Pope Francis now settles into his first full week as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. There is one long-lived, self-inflicted nuisance that he and the Church can and should begin to fix starting this very week. “Begin to fix,” because the remedy is radical, and ought not to be confused with any half-way measure that Francis could implement this afternoon with a pen stroke. Ironically, if and when the change is implemented, many will see it as a half-way measure anyway. They will be wrong.
The Roman Catholic Church should ordain women as permanent deacons by the end of this decade, beginning during Francis’ pontificate. That way, one leader can oversee the reform, if the groundwork begins now. Here’s why women should be ordained as deacons without further avoidable delay.