The following comes from a Jan. 22 story by Crux.
A new study released on Tuesday found that a high majority of U.S. Catholic bishops and deacon directors believe that if the Holy See gives the green light to ordination of women deacons, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) would implement the practice.
The findings revealed that among respondents, only 41 percent of bishops and 50 percent of deacon directors believe women’s ordination to the diaconate to be theoretically possible.
Only one-third of the bishops, and two in five of the deacon directors, responded that they personally believe the Church should do so.
The report, issued by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, was conducted last fall in light of Pope Francis’s establishment of a papal commission to study the historical question as to whether there were, in fact, women deacons in the early Church.
The commission has been submitted to Pope Francis and is under his consideration.
According to the new report, when respondents were asked whether they would implement the practice in their own diocese, if the Holy See approves it, just over one-half of the bishops said yes, and more than six in ten of the deacon directors said that their bishop would implement this.
In summarizing, CARA co-authors Michal J. Kramarek and Jesuit Father Thomas P. Gaunt said that in responses, “it appears that the bishops and deacon directors would positively respond to the sacramental ordination of women as deacons if the Holy See authorizes it, but they themselves do not believe the Holy See will do so.”
Of the 192 U.S. bishops invited to participate in the CARA survey, 108 responded, resulting in a response rate of 56 percent. Participation was slightly higher among deacon directors.
Last week, two of the members of the papal commission studying women’s deacons, Phyllis Zagano and Jesuit Father Bernard Pottier, spoke publicly for the first time at Fordham University on the topic. It’s unknown when and if Francis will formally respond to the commission’s findings. “He will know the time to say something,” said Zagano.