Bishop Gerald Wiesner
Germany's Catholic bishops are working hard to create an ordained diaconate for women, Bishop Emeritus Gerald Wiesner told the annual convention of the Catholic Women's League of Canada in Regina, Aug. 11-14.
The debate in Germany, as reported in several news articles, is whether woman deacons should ordained or should belong to a special category of "blessed" deacons, Wiesner said.
His remark about the activities of German bishops brought a spontaneous and loud round of applause from the approximately 800 delegates.
Wiesner, in an interview, emphasized he was referring only to the diaconate and not inferring anything about female priestly ordination. His comment came during his talk about the role of women in the New Evangelization.
Women, he said, are missionaries and disciples of Christ. "A disciple is a learner constantly listening to the Word of God."
He urged his audience to know the teachings of Vatican II. "In her official teaching, the Church teaches us the meaning of Scripture."
Seek the face of Jesus in the laity and missionaries, work with the hierarchy, said Wiesner.
He referred to Pope Francis' calling clericalism in the Church an "obnoxious beast."
"We must all work together to eliminate it," said Wiesner.
Throughout the history of the Church, even in biblical times, women played an important role, he said. "In extraordinary incidents in the Bible, there was always a woman involved."
Mary Magdalene had the important role of telling the apostles of Christ's resurrection, said Wiesner.
"Catholics have been informed by women theologians, they have brought richness to the Church," he said., noting that of 31,000 professions in parishes 80 per cent are women.
"They do the same work as deacons and do it very well and want recognition", he said to thunderous applause. "You very effectively make (Jesus) known."
We give thanks for all women, he said. He ended his address with "God needs you, humankind needs you; the Church needs you."
Wiesner, was a professor and president of Newman Theological College in Edmonton before becoming bishop of Prince George, B.C. Recently retired, he now lives in Saskatoon.