By Rosa Die Alcolea

Pope Francis created a new Commission for the Study of the Female Diaconate, made up of five women and seven men, almost a year after announcing that research on this subject, entrusted three years ago to a group of experts, came to a halt due to a difference of vision and thought among them.

The new Commission was instituted during an audience granted to Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reported the Holy See Press Office on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi, Archbishop of L’Aquila, Italy, will head the group. The Reverend Denis Dupont-Fauville, an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has been appointed Secretary. Experts from Ukraine, Great Britain, Switzerland, Italy, and France complete the list of members, together with other scholars from Spain, the United States, and Europe.

“The question must be studied, as I cannot issue a Sacramental Decree without theological historical foundation,” said the Pope to the Superiors General of 80 countries, during their 21st Plenary Assembly in Rome on May 13, 2019.

Previous Studies

In connection with the female diaconate, the Pontiff said that there “is a way of conceiving without the same vision as the male diaconate.” He made this statement during the return flight from Bulgaria and North Macedonia, in May of last year, when a journalist asked him about the female diaconate.

“It’s curious that where there were deaconesses they were almost always in a geographic area, especially in Syria, but they didn’t exist elsewhere or were few, explained the Pope, confirming that he received all the data of the Study Commission.

In regard to research work already concluded, the Holy Father said: “Each one continues studying and good work has been done because a certain common point has been reached that might serve as the basis to go forward, to study and to give a definitive answer: either yes or no, according to the characteristics of the time.”

The Members of the New Commission Are:

President:

H.E. Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi, Archbishop of L’Aquila (Italy).

–Secretary:

The Reverend Denis Dupont-Fauville, Official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Members:

Professor Catherine Brown Tkacz, Lviv (Ukraine).

Professor Dominic Cerrato, Steubenville (U.S.A.).

Professor Father Santiago del Cura Elena, Burgos (Spain).

Professor Caroline Farey, Shrewsbury (Great Britain).

Professor Barbara Hallensleben, Fribourg (Switzerland).

Professor James Keating, Omaha (U.S.A.).

Professor Monsignor Angelo Lameri, Crema (Italy).

Professor Rosalba Manes, Viterbo (Italy).

Professor Anne-Marie Pelletier, Paris (France).

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