Chicago area pastor calls for women deacons

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a Chicago area pastor has been discussing the idea of women deacons in the weekly bulletin, and has even contacted Cardinal George about the idea:

Now, an Evanston pastor, the Rev. Bill Tkachuk, is raising the question of whether women can become deacons -- ordained ministers a step below priests.

His parish, St. Nicholas, has been kicking around the topic for months, and a longtime female member has expressed interest in becoming a deacon should the Vatican open up the option to women.
Pope John Paul II closed off internal debate on allowing women to become priests. Among the church's arguments: Jesus selected only male apostles. But there's no ban on talking about female deacons.

Supporters note that the New Testament references female deacons, though the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops indicates "there is no conclusive evidence that this office or the persons who fulfilled these roles were truly 'ordained' like the male deacons."

While many Chicago area parishes have husband-and- wife "deacon couples" who minister in a variety of ways, only the husband technically is a deacon. Tkachuk would like to see women serve in that role, and he's pushing for "a broader conversation" on this unresolved issue.

St. Nicholas has hosted parish events centered on the topic, and Tkachuk has used the weekly bulletin to spur discussion and chronicle developments. He plans to reach out to Cardinal Francis George to take up the issue. George didn't return phone calls on the matter.

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