This popped up on the Vatican bulletin Wednesday. Unlike the previous commission, this one actually includes two deacons — both Americans. Of the 10 members, 5 are women.

The announcement: 

During a recent audience granted to His Eminence Card. Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy Father decided to establish a new study commission on the female diaconate, calling to join the following:


Card. Giuseppe Petrocchi, Archbishop of L’Aquila.

Secretary: Denis Dupont-Fauville, Official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Prof. Catherine Brown Tkacz, Lviv (Ukraine).

Prof. (Deacon) Dominic Cerrato, Steubenville (USA).

Prof. Don Santiago del Cura Elena, Burgos (Spain).

Prof. Caroline Farey, Shrewsbury (Great Britain).

Prof. Barbara Hallensleben, Freiburg (Switzerland).

Prof. Don Manfred Hauke, Lugano (Switzerland).

Prof. (Deacon) James Keating, Omaha (USA).

Prof. Mons. Angelo Lameri, Crema (Italy).

Prof.ssa Rosalba Manes, Viterbo (Italy).

Prof. Anne-Marie Pelletier, Paris (France).

You’ll recall that the previous commission concluded its work in 2019 without reaching agreement on the question of ordaining women as deacons: 

In a press conference on the flight from Skopje to Rome, Pope Francis revealed that the commission he set up two years ago to examine the role of women in the early church did not reach agreement on the question of women deacons. He said the members of the commission had quite different positions, and after two years it stopped work. He made clear that the issue needed further study but did not say who would do this work.

Regarding the question of women deacons, it was noted by the questioner that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has women deacons to proclaim the Gospel. He was reminded that he will soon meet the International Union of Superiors Generals (who raised the question three years ago), and the pope was asked what he has learned from the report of the commission on the ministry of women in the early church and if he had made a decision on the female diaconate.

Pope Francis said that commission members “all had different positions, sometimes sharply different, they worked together and they agreed up to a point. Each one had his/her own vision, which was not in accord with that of the others, and the commission stopped there.” He described the contrasting conclusions drawn by members of the commission as “toads from different wells.”

Then, he said, “on the question of the female diaconate: there is a way of conceiving it that is not with the same vision as that of the male diaconate. For example, the formulae of diaconate ordination [of women] found up to now are not the same as for the ordination of the male diaconate. Rather, they are more like what today would be the blessing of an abbess.”

…Francis said, “I received all these things from the commission. It did a good job and this can serve to go forward and to give a definitive response, yes or no” on whether their ordination is the same as that for men deacons.