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The Ordained Women Deacons
Canterbury Press / 2011 / Paperback
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This new edition of The Ordained Women Deacons of the Church's First Millennium is a groundbreaking book presenting fresh historical evidence of the sacramental ordination of women as deacons during the first nine centuries of the Christian church. Recent discoveries reveal the high status in which women deacons were held and a wealth of detail about their lives, and underline the importance of this latent and dynamic tradition for today's debates over the ordination of women as priests and bishops.
A recent theological statement from the Roman Catholic Church has increased hopes that while women may not be ordained as priests, their ordination as deacons may soon become reality.
This is a new, enlarged edition of a groundbreaking book that gathered historical evidence from ancient liturgies, literature, art and inscriptions on graves to show that the practice of ordaining women as deacons in the first ten centuries of the Church was normative. Women carried out sacramental rites alongside priests and had responsibilities for the care of the Christian community. Recent research has identified over 120 known female deacons - a figure that has tripled since this book's first appearance, under the title No Women in Holy Orders? in 2002.
This offers a positive, theological and historical contribution to a debate that is fast gaining momentum in the Catholic Church worldwide.
John Wijngaards is one of the most influential figures in the Roman Catholic church. He founded Housetop, which promotes the spirituality of John Main and has written many books on prayer and Bible study. Formerly Vicar General of the Mill Hill Fathers, he leads the movement for the ordination of women in the Catholic Church and runs the website: www.womenpriests.org
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