Rorate Caeli

German Archbishop calls for women deacons, Communion for divorced Catholics, and on and on

From The Local:


Women Catholic deacons 'no longer taboo'

Germany's top Roman Catholic has called for women to be allowed to become deacons, which would enable them to perform baptisms and marriages outside of mass - a novelty for Catholic women. 

Archbishop of Freiburg Robert Zollitsch, who chairs the German Bishops' Conference, called for the change at the end of a four-day meeting to discuss possible reforms. 

The conference, the first of its kind, invited 300 Roman Catholic experts to propose reforms. Zollitsch's comments echo year-long calls from the Central Committee of German Catholics to permit women to become deacons. On Sunday, Zollitsch said that aim was no longer a 'taboo.'

Zollitsch said the Catholic Church could only regain credibility and strength by committing to reform. He described an "atmosphere of openness and freedom" at the conference. ...

Another proposal to emerge from the conference was to extend the rights of remarried divorcees to sit on church bodies such as parish councils. Conference members also discussed the possibility of granting them the right to receive Holy Communion and attend confession. ...

The position of divorcees remains highly controversial within the Church.  The conference also touched on the difficulty, particularly in eastern Germany, of recruiting people to work for Catholic institutions such as hospitals and kindergarten. At present the Church can only employ Roman Catholics. However Zollitsch called for work permits to be extended to non-Catholics and to those with "different lifestyles." This would technically apply to homosexual people too. However Church labour reforms are unlikely to be introduced in the next three years. ...


    1. The majority is lost. The Church will never fail but the majority is lost.

    2. Anonymous3:20 AM

      It just gets worse and worse every day. Since Benedict's great abdicaton; a monumental, earth shattering event in itself, it seems the world is on an accelerated course to the great chastisement. Who would of thought even six months ago we would be where we are today?

      Fearful as I am and as I'm sure everyone else here is, we must thank God for allowing us to live in such times so that we may demonstrate how much we love him and his Church and in no other time I daresay, can a Catholic be able to show absolute faith in God, despite the innumerable powers of darkness.

      B. Dang

    3. The prospect of women as deacons does not sit well with me, but could someone please summarize the cases both for and against the proposition? I personally do not see a pressing need for such a change to be made, but how bad would it be? Do the negative implications and ramifications consist in more of a theological or practical character?

    4. It is just the ranting of modernists fearing they have chosen the wrong man to be Pope.

      They thought they have chosen one of their own but as it turns out Pope Francis (as can be read in his DAILY sermons) is a very Patristic and Evangelical Pope!

      We have a Pope who spoke about the Devil, Sin, Confession, non conformity to the world, etc. in one month more than JPII and BXVI combined!

      He is not AS YET a liturgical Traditionalists BUT as can be seen in the dignified Papal liturgies and open discouragement of communion in the hand we can hope he will at least not hinder the spread of liturgical Tradition in the Church.

      Remember he is the Vicar of Christ and we have to pray for him daily that God will enlighten his mind and heart, increase his zeal and grant him courage.

    5. Pope Francis' hand will be forced now. He must issue a doctrinal statement in response to this open rebellion. We shall soon see what kind of a Pope we have in the face of open dissent.

      In the early Church deaconesses weren't ordained and they didn't perform baptisms or weddings.

    6. Germany, since Vatican II, has always been bad. But coming out like this - why? They too, like that Argentinian woman and those South American apostate priests, are expecting Franciscus to give his nod in their direction, if not openly concur with them.

      Our present Roman Pontiff needs to prove them wrong. Now. Emphatically.

      Or, of course, take the Pauliana VI Via and just ignore it while it does not go anywhere but does not go away either. This seems to me to be the likely course of events.

      The Stoics used to say life operates in cycles. These liberal cardinals came into the world kicking and screaming nonsense - elderly they now leave it the same way. They were certain Bergoglio is their man - but to date he has not shown it to be so.


      - adulescens

    7. The world has now truly and unmistakably become a valley of tears for the faithful Catholic.

      It seems the Catholic hierarchy has become so blind they no longer recognize the wisdom of the ages and believe instead that only new experiments with man-made solutions will be worth trying in the face of the VCII springtime gloom.

      I never thought I'd live to see these days.

    8. Anonymous7:00 AM

      The balloon masses weren't working as well as we anticipated. But we've got this great new idea.... Lutheran baptism!

    9. Dung beatle has far greater purpose than bishop Zollitsch.

    10. Women cannot be ordained Deacons due to the unity of the Sacrament of Orders. I think we can trust that this will soon be clarified by the Papal magisterium.

