"The group, which includes some members of the reformist Association of Catholic Priests, said it believes the example given by the church in discriminating against women "encourages and reinforces abuse and violence against women in many cultures and societies."
They highlighted that surveys have shown that a great many people are in favor of full equality for women in the church and all aspects of ministry. They also warned that the current situation is very damaging, and alienates both women and men from the church because they are scandalized by the unwillingness of church leaders to open the debate.
Fr. Roy Donovan, a parish priest in the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, is one of the 12 who signed the petition. He criticized the "massive fear of women" in the church which he said seemed to be "almost irrational at some levels."
Most priests, bishops and cardinals and the pope are "kind of brainwashed into thousands of years of seeing everything through male eyes," Donovan commented.
The priest, who ministers in the parish of Caherconlish-Caherline, added, "I think the synod in Rome has shown up the huge injustice and prejudice towards women. Two hundred and seventy men and not one women voted on matters concerning the family."
He said the synod has created greater awareness among people about how unjust this is. " Bridget Mary's Response: My Irish priest brothers, thank you for speaking up for gender equality in our church. You have named the issue well! centuries of misogyny! "massive fear of women", "almost irrational, seeing everything through male eyes" I hope that your courageous statement encourages priests and bishops everywhere to stand up for justice and equality for women in the church. I hope the dike of resistance has broken! Our Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is bringing renewal and reform to our church, one inclusive, egalitarian community at a time.! Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP www.arcwp.org