We Are Church supporters in Austria, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and Spain endorse this statement by Noi Siamo Chiesa.

On April 8, Pope Francis decided to establish a new study commission on the female diaconate. He thus kept the promise made in his concluding speech of the Pan-Amazonian Synod, when he said he would "make the request to recall the Commission, or perhaps open it with new members to continue studying in what forms the permanent diaconate existed in the early Church", and, turning to the listeners, he repeated: "I pick up the gauntlet thrown down to me ... 'that we are listened to' ... I pick up the gauntlet".

However, having seen the list of members of the new Commission, without questioning their good faith, their spirit of service to the Church and their will to fulfill their task with commitment, rigor and depth, we must express our perplexity, for at least three reasons:

 First, you'll notice that, compared to the first Commission, it will not have gender equality. It is now composed of 5 women and 7 men (of which five belong to clerical orders). The female presence, in addition to having a non-negligible symbolic meaning, should be a guarantee that the voice of women is actually listened to, especially in a topic like this, and that their "point of view" has a decisive influence.

Secondly, it is striking that, although the need for its institution was born in the context of the Pan-Amazonian Synod as well as in an answer to what was discussed there and to a double question, that of the synod fathers, expressed in n. 103 of the Final Document, "to share our experiences and reflections with the Commission" and that of the synodal mothers of "being heard" also explicitly collected by the Pope, the new Commission is composed of no one coming from the Amazon, indeed no one from Latin America, and indeed no one from the southern hemisphere! 

Thirdly, the persons designated to be part of it do not seem to have made any specific studies on this subject and when they publicly expressed their opinion on it, they all did so in opposition to any ordained ministry for women. An analytical documentation on the composition of the commission can be found on  https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/several-members-new-vatican-commission-appear-opposed-women-deacons . 

There is therefore a strong risk of an initiative "with a predetermined outcome", which would confirm, once again, a minor position reserved for women in the Church, thus disappointing the expectations of a large part of the ecclesial community.

Rome, April 10, 2020
NOI SIAMO CHIESA