Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ordination of Women in the Catholic Church Facts and Discoveries

Ordination  of  Women  in  the  Catholic  Church
Facts  and  Discoveries
  by Peggy Clough (peggyc@umich.edu )
printed with permission and with gratitude!

v Genesis 1:27 states clearly "God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them." The New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition 1968.
v There is abundant evidence that women were active supporters of the Jesus movement and the early church.  Over and over the New Testament shows that women believed in Jesus and he repaid them by treating them as equals.  It was a woman, Mary Magdalene, who was the most loyal to Jesus, and for this reason she has been traditionally called the "apostle to the apostles."  Mary Magdalene was a devoted apostle and a steadfast friend and she was the first to witness his resurrection and the first to spread the "good news."  Other women also accompanied Jesus on his travels, some of them providing for his and his disciples financially and devoting their lives to him.  The three synoptic gospels bear witness to the women followers of Jesus.  "Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources."(Luke 8:1-3)   "There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him.  Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee." (Matthew 27:55)  "There were also women looking on from a distance.  Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.  These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him.  There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem." (Mark 15:40-41)  The biblical scholar Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza revealed the vital role played by women in the life of Jesus in her 1983 book, In Memory of Her:  A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins.  Tanenbaum, pages 76-78 and The New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition 1968.


v + "All history until the mid-20th century was written by men, with preconceived notions about women.  All cultures of Jesus' time were patriarchal."  Greek wives were citizens with the right to vote but had limited rights to own property.  Macedonian women fared better, they could build temples, found cities, engage armies, conduct business, and co-rule.  Roman women were the property of their father until sold to her future husband.  Roman women were educated but could not conduct business on her own, they did have inheritance rights but could not vote or hold public office.  However, some wealthy Roman women had considerable power and influence and would conduct business through a male agent.  Palestinian Hebrew women were not allowed to divorce their husbands but could be divorced for anything (there were over 600 reasons in Jewish law including burning dinner, Hillel), to survive they had to be connected to a patriarchal household, they had minimal property rights, were betrothed by their fathers at a young age, were considered "unclean" when menstruating, were segregated for worship, were not accepted as witnesses under Jewish law, and were usually not educated in the Torah.  Jesus stated in Matthew 19:4-7 when asked is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?  "He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator' made them male and female' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh'?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh'?  Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.""  Jesus is clearly protective of women with this teaching, because only Jewish men could initiate divorce and a divorced woman not connected to a patriarchal family was left destitute.  Future Church, Jesus and Women, and The New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition 1968New Testament passages on divorce include Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:2-12, Luke 16:18, and 1Corinthians 7:10-11.
v + Jesus was remarkable even radical in his treatment of women, he willingly violated pertinent social mores.  He spoke to women in public, traveled with women who were not family members, challenged deep seated patriarchal views that only women bear the burden of sexual sin, his proscription of divorce was markedly protective of women.  He welcomed women into his closest discipleship, taught them the Gospel and the meaning of the Scriptures and it was wealthy women who underwrote the Galilean mission.  Jesus did not shrink from ritual uncleanness by being touched by an unclean woman (menstruating), in fact he called attention to the fact that she had touched his garments, "Who touched me?" was she, an outcast, an untouchable, poor, frightened and sick, to be chastised for being so bold?  No, Jesus said "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." Jesus ignored the practice that Samaritan and Canaanite women should be shunned.  He starts a conversation with a Samaritan woman surprising her and his disciples because it was so out of the ordinary.  In his conversation with the Samaritan woman he clearly reveals himself as the Messiah for the very first time.  "The woman said to him, I know the Messiah is coming . . . Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am he.'" The woman believes in him and leaves all things to immediately bear witness to his message to her whole town and many in her town believed in Jesus on her testimony.  Her "effective apostolic witness to him among the Samaritans; and the acceptance of her work by Jesus, . . . vindicates her discipleship, apostleship, and ministry in the face of cultural patterns that might have challenged its appropriateness or even legitimacy."  So before Jesus sent the apostles off to evangelize two by two, he sent this woman to evangelize to her neighbors. Schneiders, page 104, Swidler, "God's Word to Women" www.womenpriests.org
v + In the gospels there are three accounts of Jesus bringing back to life a person who has died and women figure prominently in all three. He raised Jairus' daughter, this is the only case when Jesus touched the corpse, which made him ritually unclean.  Jesus chose to violate the laws of ritual purity to help a woman but not a man, in the other resurrections he does not touch the corpse.  In the second resurrection account Jesus had compassion and helped the widow of Nain, raising from the dead her son, realizing she would probably not survive if she lost her link to a patriarchal household.  The third resurrection Jesus performed was Lazarus' at the request of his sisters Martha and Mary.  Important in this account is Jesus' theological exchange with Martha, Jesus draws her into a conversation about deeper mysteries.  Jesus declares to Martha, a woman, "I am the resurrection and the life," he tells her; "he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die."  The only time he did so that is recorded in the Gospels.  Jesus reveals the central message of his good news, his resurrection, his being the resurrection to a woman.  "Martha rises to the challenge, giving the response that . . . is the saving confession of faith, that is, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world."  "It is important to realize that Martha's confession of faith is in no way a response to the sign of the raising of Lazarus.  It is a response to the word of Jesus revealing himself as the resurrection and the life."  The raising of Lazarus "comes after Martha's confession and does not function as a guarantee of her faith."  He traveled with and taught Mary of Magdala during his public life, he praises Mary, Lazarus' sister, for wanting to learn more about God.  In his parable of the woman who found the lost coin, Jesus projected God in the image of a woman!  Jesus did not shrink from the notion of God as feminine.  Ellsberg, page 11 and Schneiders, page 106.
v * In Jesus' friendship with Lazarus, Mary and Martha, Jesus challenges "the kind of gender stereotypes that would restrict women to domestic work.  Breaking with custom, he recognizes Mary's right to assume the role of a religious disciple, to sit at the Master's feet and study his teachings."  In John 12 Mary anoints her teacher's feet with oil and wipes Jesus' feet with her hair.  This is "a presentation of Mary as a disciple of Jesus in the strict sense of the word.  To wash the feet of one's master was an act of veneration by a disciple."  "Judas objects to Mary's extravagant act of devotion and suggests a more conventional form of piety for her, almsgiving (see 12:4-5)."  Jesus' "defense of Mary's ministry to him is blunt and harsh, "Let her alone" (12:7)."  Mary "assumes the right of a disciple, to decide what form her ministry to Jesus should take, and when another disciple objects, he is silenced by Jesus himself.  . . . Jesus approves of this woman's original religious initiative."  "When women began abandoning subservience to the law to pursue service to God's people they got into trouble, but not from Jesus."  "Jesus' opinion of male attempts to control the relationship between his women disciples and himself is so clear in the New Testament that one can only wonder at the institutional church's failure to comprehend it."  Ellsberg, page 11 and Schneiders, pages 109-110 and Halter, page 168.
v * He traveled with and taught Mary of Magdala during his public life.  "Mary Magdalene is, without any doubt, the disciple whose place in the paschal mystery is most certainly attested by all four Gospels.  She holds a place in the tradition about Jesus' women disciples analogous to that of Peter among the male disciples."  "According to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus did appear to Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, and that appearance was the first Christophany."  "The commission that Jesus gives to Mary is "Go to my brothers and sisters and say to them:  I ascend to my Father and [who is now] your Father, to my God and [who is now] your God" (20:17)."  This identifies Mary Magdalene as the "apostle to the apostles".  "The Mary Magdalene material in the Fourth Gospel is perhaps the most important indication we have of the Gospel perspective on the role of women in the Christian community.  It shows us quite clearly that, in at least one of the first Christian communities, a woman was regarded as the primary witness to the paschal mystery, the guarantee of the apostolic tradition."  Mary "saw the risen Lord, received directly from him the commission to preach the Gospel, and carried out that commission faithfully and effectively."  Schneiders, pages 110-113.
v Women's equal call to discipleship with their brothers is most evident in the Resurrection accounts, for it is upon the testimony of women that the proclamation of the Resurrection depends.  All four Gospels show Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the Mother of James and Joseph, Salome and the other women disciples accompanying Jesus to his death, anointing and burying his body, viewing the empty tomb, and experiencing his risen presence.  That the message of the Resurrection was first given to women is regarded by biblical scholars as compelling evidence for the historicity of the Resurrection accounts.  Had these texts been fabricated by overzealous male disciples, they would not have included the witness of women in a society that rejected their legal witness."  Luke writes "Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others.  The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them."  The New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition 1968, Luke 24:9-11, Swidler, "God's Word to Women" www.womenpriests.org and Future Church, Jesus and Women.
v * In fact, in the earliest gospel, Mark, in his account of the Resurrection, "Mary is the indispensible character, . . . the pivot of the action around whom the final events turn.  She, by name and by action, embodies the connection between Jesus' interment and the angelic announcement to the same Mary Magdalene that Jesus has been raised from the dead.  She connects his death and Resurrection, not only by who she is but also by what she does:  Mary Magdalene established the place of anointing as a central ritual in Christianity, recollecting Jesus' death and pointing forward to his Resurrection."  Fox, page 219.
v * "According to ancient tradition, the apostles did not believe in the resurrection of Christ.  It was Mary of Magdala who preached the Gospel to them and brought them back to accepting Christ.  Peter had objected to Mary's role because she was only a woman.  Then Levi rebuked him:  'I see that you are contending against women like adversaries.  But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you to reject her?  Surely the Savior knows her very well.  That is why he loved her more than us.'  Tradition had it that Mary later travelled to France and preached the Gospel there.  Preaching was the preserve of priests.  Women could not be ordained priests because they were forbidden to preach.  But Mary of Magdala had preached."  Wijngaards, pages 135-137.
v * In studying Mary Magdalene, Bruce Chilton is convinced that Jesus entrusted her with a special healing ministry.  "Jesus, Mary, and the other disciples practiced anointing, which was associated with exorcism and healing . . . there is excellent evidence that oiling skin was a routine ritual in Jesus' movement and that Mary Magdalene was its preeminent practitioner.  Over the course of his last weeks in Jerusalem, Jesus designated Mary as his movement's paradigmatic anointer."  "Along with her vessel for unction, Mary Magdalene carried with her a mystical teaching of the Spirit that her anointing art conveyed."  So in the beginning of the Jesus movement "women were healers and carriers of the Spirit, anointers of the living and the dead."  Fox, pages 218-219.
