Posts Tagged women’s roles
In ‘Querida Amazonia,’ Francis’ sacramental imagination stops short of women / National Catholic Reporter
“How much disappointment and outrage would have erupted if the pope had moved forward with ordaining married men, but his retrograde words about women remained the same?” (National Catholic Reporter)
Perhaps no one was less surprised last week than I was when Pope Francis’ Querida Amazonia showed no openness to a female diaconate, and instead was laden with the language of gender complementarity in its discussion of women.
“For years I have used this column to document Francis’ beliefs about women and to plead with readers to be honest about how his thinking would seriously limit the possibilities of real change for women in the church. Beginning with his description of feminism as “chauvinism with skirts” early in his papacy in 2013 through his 2019 dithering on women deacons, I wrote on this topic at least 20 times in the last seven years.
“I did this not to sound like a broken record — though I most certainly did — but rather to spare myself and my fellow churchwomen from the heartbreak that I knew would come. Unless Francis moved beyond the theology of complementarity, women would never receive the justice they deserve from their church, an institution that they serve, sacrifice for, and very often sustain singlehandedly. The pope, unfortunately, never showed any signs of budging.
By Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Francis: Women deacon’s commission gave split report on their role in early church / National Catholic Reporter
Francis said May 7 that the main unresolved question was whether the ordination women deacons received was “sacramental” or not. He said historical documents evaluated by the commission giving the formulas for ordination of women deacons showed they “are not the same as for men’s diaconal ordination.” (National Catholic Reporter)
The Vatican commission studying the history of women serving as deacons in the Catholic Church has been unable to find consensus on their role in the early centuries of Christianity and is yet to give a ‘definitive response,’ Pope Francis said May 7.
“In a press conference aboard the flight back to Rome after his three-day visit to Bulgaria and North Macedonia, the pope said the primary question is whether women who served as deacons were ordained in a manner similar to male deacons.
“Each of the 12 members of the commission, said Francis, ‘thought differently.’
“‘They worked together,’ the pope explained. “And they found agreement up to a certain point. But each one of them has their own vision, which doesn’t accord with that of the others.’
“‘They stopped there as a commission, and each one is studying and going ahead,’ he said.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
“When ordination is rightly understood, according to Pope Francis, women’s gifts for leadership can be shared within the church. Women can engage in decision-making for the church. He seems to be saying that ordination is simply less important than baptism in the grand scheme of things. And in any clerically-dominated church, that is saying a mouthful—for women and for men.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers some sage advice on how to take someone else’s words. In article 2478, it says:
“To avoid rash judgment, everyone ought to be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbors’ thoughts, words, and deeds, in a favorable way.
“To explain this, it offers a quote from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus:
‘Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.’
“I thought about this advice when considering some of Pope Francis’s words about women. As many have noted, despite his stated intention of including and promoting women, the Pope has caused no little consternation by some of his remarks concerning them.”
By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal — Read more …
One of the more intriguing questions Pope Francis prompted earlier this year when he announced that a Vatican commission would study whether the early church had women deacons was: How would Catholics react to women preaching?
“Some Catholic women hope to find out.
“A new website called Catholic Women Preach will publish videos showing just that, Catholic women preaching. The reflections will draw from the church’s weekly readings. The women backing the project say they hope the videos will help Catholics deepen their faith and become more comfortable with the idea of women preaching.”
By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The National Catholic Review — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Pope Francis establishes commission to study women’s diaconate; appoints Voice of the Faithful St. Catherine of Siena Award recipient as member
Pope Francis has established a commission to study ordaining women as deacons in the Catholic Church and has appointed a recipient of Voice of the Faithful’s St. Catherine of Siena Outstanding Layperson award as a member. Among the 13 members, six are women, and four of those are lay women.
Voice of the Faithful has long sought women’s equality in the Church and, as part of that initiative, a women’s diaconate. This came closer to reality today (Aug. 2), as the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ “Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate,” particularly to look into the role of women deacons in the early Church.
Appointed to the commission is Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in New York. She has written widely regarding a women’s diaconate, has spoken often to VOTF audiences and received VOTF’s St. Catherine of Siena Outstanding Layperson award at its 2012 10th Year Conference in Hartford, Connecticut.
When Pope Francis said in May that he would consider such a commission, VOTF reiterated its call for all baptized Catholics, women and men, to have equal access to all positions within the Church and a voice in all decision-making processes.
