Archive for category Women in Catholic Church

Women’s authority can help heal our church’s broken governance / National Catholic Reporter

Is Catholic governance fatally crippled by our failure to address/accept human sexuality and/or unhealthy shame over one’s God-given gender or sexual orientation? (National Catholic Reporter)

I suppose Women’s History Month is a good time to weigh in on current discussions and disagreements about women deacons and women priests in the Catholic Church.

“In some ways, it seems a fluffy conversation in light of recent revelations about our grievously wounded clerical system.

“But perhaps that is exactly why we need to have this discussion.

“Is Catholic governance fatally crippled by our failure to address/accept human sexuality and/or unhealthy shame over one’s God-given gender or sexual orientation?

“Yes, I have been reading Frédéric Martel’s ‘In the Closet of the Vatican.’

“Martel writes that a high percentage of priests and bishops are gay, and that they protected predators out of fear that their own homosexuality would be revealed. For Martel, the need to maintain silence about the prevalence of homosexuality within the clerical system allowed sexual abuse to be hidden and predators to act.

“While his book has been both praised and reviled, I found his hypothesis about the systemic effects of shame-based duplicity and homophobia worth considering. …”

By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Connecticut bishop appoints laywoman to lead parish / Cruxnow.com

He (Bridgeport, Connecticut, Bishop Frank Caggiano) went on to note that the appointment was the first of its kind in the diocese of Bridgeport and added that it has support in canon law. (Cruxnow.com)

Less than two months after serving as delegate in the Bishops Synod on Youth which called women’s leadership within the Church ‘a duty of justice,’ Bishop Frank Caggiano has established a new leadership model in a Connecticut parish, appointing a woman to serve as parish life coordinator.

“The appointment of Dr. Eleanor W. Sauers, which was announced on Sunday in a letter to parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua in Fairfield, Connecticut, grants Sauers decision-making authority over a team of priests who will be responsible for sacramental ministry.

“‘We are at a very particular moment in the history of our Diocese, and indeed, within our Church,’ Caggiano wrote to parishioners. ‘As I travel throughout Fairfield County, it has become apparent to me that many lay women and men are seeking new ways to serve their parishes, and, in collaboration with the clergy, to create vibrant and thriving communities.’

“He went on to note that the appointment was the first of its kind in the diocese of Bridgeport and added that it has support in canon law.”

By Christopher White, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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Study: U.S. religious orders overwhelmingly back women deacons / Associated Press in America magazine

Advocates for expanding the ministry to include women say doing so would provide women with greater role in the ministry and governance of the church, while also helping address the effects of the Catholic priest shortage in parts of the world by allowing women to perform some priestly functions. (Associated Press in America: The Jesuit Review)

A new survey has found that the majority of U.S. Catholic religious orders believe women should be allowed to serve as ordained deacons, lending support to an issue currently under study at the Vatican amid pressure for women to be given greater roles in the church.

Seventy-seven percent of both male and female superiors in the U.S. believe such ordination is theoretically possible, and 72 percent think the church should go ahead and authorize it, according to the study released Thursday by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.

Only 45 percent, however, believe the church will actually do it, the study found.

Deacons are ordained ministers, not priests, though they can perform many of the same functions as priests. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and they can preach. They cannot celebrate Mass.

Currently, married men can serve as deacons. Women cannot, though historians say women served as deacons in the early church.

Deacons are ordained ministers, not priests, though they can perform many of the same functions as priests. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and they can preach. They cannot celebrate Mass.

Currently, married men can serve as deacons. Women cannot, though historians say women served as deacons in the early church.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Vatican Expert: to fight sex abuse, the Catholic Church must invest in women / America: The Jesuit Review

“We need the voice of women here,” Father Zollner said, because women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.” (America: The Jesuit Review)

One of the church’s experts on protecting children from abuse says that while today ‘there is much more awareness about the issue,’ the church has to invest more resources and include more women, especially in places where the church is growing fastest.

