Connecticut archbishop calls for female deacons, moving Vatican out of Rome

“And when you ask them why did you join a megachurch, they say, ‘Because I felt welcome’,” the archbishop said. 
Coyne said that he sees more church closings in the future for the archdiocese. 
“The problem is not that the Church has abandoned, that the priests have abandoned, or that the archdiocese has abandoned [the churches],” he said. “The people who used to be in the church have left the church.” 
“Now, part of it is that we were complacent and weren’t kind of concerned about that until, obviously, it became a problem,” he said. “But I think in many instances, when a church is closed it’s because nobody’s there. So who walked away?” 

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He pointed out that he didn’t “want to make it look like I’m blaming the laity,” but that “if the numbers aren’t there you can’t sustain it.”
Coyne further said he hopes at some point to have the chance to ordain women deacons. 
“Women’s ordination, at this point, in terms of the diaconate, is kind of being discussed,” he said. “In terms of the priesthood, it’s not open for discussion. We’ve been told it’s ‘case closed.’ But hopefully, there will be some opportunity down the road [to] ordain or name some deaconesses.” 
Pope Francis said in a recent book interview that “holy orders is reserved for men,” though the Synod on Synodality’s final document last month included a request for continued theological study of the possibility of women deacons.
Before coming to Hartford this year, Coyne led the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, from 2015. The 65-year-old bishop served as the auxiliary bishop of Indianapolis from 2011 to 2015.
Asked during the interview what he would say to Catholics who have left the Church and are thinking of coming back, Coyne said he would tell them: “We have a place for you. You’re always welcome.” 
“When you come here, it’s a non-judgmental zone,” the prelate said. “Yes, sometimes our message is hard to hear because it’s challenging. But we’re all on the way to salvation, and we want to accompany each other on that way, growing in a life of holiness.” 
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“We don’t want you to stay where you are,” he continued. “I don’t want to stay where I am. I want to grow more towards God. But I want to walk with you. And all are welcome.” 

Daniel Payne is a senior editor at Catholic News Agency. He previously worked at the College Fix and Just the News. He lives in Virginia with his family.

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