Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cardinal Kasper and Irish President Press Pope on Women's Roles/ A First Step but Women Priests are a Justice Issue
(From Christian Catholicism Blog by Jerry's Slevin' a retired Catholic and Harvard "schooled" international lawyer
"Women’s role in the Church should be rethought and integrated into the Pope’s ideas for greater synodal dynamism and a missionary conversion”: women should be offered leadership roles within the pontifical councils and in the future Congregation for the Laity given how many bishops the Curia has. Temporary mandates should be introduced in the Curia to prevent careerism, calling priests who already have some pastoral experience. This was the crux of what Cardinal Walter Kasper said in a long interview with Stefania Falasca published in today’s issue of Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire.

“Up until now, women have generally only attended the synod as auditors, holding roles of little significance,” Kasper said.  “There are always two or three female auditors who speak at the end of the meetings when everyone has already spoken. I ask myself how it is possible to prepare two synods on the family without giving a role of primary importance to women? A family cannot exist without women. It makes no sense to speak about the family without listening to what they have to say. I think they need to be called and listen as of right now, as we enter the preparatory phase.”

The German cardinal who gave the opening speech at the recent Consistory on the family went on to say the following: “I think that women need to be present at every level and even given positions of full responsibility. The intuition which the female mind has to offer is a vital resource. A Church without women is a mutilated Church. There are so many of them actively involved in Church bodies. Can we imagine community, charity and cultural centres today with no women? Without them, parishes would close down tomorrow. Women are already ahead and out there in a Church like Francis’ that is “going out”.

 In his interview with Avvenire, Kasper recalled Francis’ words about the authority of  consecrated ministers is not to dominate but to serve the people of God and comes from the power of administering the sacrament of the Eucharist. Therefore, seeing the exercise of authority within the ordained ministry in terms of power is tantamount to clericalism. The reluctance of many presbyters – priests and bishops – to hand over positions of responsibility that do not require a person to be ordained, to lay people, is evidence of this. “In the Evangelii Gaudium, the Pope asks whether it is necessary for a priest to always be the leader. This actually leads to clerical immobility which sometimes shows a fear to give room to women and give them the voice they are entitled to in areas that require important decisions to be taken.”

The cardinal then dealt with the key issue of giving women a stronger presence in decision-making environments bearing in mind that “some roles in the Church require the exercise of jurisdictional power attached to the ordained ministry.” But not all government or administrative roles in the Church “imply jurisdictional power. Said roles could be entrusted to lay people and therefore to women as well. If this does not happen, there is no way to justify the exclusion of women from decision-making processes in the Church...”
Mary McAleese:
"Meanwhile, rank-and-file Catholics must also be involved: “The absence of laity and in particular women from ecclesial decision-making and high- level spheres of influence is a line that cannot hold; in fact it is a line that is rapidly leaching trust and credibility.”
Pope Francis has “openly acknowledged” the problem that exists, but he has not yet put forward “any practical solutions”, said Mrs McAleese, who was a professor of law at Trinity College and who has been studying canon law in Dublin and Rome...."

Bridget Mary's Response:
In response to Cardinal Kasper:..."some roles in the Church require the exercise of jurisdictional power attached to the ordained ministry.”  If Pope Francis wants to reform clericalism, then he should change the canon law that reserves jurisdiction to ordained ministers. Open up all decision-making positions to  women and men, ordained and non-ordained. Cardinal Kasper is right on that women are out there serving the people of God in vibrant ministries in the local churches. Roman Catholic Women Priests are out there serving inclusive communities. Cardinal Kasper's recommendation is a small step in the right direction that Pope Francis can implement right now but, I'd like to see women in the top jobs leading the Vatican Curia including the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith! Now that would shake up the Old Boys' Club and open a path toward renewal in church governance.  Yes, Mary McAleese is correct, Pope Francis' credibility is on the line. I pray that Pope Francis will affirm gender equality in the church as the will of God in our times.   Bridget Mary Meehan,

1 comment:

Dorothy Shugrue said...

Once again the Charismatic Roman Catholic Woman Bishop has "hit the nail on the head!" Her optimism is inspiring in a powerful, negative, bigoted male dominated Church. Long live Bishop Bridget Mary an her inspiring dialogues!