The National Catholic Reporter has reported that Deacon William Ditewig was denied permission to give an address to a meeting of deacons, their wives, and deacon candidates for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The Archdiocese requires speakers to be approved by a commission of archdiocesan priests and a lay theologian. Because Deacon Ditewig; who had in the past been on the staff of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops; is himself a theologian, and an author of numerous books on the diaconate. He co-authored a book examining the possibility of women being ordained as deacons.
Although he did not intend to speak about this in his address, the commission felt that still his presence would cause confusion among the faithful.
Deacon Ditewig has spoken to numerous deacon assemblies. I have read several of his books and essays, and found them informative, inspiring, and a joy to read. And I believe him to be a loyal son of the Church.
Our bishops have the responsibility to protect the faithful; but over zealousness can also prevent the Spirit from working within us, stifling legitimate theological exploration, that can lead to discernment of the Father’s will for His Church.