Bishop Randolph Calvo of Reno, Nevada, and Dominican Sisters Mary Peter Traviss and Gloria Marie Jones, made their presentations to a group of 80 religious and laywomen — and a few men — for a lively panel, followed by thoughtful questions.
Calvo’s talk centered on “Women Deacons: What the Past Can Mean for Today.” His experience on the topic spans more than 20 years, he told the gathering.
While serving as president of the Canon Law Society of America in November 1995, he sent a copy of an ad hoc committee’s report on “canonical implications of ordaining women to the permanent diaconate” to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
…Beyond looking at history, Calvo encouraged looking at the possibilities.
“What we’re doing here today,” he said, in raising the question of women deacons, is asking, “Where is the Holy Spirit calling us on this particular question at this particular time?”
Sr. Gloria Marie, who until last fall served as prioress of the order, was in the Pope Paul VI audience hall among the 900 religious superiors when Francis said he would appoint the commission.
The question of women deacons is, said Gloria Marie, “more significant than giving women more power or status, as some people may think.”
“At the heart of this question is not just past history,” she said. “It is about our responsibility as church to be faithful to Jesus’ own mission that he passed on to all of us, baptized Christians, baptized in Christ, to live in His spirit, to be bearers of His grace, to be about the mission of His life here and now.”
She also brings to the question her experience as the daughter of a permanent deacon and “personally witnessing my mother’s faithful, wholehearted participation” in her father’s preparation for ordination.
“It was clearly a required and shared commitment,” she said.
The commitment didn’t end at ordination.
“It was truly a shared ministry; one was ordained and the other was not,” she said.
The question of women deacons, Calvo said, “is still open.”
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