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Q. If the church announced tomorrow that it would ordain women as deacons, my reaction would be ...

Standing applause. Then I'd take my place in the long line of women called to serve as deacons.
Darlene Lister
Lancaster, Calif.

I'd open a bottle of champagne singing Dea Gratias!
Claire Bangasser
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Hip, hip, hooray! I would definitely join a parish that had at least one female deacon.
Name withheld
Pittsford, N. Y.

Surprise. But if the church allows it, I'll go along with it.
Kip L. Carlson
Menasha, Wis.

It's about time! The men have made a mess of things. Let's give the women a chance to do things right.
Name withheld
McHenry, Ill.

To thank those making the decision, on one hand, and to work with those fellow Catholics who have a problem with the decision, on the other hand.
Jim Martin
Topeka, Kan.

Disbelief. The attitude of the hierachy is so closed to even discussing the possibility, I cannot imagine that happening. Our bishop is closed to the idea of a male permanent diaconate, much less female.
Name withheld
Fort Wayne, Ind.

Absolute delight, new hope, amazement, and gladness at the blow to my cynicism about the male hierarchy.
Joyce Raden, R.S.M.
Oak Park, Ill.

Alleluia! Although I suspect it will happen out of necessity, not because it's the right thing to do. That's OK; whatever works.
June Wilkerson, O.P.
Canyon Country, Calif.

Outrage. Allowing women to be involved in the liturgy only drives away men's vocations to the priesthood.
Brenda Neary
Columbus, Ohio

Somebody give me an "Amen!"
Patrick Kennedy
Sterling, Ill.

Q: I think the church's unwillingness to reinstate the practice of women deacons is primarily motivated by ...

Fear, especially fear of female sexuality.
Name withheld
St. Petersburg, Fla.

The church's "good ol' boy" network. It's the same problem we've seen in the business world, except businesses don't have a public policy supporting discrimination.
Name withheld
Eugene, Ore.

Fear that women will ask for priesthood next.
Norbert Gaier
Eau Claire, Wis.

The anti-feminist bias of the magisterium.
Steven Kymes
St. Louis, Mo.

Fear of "rocking the boat," of making changes that might drive away members of the church. I hope that's what the unwillingness is about; I would hate to believe it is due to blatant sexism.
Allison Koenig McLean
Chicago, Ill.

An ignoring of Jesus' respect for women.
Sister Eileen Sheehy
Hernando, Miss.

Fear. The church's not allowing any discussion on women's ordination shows a real control problem.
Corinne Kirsch, C.S.J.
Lilly, Penn.

Old-fashioned ideas of women's place in society.
Jean Sherman
Sweet Home, Ore.

Fear of change--among clergy and laity alike.
Rosemary Murphy
Madelia, Minn.

Stubbornness. This is the way it is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.
Marie Kraft
Bismarck, N.D.

Conservatives in power who haven't transitioned from the church triumphant to the church pastoral.
Richard Goodwin
Canon City, Colo.

Fears of men who believe that once the gates are opened, the estrogen will flow.
K. Kane
Westerly, R.I.

Q: How would ordaining women as deacons change the church?

It would go a long way toward changing the anti-woman image of the church.
Jennifer King
Austin, Texas

It would bring more compassion and tenderness to ministry.
Barbara Blackman
Rhinebeck, N.Y.

We would be enriched by the complementary gifts and perspectives of women and men.
Name withheld
Memphis, Tenn.

There would be a huge psychological impact. Just as a family needs a father and a mother, the church also needs the gifts of men and women to be healthy.
Paula Zimmermann
San Francisco, Calif.

It would lighten the load of pastors, but the pastor has to be willing to let go of some of his power.
Lorna Walk
McFarland, Wis.

It would make the church a much more effective witness for justice in the world.
Name withheld
Syracuse, N.Y.

It would give the impression that everything is negotiable. If people don't like a rule, oppose it loud enough and it will change.
Sharon Legge
Canton, Mass.

It might soften the damage being done by the current scandals in the priesthood.
Fran Reuland
Omaha, Neb.

