The Holy See’s April 8, press room bulletin, reported that Pope Francis decided, during a recent audience granted to Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith (CDF), permission to establish a new commission on female deacons.
Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi, Archbishop of L’Aquila, was appointed president of the new commission and Father Denis Dupont-Fauville, of the CDF was made secretary.
The other ten officially appointed people are: Catherine Brown Tkacz ; Dominic Cerrato, diacre, American; Fr. Santiago del Cura Elena, Spanish; Dr. Caroline Farey, British; Barbara Hallensleben, Germna; Father Manfred Hauke, German; James Keating, deacon, American; Fr. Angelo Lameri, Italian; Dr. Rosalba Manes, Italian consecrated virgin and biblical scholar; and Dr. Anne-Marie Pelletier, a biblical scholar from Paris. Or according to the principle of parity, five men and five women…None of these members were part of the previous commission charged with studying the possibility of the ordinations of women to the deaconate.
According to LifesiteNews, Professor Peter Hünermann a German theologian, said that the report of the First Vatican Commission on female deacons concluded that “there is no historical evidence that women were ordained deacons in the patristic era.”
We should remember that, according to unanimous tradition, no woman has ever been admitted to the priesthood or to the deaconate. And the Church has always declared that according to divine revelation, only man, in the masculine sense, can receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.
This doctrine was definitively affirmed by Pope John Paul II, in the apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis on May 22, 1994: “This is why, so that there can be no doubt on a question of great importance which concerns the Church’s divine constitution itself, I declare, by virtue of my mission to confirm my brothers (cf. Lk. 22:32), that the Church has in no way the power to confer priestly ordination on women and that this position must be definitively held by all the faithful of the Church.”
This doctrine was declared as belonging to the Deposit of Faith by a response from the CDF, dated October 28, 1995, signed by Cardinal Ratzinger which reads as follows:
“Question: Should the doctrine that the Church has no power to confer priestly ordination on women, a doctrine proposed by the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, belong to the Deposit of Faith permanently?
This doctrine requires final assent because it is based on the written Word of God, has been constantly preserved and practiced from the beginning by the Tradition of the Church, and has been offered infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. This is why, in the current circumstances, the Sovereign Pontiff, exercising his ministry to confirm his brothers (cf. Lk. 22, 32), expressed this same doctrine in a formal declaration, explicitly affirming what must always be held, everywhere and by all the faithful, insofar as it belongs to the Deposit of Faith.”
Finally, Cardinal Ladaria returned to the question in a text on May 29, 2018 where he recalled the definitive nature of this teaching. He affirms in particular that “the impossibility of ordaining women belongs to the “substance of the sacrament” of Holy Orders,” that is, to this element of the sacrament over which the Church has no power to change.”
Indeed, the sacrament of Holy Orders, although unique, comprises several degrees. The Council of Trent affirmed that it certainly understood the diaconate, the priesthood, and the episcopate. Everything that belongs to the substance of the sacrament is therefore found in all the degrees. In this case, being a man to receive it.
This is why it is frighteningly terrifying that a new commission should be created to examine an already definitive problem. Either it is a rattle to amuse those who seek to achieve the impossible. Either the commission will result in a vague blessing for “deaconesses” who would not have the powers of Holy Orders, but who would be a dangerous precedent. Either Pope Francis will let the commission vegetate while awaiting his successor.
In any case it is an ineptitude and a real scandal for the faithful who are ignorant of the matter and who can believe that we can change to this point, which shakes the very nation of the infallibility of the Church, as Cardinal Ladaria remarked in the text mentioned above.
Usquequo Domine, How long O Lord!...