v Jesus, for his time and culture, was a radical feminist for he treated women as fully equal to men.  "One of the most distinctive features of Jesus' movement was the presence of women among his intimate disciples."  In the early church men and women were equal disciples.  Jesus modeled inclusiveness throughout his life - He came, to be in solidarity with ALL who had faith, including and especially the marginalized in his society - women, the poor, the lepers, the outcasts, the sinners.  "Jesus was a reformer who "insisted that people were more important than the Sabbath, that forgiveness mattered more than worship, that compassion was the essence of discipleship.""  Ellsberg, page 12 and Tanenbaum, page 13 and Halter, page 168.
v "In many places the New Testament describes how Jesus ignored the lowly place of women among Jewish leaders, . . . Christ appreciated the loyal support of a group of women who "followed him wherever he went and served him in every way they could."  "The appearance of the women and their going about openly among the crowds, leaving their homes, was a significant event in Israel since it represented an overthrow of the Jewish traditions concerning women and formed part of the official complaint lodged against Christ, which led to his crucifixion:  "We found this man perverting our nation.'" (Luke 23:2)"  Carter, pages 100-101.
v * In his parable of the woman who found the lost coin, Jesus projected God in the image of a woman!  Jesus did not shrink from the notion of God as feminine.  Swidler, "God's Word to Women" www.womenpriests.org
v * "Recent research has again highlighted that community meals played an important part in Jesus' ministry.  At all these events, as far as we can find out from the Gospels, women were present.  So we can presume the same was true about the Last Supper.  Moreover, the Last Supper was specifically the Passover meal, at which, according to Jewish law, the women of the family were also to be present.  We can presume therefore with full confidence that women were there when Jesus said, 'Do this in commemoration of me'.  These words were also spoken to women.  Who is therefore to say that women were excluded by Jesus himself from participation in the future ministry?"  Wijngaards, pages 98-99.
v *  "When the followers of Christ were suffused with the Holy Spirit at the time of Pentecost, the Bible says, "All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." (Acts 1:14)  The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the women in the same way as He came upon the men, and his filling the women in the same way as He filled the men, is the first permanently effective indication that women had entered into grace and were to be granted equal rights with men in the Kingdom of God."  Carter, page 101.
v Jesus did not ordain any women, He also did not ordain any men.  Jesus is not ordained, no disciple is ordained and no ceremony of ordination was created.  "The Old Testament notions of the priesthood were so alien to Christ that we never find him applying the term priest to himself or his followers.  Jesus called himself 'the son of man' which, in Aramaic, translates as 'an ordinary person', 'someone like you and me'."  "The ministry Jesus initiated was a ministry by ordinary people, not by sacred functionaries."  "The Gospel of John tells us:  'To all who accept him he has given power to become children of God'."  "The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood."  "Note that no distinction is made between men and women here.  All become God's children through baptism." "Jesus abolished gender as a category in his kingdom.  Men and women are equal as God's adopted children.  Would it not be illogical to imply that discriminations wiped out by baptism should be revived in the sacramental priesthood?"  The fact is Jesus did not create any formal church structures at all.  He didn't divide people into priest and laity.  People who used their gifts in various forms of ministry were called by many names, most often prophet, teacher, and apostle.   "For the Vatican, Christ's silence posed a particularly troublesome source of support for a male-only priesthood, because theology and tradition were grounded in speculation about (and interpretation of) the unspoken "will" of Jesus.  That is, ordained priesthood was built upon the very silence of Christ."  Wijngaards, pages 38-40, and Sentilles, page 252, and Halter, page 17.
v In his letter to the Galatians (3:26-28) Paul declares "For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  And in his first letter to the Corinthians (11:11-12) he states "Nevertheless in the Lord woman is not different from man, nor man from woman.  Woman may come from man, but man is born of woman.  And all come from God."  (Wijngaards, page 74)  Paul's second letter to the Corinthians (3:18) teaches "And we all, with unveiled faces, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another."  And again in his letter to the Romans (8:28-29) Paul is inclusive when he writes "We know that God co-operates with all those who love him . . . They are the ones he chose especially long ago who he intended to become true images of his Son."  The New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition 1968.
v * The early Jesus followers broke radically from the accepted social discrimination against women in both Judaism and Hellenism.  Women in this egalitarian movement were not marginal nameless figures but exercised responsible leadership.  That women could be and were active and equal partners with men in this new Christian community was an eye-opener for citizens of the empire.  Fox, page 218.
v Paul in his letter to the Romans 16:1-7 writes "I commend to you, Phoebe our sister, who is a minister of the church at Cenchreae, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the holy ones, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a benefactor to many and to me as well.  Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles; greet also the church at their house.  Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the firstfruits in Asia for Christ.  Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners; they are prominent among the apostles and they were in Christ before me."  Romans 16:12 "Greet those workers of the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa.  Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord."  Romans 16:15 "Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the holy ones who are with them."  And in Philippians 4:2-3 Paul names Euodia and Syntyche "for they have struggled at my side in promoting the gospel."  The New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition 1968.
v Obviously, women were founding, promoting and leading home churches, evangelizing, teaching, traveling, and offering hospitality to visiting church members.  Lydia was a cloth merchant and she lead a house community in Philippi and offered hospitality to Paul and Timothy (Act 16:13-15).  Phoebe is called by two titles by Paul, diakonos (minister or deacon) of the church in Cenchrae (one of the seaports of Corinth) and prostatis (patron or sponsor) which implies higher social status and power (Rom 16:1-2).  Another woman, Junia Theodora was commemorated as prostasia (patron) by her fellow Christians in Lycia (western Turkey).  Prisca with her husband Aquila were leather workers like Paul, they hosted house churches in Ephesus (western Turkey), Corinth, and Rome and Prisca taught the male evangelist Apollos, attesting to the esteem in which she was held by Paul in the early church (1 Cor. 16:19 & Acts 18:2-3, 24-26).  Junia and her husband Andronicus were early converts and Paul says they were prominent among the apostles, their apostleship probably consisted in itinerant evangelization, like Paul (Rom. 16:7).  In Paul's letter to Philemon, he names Apphia as one of the three leaders of that house church (Phil. 1:1-2). Paul also names Nympha as host of a house church in Laodicea, her ministry included hospitality, and spiritual leadership (Col 4:15).  Paul names Chloe as leader of a house church in Corinth.  Since naming women in writing was very unusual in the first century we only know the names of a few of the women who provided leadership in the early church.  But it is clear from the texts of Paul's letters that there were women missionaries in the early church and Fiorenza concludes:  they "commanded the same authority, esteem, and respect as their male co-workers."  Osiek, "The Women in Paul's Ministry", Future Church and Fox, page 220.
v * Although Paul's letters are often used to show that women were leading churches and involved in active ministry in the early church, in John's Gospel women are "presented positively and in particularly intimate relationship to Jesus, they have richly complicated and various religious personalities and experiences, and they play quite unconventional roles."  These early "women Christians in at least one of the earliest communities, that of the Fourth Gospel, were fully participating and highly valuable community members."  "It seems more than likely that real women, actually engaged in theological discussion, competently proclaiming the gospel, publicly confessing their faith, and serving at the table of the Lord."  "The evangelist considered such feminine behavior to be fully in accord with the mind of Jesus, who is never presented as disapproving of the women."  Schneiders, page 100.
v "The Fourth Gospel is a rich resource for those who are convinced that the restriction and subordination of women within the church is not a matter of divine revelation but a distortion of the gospel by the culturally based sexism of men who have monopolized power in the ecclesiastical institution from the earliest days of the church's history."  "The material on women in the Fourth Gospel" would leave little "doubt . . . that women are called by Jesus to full discipleship and ministry in the Christian community."  Schneiders, pages 96, 114.
v * "All the women in the Fourth Gospel are presented positively and in intimate relation to Jesus.  No woman is shown resisting Jesus' initiatives, failing to believe, deserting him, or betraying him.  This is in sharp contrast to John's presentation of men, who are frequently presented as vain (13:37), hypocritical (12:4-6), fickle (13:38; 16:31-32), obtuse (3:10; 16:18), deliberately unbelieving (9:24-41; 20:24-25), or thoroughly evil (13:2, 27-28).  However . . . John's presentation of women is neither one-dimensional nor stereotypical.  . . . On the contrary, John's women appear as strikingly individual and original characters," and unconventional in the roles they play.  "The text as it stands is significant for what it suggests about discipleship of Christian women regardless of time or place.  First, women, according to the Fourth Gospel, relate to Jesus directly and never through the medium and/or by the permission of men.  Second, according to John's Gospel, there is no such thing as "women" whose "place" and "role" in the community or in relation to Jesus are to be decided and assigned once and for all by some third (male) party. . . . Their ministry to Jesus and to others in his name requires no approval or authorization of anyone.  Third, unlike most of the male disciples in the Fourth Gospel, the women are remarkable for their initiative and decisive action. . . . If leadership is a function of creative initiative and decisive action, the Johannine women qualify for the role."  Schneiders, pages 98-101.
v Three WOMEN "are the privileged recipients of three of Jesus' most important self-revelations:  his identity as the great "I am" and his messiahship (Samaritan woman), that he is the resurrection and the life (Martha), and that his glorification is complete and its salvific effects now given to his disciples (Mary Magdalene)."  Schneiders, page 114.
v + "According to Paul all those Christians were apostles who fulfilled two conditions: they had to be (1) eyewitnesses to the resurrection and (2) commissioned by the resurrected Lord to missionary work (cf. 1 Cor. 9:4).  Luke's requirements for apostleship are somewhat different.  He maintains that only those Christians were eligible to replace Judas who had accompanied Jesus in his ministry and had also witnessed the resurrection (Acts 1:21).  According to all four Gospels women fulfilled these criteria of apostleship that Paul and Luke have spelled out.  They accompanied Jesus from, Galilee to Jerusalem, and they witnessed his death.  Moreover, according to all criteria of historical authenticity women were the first witnesses of the resurrection."  Halter, page 39 and Sentilles, page 252.
v In the early church ALL people who believed in Jesus Christ were said to be a priestly people, all were considered ordained at baptism.  Evidence shows that the leaders of the early church never intended to have a formal priesthood; they wanted to break from the Jewish tradition.  All faithful followers of Jesus were understood to be equal under God.    The equal footing of all believers lasted a few hundred years.  Tanenbaum, page 65.
v "Scripture alone is not sufficient to show that only males can be priests.  In recent years, scholars have suggested that certain misogynist writings [such as, "Women are not allowed to speak"] ascribed to Paul are not authentic.  But even if some texts are not genuine, the Vatican says, the fact that they have been used for so long to justify the male priesthood makes their authenticity irrelevant.  Alternatively stated:  the Bible's ultimate veracity is not important as long as scripture passages allow the church to defend a crumbling tradition."  Halter, page 160.
v 100 AD - There are approximately 10,000 Christians.  CTA  DVD.