There would be more women deacons than men!
Patricia L. Gregory
Reno, Nev.

It could also diminish the importance of the laity, which would be a bad thing.
Jo LePore
Overland Park, Kan.

They would take control of the whole thing. Women should stay home and take care of their kids.
Carmela Kulp
Phoenixville, Penn.

It would send a message that females are not second-class members of the church. Children who see women treated as equals are more likely to remain in the church as adults.
B. Anders
Danbury, Conn.

It would reflect the feminine as well as the masculine image of God.
Mary Alice Mooney, S.U.
Wilmington, N.C.

It would not have a major impact because deacons are not regularly given access to decision-making functions in the church.
Name withheld
Appleton, Wis.

For some parishes in our area, it would be nothing new. We now have pastoral administrators who function, in many ways, the same as ordained deacons.
Glenn Tebbe
Greensburg, Ind.

General Comments

If women can make it in the Senate, Congress, and governorships; lead universities and corporations; and serve as pastors, clerics, and bishops in other Christian communities, then let's shatter the glass ceiling in the Catholic Church.
R. Sammon
Flushing, N. Y.

While I firmly believe in the ideal of women deacons, I also think women can work more effectively for the people of God without the constraints and oppression that would be put on them with ordination at this time.
Name withheld
Philadelphia, Penn.

There is no way I would subject my wife to attendance at diaconate classes when she is just as capable, if not more so, of being a deacon as I am. So the church doesn't just lose one deacon, it loses two.
Derien R. Andes
Pleasantville, N.J.

I favor and support the ordination of women to the diaconate and the priesthood. However, I believe that we have to prepare people for these changes. Sometimes I think people see the ordination of women as the solution to all the current problems of the church.
Glenn Janus
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Most deacons are more like super-altar servers than like the deacons in the early church. It seems to me we would be better off calling for laymen and laywomen for particular roles of service.
Name withheld
Cochester, Vt.

Most women are not capable of handling a priest's role in the church. Their emotions are too changing. I should know; I've been one for a long time.
Name withheld
Baton Rouge, La.

The church has used textual and historical precedents to support their male-exclusivity stance. Why not use their own tools against them? Two can play at this game.
Pamela Winfield
Kyoto, Japan

It boggles the mind that a female chaplain in a hospital cannot give the last sacraments to the very persons she has prepared for death and that a woman theologian who teaches homiletics in a seminary cannot give a homily.
Sister Arturo Cranston, O.P.
Winter, Wis.

You assume facts that have not been substantiated. You need to prove that deaconesses referred to in the Bible fulfilled all the same functions as a deacon.
James Wood
Camp Hill, Penn.

It is not only women who want to become deacons (or priests) who suffer from the current restrictions but more importantly those who would like to be ministered to by a woman deacon or priest.
Nikki Sauser
Spokane, Wash.

Just because women do not have the correct body part, it should not bar them from service as a priest or deacon.
Name withheld
Dundee, Ill.

Let the slippery slide to ordination commence!
John Klieforth
Golden, Colo.

1. I believe women should be
ordained deacons.

Readers only:
agree 85%
disagree 12%
other 3%

E-mail respondents:
agree 94%
disagree 4%
other 2%

2. Ordaining women deacons
would inevitable lead the
church closer to ordaining
women as priest.

Readers only:
agree 58%
disagree 36%
other 6%

E-mail respondents
agree 62%
disagree 21%
other 17%

3. I think women will be
ordained as deacons:

Readers only:
39% In the next 10 years.
27% In the next 25 years.
 7% In the next 50 years.
11% Never.
16% Other.

E-mail respondents:
54% In the next 10 years.
28% In the next 15 years.
 7% In the next 50 years.
 4% Never.
 7% Other.

These results are based on survey
responses from 260 U.S. CATHOLIC
readers and 315 Web site visitors.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Claretian Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:women as deacons
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Previous Article:Let's bring back women deacons: the early church ordained women deacons, so what's stopping us now? Fear of the slippery slope toward women priests...
Next Article:Laity on the line: now more than ever, it's time for laypeople to claim the right to stake out who they are.

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