An Introduction to the Old Testament for Deacons: The World Explained by a Man

Public Broadcasting has been running its version of the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle as the TV series entitled Sherlock.

In the episode entitled The Six Thatchers, Mary, the wife of Doctor John Watson, is shot dead.  A different woman with a hand gun, enraged by the ridicule of Sherlock Holmes, shoots at Sherlock.  Mary, knowing this was about to happen, dives in between Sherlock and the discharging gun, taking the bullet in her own chest and dies.

In the next episode, entitled The Lying Detective, we see that Doctor John Watson is traumatized by Mary’s death.  In an opening scene, John is riding in the back of a cab to an appointment with a psychological therapist.  Next to him in the back seat is the very alive looking ghost of his dead wife Mary.  John knows she is dead.  And yet they speak with each other as if Mary is fully alive.

In their conversation, we learn that John is enraged at Sherlock.  He blames Sherlock for his beloved Mary’s death.  He has come to hate everything about Sherlock.  In particular, he has come to resent Sherlock’s ability to explain the meaning of every clue that presents itself in every crime they have investigated.  John resents Sherlock’s accurate observational skills.  John resents Sherlock’s unerring insights into the reality of events.  John resents Sherlock’s clear and concise explanations of everything.

John hates that Sherlock is the only one doing the talking all the time.

Mary asks John about the therapist he is seeing.  John tells Mary that the therapist is a woman.  Mary sits quietly looking at John, betraying no facial expression in reaction to his comment.  John, quickly adds, that before he selected her as his therapist, he interviewed and rejected four male therapists.  To this statement regarding John’s rejection of the four male therapists, Mary, knowing full well of John’s dislike of Sherlock’s habit of constantly explaining things whether asked to or not; to this, Mary says the following words,

“You were done with the world being explained to you by a man.   Who isn’t?”

[In secular society, what indications are there that women (and men) are “done with the world being explained by males”?]

[Within the Church, what indications are there that women (and men) are “done with the world being explained by males”?]


The Vatican recently held a synod of Bishops dealing with issues related to youth in the Church.  This synod of Bishops on youth produced a declaration approved by vote.  The normal voting members of such synods of bishops are bishops, the official leaders of the Church.  Among those allowed to cast ballots at this synod, were two Superiors General of Religious Orders of men.  These two Superiors General are unordained brothers.  Thus, according to Canon Law, these two Superiors General are members of the laity.

Among the invited attendees to this conference was a nun.  This specific nun is, also, the Superior General of her religious order.  Further, like the two male Superiors General, she is also unordained.  Thus, her status according to Canon Law is that she, like them, is both the leader of a religious order and a member of the laity.  This woman was not allowed to vote on the declaration of the synod.

A Dutch bishop defended the practice of reserving voting privileges at episcopal Synods to episcopal leaders and equivalent leaders of the Church because of Jesus’ own decision to name only men as apostles.

The Superior General of the Jesuits, acknowledging that the rules of episcopal synods only allowed male leaders of episcopal status to vote, made the statement that this is the way it will be unless this rule is changed.

[Was the decision to forbid the nun/woman to vote a manifestation of allowing only males to have a voice?  or was the decision a manifestation of a correct understanding of Church Tradition?]

[Should councils and synods and convocations of the Church, in which decisions are made by voting, allow women to be included and vote?]

[Should positions of authority, in which decisions are not made by voting, be open to women?]


In the Roman Catholic Church, only men give homilies.  An exception to this is that lay catechists may explain the gospel at children’s Liturgies of the Word.  All official declarations of the Church are made by male clerics of the Vatican and Diocesan sees.  Most articles in most diocesan newspapers and Church websites and blogs are by men.  Many, if not most, speakers at various parish and diocesan convocations are men.  All of the books of the Bible were written by men.  Most of the words in the Bible were stated by men.  Predominantly, the Bible is filled with narratives of men who have freedom to speak and act.  Of the 150 or so women mentioned in the Bible, among the Chosen People only the judge Deborah unequivocally had her own voice; she was in a position which allowed her to speak her own mind.

[To what degree are people in the pews engaging in some type of passive-aggressive feigned attendance to what is being spoken to them by men?]

[Do you sense that certain groups, whose membership in the Church is declining, are avoiding Church participation due to the predominance of men doing the talking?]

[Is it your sense that most people in the pews actively listen to male Church speakers; evidencing a spiritual maturity which looks past the gender and biological status of those speaking and listens to the meaning of the words being said?]

[Have you seen or heard homilies, catechesis, liturgical texts, doctrinal texts seeming to water down their observations and insights and explanations, or avoid certain topics, or make accommodations because the intended audience might be sensitive to “the world being explained by men”?]

[If people being “done with the world being explained by men” is a reality, how might we help parishioners become aware of this reality operating within the Church and how might we help them adjust to this new normal? this new reality?]

[Should women be allowed to be ordained to the permanent diaconate?]

[Should men refrain form ordination to the permanent diaconate until such time as women are allowed to the permanent diaconate?  why or why not?]

[When a man is ordained to the permanent diaconate, is this also the ordination to the permanent diaconate of the spouse with whom he was made one flesh by the sacrament of matrimony?]

[Should faithful practicing Roman Catholics who are male by gender reassignment be allowed to be ordained to the permanent diaconate?]

[Should an ordained permanent deacon of the Roman Catholic Church who later becomes female by gender reassignment, be allowed to continue to function as a permanent deacon?]

[Gender reassignment is seen by some as a non-natural means of altering one’s gender or sex.  Currently, the female who becomes male still retains the female XX chromosomal structure.  Jesus only biological parent was Mary.  From Mary he could not have gained the genetic male chromosomal material.  Thus his biological maleness must have been a result of the activity of God (Holy Spirit) through a process different from the normal natural process of genetic sexual determination.  Does Jesus’ non-natural means by which he attained maleness provide a paradigm for the ordination of gender-reassigned-males?]

[We may, within a few generations, be entering a world of broader body augmentation?  For example, one possibility is that It may become possible to change a person’s chromosomal sex (i.e. XX to XY, or XY to XX).  Should much broader forms of body augmentation become common and accepted, what ramifications might this/these have in regard to pre-conditions for ordination?]