v “First and second-century Christians, familiar with the authority and leadership role of the female head of household, would have perceived women’s leadership within the church as not only acceptable but natural.  The early church’s specific leadership functions posed no barriers to women, whose skills and experiences as managers amply prepared them to assume the duties of teaching, disciplining, nurturing, and administering material resources.  This would have been the case as long as Christian communities remained closely identified with the social structures of the private sphere.”  Torjesen,  page 82.
v * 1st - 5th Centuries - "During this time, priests and bishops were still elected by their local communities, and the bishop of Rome was elected by the parish priests of the city and served at the will of the Christian population."  Halter, page 14.
v * 80 - 200 AD - "The early Greek Fathers held no such idea as the curse of Eve lying on women.  St. Ignatius of Antioch (died AD 110) taught that the fall came through a woman, but so came redemption.  St. Irenaeus (c. 140-203) stated that, though the devil defeated the human race through a woman, he also lost through a woman, namely Mary, Jesus' mother.  He even maintained that Adam was more to blame than Eve."  He did teach "that women by nature were subordinate to men."  Wijngaards, page 86 and Halter, page 48.
v * 150-215 - "Clement of Alexandria puts the women's ministry right back to apostolic times. 'The apostles giving themselves without respite to the work of evangelism as befitted their ministry took with them women, not as wives but as sisters to share in their ministry to women living at home by their agency the teaching of the Lord reached the women's quarters without arousing suspicion.'"  Wijngaards, pages 154-155.
v 2nd to 4th Centuries - "What is the subjection of women based upon?  Nature.  How do we know what is natural?  Quoting Augustine and Jerome, the answer lies in law 'the natural order of people', 'against the law and fidelity of nature', 'the common law of nature'.  The pagan laws of ancient Rome thus became the basis for the Church's own legislation against women. . . .The position of women is not really decided by any Christian tradition or inspired text, but by the pagan Roman law which was believed to be normative. . . . Here we find the true origin of the so-called 'christian' tradition of banning women from the ministry."  "The real culprit that stopped women from being received into the ministry was pagan bias."  Wijngaards, pages 53-55.
v + 2nd - 9th Centuries - Dorothy Irvin in 1980 published her archeological and epigraphic evidence of ordained women in Christian communities of 125 AD to 820 AD.  "Gravestone inscriptions, representational frescoes, and symbolic art in churches and catacombs near the Mediterranean indicate some of the Christian communities that ordained women  in Lyon (France), Amay (Belgium), Salona and Cappadocia (Croatia), Umbria - Rome - Naples - Tropea (Italy), Centuripe (Sicily), Hippo (Algeria), Corinth and Thera (Greece), Cilicia (Turkey), Ephesus - Constantinople - Iconium (Turkey), Moab (Jordan), Jerusalem, and Alexandria (Egypt).  The women from those areas who are pictured and described were named Chrodoara, Maria, Venerabilis, Flavia Vitalia [presbytera from Salona], Olympias, Grata, Aleksandra, Leta [in the catacomb of Tropea, a fifth century inscription reads: 'Sacred to her good memory Leta the presbytera'], Vitalia, Maria, Timothea, Basilissa, Phoebe, Giuilia Runa, Kale, Epikto, Maria, Sophia, Apollonia, Artemidora, and Theodora ['Here rests in peace and of good remembrance Theodora the deaconess.']."  Athanasia of Dephi Greece - 'The most devout deaconess Athanasia, established a deaconess by his holiness bishop Pantamianos after she had lived a blameless life.'  The deaconess Eneon ministered to the sick in Jerusalem.  Knowledge of these women leaders in early church communities has emerged via scholarly research in the twentieth century.  Daigler, pages 134 and 135 and Irvin, Calendars of 2003-2007 and Wijngaards, pages 134, 153-154.
v * 2nd to 9th Centuries - "Ute Eisen's careful study of tombstone inscriptions and literary attestations also reveals widespread evidence for women priests and presiders (presbytera, presbytides, presbiterissa) who functioned in both the eastern and western Churches." Schenk, "Women Officeholders in the Early Church", Future Church.
v 2nd Century - There is no historical evidence of an ordination ritual until the second century.  A second century document, "The Apostolic Tradition" refers to an ordination ritual for episkopos, presbyters, and deacons.  When outlining the requirements for episkopos, the document states that the person holding this office is required to be at least 50 years old and the husband of only one wife.  Sentilles, page 253.
v * 3rd Century - Tertullian, a theologian is remembered "for calling women "the devil's gateway" who "destroyed so easily God's image, man."  Halter, page 48.
v 3rd Century - In the catacombs of Priscilla in Rome there is a late 3rd century fresco in the Velatio chapel, the center portrait is of a woman clothed in a dalmatic robe seeming to indicate that she was a deacon in the Church.  This is one example of the evidence that has been found that shows "that a number of Italian communities valued and supported their women priests."  Schenk, "Women Officeholders in the Early Church", Future Church.
v 311 AD - There are 6-9 million Christians in the Roman Empire, that is approximately 10-15% of the empire's population.  CTA DVD.
v 312 AD - The Roman Emperor Constantine stopped all religious persecution in the Empire and recognized the Roman Catholic Church.  The small persecuted Christian home communities of the early church gave way to the new formally recognized religion by the Emperor (declared by the Edict of Milan in 313 AD) with public worship in public buildings, these were men's areas of influence.  The leadership of women in public spheres violated honor-shame cultural customs of the Greco-Roman world.  The inclusive, charismatic discipleship of equals which enhanced Christianity's rapid early growth slowly disappeared.  An ordained priesthood was established in 313 AD.  This development elevated clerics as a "special caste within the church" and introduced sharp divisions between clergy and laity." "The government's favor (and finance) soon transformed the clergy into an elite sociopolitical group." Tanenbaum, page 66, and Minney, page 33 and Halter, pages 13-14 and Future Church, Jesus and Women.
v 313 AD - There are now 50 million Christians in the Holy Roman Empire, that is approximately 50% of the empire's population.  CTA DVD.
v 4th Century - A tombstone was discovered on the Mount of Olives dating to the 4th century, the Greek inscription read "Here lies the minister and bride of Christ, Sophia the deacon, a second Phoebe."  The word used to describe her ministry is Diakonos, the same word Paul used to describe his own ministry.  The Christian community in Jerusalem saw Sofia's ministry in apostolic succession to that of Paul and Phoebe.  There is ample evidence of other female deacons who worked in Palestine, Greece, Macedonia, Asia Minor, Rome, and France from the beginning of Christianity to the 6th century.  Schenk, "Women Officeholders in the Early Church" Future Church.
v  4th Century - Nino is a 4th century woman who studied for 2 years in Jerusalem with a prominent female theologian and was then ordained by the patriarch, Juvenal of Jerusalem.  Her ministry in converting the nation of Georgia led to her being called "apostle" and "evangelist".  Eisen, pages 52-53.
v 352 - Council of Laodicea, whose conveners were mainstream Church leaders, attests that ordained women presbyters, called presbytides, acted as presidents of their congregations.  "In light of their location . . . within the higher clergy we must presume that these women both led the assembly and presided at the Eucharist."  "We thus find that until sometime in the fourth century there were women presbyters . . . active in the Church in Asia Minor.  They were not to be found in schismatic groups, as Epiphanius tried to show, but also in the Great Church."  "Unfortunately Canon 11 from the Synod forbids such women presiders to be installed in the Church."  Eisen, pages 122-123, and Schenk, "Women Officeholders in the Early Church", Future Church.
v * 380 - The Roman Emperor, Theodosius, made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire.  Faith Magazine
v * 396-430 - Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, is influenced "by Aristotle, who said, 'The female is, as it were, a mutilated male, . . . for there is only one thing they have not in them, the principle of soul.'" "From women's lack of soul it followed that 'the male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled;'"  "Augustine taught that only in her relationship with a man could a woman possess the image of God."  His sexist view of women "would permanently mold church teaching on sex roles."  And yet a mosaic on the floor of his cathedral commemorates Julia Runa Presbiterissa (Julia the woman priest).  Dorothy Irvin, PhD, archeologist and theologian has documented archeological findings that clearly show that women were leaders and served in ordained ministries in the early church these findings include written manuscripts, reports on councils, writings of early theologians, and many tombstones of women priests.  In addition there are paintings in two catacombs showing women presiding at Eucharistic celebrations.  Halter, page 6, and Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, 2011, Eye Goddess Films.
v * “Epiphanius denounced women prophets not for heretical beliefs or practices but because their active leadership roles in public assemblies contravened his ingrained assumption about women’s place in society. . . . Women among them are bishops, prebyters, and the rest, as if there were no difference of nature. . . . women among them are ordained to the episcopacy and presbyterate".  He wrote that "women are "unstable, prone to error, and mean-spirited," subject to "pride and female madness".  Indeed the "devil seems to vomit out this disorder [priestly practice among women] through women."  Torjesen, page 44 and Halter, page 48.
v 4th - 6th Centuries - One of the most influential studies on the ordination of women as deaconesses was published in 1972 (English Translation 1976) by Roger Gryson.  Gryson's study covered evidence through the sixth century.  He found that deaconesses "from the end of the 4th century, they were definitely counted among the clergy.  Like clerics, with the laying on of hands (cheirotonia), they received ordination under precise juridical conditions."  Gryson, page 110.
v 4th - 6th Centuries - "The Orthodox calendar of saints includes 22 women deacons who are mentioned by name, as well as the seven women deacons who were martyred with Bishop Abdjesus in fifth century Persia."  St. Chrysostom wrote letters to Procula and Pentadia.  Salvina wrote letters to St. Jerome and became a deaconess in Constantinople.  The deaconess, Theosebia, was the wife of the Doctor of the Church, St. Gregory of Nyssa.  Wijngaards, page 153.
v 4th -7th Centuries - Dr. Giorgio Otranto, Director of the Institute for Classical and Christian Studies at the University of Bari, Italy, discovered iconographic evidence of women presiding over the Eucharist in ancient catacomb frescoes.  Also using original Latin documents, he was the first scholar of the modern era to argue that women had been ordained and served as priests within orthodox Christianity.  Using papal letters and inscriptions he showed that women participated in the Catholic priesthood for the first thousand years of the church’s history.  He suggested that women had actually functioned as priests in Italy and in Brittany in the fifth and early sixth centuries.  He based this conclusion on a letter of Gelasius I, dated 494, in which the pope condemned the practice of bishops allowing women to officiate at the altar.  Otranto makes clear in his analysis of this letter that Pope Gelasius was directing his ire at the bishops who were ordaining women to function as priests, not at the women themselves.  Otranto found confirmation that women had served as priests in epigraphs dedicated to presbyterae in Calabria, Dalmatia, and Poitiers.  Unfortunately Otranto published his findings in Italian in 1982 and although well received by other scholars, his work was not widely known.  In 1991, Mary Ann Rossi translated his article into English and brought it to a much wider readership.  Macy, page 61 and Torjesen, page 2 and Daigler, page 135.
