‘A different prism through which to meet and marvel at the truth of Jesus’
When I think of the difference it would make to ordain women as deacons, a mother who recently lost a teenage son to suicide immediately comes to mind. The women I know who’d make good candidates for the diaconate are marked by an abundant wellspring of compassion. They belong to a different and faster moving communications loop. Their embodiment of the Word warrants a sacramental presence, as witnessed in the nascent Church.
An old adage – “whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver” (quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur) – finds fresh application here. To encounter a woman deacon would offer the world a different prism through which to meet and marvel at the truth of Jesus. The beauty of Catholicism deserves to reflect his bold collaboration with women.
I just met Discerning Deacons in Minneapolis last week at the AUSCP national annual assembly. I am struck by how ecclesial they are. They’re ardent, joyful searchers. They’ve done and keep doing their homework. They walk with the Church while challenging her to build new on old foundations. They’re professional and prayerful. I encourage anyone with questions or aspirations to find their website, engage their community and enter the discernment.
If I had 30 seconds with Pope Francis, I’d say of women in the diaconate, “I can already see their virtue and hear their voices in our churches and in our streets.Please, Holy Father, keep opening the door and release this song. The formation of future disciples needs this feminine energy. The time has come for women to channel Gospel wisdom in a more authoritative way, blessed and sanctioned by the Church. “Do not be afraid! Just have faith,” as Jesus said to the synagogue/Vatican official in today’s Gospel, (Mark 5;36). The female diaconate “is not dead, only asleep…. Talitha koum!” (Mark 5:39)
Fr. Michael Hickin is the pastor of three parishes in Cavalier County, North Dakota, in the Diocese of Fargo, and a member of the leadership team of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests.