Saturday, May 14, 2016

Deaconesses? No thanks.

The pope is going to create a commission to study the possibility of women deacons If we get deaconesses I will ignore them and get in the priest's line for Holy Communion, just like I try to do now when presented with Eucharistic ministers. To be honest, I"m not in love with the permanent deacon idea. The ones I've seen didn't seem to be much of a day to day help to the their parish priest. I've seen deaconesses in action too. Rocky's grandmother was one. In Baptist churches the deacons have enormous power. They run the church. They pick  and can depose the pastor. Depending on the church's constitution they can control the purse strings.  A war between the deacons can split a church in two. At my grandparent's church , deacons drove the young pastor away. The deaconesses can make the First Lady of the church's life hell if they don't like her. The deaconess in charge of a ministry such as the Missionary Aid Society is a small queen with the freedom to run her fiefdom the way she sees fit until she dies or retires unless she does it so badly that there is an accounting problem or a  rebellion and the full power of the other deacons and pastor are brought against her.

Deaconesses are not necessary to the Catholic Faith. You can do what my husband's grandmother did right now. She was in charge of visiting the sick. You can go to nursing homes and to the homes of your fellow parishioners. Rocky's grandmother didn't just visit either. She cooked meals, she cleaned the house of the sick person if need be, she comforted frightened children and told them that mamma or daddy was going to be alright.  She sat and listened to men and women who were facing widowhood. She was a major force in both the senior and adult choirs. If you have a voice and are willing to work you can join the choir.  She and her team took care of the pastor's transportation.  The reverend never had worry about rides to the airport or driving home tired from a middle of the night hospital run.   Rocky's grandmother's cooking was legendary and she fed the hungry. On Sundays after services, she and the hospitality ministry served up a feast to everyone and at no cost for the poor. If you can't do that you can provide coffee and store bought doughnuts for Church functions or join the meatball, pirogi and pancake makers at the annual Church festivals.

You don't need to be a deaconess to pray. You can join or with the pastor's permission start a prayer group in your parish. Rocky's grandmother was in charge of the senior bible study. She, like my grandmother was also in charge in the missionary group.

And here is something else that I fear that Catholic deaconesses won't get. Rocky's grandmother had power but she was not power hungry. I'm confident she never once in her life whined about not being empowered. She did what she did and considered herself a servant to God and her church. Judging from what I've seen of the pantsuit nuns and the aggressive and easily angered (avoid them in the Communion line and see the sour look you get) Eucharistic minister ladies, Catholic deaconesses won't be half as humble as my husband's Baptist deaconess grandmother was.

Stepping aside from the practical aspect, theologically we don't need deaconesses. God's Holy Church has been whacked with experiments and outright efforts to make us Protestant-esque for 55 or so years. Enough! Let's try a new experiment. Let's be Catholics.

Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, pray for us.
St. Gertrude the Great, pray for us.
St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
St. Clare, pray for us
St. Louise de Marillac, pray for us.
St. Frances Cabrini, pray for us.
St. Katherine Drexel, pray for us.
St. Walburga, pray for us.
St. Clotilda, pray for us.
St. Margaret of Scotland, pray for us.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
St. Joan of Arc, pray for us.
Mother Angelica, pray for us.

1 comment:

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Blessed Pentecost!

I agree, Deaconesses as in old Church are most useful in Muslim countries.

Deaconesses did not baptise except perhaps in case of necessaity, as later midwives did.

They could apply chrismation matter of sacraments and sacramentals otherwise done by a priest or bishop, if recipient was a woman.

They could stand between a grown woman getting baptised and the priest baptising her, so he would not see certain parts of her while she was nude, both standing in water in baptisterium.

But they could not perform strictly sacramental and liturgical functions reserved for deacons. Theirs was a similarity, not an identity of function. Some have otherwise claimed "deaconess" mostly refers to wives of deacons married before ordination.

NOT what I think BERGOGLIO (check the ASCII Code added values) really has in mind.

And no longer necessary.