At that time, Zagano said, “I am delighted that in this time of Pentecost the Spirit has brought the question of women deacons to the Holy Father’s mind, and I hope and pray that I will be able to assist whatever commission he establishes.”
Today, Zagano’s prayer was answered, and VOTF looks forward to the commission’s study and, eventually, a diaconate for women in the Church.
Voice of the Faithful presents its views on women deacons on its website in a paper it commissioned from Carolyn Johnson, Ed.D. Click here to read “Women Deacons: How Long Will It Take the Catholic Church to Open This Door,” and click here to see a bibliography of suggested readings on women in the Church that VOTF compiled for its 10th Year Conference in 2012.
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
Francis institutes commission to study female deacons, appointing gender-balanced membership / National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis has created a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church, following up on a promise made last May in what could be an historic move towards ending the global institution’s practice of an all-male clergy.
“The pontiff has appointed an equal number of male and female experts as members of the commission, which will be led by Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria, a Jesuit who serves as the second-in-command of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation.
“The Vatican said in a release announcing the commission Tuesday (Aug. 2) that the pope had decided to create the group ‘after intense prayer and mature reflection’ and wanted it particularly to study the history of the female diaconate ‘in the earliest times of the church.’
“The formal name given to the group is ‘Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate.’ The commission’s members include experts in patristic theology, ecclesiology, and spirituality.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
A plethora of conferences about women have popped up all over Rome in the last three months. The Vatican’s former hard-line freeze on discussing women’s roles may at last be thawing out.
“The Pontifical Council for Culture’s controversial February event, ‘Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference,’ was the first to break the ice. A month later, Voices of Faith hosted a searingly honest discussion by female theologians and activists from inside Vatican walls.
“Then, on April 14, the U.S. embassy to the Holy See sponsored an interreligious conference on ‘Women’s Leadership in Conflict Resolution: Faith Perspectives.’ Cardinal Peter Turkson shared a private conversation he had with Pope Francis, who told him he saw no obstacles to a woman or married couples being appointed as the new secretary of justice and peace or as heads of the pontifical councils for the laity and for the family. (Turkson, however, was careful to remind attendees of the need to “de-couple” the question of women’s roles from priestly ordination.)
“Most recently, Rome’s Pontifical University Antonianum and four embassies to the Holy See sponsored an April 28 conference on women in the church. Significantly, Catholic Health Association president Sr. Carol Keehan was an invited speaker.”
By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this article.
An organization seeking to influence Pope Francis’ view of women — and to propose female professionals he might tap to lead high church offices — will be hosting a live-streamed event from the Vatican for the second time next month.
“Called Voices of Faith, the event will feature storytelling presentations from 10 women from various parts of the world who have overcome adversity or have reached the highest places available for women below the hierarchy’s stained-glass ceiling.
“The event will be held March 8, the day marked as International Women’s Day, at the Vatican’s iconic Casina Pio IV, a white marble structure inside the Vatican Gardens that houses the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Lost in translation: seven reasons some women wince when Pope Francis starts talking / Religion News Service
When Pope Francis this month wanted to highlight his appointment of several women to a blue-ribbon theological commission, he called the female theologians ‘strawberries on the cake.’
“Two weeks earlier, when the pontiff gave a speech to the European Parliament, he used another lady-based analogy, this time underscoring the continent’s demographic decline and cultural crisis by comparing Europe to a grandmother who is ‘no longer fertile and vibrant.’
“Yes, Francis is a veritable quote machine, tossing off-the-cuff bon mots that the public finds enormously appealing in large part because they are coming from a Roman pontiff — not an office known for its improv routines.
“But when he speaks about women, Francis can sound a lot like the (almost) 78-year-old Argentine churchman that he is, using analogies that sound alternately condescending and impolitic, even if well-intentioned.”
By David Gibson, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.
U.S. women religious leaders face an uncertain future as they gather Aug. 12-16 in Nashville, Tenn., for their annual assembly. More than 800 elected congregational leaders will discuss how they plan to react to continued charges of infidelity leveled by the church’s top enforcer of orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as to the congregation’s plans to take over the organization after the assembly …
“The issues are multilayered, involving disputes over the role of religious life, the relationship between religious and bishops, questions of obedience, and differing visions of church priorities and mission.
“Beneath these is one more: the role of women in a church that maintains a gender-determined authority system. The conflict between LCWR and the doctrinal congregation has become the most visible manifestation of this highly charged issue.”
By Thomas C. Fox, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this article.