      Of course, this does not prevent the Church from resurrecting the old (Eastern) order of deaconesses and grant them the same office as deacons, conducting funerals (which laypersons may already do) and church baptisms, acting as witnesses at marriages - and since women may now serve at the altar, even act as quasi-deacons with the only visible difference between the two being that the deaconess does not wear a crossed stole or proclaim the Gospel.

      Will this be compatible with the Faith? Well, it won't be a direct contradiction of an article of Faith. Will it hopelessly blur the distinction between the sacramental and non-sacramental offices and further weaken the masculine dynamic found in the Sacrament of Orders and the liturgy? You bet.


    11. Archbishop Muller has written a pretty definitive trashing of the idea of female deacons. I believe he will hold the line here, for he has proven to reasonable minds that women who were blessed as servants in the Church were not ordained to anything---deacon is part of the Sacrament of Orders, which only baptized males can receive validly.

    12. This bishop turns 75 in August.

    13. This man has already denied on German television that Christ died for our sins. When asked for a clarification by the interviewer, he repeated this statement to make his meaning unmistakable. To make a fuss about his demanding women deacons after this open apostasy seems an odd emphasis.

    14. If these bishops believe contrary to what the Church teaches [and apparently they do] they are not Catholic.

    15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    16. The diaconate is a holy order (CCC 1536, 1538, 1570-71).

      And once you admit women to one holy order, how can you deny them the rest?

      I fear that Archbishop Zollitsch knows this all too well, and intends this is another sly step toward women's (priestly) ordination. Certainly some of the advocates of women being ordained to the diaconate have not been shy about saying as much.

      Too many German clerics have an envy/inferiority complex toward their mainline Protestant counterparts, embodied in Germany by the Evangelical Church, all of whose 20 constituent member churches ordain women. Well: the Sunday attendance rate for those churches is under 4%. (Catholic attendance rate: 14%)

      I don't see much to envy there.

    17. Dan Hunter,

      Yes, in a nutshell. Nothing more need be said, except Pray !

    18. Has anyone been able to track down an original of this interview?

    19. Lynne said...
      This bishop turns 75 in August.

      Meaning presumably by this that he will resign but he is representive of a great amount of bishops coming from the Rhine Land. When he resigns because of his age, or Pope Francis might conceivably ask him to stay on. But is he resigns because of his age he will be replaced by another similiar thinking bishop. After all they all came to a collective decision about 'women deacons' so called. There is also so word that he will be elevated to a Cardinal and take over from Muller at the CDF!

      I am against the ordination of women as deacons. They have never existed in the Church and are not the same as women deaconesses who never had any sacramental function at all. The Sacrament of Orders is BUT ONE and the diaconate is one grade. If you allow them (women) to be ordained for the sacrament (I presume) premanent diaconate they will not be content with this, nor should they for if they can be ordained as deacons logically there is no reason why they then cannot be ordained as priests or even as bishops! Conflicting with Church practise not only in the West but also in the East as well. Present Canon Law is very clear, Only males can be ordained validly to the priesthood. Maybe Pope Francis will open up the debate about it and most of the episcopal conferences in Europe seem to be in favour and maybe that is how they (the women) will get in by 'the back door' and be 'ordained' (God Forbit) as Deacons. During the 70's the German Episcopal Conference studied the question under Yves Congar and others and expressed,so they said no basic objection to the idea which Muller and my huble self am most strongly against but it is the Holy Father who must decide and let's hope He decides correctly!

    20. More on the history of women in the diaconate (which yours truly does not confuse with the male equivalent) can be found here: Deaconess: A Rose By Any Other Name

    21. Anonymous3:09 PM

      "Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination."

      And only a baptized man has his feet washed on Holy Thursday. You point?

    22. A German cleric spouting anti-Catholic nonsense. Who would ever have imagined?

    23. Imagine that this man, this almost heretic who does not understand the Sacraments has been in Charge of care for souls!!

      He has been responsible for their catechisis

    24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    25. Jeff:

      Dream on. "His hand is forced?" The Popes' hands have been forced for over fifty years now. If it has taken you this long to figure out the degree of the Crisis, I do not know what else to tell you, sir.

      Jolly Roger:

      As other commentators have mentioned, the Order of Deacon is part of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, to which one is ordained. Only men may be ordained to anything, and if one may be ordained to one order, he may (in theory) be ordained to all of them.

