My friend Charles has an excellent post over at the Catholic Explorers blog on the recent article by Phyllis Zagano on the possibility of a female diaconate. Check it out.
Charles asks, drawing upon the Zagano's arguments, whether or not there are duties which a deacon performs that could be done by a woman. I think there are, but they all seem to be the ones that any lay person could perform regardless of sex. And then there's the issue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, of which the permanent diaconate is a part, which requires a male recipient to be licit and valid. Obviously the Catholic Church does not redefine sacraments, and even though the Second Vatican Council did allow for the return of the ancient practice of the permanent diaconate (as opposed to the transitional diaconate), this minor alteration was simply a renewal of a practice which simply fell by the way side in the early middle ages.
All in all, I think the argument Zagano tries to advance is juvenile, optimistic, dishonest and purely academic. There will never be female deacons in the fashion Zagano wants - especially since she seems to view the diaconate as a halfway house to priesthood. So what could a girl like Zagano do in this crazy Church of ours?