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Fr. Gerald MurrayEWTN/YouTube screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — Prominent canon lawyer Fr. Gerald Murray told Raymond Arroyo that “female deacons” would be a “serious moment of heresy in the life of the Church.”

On the recent edition of Raymond Arroyo’s show The World Over, Fr. Murray and Catholic author Robert Royal discussed the meaning of the claim made by a nun who recently spoke in the Vatican that Pope Francis “is very much in favor of the female diaconate.”

READ: Pope Francis ‘is very much in favor of the female diaconate,’ claims nun invited to address Vatican cardinals

Fr. Murray explained that the Church has never administered the Sacrament of Holy Orders to women, including the diaconate, and that it would be against Church teaching and Tradition to do so.

He said that “the reason it’s not permitted is because the Church has never done it.”

“There is no history of female deacons receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders ever in the life of the Church.”

“I think, for me, that’s part of the propaganda effort to say simply, ‘The pope is going to do this,’” he added.

“If this [female deacons] were done, this would mark a serious moment of heresy in the life of the Church because you would have the pope authorizing something that is impossible to happen: women being given the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

“And if that happened, the Church would be splitting apart because you’d have some bishops do it and others wouldn’t,” Fr. Murray continued. “And then, if you’re in a diocese in which a woman was ‘ordained’ a deacon, could that deacon go across the boundary to the next diocese and function as a deacon? She wouldn’t even be recognized as a deacon.”

“So this is very serious, and I really regret these basically political statements asserting things that are not known or not proven.”

He also mentioned that a Theological Commission in 2002 already declared that there were no ordained women deacons in the history of the Church.

Fr. Murray explained that “the issue here is not women deacons; the issue is women priests.”

“The Sacrament of Holy Orders is one sacrament. There are not three sacraments. There are three degrees or levels of the sacrament, but it’s only one sacrament.”

“So as soon as you… attempt to ordain a woman a deacon, they’re going to turn around and say, ‘Look, a woman has Holy Orders now she gets promoted to the second and third degree.’”

“This is all an attempt to use modern feminism as a new criterion for determining the meaning of revelation and Church teaching. It has to be rejected,” Fr. Murray declared.

In his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II affirmed the perennial teaching that only men can be ordained priests:

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

Robert Royal speculated that Francis might try to introduce “some semi-official status” for “women deacons” that would avoid teaching outright heresy, similar to the “blessings” of homosexual “couples” put forth in Fiducia Supplicans (FS).

“There have been some instances when he [Francis] has spoken out and said that ordination is only for men, and that seems to be a strong statement,” Royal said.

“But I have to speculate.”

“It seems to me that he does want to raise the status of women in the Church. He said this. He [said] the Church should become less masculine.”

“Could it be that like these blessings of irregular couples?” he asked. “What we might get is some status, some semiofficial status for women that wouldn’t be defined as the diaconate, but in fact would have some of the functions of being a deacon, so we would actually get the reality without the title. That wouldn’t surprise me at all. And it may be that’s the next step.”

Raymond Arroyo: Application of Fiducia Supplicans is ‘Protestant’

Arroyo said that the application of FS, i.e., allowing the African bishops to reject the controversial document, constitutes a form of “Protestantism” contrary to the Catholic principle of universality.

READ: Pope Francis backs down, permits African bishops to ban blessings of homosexual ‘couples’

“You’re absolutely right,” Royal said. “[E]ither it’s a Catholic, which means universal, Church, the same everywhere in its essentials, there are different rites there are different languages that the Church operates in, but in its essential, who God is, who man is, how we are to live our lives, those must be universal, and we are no longer a Catholic Church.”

Fr. Murray pointed out that FS is part of an attempt to change Church teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts.

“They’re trying to change the teaching of the Church about the immorality of homosexual activity, but not say so in public,” the canon lawyer said.

“Think about what you’re doing: A homosexual couple gets ‘married’ in City Hall. Then they call up their favorite priest and say, ‘Would you bless us? We’re going to come by and, you know, have our rings and all the rest.’ And the priest says, ‘Sure, why not?’”

“And then you say to yourself, ‘Well, what does a homosexual couple getting married in City Hall mean?’ Number one, it means they’re committing mortal sin, a promise of sexual activity. And secondly, it means they reject Catholic doctrine that marriage is only between a man and a woman.”

“So you do not deserve to have your relationship blessed when it’s based on mortal sin and the rejection of Church teaching on the nature of the union of man and woman. That’s what’s going on here,” he concluded.

READ: Father James Martin performs another ‘blessing’ for two ‘married’ men