“‘What is still lacking is an understanding that the protection of minors and the justice done to victims is a priority within the church,’ Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, told America on Thursday (Jul. 19). He added that some bishops and other church leaders sometimes see combating sexual abuse as ‘one topic among others’ and have not grasped that ‘this has to be a priority for the church.’

“Father Zollner, a psychologist by training, launched the child protection initiative in 2012 in Germany and he moved to Rome in 2015 when Pope Francis requested that the center’s resources be used in the global church. He was then appointed to the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, and he is a consultor for the Vatican office that deals with clergy …

“‘We need the voice of women here,’ Father Zollner said, because women often ‘bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.'”

By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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Jesus founded a movement led by both men and women / National Catholic Reporter

I have been tracking Vatican statements on women priests since the 1970s. They are invariably ahistorical and biblically naive. It is embarrassing. Worse, they bear false witness to the Jesus of history and are ultimately destructive to the body of Christ, especially the distaff side. (Christine Schenk in National Catholic Reporter)

Sometimes it is really difficult to be both female and Catholic.

“On the one hand, I couldn’t be prouder of the creative leadership taken by the University of Notre Dame and Pope Francis in working with oil executives to address climate change. It is amazing that dozens of Catholic institutions, including Caritas Internationalis, have divested from fossil fuels.

“On the other hand, I am dismayed by yet another statement from the Vatican — this time from Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria — prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — about the non-ordination of women to the priesthood.

“I have been tracking Vatican statements on women priests since the 1970s. They are invariably ahistorical and biblically naive. It is embarrassing. Worse, they bear false witness to the Jesus of history and are ultimately destructive to the body of Christ, especially the distaff side.

“As a contribution to the ongoing conversation about women’s roles in our church, I present here a few examples from mainstream scholarship about Jesus and the female exercise of authority in early Christianity.”

By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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In Vatican magazine exposé, nuns reveal their economic exploitation / The New York Times

The stories amount to a distress signal about the unfair economic and social conditions many nuns experience, as well as the psychological and spiritual challenges that many face. (The New York Times)

Sister Marie told of nuns who worked long hours to cook and clean for cardinals and bishops, without being asked to break bread at the same table.

“Sister Paule pointed out that many nuns did not have registered contracts with the bishops, schools, parishes or congregations they worked for, ‘so they are paid little or not at all.’

“Sister Cécile said that ‘nuns are seen as volunteers to have available at one’s calling, which gives rise to abuse of power.’

“These stories — told by sisters using pseudonyms — were revealed Thursday (Mar. 1) in an exposé about how nuns are exploited by the leaders and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church. The article, by the French journalist Marie-Lucile Kubacki, was published in the March edition of Women Church World, the monthly magazine on women distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

“The stories amount to a distress signal about the unfair economic and social conditions many nuns experience, as well as the psychological and spiritual challenges that many face.”

By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times — Read more …

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Proud to be Catholic? A groundbreaking America survey asks women about their lives in the Church / America: The Jesuit Review

“It is the most comprehensive survey of American Catholic women ever conducted.” (America: The Jesuit Review)

Catholic women may be part of a Democratic voting wave in 2018. They are ready to welcome women deacons. Many feel their parishes are inclusive of women and welcome divorced and remarried Catholics and non-heterosexual Catholics. But they think the church could do more to welcome unmarried parents, single mothers and people who have lost their spouses. And while Catholic women who are Republicans and Democrats differ slightly on whether or not “protecting life” or “helping the poor” is most important, on most other markers of Catholic identity their differences are statistically insignificant.

These are just a handful of the findings of the America Survey, commissioned by America Media and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in partnership with GfK, a survey firm. It is the most comprehensive survey of American Catholic women ever conducted. The following is an excerpt from the executive summary. The full summary is available online at cara.georgetown.edu.

By Mark Gray and Mary Gautier, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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