San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy said he supports allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic Church, in what appears as the first such public disclosure of a U.S. prelate since Pope Francis reopened consideration of the history of women’s diaconal ordination in 2016.

In an NCR interview Oct. 27, McElroy said he hoped the pope’s surprise decision at the end of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon to reconvene the Vatican’s study commission on women deacons would lead to “a conclusion that it is not prohibited to ordain women to the diaconate.”

Asked if he personally had developed an opinion on whether women could be ordained as deacons, the bishop replied: “I’m in favor of it.”

“My view on it is [that] women should be invited into every ministry or activity we have that’s not doctrinally precluded,” said McElroy.

McElroy, one of three U.S. bishops to participate in the Oct. 6-27 Amazon synod, was speaking in a 40-minute interview just hours after Francis formally concluded the event with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The San Diego bishop said that proposal sprang out of a desire to acknowledge the duties Catholic women are already taking up across the Amazon, and to recognize such women as full Catholic leaders.

“It means ‘in charge’ in a way that our canon law doesn’t allow for a parish for a woman,” he said.

Full story at NCR online.