Female deacons: “The Pope wants to listen, but is in no hurry to make decisions”

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Linda Pocher was one of the women Pope Francis invited to participate in the Council of Cardinals and reflect on the role of women in the Church. She thinks that the Pope's goal is not to make decisions anytime soon.

Professor of Theology, Pontifical Auxilium Faculty

The Church's teaching is that women cannot be ordained, and Pope Francis has also explicitly stated that he does not want to change this teaching. However, at the same time, many members of the ecclesial community are strongly advocating for this issue to be reflected on. If we believe God speaks through history and not only through tradition but also through the present moment, I think it is important to listen to these requests with an open mind. Pope Francis is showing that he wants to listen, but without pressure to quickly make decisions and change the Church's tradition.

Linda explains that Pope Francis is studying what specific roles women could have within the Christian community.

For example, in 2021 the Pope acknowledged that women had access to the lay ministries of lector and acolyte—something that was already in place in many parts of the world.

Receive the book of Sacred Scriptures and faithfully transmit the word of God so that it may sprout and bear fruit in people's hearts.

Professor of Theology, Pontifical Auxilium Faculty

The Second Vatican Council rediscovered the fact that ministry is a dimension that belongs to the Church and therefore, in a way, belongs to all believers.

Pocher points out that the Second Vatican Council brought to light a question that had already been asked in the early Christian communities, the matter of the diaconate. In the early Church, there was even the figure of the deaconess, whose duties included activities the bishop could not perform prudently. For example, the deaconesses baptized women, since the sacrament was done by immersion and without clothes.

Over time the roles of deaconesses have changed, and Pope Francis wants to continue to study them. This matter was also addressed at the last Synod assembly. Now, it has also been introduced in the Council of Cardinals, which is the body that advises the Pope on the governance of the Church. Three meetings have already been dedicated to the topic of women and the next one will be held in June.


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