v * 5th Century - Olympias was ordained a deaconess by Bishop Nektarios in Constantinople.  She was a friend of St. Gregory of Nazianzus and St. John Chrysostom.  When she served at the cathedral the clergy there numbered 60 priests, 100 male deacons and 40 women deacons.  Wijngaards, page 153.
v 5th Century - Marcella was a Roman woman who led a home church that was a gathering place for ascetics, theologians, and clergy.  St. Jerome corresponded with her and called on her for theological advice as did others.  Macrina was a teacher of the good news and an expert in teaching and explaining scripture.  She is credited with converting her brother St. Gregory of Nyssa, one of the theologians who worked on our understanding the Trinity.  He also wrote a biography of his sister, Macrina.  Schenk, "Women Officeholders in the Early Church", Future Church.
v * 5th Century - "The basic structure of priesthood was in place, with special dress, titles, and hierarchical placements."  Halter, page 14.
v * 451 - the Council of Chalcedon "declared any ordination of a priest or deacon illegal, as well as null and void, unless the person being ordained had been chosen by a particular community to be its leader."  The Dominican theologian, Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx pointed this out in his book, Ministry: Leadership in the Community of Jesus Christ.  "Men and women can be chosen to preside at the Eucharist by the church community; that is, 'from below,' and can then ask a local bishop to ordain these people 'from above.'"  "If, however, 'a bishop should refuse a confirmation of ordination' of such an individual 'on the basis of arguments not involving the essence of the Eucharist," such as a requirement that deacons or priests be celibate, parishes may move forward without the bishop's participation, remaining confident "that they are able to celebrate a real and genuine Eucharist when they are together in prayer and share bread and wine.'"  This "general council of the Church explicitly acknowledged the existence of women deacons."  "'A woman shall not receive the laying on of hands as a deaconess under forty years of age'".  McGrath, Meehan, Raming, page 46 and Wijngaards, page 148.
v 476 - The Holy Roman Empire falls.  www.allabouthistory.org
v 476 ~ 1400 - The Dark Ages from the fall of Rome to the start of the age of exploration in the early 1400's.  www.allabouthistory.org
v * 480-543 - Benedict of Nursia is the Italian founder of Western Christian Monasticism and Abbot of the Monastery of Monte Cassino.  He authored the Benedictine Rule for his monks in which he instructed abbots before making a decision that will affect all in the monastery, he is to convene the monks and ask their advice.  Then in a striking insight Benedict continues, let the abbot pay particular heed to the views of the young, for it is often the way of the Holy Spirit to speak through the young.  Catholic Encyclopedia.
v * 533 - The Second Council of Orleans decreed, "henceforth no woman may any longer receive diaconal benediction due to the frailty of their sex." Canon 18 Halter, page 12.
v * 550 - Radegunde, a Thuringian princess from southern Gaul and wife of the Frankish king Clothaire I, fled from her palace and was ordained a deacon by Bishop Medardus.  She founded a 'free' convent in Poitiers.  Wijngaards, page 153.
v 5th & 6th Centuries - "Other Latin inscriptions from Italy and Dalmatia make it probable that women were active there as bishops in the fifth and sixth centuries.  This is supported by the epigraphically attested women presbyters of the fourth to sixth centuries in the West, as well as by literary evidence from a later period that attacks, and thereby confirms, the sacerdotal activity of women."  Eisen, page208.
v 590-604 - "Misidentification of Mary (Magdalen) as reformed public sinner achieved official standing with a powerful homily by Pope Gregory (I) the Great."  The eastern church never identified Mary of Magdala as a prostitute or public sinner, but honored her throughout history as "the Apostle to the Apostles."  Schenk, "Mary of Magdala", Future Church.
v In 599 Pope Gregory the Great wrote to Januarius, the bishop of Caligliari, to explain his concerns about the former abbess Sirica, "up to the day of her death, [Sirica] had been unwilling to wear the monastic habit, but had kept on wearing the kind of dresses use by presbyterae in that place.  This is the only extent reference indicating that presbyterae wore a distinctive habit, clearly different from that worn by abbesses or nuns.  The fact that Sirica "kept on wearing" the habit of a presbyterae indicates that she was a presbyterae before she was an abbess."  Macy, page 61.  
v * Ruth A. Wallace's study of a medieval abbess found that her local duties included licensing bishops and priests, suspending them, establishing new parishes, reading the gospel, hearing nuns' confessions, and public preaching."  Halter, page 5.
v Archeological evidence has been found in Palestine, Israel, Greece, Asia Minor, Macedonia, Italy, Sicily, and France that women served as deacons, presbyters, and bishops in the Church.  Daigler, page x.
v * 692 - Council of Trullo acknowledged the existence of deaconesses by dictating the age requirement for both deacons and deaconesses.  "Let no deacon be ordained before he is twenty-five, nor a deaconess before she is forty."  Wijngaards, page 148.
v In 747, Pope Zachary wrote to the Frankish authorities, "Nevertheless, as we have heard to our dismay, divine worship has fallen into such disdain that women have presumed to serve at the sacred altars, and that the female sex, to whom it does not belong, perform all the things that are assigned exclusively to men."  Women, it would seem, were still ministering at the altar in the late eighth century.  Macy, page 62.
v Women did serve as leaders of churches and deacons and were ordained priests and even bishops for the first 1000 years of the church.  Bishop Theodora is pictured in a mosaic in the church of St. Praxedis in Rome.  The mosaic pictures four women - the Virgin Mary, St. Praxedis and St. Pudentiana, both leaders of house churches in early Christian Rome, and Episcopa Theodora, Bishop Theodora, the bishop of the Church of St. Praxedis in 820 AD.  Roman Catholic Womenpriests website romancatholicwomenpriests.org and Macy, page 53 and Torjesen Book Jacket.
v "There are only five known references to women bishops in Western Christianity.  By far the most famous is the ninth-century mosaic of (1) "Theodora episcopa"."  Macy, page 53.  [The Latin terms episcopa and presbytera are the feminine forms for bishop and priest.]   "A tomb dating sometime between the fourth and the sixth century is inscribed to the "venerable woman, (2) episcopa Q."  Eisen identifies the inscription as originally from Umbria and points out that there are also inscriptions to presbyterae from the same period and location that may indicate a pattern of female leadership in fifth-century Umbria." Macy, page 53 and Eisen, pages 199-200.  (3) Bridget of Ireland was described not only as a bishop but also as having successfully undergone ordination to the ranks of the episcopacy.  So in the ninth century Bridget was described as actually ordained to the episcopacy, she was referred to as a bishop, not out of courtesy, she was really ordained and the ordination took, once consecrated she was a bishop.  "Brigid had jurisdiction over the double monastery of nuns and monks.  She invited her friend St Conleth to function as the local bishop for the people, under her jurisdiction."  Bridget became a saint in the first millennium, before the canonization process was standardized by the Vatican. She became a saint by popular acclaim rather than ever being formally canonized. However the Vatican recognizes her as "Ireland's patron saint, Brigit, Bishop of Kildare" and her feast day is February 1st.  Macy, page 54 and McGrath, Meehan, and Raming, page 93 and Wijngaards, page 135.  (4) "St Hilda of Whitby in England (614-680) held similar jurisdictional powers [like Brigid]."  Wijngaards, page 135.  (5) Hildeburga, the wife of Segenfrid, bishop of Le Mans from 963-996, was described as an episcopissa [little female bishop] in the account of Segenfrid's death.  Macy, page 54.  
v Five inscriptions found in the West introduce us to actual women who were presbyterae.  Two of them are from Italy, one is from Poitiers, and two are from Croatia.  All are dated from the fourth through the sixth century.  An inscription in Greek from Sicily marks the tomb of the presbytera Kale, "Here lies Kale the presbyter who lived 50 years irreproachably".  No indication is given of her marital state.  A second Italian tomb inscription comes from Tropes in Calabria and was erected for the presbytera Leta by her husband.  No mention is made of his being a priest.  A graffito found near Poiteirs commemorates that "Martia the presbytera made the offering together with Olybrius and Nepos."   Scholars who have studied it agree that this inscription refers to Martia as a minister who celebrated Eucharist along with two men, Olybrius and Nepos.  The two remaining inscriptions both come from Solin in Croatia.  One fragment simply mentions a sacerdotae in this instance using the feminine from of the Latin for priest rather than the Greek word for presbytera.  The final inscription is dated to 425 and refers to the presbytera Flavia Vitalia from whom the tomb was purchased.  Macy, page 60.
v * 10th Century - "Women priests may have existed in the Saxon dioceses of Germany, the Netherlands and England.  The tenth-century Chronicle of Widukind mentions 'priests of either sex.'  The historian George Fabricius, who drew from the annals of Quedlinburg, mentions eleven abbesses who were ordained as sacerdos maxima, among them Ebba, abbess of the monastery at Coldingham, and Etheldreda of Ely."  "In the eleventh century the ordination of Mechtild took place in the cathedral of Halberstadt in the presence of twelve archbishops and bishops."  Wijngaards, page 135.
v "By the tenth century, presbyterae appear to have all but disappeared from the ecclesiastical scene.  References to them still existed, however, and required explanation.  One such explanation survives in a fascinating letter by the tenth century Bishop Atto of Vercelli.  Asked why ancient laws speak about presbyterae and deaconesses, Atto responded" "that in the ancient Church not only men but also women were ordained and officiated as the leaders of communities; they were called presbyterae and they assumed the duty of preaching, directing, and teaching."  Macy, page 65 and Wijngaards, page 134.
v * 993-Present - The first papal canonization was of St. Udalricus in 993 by Pope John XV.  In 1234 procedural norms were formulated and a more definite structure was put into place by Pope Gregory IX.  However, "the process of canonization, like the general exercise of authority in the church, has been entirely controlled by men" and this has led to "an unavoidable fact -- that among the wide company of official saints women are vastly underrepresented."  "This has affected not only the selection of saints for canonization, but the interpretation of their lives.  Traditional accounts of women saints - almost always written by men - have tended to emphasize "feminine virtues" of purity, humble service, obedience, or patient endurance.  Seldom have women been recognized for questioning authority; for defying restrictive codes and models of behavior; for audacity and wit in surmounting the obstacles placed in their paths."  "The history of Christianity is marked by the stories of countless holy women who struggled hard to assert their full humanity and to follow where God was calling them, as theologians, prophets, healers, visionaries, or trailblazers in the spiritual life, even when this challenged the prevailing options of the time."  "While they lived they often endured extraordinary opposition or even persecution," . . . especially if their struggle to pursue their calling "involved any form of innovation -- holy women have typically contended with male authorities who were only too eager to inform them that their vision or desires contradicted the will of God."  It is ironic, sobering, and inspiring that a "number of women saints were at some point excommunicated."  Ellsberg, pages 1-3 and Catholic Encyclopedia.
