HANDMAIDS OF THE LORD:
The Role of Women in the Roman Catholic Church
The debate over the role of women continues unabated and is causing considerable damage to the Church. Jane Coll’s useful contribution is important for many reasons –
● It is entirely loyal to Church teachings
● It takes an academic approach, avoiding personal, emotional bias
● It has a unique structure, gathering together material from many sources under the semi-independent headings of Scripture, tradition and the magisterium. It then examines the conclusions from these sections using Cardinal Newman’s “notes” and Cardinal Ratzinger’s advice to theologians
● It presents a doctrinally sound argument for retaining the all-male priesthood but reintroducing deaconesses
These points mean that the book would has a range of uses
● as a university/seminary text book on the sacrament of ordination and the relationship between bishops, priests and deacons – it is unusual in that it discusses the significance of the Vatican II phrase that bishops have the “fullness of the sacrament of order” (Lumen Gentium §21)
● training deacons
● it would go some way to reduce the debate on women priests, thus redirecting peoples energies into more useful areas;
● it could be used in parish and ecumenical settings to explain the Church’s position on women, including the possible reintroduction of deaconesses.
978 085244 772 7 452 pages £20.00
Following Pope Francis’ proposal to examine the possibility of women joining the diaconate, here is a key text in which
Jane Coll takes a new look and seeks an answer to this hotly-debated topic.