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on reinstating the Diaconate for Women

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Text of our Letter to Pope Benedict XVI

[signing for the petition has been closed]

Pope Benedict XVI
Vatican City

Dear Father in Christ,

Through this extended letter by the people of God, we request you to re-instate the sacramental diaconate for women in the Roman Catholic Church.

Historical precedent
For the first nine hundred years, sacramentally ordained women deacons served our Catholic communities in many parts of the Church. Bishops laid hands on those women, invoking God to pour his Holy Spirit over them to sanctify them for the ministry of the diaconate. We believe that the time has come for the Church to re-introduce this ancient practice.

Support for women in ministries
In dioceses, parishes and chaplaincies women are already fulfilling diaconal tasks which, according to the mind of Christ, should be sanctioned and supported by the grace of sacramental ordination. We refer to ministries such as instructing catechumens, taking communion to the sick, caring for the elderly and dying, providing spiritual direction and presiding at Eucharistic services where no priest is available. The women now fulfilling these ministries lack the special divine assistance and encouragement offered by the traditional rite of ordination.

The needs of God’s People
Moreover, if the Church re-institutes the sacrament of the diaconate for women, many more women can be drawn in to serve God’s people who are now deprived of the full benefits of women’s ministries. This need is becoming more acute by the day through the diminishing numbers of priests in pastoral care in major parts of the Church.
Dear Father, submitting our collection of stories, testimonies and pleas, we urge you to listen to God’s people and initiate the changes that will return to the community of the faithful the precious gift of ordained women deacons.

who signed this letter:

BASIC - Ireland

CNWE - Canada

CWO - Great Britain

FHE - France

HOUSETOP/www.womenpriests.org - International

IKETH - International

Miriam Verein - Austria

New Wine - Great Britain

OCW - Australia

Phoebe - Japan

RCWP - Europe, Europe-West, North America

Wir Sind Kirche - Deutschland