MI Alumna Appointed to New Papal Commission to Study Women Deacons

Author: Dov Honick

Dr Catherine Tkacz Photo Opt
Dr. Catherine Brown Tkacz. Photo: Ukrainian Catholic University

The Medieval Institute is pleased to congratulate alumna Catherine Brown Tkacz (Ph.D. '83) on her recent appointment to a new papal commission to study the appointment of women deacons. Brown Tkacz graduated from the Medieval Institute in 1983 with a dissertation titled “The Topos of the Tormentor Tormented in Selected Works of Old English Hagiography” under the direction of Edward A. Kline.

Since graduating from the Medieval Institute, Brown Tkacz has held a number of academic positions and is currently a Research Professor of Theology at the Ukrainian Catholic University. Brown Tkacz's academic work has focused on women second in the early church as well as women prefiguring Christ in the Hebrew Bible.


News Release

April 8, 2020

Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp


Pope institutes new commission to study women deacons

On Wednesday, the members of a new commission to study the possibility of women deacons in the Catholic Church are announced.

The daily noon bulletin released by the Holy See Press Office contained an announcement regarding the institution of a new commission to study the possibility of women deacons.

It contained the information that Pope Francis, in a recent audience with Cardinal Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had decided to create a new Commission.

The following people will make up the new commission:


His Eminence, Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi, Archbishop of Aquila, Italy


Rev. Denis Dupont-Fauville, Official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faioth


Prof. Catherine Brown Tkacz, Lviv (Ukraine)

Prof. Dominic Cerrato, Steubenville (USA)

Prof. Don Santiago del Cura Elena, Burgos (Spain)

Prof. Caroline Farey, Shrewsbury (Great Britain)

Prof. Barbara Hallensleben, Friburgo (Switzerland)

Prof. Don Manfred Hauke, Lugano (Svizzera)

Prof. James Keating, Omaha (USA)

Prof. Mons. Angelo Lameri, Crema (Italy)

Prof. Rosalba Manes, Viterbo (Italy).

Prof. Anne-Marie Pelletier, Parigi (France).

A previous commission had been composed in August 2016, shortly after the International Union of Superiors General had asked the Pope to think about it in an audience they had with him in May 2016.

That commission handed in their research, which the Pope said was inconclusive.

In his final address at the conclusion of the Special Synod of Bishop on the Pan-Amazon Region, Pope Francis indicated that he welcomed "the request to reconvene the Commission and perhaps expand it with new members in order to continue to study the permanent diaconate that existed in the early Church".