Church and married deacons
Madam, - Media reports, quoting Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, indicate the probable introduction of married deacons to the Irish Catholic Church. The suggestion is that this will help combat the shortage of priests.
Mention of permission from Rome means, of course, that what is intended is the ordination of married men as deacons.
Do we really need another male layer to our existing male hierarchy? What message is this sending to women? There are qualified laity, men and women, who could be empowered (not ordained) to carry out the limited pastoral functions of deacons. This is already happening! Meanwhile, theology and pastoral studies graduates are eager to become involved in pastoral activity.
Their remuneration may prove problematic, but not insurmountable.
The fact that a majority of such graduates are female may be a reason that their talents are not appreciated nor utilised.
To paraphrase a line from a popular musical: Where married deacons are concerned "I think we'd better think it out again". - Yours, etc,
Rev EAMONN J CLARKE, The Presbytery, Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.