    26. Isn't this the same Archbishop Zollitsch who denied that Christ died for our sins?

    27. Much like the EPCUSA splitting over gay sex when those advocating it had long ago rejected the Bible, this current scandal is an after-the-fact one. What is more scandalous is that Rome let's him continue in his office. Note how he has prfected the doubler talk of Loisy et al...rom LIfesite News...

      “Christ did not die for the sins of the people”:
      Head of German Catholic Bishops’ Conference on TV
      Tue Apr 21, 2009

      By Hilary White

      FREIBURG, Germany April 21, 2009 ( - According to the chairman of the Catholic bishops’ conference of Germany, the death of Jesus Christ was not a redemptive act of God to liberate human beings from the bondage of sin and open the gates of heaven. The Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, known for his liberal views, publicly denied the fundamental Christian dogma of the sacrificial nature of Christ’s death in a recent interview with a German television station.

      Zollitsch said that Christ "did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat."

      Instead, Jesus had offered only "solidarity" with the poor and suffering. Zollitsch said "that is this great perspective, this tremendous solidarity."

      The interviewer asked, "You would now no longer describe it in such a way that God gave his own son, because we humans were so sinful? You would no longer describe it like this?"

      Monsignor Zollitsch responded, "No."

      Archbishop Robert Zollitsch was appointed to the See of Freiburg im Breisgau in 2003 under Pope John Paul II. He is he sitting Chairman of the German Episcopal Conference, to which he was elected in 2008 and is regarded as a "liberal" in the German episcopate.

      In February 2008 he said that priestly celibacy should be voluntary and that it is not "theologically necessary." Zollitsch has also said he accepts homosexual civil unions by states, but is against same-sex "marriage."

      He told Meinhard Schmidt-Degenhard, the program’s host, that God gave "his own son in solidarity with us unto this last death agony to show: ‘So much are you worth to me, I go with you, and I am totally with you in every situation’."

      "He has become involved with me out of solidarity - from free will."

      Christ, he said, had "taken up what I have been blamed for, including the evil that I have caused, and also to take it back into the world of God and hence to show me the way out of sin, guilt and from death to life."

      However, Article 613 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the definitive work issued by the Church explaining the dogmas and doctrines of the Catholic religion, describes the death of Christ as "both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’, the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the ‘blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’."

      The Catechism continues, "This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices. First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience."

    28. Veritas, Holy Orders is a Sacrament; the mandatum of Maundy Thursday is not.

      The prohibition of women from the Sacrament of Order in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in 1994 necessarily precludes women from the Diaconate, since the Diaconate is the lowest of the three levels of Holy Orders (the priesthood and the episcopacy being the other two).

      Why is this wayward prelate bringing up a moot point? Oh, wait, I forgot. Heretics don't care about dogma. Its only a convenient fiction proposed by the Church to control people. It might have been dogmatic before, but not now. Well, color Archbishop Zollitsch either a Liberal heretic or a Modernist heretic, but probably a heretic on both counts.

      Wanting women in Orders is a doctrinal issue, not a disciplinary issue. Nature and function, indelible marks, all those doctrinal things the heretic despises.

    29. The Rhine, indeed, flows into the Tiber...

    30. Dolt, Robert Zollitsch is thy name.

      Name calling? If the shoe fits... .

    31. It is about time for the Archbishop to be suddenly transferred to Adak, Alaska.

    32. the canons defining the nature and role of deaconesses have never been abolished

      Well that's not true at all. All prior universal canon law was abrogated in 1917 and again in 1983. So yes, those canons have been abolished.

      "Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination."
      And only a baptized man has his feet washed on Holy Thursday. You point?

      The point being that you when you pour water on a woman's feet, they actually get washed. When you rub chrism on a woman's head and lay hands on her, the only thing that happens is she smells like olive oil. It is not that ordaining women is prohibited, it is that ordaining women is impossible.

    33. How much money does this arch bishop get from his pornography sales annually?
      Says it all about the garbage he spouts!

    34. As Lynne pointed out, Zollitsch is nearing retirement; so too is Cardinal Lehmann. This outburst is more in the mode of a parting shot than an expression of strength.

      The generation of liberal German bishops is slowly passing (yes, too slowly, but still they are passing). Pope Benedict's appointments in Germany were sound, moving the episcopate in the right direction. With Cardinal Ouellet at the Congregation of Bishops, I expect it to continue. Liturgical renewal may have to happen at the level of the fssp & the younger generation of priests, but the liberalism of the past generation is in decided decline.

