Here is my prediction as to the path that the Church takes to the ordination of women deacons.
1. The Working Document for the Amazonian Synod already proposes an “official ministry” for women.
2. I’m predicting that the final document of the Amazonian Synod will approve of non-ordained women deacons. There’s no other possibility for a substantial and new “official ministry” for women. They already have at least the possibility for a wide range of roles, including running parishes that have no priests, as parish administrator, and being the Chancellor of a diocese. So I believe that the Synod will give women the role of non-ordained women deacons (deaconesses), which is a role that everyone admits was formerly widely accepted and used in the Church. (I believe that women deacons in the past were never ordained.)
3. This decision will be approved by Pope Francis. Subsequently, Bishops in various places around the world will begin to train and appoint non-ordained women deacons.
4. The papal accusers will add this decision, which will be approved by Pope Francis at every step, to their list of “heresies” (i.e. false accusations). They will correctly point out that this is just a step toward ordained women deacons.
5. In reaction to the controversy over the approval of non-ordained women deacons, Pope Francis will issue a document newly teaching that women can be ORDAINED deacons. He might use Papal Infallibility from the start; if not, he will confirm the teaching later using Papal Infallibility.
6. The papal accusers will not only accuse Pope Francis of heresy, as they have already done several times over. They will now claim that Pope Francis is no longer a valid Pope, or that he never was a valid Pope. They will call on conservatives to depart from their parishes and dioceses, if those parishes and diocese accept women deacons.
7. If Pope Francis does not use Papal Infallibility in the initial document that teaches women can be ordained deacons, then he will later issue a teaching under Papal Infallibility confirming that true teaching of the Roman Catholic Magisterium.
8. The conservative schism will progressively worsen. More and more conservatives will leave their dioceses and parishes, as more and more women are ordained as deacons.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.
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