Card. Christoph Schönborn has clarified his views on female ordination, saying that women priests would be “too profound a change.” However, he signalled his support for the introduction of deaconesses.
In an interview with Austrian news site OE24, the Archbishop of Vienna said that while there were female deacons in the early Church, he did not foresee a female priesthood in the future.
“There were deaconesses in the first centuries, which could be reintroduced, but there have never been priestesses in the Catholic Church. That would be too profound an encroachment on the 2,000 year tradition, and even Pope Francis said: ‘that is not foreseen.’”
The cardinal had previously caused controversy after saying that a Pope “cannot decide” by himself whether or not the ordi-nation of women is permitted.
“Ordination [of women] is a question that surely can only be settled by a Council,” he told Die Presse. “A Pope cannot decide this by himself. This is too large a question for it to be settled from the desk of a Pope.”