Pope Francis has just announced that he will set up a commission to look at the possibility of ordaining women as deacons in the Roman Catholic church (see story below).
This is fascinating news for evangelicals like myself who keep an eye on the Vatican. It’s just another example of how the “unchanging church” is constantly changing. Francis will push hard to make this radical change in the diaconate following his recent removal of the centuries-old, church-wide, arbitrary ban on communion for divorced and re-married Catholics.
There’s tremendous pressure on Francis and the church to increase the role of women. A survey from a few years ago revealed 59% of American Catholics favor the ordination of women to the priesthood. The drop in the number of men’s ordinations in the US over the last 40 years has been staggering – there were 59,000 priests in 1970 and only 38,000 in 2012 – resulting in parish mergers, closings, and the recruitment of foreign priests to fill vacancies. Ordaining women as deacons will be seen by church liberals as a positive first step in the ultimate goal of consecrating females as priests while conservatives will view Francis’ reevaluation of the diaconate as just one more example of his continuing assault on cherished church traditions. Francis is no “spring chicken” at the ripe age of 79 and is using a “take no prisoners” approach in rolling out his “reforms” over the objections of traditionalists.
My thoughts? Jesus Christ eliminated the need for a sacrificial priesthood with His once-for-all-time sacrifice on the cross at Calvary. After Christianity was adopted as the state religion of the Roman Empire, the message of the church devolved from personal, saving faith in Jesus into ritualism, ceremony, and legalism. An increasingly powerful clergy jealousy advanced its privileges and authority. The Catholic priesthood became a continuation of the Levitical priesthood, with the sacrifice of the mass replacing animal sacrifices. There is absolutely no need for male priests or female priests. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and men. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16
But what about female deacons and pastors for evangelical churches? I’m in agreement with the article below:
Pope Francis Says Panel Will Study Whether Women May Serve as Deacons