Pope Francis and Women Deacons

Pope Francis and the Women Deacons.

After all the times I have defended Francis, and praised his efforts at doing something to reform the Church, I now find myself unable to say a word in his defense over his remarks on the report of the commission he set up three years ago to study if women were deacons in the early Church.
First of all, he has this report for some months; he should not have used a casual, informal chat with reporters on a plane as the occasion to give his response to it. And what he said was extraordinary. He said that the commission was divided, and could not reach a unanimous conclusion. The issue at stake, apparently, was not that women were deacons in the early Church. That seems to have been accepted. But were the women deacons similar to the male deacons, or were they a different and lesser category of deacon. He even went on to say that the twelve members of the commission had twelve different opinions on the subject. (Whoever was chairing that commission should never be let near a chairperson’s role again; they must have been totally incompetent!)
Francis went on to say that all twelve members are now studying the matter as individuals, — whatever exactly that is supposed to achieve.

This whole business has the familiar ring of a can being kicked firmly down the road, and even around the next corner. It seems clear that Francis is going to sidestep this one, and leave it to some future pope on some future date.

The issue of the equality of women in the Catholic Church is much too central and too urgent to be postponed into an indefinite future. I am absolutely convinced that the credibility of the Church depends on this issue being tackled with urgency and courage. Failing to do that now will further alienate most women under fifty, and indeed many of my vintage also.
Introducing women deacons is such a minimalist step that if he cannot move on that there is no prospect of any real movement towards equality.

Now is the time for all of us who believe in equality to make our voices heard, clearly and without equivocation. There must be no fudge about where we stand — bishops, priests, people in the pews. Now is not the time to be looking over our shoulders, thinking of our chances of promotion, or of offending those in authority.
This is much too important.