Women: Icons of Christ traces the history of ministry by women, especially those ordained as deacons. History teaches that women ministered in baptism, catechesis, altar service, spiritual direction, and confession, and anointed the sick, either as deacons or as lay persons. Women: Icons of Christ demonstrates how priestly clericalism effectively removed women's leadership, voices, and official ministries from the life of the Church by eliminating women from sacramental ministry, altar service, and preaching.
The question, Who can be an icon of Christ? underlies the discussion. There seems to be a simple answer. We know from the revelation of Scripture that all Christians are equally human, all Christians are part of the Body of Christ. Yet, the Catholic Church both really and symbolically excludes half its members.
Women cannot be ordained to the renewed diaconate, even though the most complete Church histories demonstrate genuine precedent. Why? The reduction of all the arguments, supported by the manipulation of history, is that women cannot image Christ.
Phyllis Zagano presents cogent arguments supported by history to refute arguments against restoring women to the ordained diaconate.
Dr. Phyllis Zagano is senior research associate-in-residence and adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY.