Be that as it may, I encourage you to read all the comments. Greg has felt compelled to close off comments and I respect his decision. On the other hand, while I hope that such behavior will not migrate to this blog, I still wish to respond to a couple of points raised on his blog. You will see that I had addressed several issues already. If Greg hadn't closed his comments when he did, I would have posted the following. Again, I think that others might be interested in the questions raised, and answers to those questions. So, "Diakonos09". of you happen to find yourself over here on my blog, here's what I wanted to post:
Dear Diakonos09 (#104),
Several points. Your tone suggests that you don't accept Deacon Greg's point that he was quoting me (from my blog) rather than the pope, and that therefore you don't believe that there is papal support for this being an "open theological question." After teaching all day yesterday and preaching four Masses this weekend, the tempting answer out of fatigue is to suggest you read the book, where I review more than a dozen documents and historical events which address your question specifically. But, reason prevailed, and here's a short summary.
Let me highlight both documents and actions.
In terms of documents, both Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II have been influential. In 1976, Paul directed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to publish "Inter Insigniores", which has an official English title of "Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood." Subsequent teaching, both in papal encyclicals and reflected in secondary teaching documents such as the Catechism, clarifies repeatedly that deacons are NOT part of the ministerial priesthood. In fact, "Inter Insigniores" itself says, "the Catholic Church has never felt that priestly or episcopal ordination can be validly conferred on women." Taking that quotation at its word, notice that it does NOT reference deacons.
In 1994, Pope John Paul II promulgates "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" which again refers only to ordination to the sacerdotal (priestly) orders of presbyter and bishop -- NOT deacons. Several other documents from this period and up until as late as 2009 further clarify the church's understanding that deacons are NOT included in the "ministerial priesthood" and are NOT included in the teaching of these documents.
Those are just two major documents. But let's consider official ACTIONS, and I will list the major one. Notice the dates of the two documents I listed above. Now, consider that then-Cardinal Ratzinger -- with the approval of the Pope -- assigned the question of ordaining women as deacons (not deaconesses -- they are a separate group) to the International Theological Commission for review as part of their five year term from 1992-1997. Notice that no published report on the question was ever put out by the Commission or the Congregation, although the Pope had during that time promulgated "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis." Since the Commission had not been able to come up with an answer on women deacons, Cardinal Ratzinger assigned it to them AGAIN for their 1997-2002 term. This time, they issued a report, in which they concluded that the question of ordaining women, was something that the Church's "ministry of discernment" might choose to address at some future point; in other words, it remains an open question. Neither Cardinal Ratzinger or Cardinal Levada (who succeeded him at the CDF) has ever acted on that suggestion, although Ratzinger did authorize the public release of that report, and it's available for your study. The fact is, if this question of women deacons were NOT an open question, why would successive popes and prefects of the CDF keep treating it like one, even after they have taken pains to address the question of women priests???!!!!
Finally, a word about being ordained as an icon of Christ. I would never agree with the conclusion that a deacon is not ordained as an icon of Christ the Servant. I wouldn't want to, and as you point out, it's a clear teaching of the Church. But ordination as an icon of Christ need not always be reflected simply in the gender of the ordinand. Can women not be icons of Christ? Mother Theresa comes to mind -- certainly when the poorest of poor encountered her, they encountered the love of Christ, right? And, frankly, to go back to my first points: if this were an issue for the popes and CDF, why didn't they simply say, "Look, we've already addressed this issue in "Inter Insigniores" and in "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" and it applies to deacons as well as priests." But they didn't do that, even when asked directly about it. Instead, they have consistently put the matter out for further study. That's what we're doing.
Really: I know people will have questions about why we wrote the book, what's in it, and how we come to whatever conclusions we reach in the book. The best way to find answers to those questions, obviously, is to read the book, where we can explain ourselves much better than we can on blogs and Facebook entries. Still, it's a start!