My daughters have hard questions about the church. Are women deacons the answer? / America: The Jesuit Review

My kids, who are now teens, had been asking difficult questions, and I did not have good answers. They asked: ‘If God loves us all unconditionally, why doesn’t the church?

By Katie Mulcahy, America: The Jesuit Review

“Although I had attended Catholic school all my young life, I was never familiar with the concepts of synod, discernment and the diaconate. That was until last spring, when a friend invited me to her church for a Discerning Deacons event titled ‘Hope, Change and the Catholic Church.’ It was a cold Sunday evening, the Oscars were on, and I did not feel like driving across the city. But this is a friend who always shows up for me, so I went.

“Looking back on that evening, I believe it was the Holy Spirit who was nudging me to go. I had been feeling apathetic about my place in the church. My kids, who are now teens, had been asking difficult questions and I did not have good answers. They asked, ‘If God loves us all unconditionally, why doesn’t the church? Aren’t women and girls also made in the image of Christ?’ And here is a question that stopped me in my tracks: ‘If we value one group over another, aren’t we enabling oppression against the second group?’

“I attended the Discerning Deacons event with 700 other folks—men, women, teens, senior citizens, all looking for hope, professing their faith through song, prayer and sharing stories. We heard testimonies from women who have dedicated their lives to ministry and service in the church. One story really struck me: Casey Stanton, a co-director of Discerning Deacons and a woman with advanced degrees in divinity, felt called to serve in prison ministry. Because Ms. Stanton could not be ordained as a deacon in the Catholic faith, she was limited in how much she could minister to the female prisoners. I couldn’t help but wonder: Who else is restricted in their ministry because of the limitations put on women?”

By Katie Mulcahy, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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