(Osnabrück) Curial Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation of Faith, issued a clear rejection for a demand by progressive Catholic circles for a women's diaconate. "The sacrament of Holy Orders in the stages bishop, priest, deacon can only be validly received by a man according to Catholic doctrine," Müller told the Catholic news agency KNA in an interview for the German church newspapers.
Recently, demands had been raised, which was not always clear whether deacons and thus women, were called to the ordained ministry, or deaconesses, and there was a special office as such in the early church, but that was not associated with a consecration. Archbishop Müller sees no basis for an office of sacramental ordination after the model of the early church deaconess.
Deaconesses, says Müller, were apparent in the old church at times and in different regions. But these did "not receive the sacrament in the strict sense." They were introduced out of reasons of necessity and played an important role, "because priests were not allowed to attend women at home or in hospital wards." However, these tasks are no longer necessary, because the reasons for it were withdrawn.
In February, Cardinal Walter Kasper had proposed the consideration of a "community-deacon." The remarks sparked criticism because the word deacon, or deaconess place a subliminally intended ordained ministry. "It may prove to be that there is a specific office in the Church today, but not a sacramental office of Women for Women's needs," said the now Prefect of the Congregation.
Archbishop Müller also reiterated the statement of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich, and also spoke out against the Catholic Church's retreat from the hospital system: "The retreat mentality is contrary to the nature of the Church as a missionary [militant?] Church." Caritas, says Müller, as Prefect, is a constitutive characteristic feature of the Church.
Growing up in a secular environment, people can not simply be blamed if they might not be at Mass every Sunday, said Müller. "We want to convince rather by example," said the Prefect of the Congregation.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Chiesa e Postconcilio\
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