v Deaconesses continued to be ordained and served their communities well into the twelfth century.  Deaconesses existed in the diocese of Lucca at least up until the time of Ottone, bishop from 1139 to 1146.  From the fifth through the twelfth century exist the rituals for the ordination of deaconesses.  The tenth century Romano-Germanic Pontifical (RPG) contains the complete liturgy for both the ordination of a deaconess and the ordination of a deacon.  Both were ordained through the imposition of hands by a bishop.  "The practice in the West of ordaining deaconesses has been adopted from the churches of the East, where there is full evidence of old for the rite of laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit.  The bishops ordained deaconesses in spite of the prohibition by some councils in Gaul, and they did so in the proper way, as is clear in the case of Radegund, who was ordained during a ceremony in a chapel by an imposition of hands and from the Gregorian sacramentary." . . . "Further the rites for the ordination of these deaconesses exist in at least three pontificals from the early Middle Ages."  Macy, pages 66-73.
v For centuries, "ordination was to a particular function rather than to a particular metaphysical or personal state.  It was what they did, not who they were, that made women episcopae, presbyterae, and deaconesses.  Any woman who performed that ministry and was ordained to it married or single, could be an episcopa, presbytera, or deaconess."  "In the early decades of the twelfth century a theology was developing that would completely remove women from any ordained ministry."  First it excluded all except priests and deacons from true ordination and further insisted that the diaconate precede the priesthood in the stages of ordination.  Second ordination to the priesthood became intrinsically linked to the power to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, in the sacrament of Eucharist.  Within a fifty-year period, the centuries old tradition of the ordination of women was reversed and because women could not be ordained then the overwhelming evidence that women had been ordained in the first 1000 years of the Catholic Church was denied and records documenting the ordination of women to serve as deaconesses, presbyterae, and episcopae selectively went missing.  Macy, pages 76-93.
v "The history of Christianity is replete with references to the ordination of women.  There are rites for the ordination of women; there are canonical requirements for the ordination of women; there are particular women depicted as ordained, and a number of roles limited to women are included among lists of ordained ministries."  Macy, page 4.
v In 1996 Ute Eisen produced an exhaustive compilation of the epigraphical evidence of  women ministers in the early centuries of Christianity.  She concluded "It is clear that women were active in the expansion and shaping of the Church in the first centuries:  they were apostles, prophets, teachers, presbyters, enrolled widows, deacons, bishops, and stewards".  Macy, page 18.
v Dirk Ansorge did a review of the role of the ordination of women in Christian history and concluded that at least in some places and at some times in the history of the church, women had received a true sacramental ordination based on the modern definition of that term.  Macy, page 16.
v The exclusive male church hierarchy has over time devalued and hidden the indispensible role of female deacons in the early church - who preached, baptized, performed marriages, and buried the dead.  Women's leadership roles from the time of Jesus to the 11th century have been almost erased by the extensive cover-up work of the church hierarchy.  Even women saints are relegated to weekday masses.  For example Romans 16:1-19, in which Paul cites by name the women who led the early church is never read at any Mass in the 3 year lectionary cycle, the reference to Junia as an apostle is read once every 3 years on a Saturday.  The encounter between Mary Magdalene, the most faithful apostle, and the resurrected Jesus is also relegated to a weekday, Easter Tuesday.  Whereas Jesus' appearance to the doubting apostle, Thomas, is read on the second Sunday after Easter every year.  The erasure of women from church history is the result of a negative Christian view of women that developed as Christian theology became influenced by Greek and Roman culture.  Tanenbaum pages 79-80.
v 1054 - Great Schism, the church split into the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.  Catholic Encyclopedia.
v * Eleventh Century - There is a letter from Pope Benedict VIII to the Bishop of Porto which specifically gives him permission to ordain women to the diaconate, and that permission was repeated by a couple of other popes.  In translating documents with Gary Macy recently they "came across a bishop who talked about the five jobs of women as deacons:  catechesis, baptism, spiritual direction, confession and extreme unction."  Dr. Phyllis Zagano's presentation, "Women in Ministry" given to Elephants in the Living Room on Jan. 30, 2014.
v * 1059 - "Pope Nicholas II restricted the privilege of papal elections to the cardinals (priests who serve as administrators in the Vatican and as advisors to the pope), even though the body of cardinals would not officially be defined and recognized until 1179, by Lateran Council III."  Halter, page 14.
v 1089 - Pope Urban II inflicted unredeemable slavery on the wives of priests, children were abandoned.  Wijngaards, page 14 and "A History of Celibacy in the Catholic Church", Future Church.
v 1123 First Lateran Council - Pope Callistus II decreed that clerical marriages were invalid.  Canons 3 & 11 forbade priests, deacons, subdeacons, monks to marry or have concubines.  Canon 17 Abbots and religious are prohibited from admitting sinners to Penance, visiting the sick and administering Extreme Unction, and singing solemn and public Masses.  Catholic Encyclopedia.
v Between 1122-1137 the scholar, Abelard passionately and learnedly defended the position that women had been leaders and ordained in the early church.  Abelard pointed out that Phoebe, to whom Paul wrote, was a deaconess who ministered to the church "an example of the holy women who had done so much for the Lord and apostles".  Abelard quoted Origin who asserted the women had been constituted in the church by apostolic authority.  Abelard quoted Epiphanius noting that this honored churchman had himself ordained deaconesses.  Abelard quoted Paul, who included women in the ordo of deacons in his Letter to the Romans.  Abelard argued that this ordo was established by Jesus himself and not by the apostles.  The holy women who followed Jesus and who supported him from their material goods were the equivalent of the apostles.  Mary Magdalene, indeed was the apostle to the apostles.  Not only the Magdalene however, but "from this we infer that these holy women were constituted as if they were female apostles superior to the male ones, since they were sent to the male apostles."  Abelard's defense of the ordination of women was possibly the most thorough and passionate defense of women's orders in the high Middle Ages and it would be the last extended defense of the ordination of women in medieval Western Christianity.  Macy, pages 93-96.
v 1139 Second Lateran Council - Pope Innocent II determined priests must remain unmarried and celibate in order to protect church property that might be lost to priests' wives and children.  Therefore "any marriages contracted by the bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, canons regular, monks, professed lay brothers, and women religious were judged to be invalid."  Wives of ordained men became concubines and their children became bastards.  "This effectively undermined hereditary parishes and dioceses."  All 4 Lateran Councils worked to get women out of the clergy - no deaconesses, no priests, no bishops, no abbesses, no wives to priests.  Torjesen, pages 224-233 and Macy, pages 112-113.
v * 1100-1300 - It is during the Dark Ages that the ban against women's ordination became part of church law.  The theologians of the time methodically reflected on the reasons to support this ban, they included:  "God made women subservient to men."  Women are inferior to men by nature."  Women are not created in the image of God, as men are."  Women still carry the burden of Eve's sin."  Women cannot be ordained because of their sex, it is against their nature."  Women are not perfect human beings and thus cannot represent Christ."  Wijngaards, pages 59-61.
v 1140 - "The ecclesiastical law which restricts Holy Orders to baptized males (cannon 968, § 1) is largely based on forgeries, mistaken identities, and suppressions.  The patriarch of cannon law, Gratian, laid the foundation of the science of cannon law with his massive work of codification, the Decretum, in the 12th century (1140).  In this work, Gratian formulated a number of laws restrictive to women on the assumption that women as such were inferior human beings.  Among the legal sources for these laws and the assumption, he cited as authoritative the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, which he did not know were largely forgeries.  Another "authoritative" source used against women by Gratian were the decrees of the Council of Carthage (A.D. 389) as he found them in the Statuta Ecclesiae Antiqua.  We now know that the Statuta were composed by Gennadius of Marseille between 476 and 485, and the quotations Gratian used are not at all from a (non-existent) Council of Carthage in A.D. 389, or any other Council - the legal basis of Gratian's restrictive law (and of course all subsequent cannon law on this matter) is thus undermined." 
"The image of God exists in the male that he might be made the one from whom all others originate having the dominion of God; in some sense as His representative as he has the image of the one God.  And therefore woman is not created in the image of God. . . . for that reason a woman covers her head because she is not the glory or the image of God."
"It is true that the texts do not come from Augustine and Ambrose, as Gratian supposes, but rather from Pseudo-Augustine and Pseudo-Ambrose, their attributions by Gratian to the great Church Fathers agreed with prevailing opinion in the Middle Ages." Today it is certain that the commentaries are the product of the same author whose identity is not yet clear.  So the first collection of Church law was based on forgeries, non-existent councils, and the sexist bigotry found in pagan Roman law and this collection was "endorsed by one pope after the other as the Corpus Iuris Canonici, the 'Body of Church Law' that remained in force until 1918."  Raming, pages xxxi-xxxii, 30 and Wijngaards, page 174.  [Gratian of Bologne was a Camaldolese monk & teacher.  Raming, page 5.]
v Rufinus writing between 1157 and 1159 defined real ordination as ordination to the altar and distinguished it from an "ordination" that was just a commissioning for a particular ministry.  "Rufinus's careful distinction between "true" ordination and mere blessing was a huge success".  "It carefully "distinguished away" a thousand years' worth of references to women's ordination."  "The memory of the earlier ministry of women, whether unintentionally or not, was being expunged from official ecclesial sources."  "In one of the most successful propaganda efforts ever launched, a majority of Christians came to accept that ordination had always been limited to the priesthood and the diaconate and that women had never served in either ministry."  A thousand years of Christian history was dramatically altered.  Macy, pages 97-99.
v 12th Century - "Ordination was not formally distinguished according to gender until the twelfth century, when ordination came to be understood as the empowering of a minister to absolve sin and to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ."  Halter, page 15.
v "The Congregation for Doctrine acknowledges that there were women deacons in the Early Church, but it denies that they received a sacramental ordination.  The diaconate for women was only a minor ministry, it says, a blessing, a commission to perform some practical tasks."  "Women deacons were ordained in the Early Church through precisely the same ordination rite as male deacons."  "In the case of Holy Orders, from time immemorial the imposition of hands has been considered as the matter of the sacrament, the invoking of the Spirit on the ordinand as the form.  These constitute the essence of the sacramental sign, by which everyone knows that this person has been truly ordained."  The detailed written instructions on the ceremonies and prayers to be used for the ordination of male deacons and female deacons show clearly that both women and men received valid ordination.  Both rituals take place in the sanctuary during the liturgy of the Eucharist, the bishop prays that the grace of the Holy Spirit descend on both, the bishop performs the first and second imposition of hands on both, they both receive a stole from the bishop as their official vestment, both are handed the chalice by the bishop - how can the male be ordained and the woman only blessed?  "Male and female deacons were ordained to the same diaconate, through identical rituals, under parallel invocations of the Holy Spirit."  "Both are therefore sacramentally ordained."  "During the first millennium of the Church, tens of thousands [women] were ordained as deacons and thus participated in the first level of the sacramental ministry of the priesthood."  Wijngaards, pages 139-145.
