had been asked to comment on the recent Vatican Summit on sexual abuse.
Archbishop Durocher made clear that he would have women play a ministerial role in the Church besides taking up increased down-to-earth responsibilities. ‘If women were deacons, for instance, they would have the power to celebrate marriages and to baptize. They would be part of management teams. I think that would be a first step,’ he said.
This goes beyond the role deaconesses are purported to have played as ‘helpers’ of the Christian community in the early centuries of the Church. Nowadays, male deacons, be they permanent or preparing for the priesthood – in which case, they promise to remain celibate –, are ordained ministers and have the power to celebrate the sacraments of marriage and baptism as well as being allowed to preach during mass.
The diaconate — being in this sense an element of Holy Orders — has been reserved for men in the same way and for the same reasons as the priesthood, which configures the ordained priest to Jesus-Christ himself, who was a male according to the flesh.
It is the same logic that traditionally prohibits girls from being altar servers and from playing a public role in the church as lectors or ministers of Holy Communion…”