Limerick priest calls for female deacons to be ordained

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan


Limerick priest calls for female deacons to be ordained

Fr Roy O'Donovan says introducing male only deacons is “extending patriarchy in the archdiocese”

A COUNTY Limerick parish priest says that introducing male only deacons  is “extending patriarchy in the archdiocese”.

In a statement to the Limerick Leader, Fr Roy Donovan, of Caherconlish/Caherline, said that Archbishop of Cashel & Emly Kieran O’Reilly has asked a group of people – both lay and clerical - to be part of a group to examine all aspects of the permanent diaconate for the archdiocese.

Permanent deacons are ordained and can assist priests at the celebration of the Eucharist, celebrate baptisms and weddings, preside at funerals, proclaim the Gospel and many other duties carried out by priests.

“Permanent diaconate excludes women. Introducing the permanent diaconate, without women, is extending patriarchy in the archdiocese. What are the implications of this when already there are so many women involved on the ground, in all kinds of ministries, without been given much status and power?

“Have they not also earned their place at the top table?  It has been suggested by some that one of the reasons why men get involved in the diaconate, is that it gives a certain amount of power and status.  

“Pope Francis set up a commission in July 2016 to study the diaconate and the role of deaconesses in the early church. Is this group set up by the archbishop going to pre-empt the commission and introduce deaconesses?!” said Fr Donovan, who is on the  Association of Catholic Priests leadership team.

He said allowing a male only diaconate further questions the nature of relationships priests have with their mothers, sisters and nieces.

“It also questions the nature of relationships priests have with women. There are women in the archdiocese who believe they are called by God to be priests. We have a long way to go to implement the originality of the Gospel of Jesus –a ministry of equals among equals. After all, Mary Magdalene, known as the apostle to the apostles, was the first minister of the good news – proclaiming that Jesus is alive!”