v + 1188 - "Huguccio, from Bologna in Italy, wrote in 1188 that men, and not women, are the image of God for three reasons.  The first is that God is the origin of everything and the male is the origin of the whole human race.  Secondly, that the Church arose from the side of Christ, just as the woman was taken from the side of Adam.  And thirdly the male is the one who rules.  'Just as Christ is the head of the Church and governs the Church so the husband is head of his wife and rules and governs her.  And through these three causes the male is stated to be the image of God and not the woman, and therefore the male must not be like the woman a sign of subjection, but a sign of freedom and pre-eminence.'"  Huguccio went even farther arguing that women could not be ordained.  It was not possible for a woman to receive orders.  Even if "a female is in fact ordained, she does not receive orders, and hence is forbidden to exercise the office of orders."  "In other words, even if a woman were to be ordained, it would not "take"."  "The mere fact of being a woman would negate any effect that an ordination might have."  Wijngaards, page 69, and Macy, page 100.
v 1215 - Fourth Lateran Council - Pope Innocent III made a number of changes and the church that emerged was more clerical, more hierarchical, and more centralized.  It is important to emphasize that the concentration of sacramental power into the hands of the priest did not occur until the end of the 12th century.  Macy, page 47.
v * 1217-1274 - St. Bonaventure asserts "The male sex is required for the reception of Orders . . . for no one is capable of taking up Orders who does not bear the image of God, . . . it is the male who is, by reason of his sex 'Imago Dei', the image of God . . . Therefore in no way can a woman be ordained."  Wijngaards, page 68.
v 1225-1274 - Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century theologian, wrote "The image of God, in its principal signification, mainly the intellectual nature, is found both in man and woman. . . . However, in a secondary sense the image of God is found in the male, and not in woman:  for the male is the beginning and end of woman; as God the beginning and end of every creature.  . . . for man is not of woman, but woman of man; and man was not created for woman, but woman for man."   Thomas Aquinas held that women could not become priests because women by their nature were "something defective and accidental" and certainly inherently inferior to men and therefore incapable of assuming a position of preeminence or leadership.  Aquinas "taught that because women were misbegotten males (Aristotle) and secondary beings (Augustine), they were unfit for priesthood." "Being female presented an insurmountable impediment to ordination."  That was the Church's official position until 1976.  Wijngaards, page 69 (Summa Theologica I, qu. 93,art. 4, ad1) and Torjesen, page 4 and Macy, page 120 and Halter, page 6.
v + Guido de Baysio, between 1296-1300, wrote women cannot be ordained and "this is the reason because orders are for the more perfect members of the church since it is given for the distribution of grace to an other.  A woman however is not a perfect member of the church, but a male is."  "Moreover, woman was the effective cause of damnation.  This applies not only to Eve, but to all women.  All women are defiled by sin and cannot administer grace."  "The official law of the Church maintained that women should be kept in submission because of their responsibility for bringing sin into the world."  Macy, page 101 and Wijngaards, pages 85, 89.
v "Within roughly a century, women lost all standing as ordained clergy.  They could not be ordained even if they underwent a ceremony of ordination.  They had never been truly ordained either as presbyterae, deaconesses, or abbesses, despite any authorities to the contrary.  All women were now simply laity and lower in standing than any layman.   Further, they had always been laity and would always be laity.  It was metaphysically impossible for them to be ordained, to have been ordained, or ever to be ordained."  Macy, page 102.
v + By the 13th century the church was teaching that "ordination bestowed an indelible and eternal character on the soul that marked out a priest or deacon as different from all other Christians for eternity.  Ordination made one metaphysically distinct from all other Christians, indeed from all other humans."  And it could not be reversed, ordination was irreversible.  "Ordination was a ceremony empowering a [masculine] member of the church for only one purpose, the consecration of the bread and wine during the liturgy in order to make the risen Christ present at that liturgy."  "Ordination became a ceremony that granted power and a new spiritual status to a particular" man.  "However, it is clear from Scripture that Jesus never saw himself in this light.  Nor did he envision such a status for his disciples. . . . He abolished and transcended the system of 'sacred' priestly functions as understood in the Old Testament."  Macy, pages 107-110 and Wijngaards, page 28.
v * 1347-1380 - St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, wanted to disguise herself and so become a Dominican priest.  The plan did not work. . . . The God of her visions did not tell her to submit to her subordinate position as a woman."  And although she wasn't a priest she was a reformer and fearless in speaking truth to power.  Wijngaards, page 137.
v "Research suggests the picture of women, never particularly flattering in the Middle Ages, changed significantly for the worse during Gregorian Reform."  Sexual intercourse polluted priests.  Women were described as unclean.  Women who were menstruating should not be allowed to enter a church.  After childbirth women should not enter a church for 40 days if they had given birth to a son, for 80 days if they had given birth to a daughter.  "The language of misogyny used to encourage and justify celibacy provides an important background for the exclusion of women from ordained ministry."  Canon law chose to follow Roman law and greatly restricted the role of women, reducing their legal status to that of children or servants.  Women were considered flighty, unreliable, hopelessly ignorant, incapable of reasoned discourse, unclean, harlots, prostitutes, witches, sinful, morally and physically weak, and naturally inferior to men and there was nothing they could do to correct this defect.  "A male is situated closer to God as a male is the image and glory of God; a woman, on the other hand, [is the image and glory] of a male.  . . . Not only were women not made in God's image, but also women were dependent on men for their relationship with God."  Church authority was centered in the Vatican and all sacramental power was consolidated into the hands of the priest and priests were male and celibate.  The laity were second class believers and dependent on priests for their salvation.  "The church that allowed for episcopae, presbyterae, and married deaconesses vanished from history."  Macy, pages 111-126.
v * 1439 - Council of Florence decreed that holy orders in fact constituted the sixth sacrament.  This fifteenth-century sacramentalization of priesthood further separated the clergy from laity, as well as, the male and female."  Halter, page 15.
v 1455 - February 23rd of this year is traditionally acknowledged as the publication date of the Gutenberg Bible, the first European book printed with movable type.  The Little Black Book, Diocese of Saginaw,  2012.
v * 1484 - "Pope Innocent VIII appointed two Dominican priests to be professional witch-hunters.  At the pontiff's behest, the two priests produced Malleus Maleficarum ("Witches' Hammer"), the exhaustive and definitive witch-hunter's manual".  "The medieval view of women - mysterious, enticing, dangerous - saturated church teaching".  Over the next 3 centuries "many thousands of "witches" [were] executed, the vast majority were women."  Halter, pages 6-7.
v 1517 - "The Augustinian monk and theologian Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation in protest against outrageous abuses of clerical privilege" and the selling of indulgences.  Halter, page 15.
v 1545-1563 - The Council of Trent "strengthened the boundary between clergy and laity.  A seminary system was established and bishops were placed hierarchically over priests and deacons.  The council issued an official list of seven sacraments for males and six for females: ordained priesthood was the one sacrament denied to females.  The council further stated that ordained priests were on a higher level than the priesthood of believers."  Tanenbaum, page 66 and Halter, page 13.
v 1655 - "Jean Morin, the great liturgist, produced a monumental collection of ordination rites in Greek, Latin, and Syriac in 1655.  He included a separate section discussing the question of whether women had been ordained to the diaconate or not in the early church.  He concluded that since the same rites were used for deacons and deaconesses in the most ancient Greek rites, then deaconesses were indeed ordained."  In the ordination rites of deacons and deaconesses - both are called ordination, both are celebrated at the altar by the bishop, hands are placed on both while the bishop offers prayers, the stole is placed on the neck of both, both the ordained man and the ordained woman communicate, and the chalice full of the blood of Christ is placed in the hands of both so they may partake.  Macy, page 7.
v "It should not be too surprising that few sources exist concerning the ordained ministry of women. ... Once women were no longer ordained and, moreover, . . .were considered never to have been ordained, all references to their once being ordained would be either expunged or quietly dropped.  The ecclesiastical laws that were copied into the great canonical collections of the eleventh and twelfth centuries were those that supported the reform movement of that period.  Our picture of earlier periods is shaped by what survives, and what survives has been carefully selected and preserved to reflect and support the views of those doing the selecting and preservation. . . . An alternative scenario must be glimpsed through the cracks in the dominant story [women never were ordained, never served as priests or deacons];  places where surviving evidence threatens to undermine the narrative.  If women were never ordained, why are they so designated?  If women never served at the altar, why were women called deacons and priests in the past?  Why does past legislation forbid women from performing liturgical functions that they were never supposed to have performed at all?  In short, what kind of Christianity allowed abbesses to hear their nun's confessions, preach, and distribute communion?  Evidence survives that describes all of the above, and yet such evidence should not have survived.  It should never have existed at all, if the dominant narrative were consistent. . . . This study will be an attempt to uncover the hidden history  - one deliberately and systematically denied an existence."  Macy, pages 50-52.
v 1656 - The first Quakers came to the American colonies, they believed in the fundamental equality of women and men and so both shared in the public religion teaching function.  Daigler, page 4.
v 1853 - Congregationalists (today's United Church of Christ) allow ordination of women and Antoinette Brown Blackwell, a graduate of Oberlin College and Seminary, became the first ordained woman in the United States.  Tanenbaum, page 152 and Daigler, page 10.
v 1863 - Universalists allow ordination of women.  Sentilles, page 14.
v * 1866 - Slavery - Pope Pius IX declared in a written instruction "Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons . . . It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given."  That was the official position of the Roman Catholic Church despite the fact that Protestant England had permanently abolished the slave trade in 1807, that Lincoln on January 1, 1863 in the Emancipation Proclamation had freed the slaves in the 10 states in rebellion (3.1 million slaves of the total of 4 million slaves in the US at that time), and that on 12/18/1865 the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted outlawing slavery throughout the United States.  Other countries abolishing slavery within their borders before 1866 included Scotland (1778), Germany (1807), Spain (1811), Holland (1818), France (1818), Greece (1822), Denmark (1848).  www.womenpriests.org/teaching/slavery1.asp  table prepared by John Wijngaards from materials from The Development of Catholic Doctrine concerning Slavery by J.F. Maxwell.
v 1870 - First Vatican Council defines the dogma of papal infallibility.  Catholic Encyclopedia.  The 19th Century Catholic historian, Lord Acton commented upon hearing of the papal infallibility decree of the First Vatican Council "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  Fox, page 231.
