Bridget Mary Meehan: Women have been the elephant in the room for Pope Francis. He has spoken eloquently about equality in the world and has turned a blind eye to discrimination in the church.
I hope this is not some kind of smoke screen that looks promising but winds up a dead end.
On the other hand, the Synod of Bishops could take a positive step toward gender equality by restoring the diaconate. Now this would be a holy shakeup for the Roman Catholic Church! This step will open the door for priesthood and episcopacy.
An impossible dream, perhaps!
It is time for the institutional church to embrace change and affirm the gifts of half of its membership.
It is also time for the hierarchy to admit that discrimination against women is the sole reason for the prohibition against ordination.
Will Pope Francis apologize for centuries of sexism in which women were treated as second class citizens?
When will women to take their rightful places as leaders and decision makers in all positions in the parishes, dioceses, and in the Vatican?
They already do most of the pastoral work in many parishes in the United States and elsewhere.
In women priests led, inclusive faith communities, women are equals and partners. So change is already happening!
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain six women in 4 different cities on 3 weekends in October. Women are answering God's call to ordination in a renewed priestly ministry and living Gospel equality and inclusiveness now. www.arcwp.org Bridget Mary Meehan, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release
6 October 2015
Response On Women Deacons Discussed at Vatican Synod
Rome, Italy: Recent statements made by Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec during the Vatican's Synod on the Family suggests an emergence of a discussion about including women in the ordained permanent diaconate. We applaud Archbishop Durocher for raising the suggestion to the exclusively male-voting body, and furthermore, for highlighting the relationship between the "degradation" of women in Church and society and violence against women around the world.
We call on our Church leaders to state clearly that "domination" over women is never acceptable, and until women are empowered as equals our Church perpetuates an inequality contrary to the Gospel. We pray that women's voices will not only be heard in forthcoming discussions, but given an equal vote.
Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) supports the restoration of the sacramentally ordained diaconate for women in its true form. Including women in the diaconate would not be something new. Instead the Church would be returning to its ancient roots when both women and men were deacons. While the women's diaconate continues in some parts of the Eastern Church even until today, we also now know that in the West, it was suppressed only on account of the prejudice against women.
Though restoration of an ordained women's diaconate would not alone be a satisfactory progression to including women in all realms of Church leadership, governance, and sacramental ministry - only ordination to the priesthood and episcopacy could begin to accomplish this - WOW supports restoration of the diaconate. It is long overdue. The so-called changing 'reasons' that have been used to try to justify the exclusion of women from ordained ministry rest squarely on the shoulders of prejudice alone.
The hierarchy deprives people of the pastors God calls for them and of the leadership gifts found in women who would serve the Church; upholding this discrimination, as though it were the will of God, is simply indefensible.