      If we are lucky, Bp. Ganswein will soon be appointed to a major see, and he may become the face of the Church in Germany.

    35. Interesting...and today the church excommunicated the Brazillian priest calling for much the same thing. Think it's a shot across the bow?

    36. We are living in the time of the great apostosy, there is no doubt about that.
      Weren't John Paul II and Benedict XVI supposed to have only ordained conservative bishops?

    37. Interesting that the Archbishop Zollitsch wants to grant remarried divorcees the right to attend confession. I think that all of us sinners already have the right to go to confession, particularly those who are living in a state of objective mortal sin who have the need all that much more.

    38. Rescue said...
      "We are living in the time of the great apostosy, there is no doubt about that.
      Weren't John Paul II and Benedict XVI supposed to have only ordained conservative bishops?"

      Even 'conservative'bishops can change and become 'liberal'!

    39. Anonymous4:22 AM

      The headhunters in Papua-New Guinea are in desperate need of the archbishop's wise counsel. Time to put his ample talents to good use where it is truly needed!

      BTW, deaconesses will just be the camel's nose in the tent toward ordination of priestesses, at which point the whole Church will eventually be taken over by the lesbians. It will never happen, and certainly not under Pope Francis.

      Archbishop, the car is here to take you to the airport, bon voyage!

    40. I pray for that Archbishop and for all faithful Priests in his diocese who are suffering because of this.

    41. The modernists are slowly beginning to understand that the conclave just elected... aaargh,... a...aargh... MARIAN POPE.
      Not only a marian pope, but a fatimist pope who has required twice the portuguese bishops to consecrate his pontificate to our Lady of Fatima.
      The ceremony is scheduled on next may 13th.
      Damn and blast !!!


    42. Gabriel said "If we are lucky, Bp. Ganswein will soon be appointed to a major see, and he may become the face of the Church in Germany."

      Your'w wrong! Do you not remember the German traditionalist Bishop Rudolf Graber ! He was one Bishop and one or two 'conservative' german bishops are not going to make any diferente at all for the others only 'isolate' them and make their lives difficult.

    43. If, God forbid, the Pope allows women deacons, I can't wait to see the 180 about face from Neo-Cath apologists. They will go from being vehemently against women deacons, to being 100% for them because the Pope allowed it. They are being played for fools by accepting the premise that novelty can be part of the ordinary magisterium. And they will be the last ones to figure it out...

    44. Please see : for an opinion against women deacons by a Swiss RC theologian.

      Unrelated to the above mentioned article, well worth reading I would like to mention that in 1972-1975 a Synod of German Bishops investigated the question of the 'ordination' of women as deacons. Various theologians were consulted including Yves Congar (who was incidently was appointed a Cardinal but died before receiving the red biretta!), Peter Huunerman (who is the Editor of the newest editon of Denz), and Herbert Vorgrimler (a contemporary of Pope Benedict XVI) and they decided positively about the possibility of 'ordaining' women to the diaconate. (Gemeinsame Synode, Dienste 7. 1.3).

      My guess is that Pope Francis will ask the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation for Legisative Texts to examine the question to see whether it conflicts with Canon Law. If the Commission says that it does not. Pope Francis will open the whole matter up to discussion and then decide. Maybe it will enter by the 'back door' in consultation with the various Episcopal Conferences and Priest Associations etc Food for thought!

    45. Just a further thought about what Gabriel said:
      "If we are lucky, Bp. Ganswein will soon be appointed to a major see, and he may become the face of the Church in Germany."

      This is a most naive comment, if I may say so of 'gabriel' to make. Archbishop Ganswein is certainly 'conservative' in many ways. He is a Titular Archbishop and not a Metropolian with little or no pastoral experience. Like throwing him into the 'lions den' making him a diocesan Bishop in Germany! The Germans are accustomed to the practises and excesses of Vatican II and are not going to accept an attempted implemation of a so called 'more conservative line'. If the Pope Emeritus Bendict XVI wanted a more or less 'conservative' Bishop in Germany (conservative, admittedly in some things, in others no) He (Benedict XVI) would have left Bishop Muller were he was instead of bringing him to Rome as Prefect of the CDF. Many other candidates for to be Prefect of the CDF. So especially nowadays with Pope Francis and a promised decentralisation of the Curia a candidate is not going to be imposed upon the German RC Church. Rather the Diocese will submit 3 names and the Pope will decide who is appointed.


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