v * 1870s - Sojourner Truth "was widely acclaimed as one of the most influential women of her day:  an illiterate black woman, a political activist without office, a preacher without credentials save for her penetrating and holistic vision of God's justice.  In one of her most famous speeches, she rose in a women's rights meeting to respond to those men who had spoken with patronizing solicitude of women's weaknesses and consequent subordination to men:  "I have plowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me - and ain't I a woman?  I have born'd five children and seen 'em mos' all sold off into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard - and ain't I a woman? . . . Den dat little man in black dar, he say women can't have as much rights as man, 'cause Christ warn't a woman.  Whar did your Christ come from?  Whar did your Christ come from?  From God and a woman!  Man had nothing to do with him!"  She lived her later years in Michigan and died in Battle Creek in 1883.  Ellsberg, page 141.
v 1880 - Methodist Protestant Church allows ordination of women.  Sentilles, page 14.
v 1880s - Methodist Episcopal Zion Church ordains Julia A. J. Foote and Mary Small, two black women, the first women deacons.  Daigler, page 10.
v 1897 - Therese Martin of Lisieux "was called to be a priest.  She said she would rather die than be denied the joy of following her call."  "When dying of tuberculosis, she remarked that she would be pleased to die that year because she had always wanted to be a priest and would be of ordination age at her death.  It seems that she looked upon her death as a type of ordination."  During her beatification process her sister, Celine Martin stated under oath "The sacrifice of not being able to be a priest was something she always felt very deeply."  Daigler, page 136 from St. Therese Lisieux by Those Who Knew Her, author Christopher O'Mahoney, 1975, Veritas Publishers, pages 80-81 and McGrath, Meehan, Raming, page 111.
v * 1897 - Indeed the Little Flower, St. Therese is "a representative example for the free working of the Holy Spirit that allots to every one as she wills - and not how it is ruled by the church hierarchy - is the testimony of St. Therese of Lisieux (declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997):  "I feel called to the priesthood!"  She is seen as the patron of those women who rise in many countries today and publicly affirm their calling and being called by God to the priesthood."  Raming, pages xxvi-xxvii.
v 1911 - First documented Catholic organization advocating women's ordination was founded, St. Joan's Alliance, in London by May Kendall and Gabrielle Jeffery.  Daigler, pages x and 187.
v 1914 - Catholic Encyclopedia was published and included; women were "inferior in some respects to men both in body and in soul," women's struggle for equality in employment was "not compatible with the standard of the gospel," nor could the sexes ever be equal in "studies pursued at a university."  The Vatican was also opposed to the increasingly popular idea of allowing women to vote.  Halter, page 22.
v 1917 - Work was completed on the codification of the whole of cannon law which was ordered by Pope Pius X and completed under Pope Benedict XV.  There were a total of 2414 cannons, numbered consecutively with cannon 968 stating "Only a baptized male validly receives sacred ordination;"  The 1917 Pio-Bendictine Code of Canon Law, Dr. Edward N. Peters, Curator, published by P.J. Kennedy & Sons, New York, 1918. 5/27/17.
v 1943 - A US branch of St. Joan's International Alliance was established by Dorothy Shipley Granger to promote the civil rights of women.  Daigler, page 187.
v 1943 - March 23, "Holy Cross Sr. Mary Madeleva Wolff, then president of St. Mary's College, established the first graduate theology school for women.  Until the founding of the School of Sacred Theology at St. Mary's, women had been excluded from the theological profession."  Theology programs at Notre Dame, St. Louis, Marquette, Loyola Chicago, De Paul, and the Catholic University in Washington D.C. all had the same policy, "No Women Allowed."  "For more than a decade, St. Mary's College School of Sacred Theology was the only place in the world where a layperson, male or female, religious or lay, could earn an advanced degree in Catholic theology."  NCR, 2/12-25/2016.
v 1950 - Methodist Church allows ordination of women.  Sentilles, page 14.
v * 1950s+ - Joan Morris, an English woman and energetic and creative member of St. Joan's International Alliance comes to the US to study and serves as a human bridge on women's ordination between England and the United States.  She interacts with the people active in the Women's Ordination Conference (WOC), the Deaconess Movement, and the Philadelphia Task Force on Women in Religion.  She also produced several articles and books focusing on the medieval evidence of women's authority roles in the Catholic Church:  "Women and Episcopal Power" appeared in New Blackfriars (1972), followed by The Lady Was a Bishop (1973)."  Daigler, page 138.
v 1954 - Pope Pius XII said that the ordained priest represents Christ and laypeople are witnesses, increasing the boundary or gulf between the ordained and the laity.  Tanenbaum, page 66.
v 1958 - John XXIII is selected pope.  He calls for a worldwide gathering of bishops to discuss the role of the church in the modern world - Vatican II. Tanenbaum, page 66.
v 1960 - African Methodist Episcopal Church allows ordination of women. Sentilles, page 14.
v 1961 - In answer to Pope John XXIII's call for all Catholics to engage in the preparations for the Second Vatican Council, St. Joan's International Alliance assembled an international task force including Gertrud Heinzelmann, a Swiss lawyer, and theologians, Mary Daly and Leonard Swidler and others to develop a paper advocating the admission of women to the ordained priesthood, We Shall Keep Quiet No Longer!  Women Speak to the Second Vatican Council, was sent to the Preparatory Commission and was widely distributed in Europe to laity, clergy and hierarchy.  "In it she identified the ban against women's ordination as oppression, traced its roots in Thomas Aquinas and its fruits in canon law, and announced the necessity for women to be ordained to all the ranks of ministry."  This paper was "the first to publicly assert that the policy against women's ordination must change."  The paper made it no farther than the Preparatory Commission.  Daigler, pages 19, 28, 140 and Halter, page 21.
v 1963 - Rosemary Lauer wrote an analysis of We Shall Keep Quiet No Longer!  Women Speak to the Second Vatican Council which appeared in Commonweal Magazine on 12/20/63.  "This is the first article openly critical of the Vatican's stance toward women to appear in the U. S. Catholic press."  Daigler, page 19.
v 1963 - Pope John XXIII wrote "The greatest cultural revolution of all times [will be] one which replaces a structure and culture that have been worked out by the male half of humankind over thousands of years by a structure and culture that will be the handiwork of the whole of humankind comprising the female, as well as the male."  He further stated "Human beings have the right to choose freely the state of life which they prefer . . . . and also the right to follow a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life."  Daigler, pages 118-119.
v 1964 - Presbyterian Church allows ordination of women.  Sentilles, page 14.
v Vatican II (1962-65) Only men were invited to observe Vatican II proceedings and only men were invited to serve as spokespeople for women's organizations.  One week before the third session opened, in 1964, Pope Paul VI (who succeeded after John XXIII died, in 1963) discovered that there was public criticism of the council's exclusion of women, and only then did he allow "some devout ladies" to attend as auditors for several ceremonies.  During the final session in 1965, twenty-two women were allowed to serve as auditors among the three thousand men.  Tanenbaum, page 67 and Halter, page 21.
v Vatican II (1962-65) in 1965 issued the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) Chapter II The Community of Mankind #29 states "All women and men are endowed with a rational soul and are created in God's image; they have the same nature and origin and, being redeemed by Christ, they enjoy the same divine calling and destiny; there is here a basic equality between all and it must be accorded ever greater recognition."  www.vatican.va
v Vatican II (1962-65) in 1965 the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) Chapter II The Community of Mankind #29 states "With respect to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, color, social condition, language, or religion, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent."  Theologian Elizabeth Johnson reminds us, the theological term today for "contrary to God's intent" is sin.  So what the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World teaches is that discrimination against women on account of their sex is sinful. www.vatican.va
v Vatican II (1962-65) in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church  (Lumen Gentium) Chapter IV The Laity #37 states "The laity are -- by reason of the knowledge, competence or outstanding ability which they may enjoy -- permitted, and sometimes even obliged, to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church." Daigler, pages 38 & 51.
v Vatican II (1962-65) stated that Scripture and tradition are not two separate sources of revelation.  "In order to be valid, tradition must be scriptural.  . . . In order to be validly scriptural, the use made of Scripture must be legitimate.  This means that the only valid sources of traditions are those written sources which employ Scripture according to the intended meaning of the inspired authors.  In this respect the presumed 'tradition' banning women from ordination has been proved to be a fake, for its scriptural basis is inadequate."  Further the value of a tradition "does not depend on how long they have been exhibited, but on their basis."  "The fact that slavery was upheld for nineteen centuries by Fathers of the Church, medieval theologians and popes did not give the tradition any greater validity."  "Catholic leaders upheld as Catholic teaching that slavery was a legitimate institution . . . an institution actually willed by God!"  Even after slavery was "abolished in Great Britain and all its dominions, in the USA, in Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela and most other civilized countries" the Vatican still held slavery is in harmony with Catholic doctrine.  "Another infamous example has been the so-called 'tradition' that excluded non-Catholics from salvation.  Until at least 1854, the official teaching emanating from Rome was that there was no salvation outside the Church."  This tradition was stated by popes and councils - "The Council of Florence in 1442, under Pope Eugene IV:'[The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes, and preaches that no-one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life; but they will go to the "eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels"."  The presumed tradition excluding women from ordained ministries has "no authentic scriptural basis.  Perhaps there were mitigating circumstances for the medieval theologians, such as their inadequate rules of scriptural interpretation, defective knowledge of biology, insufficient access to reliable historical data and the overwhelming and seductive power of Roman law.  Such excuses do not hold good today.  The practice of not ordaining women can clearly be seen to have sprung from social and cultural prejudice.  And as St.Cyprian aptly remarks: 'A practice without truth is merely an ancient error.'"  Wijngaards, pages 8, 122-126.
v Vatican II (1962-62) - "Orsy listed four overarching achievements of the council:  1) . . . from the centralization of power to a more organic structure of a body, where each member was endowed with the power of the Spirit; 2) from confessional conflict to ecumenical vision, or form discord to unity among Christian churches; 3) from defensive isolation to expansive presence, or from a shocked reaction to the Protestant Reformation to a new and appreciative look at earthly values and human personality; and 4) from a static worldview to a dynamic one, or from the Aristotelian idea of unchanging perfection to a contemporary acknowledgement of developmental process."  "Every role and task in the Church was held up for inspection and marked for renewal:  priest, lay person, religious, bishop, missionary.  But there was one exception:  the papal office itself did not come under scrutiny, nor did the college of cardinals."  Halter, pages 21 & 23.
