The ordination of women to the priesthood is a hotly debated issue within the Catholic Church and is currently banned according to church teaching. Ms. Zagano limits the presentation of her information to argumentation concerning the ordination of women to the diaconate, and has developed some compelling issues for serious consideration by the Catholic faithful, Catholic church hierarchy and non-Catholics struggling with the acceptance of female ministers.
I read Holy Saturday after reading about the Adopt a Bishop campaign for it in the National Catholic Reporter. It's a terrific book that fully lives up to its hype, and I'm surprised that no one is commenting on how the book has reshaped the conversation about women in the priesthood. Until recently, you had basically two camps -- the side that argued against women's ordination on the basis of longstanding practice and tradition, and the side that said women should be ordained because women are equal in other areas of society. In Holy Saturday Zagano is taking up the question of the one side with the methods of the other, so both sides can have grounds for discussion. It's the first time in years that we're seeing real conversation about women as deacons. According to Zagano, the Vatican regards the question of women deacons as still being under study and review. If they are willing to say publicly that it's an open question, then conversations can actually lead to mutual learning and real change. I liked the book very much, but I like even more the way it's having a real effect on the way people think and talk about the question, and the way people are willing to discuss it frankly and fairly. Good for Zagano! I wish we had more writers like her.