CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Twenty years after women were ordained as priests, the Church of England is set to appoint its first woman bishop by year’s end or at the start of 2015.
On Monday (Nov. 17), the church’s two most senior leaders, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, signed the change into church, or canon, law after asking the General Synod, made up of bishops, clergy and laity, to signal their approval by a show of hands.
The shattering of what’s called “the Church of England’s stained-glass window” marks the culmination of years of campaigning for reform.
Bridget Mary's Response:
Newly Ordained ARCWP Priest on left: Judith Bautista, from Colombia, , Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan,, Deacon Janet Blakeley, on right, Deacon Sally Brochu and Olga Lucia Alvarez from Colombia, Nov. 1, 2014, Sarasota, Florida
From left to right, newly ordained ARCWPdeacons: Sally Brochu, Bridget Mary Meehan, and Janet Blakeley at Nov. 1, 2014 ordination in Sarasota, Fl.
Now it is time for Pope Francis to change official teaching on women priests and support gender equality in all areas of the church's life. The international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is living Gospel equality in inclusive Catholic communities. Pope Francis could begin this journey to justice for women in the church by lifting the excommunications and punishments against women priests and our supporters and declare a new day of welcome for all who are live and minister on the margins as witnesses for justice. In the Gospels we encounter Jesus with lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, the poor and sick. He ministers on the margins with the marginalized. So do women priests. We are on the margins of our church. We invite all those who are not welcome in the mainstream church, the divorced and remarried, LGBT, women, and many others who are alienated from Catholicism to come to the Banquet of God's boundless love. We are one with the community of the baptized rising up for justice for all of God's people, especially the most vulnerable and rejected.
We welcome dialogue with Pope Francis who said that" inequality is the root of social sin."
We agree! This includes sexism in the Catholic Church. So let us move forward to a new day of healing and welcome for women as spiritual equals in the Catholic family.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Bishops, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests