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Online Edition - Vol. VII, No. 7: October 2001

Holy See issues Notification on women as ordained deacons

The Holy See issued a Notification on September 17 reaffirming that ordination of women is not possible, directing that programs aimed at preparing women for ordination to the diaconate be discontinued, and that bishops apply appropriate measures.

The Notification follows recent agitation from feminist individuals and organizations for the ordination of women deacons including a "Worldwide Ordination of Women" conference held in Dublin in July, attended by about 300.

The Notification was approved by Pope John Paul II on September 14 and issued by the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments and for Clergy, and signed by the respective prefects, Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger, Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez and Dario Castrillon Hoyos.

The text, as it appeared on Vatican Information Service, follows:

Notification

1. Our offices have received from several countries signs of courses that are being planned or underway, directly or indirectly aimed at the diaconal ordination of women. Thus are born hopes which are lacking a solid doctrinal foundation and which can generate pastoral disorientation.

2. Since [the Church] does not foresee such ordination, it is not licit to enact initiatives which, in some way, aim to prepare women candidates for diaconal ordination.

3. The authentic promotion of women in the Church, in conformity with the constant ecclesial Magisterium, with special reference to [the teaching] of His Holiness John Paul II, opens other ample prospectives of service and collaboration.

4. The undersigned Congregations within the sphere of their proper authority thus turn to the individual ordinaries, asking them to explain [this] to their own faithful and to apply diligently the above-mentioned directives.

***

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