v 1965 - "Pope Paul VI affirmed the doctrine of reception and assent in "Declaration on Religious Freedom" saying that truth was to be sought in a "manner proper to the dignity of the human person" engaging in free inquiry, communication, and dialogue.  When persons discovered a truth, it was "by a personal assent" they were to adhere to it.  "In other words reception and assent of a teaching by the faithful are required for that teaching to be valid.  A believer cannot be forced into receiving a doctrine or teaching that seems untrue."  "In 1968, the doctrine of reception and assent handed Rome one of its biggest failures with Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae (literally Human Life, known as On the Regulation of Birth)" banning all birth control.  "Fewer than 20% of American Roman Catholics" assented or followed this teaching.  Halter, pages 26, 101-103.
v * 1965 - "The US members of St. Joan's International Alliance formed a US branch/chapter for the rights of women in the church, especially ordination" under the leadership of Frances Lee McGillicuddy.  Daigler, page 187.
v 1967 - "Pope Paul VI restored the "permanent diaconate" for men who did not intend to become priests."  Rome also "declared that women lectors, if used at all, were to stand outside the sanctuary."  Halter, pages 13, 38.
v 1970 - "The Deaconess Movement in the United States was sparked by Jeanne Barnes's letter, published in the National Catholic Reporter" February 1970.  Daigler, page 187.
v 1970 - Ida Raming earned her Doctoral Degree in Theology from the University of Freiburg, her dissertation topic "The Exclusion of Women from Priestly Office: "God-Given Tradition, or Anti-woman Discrimination" (she would become one of the Danube 7).  Daigler, page 141.
v 1971 -  An International Synod of Bishops recommended "that a global commission be established to study the situation of women in the church, including the possibility of ordination.  After the bishops departed Rome that year (but before the resolution could be delivered to Pope Paul VI), the text mysteriously was changed to make the proposed commission responsible not to the bishops at all, but to the pope.  More than thirty years later, no such commission has been created."  Halter, page 35.
v 1971 - Canadian bishops issue a declaration of approval of women's ordination to the priesthood.  Daigler, page 19.
v * 1971 - The monthly journal of the National Council of Catholic Women (established by the U. S. bishops in 1920), The Word, in its April 1971 issue published an article by Mary Lamb titled "Human Rights" in which she examined five common arguments against the ordination of women and then refuted each.  Daigler, page 23.
v 1971 - "Leonard Swidler was among the earliest lay Catholics in the US to earn a doctoral degree in theology and to publish serious writings supporting the ordination of women", most notably in January, 1971 the article, "God's Word to Women" was published in Catholic World.  Daigler, page 25.
v 1971-76 - The monthly newsletter, The Journey, was published by Jeanne Barnes and Mary B. Lynch to keep information flowing among women interested in ordination.  Daigler, page 50.
v 1972 - Paul VI issued an "apostolic letter explicitly excluding women from the new lay ministries of lector and altar server."  Halter, pages 38-39.
v 1972 - Jewish women were allowed to become rabbis in the Jewish Reform Movement.  Tanenbaum, page 152.
v 1972 - "The National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States had written that Pauline texts should not be cited as arguing against women's ordination because among other reasons, "these texts are of Pauline authority alone."  In other words, Paul's writings were insufficient evidence against women's ordinations."  Halter, page 38.
v 1974 - Jewish women were allowed to become rabbis in the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement.  Tanenbaum, page 152.
v 1974 - Three retired Episcopal bishops ordained eleven women to the priesthood in Philadelphia without formal approval.  "In 1975 in Washington D.C., a second "irregular" ordination yielded four more female Episcopal priests.  At the 1976 General Convention, "the Episcopal Church approved women's ordination," and "the first "regular" or legal Episcopalian ordinations of women priests took place the next year."  "We changed a church that would not change itself," said Betty Bone Schiess one of the women ordained in 1974.  "To deny one woman ordination . . . is to say something to all women about their second order of creation, and that is inconsistent with the gospel."  Daigler, page 103 and Halter, page 43.
v 1974 - "The Association of Women Aspiring to the Priestly Ministry, Belgian/French in origin, was brought to the United States by Mary B. Lynch."  Daigler, page 187.
v 1974 - The national chapter of the Sisters of Mercy "overwhelmingly approved" a statement of support for women's ordination presented by the Chicago delegates.  Daigler, page 41.
v  1974 Corpus was founded with a three-fold agenda, solidarity, healing, and witness for priests leaving the priesthood.  Corpus is a national organization and faith community rooted in a strong Eucharistic commitment, promoting an expanded and renewed priesthood of married and single men and women in the Catholic Church.  www.corpus.org 
v * 1970's - "Scrutiny of the male priesthood resulted from three general sources:  (1) Vatican II's call for increased awareness and participation of the laity in church teaching and practice; (2) the call for gender equality by the secular women's movement in the West; and (3) the growing inclusion of women clergy in other Christian denominations, notably the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Canadian Anglican Church."  Halter, page 29.
v 1970s - Pope Paul VI requested the International Theological Commission to conduct a study on women deacons.  When the report was completed the findings were suppressed and the document remains unpublished.  However, "an article published in Orientalia Christiana Periodica in 1974 by then commission member Cipriano Vagaggini concluded that the ordination of women deacons in the early church was sacramental."  "The ordination ritual of the Apostolic Constitutions for women deacons (was) codified by the Councils of Nicea (325) and Chalcedon (421)."  "The oldest known complete rite of ordination for women deacons, a mid-eighth century Byzantine manuscript known as Barbarini 336, requires that women be ordained by the bishop within the sanctuary."  Therefore, there were sacramentally ordained women deacons in the Roman Catholic Church for the first 11 centuries of Christianity.  Zagano, Phyllis, "Catholic Women Deacons", America Magazine, February 17, 2003.
v 1970s - "Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of Rome's theological advisers" and "one of Pope John Paul II's favorite theologians . . . does not mince his words:  'The priestly ministry and the sacrament are means of passing on seed.  They are a male preserve.  They aim at inducing in the Bride her function as a woman. . . . What else is his Eucharist but, at a higher level, an endless act of fruitful outpouring of his whole flesh, such as a man can only achieve for a moment with a limited organ of his body?'"  Tina Beattie comments on his view of Eucharist - "This is the Eucharist understood not primarily as Christ's identification with the universal human tragedy of death, but rather as the identification of Christ's death with the uniquely male experience of penile ejaculation. . . The justification given for the essentialisation of the male priesthood has reduced the symbolic richness of the Mass so that it is indeed nothing but a cosmic male orgasm."  Wijngaards, page 119.
v * 1975 - Elizabeth Carroll, RSM spoke at the bishops' bicentennial hearings and in her presentation titled "On Women" stated "She must be guaranteed by the Church that freedom to be and to become all that, under the Spirit, she is capable of.  Within the Church this will mean the revival of ordination to the diaconate, for which we have clear evidence in the early Church.  It will also mean the institution of the orders of priesthood for women."  Then in November she gave a pre-WOC address, "The Proper Place for Women in the Church" that expanded her theme.  In December she published 'Women and Ministry" in Theological Studies.  Daigler, page 62.
v 1975 - Through the insight, energy, and hard work of Mary Lynch, Nadine Foley and others the first national conference concerning the ordination of Roman Catholic women titled 'Women in Future Priesthood Now:  A Call for Action" met in Detroit, Michigan, November 28-30, 1975.  Twelve hundred women supporting women's ordination to the priesthood came to Detroit for this event, approximately 50% lay women and 50% religious women, and five hundred more supporters were turned away for lack of space.  "During the meeting, some three hundred women stood to indicate their conviction of being called to the priesthood."  The activist movement to protest the exclusion of women from the priesthood was born.  Tanenbaum, page 68 & Daigler, page 45 & Halter, page 31.
v 1975 - Bishop Charles A. Buswell of Pueblo, Colorado was the only US bishop to publicly support the first national WOC conference in 1975 in Detroit.  He unobtrusively became the confidante of women seeking ordination, supported the advancement of women in the church, and regularly participated in RAPPORT (founded in 1986) activities and made donations to the group.  In a 1977 interview he stated "We should continue to be involved in women's issues and to study the possibility of admitting them to full participation in the Church . . . . At the present time the Doctrinal Congregation does not see the possibility of ordaining women to the priesthood.  I don't think that closes the door on the matter."  And years later he was still advocating for women's ordination, he said "I really think we're guilty of some sort of sexism if we refuse to allow women to be ordained . . . . There's nothing in the scriptures that says women cannot be ordained.  One of our basic tenets is that women are equal to men.  Therefore they have the same rights to leadership."  Daigler, pages 127-129.
v 1975 - The Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) published its first report from their study of the status of women in the church, it stated that the church has made "only perfunctory, sporadic and uncoordinated efforts to examine its own practices and attitudes" toward women.  In this environment, women did not "share an equal status with men" because church law "fails to recognize the dignity of women as persons and limits their opportunity for service in the church."  Indeed, the exclusion of women "from almost all effective decision-making" created a "grave pastoral problem."  Halter, pages 29-30.
v 1975 - The executive board of the National Assembly of Religious Brothers passed a resolution supporting "the full participation of women in all ministries of the church."  National Catholic Reporter April 18, 1975, Vol. 11, No. 25
v 1975 - The Pontifical Biblical Commission, established by Pope Paul VI, after over a year of work by internationally known Catholic Scripture scholars "unanimously declared that the New Testament alone was not sufficient to settle "in a clear way and once and for all" the "problem" of ordaining women."  "The Bible never used the technical term hiereus ("priest") in connection with Christian ministry."  "Difficulties arose, the PBC said, from studying biblical data in order to understand eucharistic priesthood, which is a postbiblical concept.  This bold and risky claim posed an awkward embarrassment for Pope Paul VI, who responded by disbanding the commission. . . .the report was never officially released."  The ordination of women to the priesthood could NOT be excluded on the basis of scripture.  In addition, the PBC stated "that the texts forbidding women to speak and teach in the assemblies might have referred "only to certain concrete situations and abuses" and might even have been inauthentic."  The PBC concluded that male leadership in the early Church "was neither scriptural nor divine, but merely cultural."  So should the teaching on the all male priesthood be abandoned by the church?  Over the centuries there are a number of church teachings that the church has had to abandon, including:  "non-Catholics are bound for hell, slavery is morally just, women are biologically inferior to men, killing a Muslim earns eternal salvation for a Crusader, the sun revolves around the earth, unbaptized infants do not enter heaven, married couples who take pleasure in sex commit a sin."  Daigler, page 119 and Halter, pages 37-38 and Tanenbaum, page 72.
v In 1976 the prefect (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger future Pope Benedict XVI) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith overturned the conclusions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and issued its own statement, Inter Insigniores (the Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood).  "The document's stated purpose was "to recall that the Church, in fidelity to the example of the Lord, does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination." The document stated "the primary reason that women cannot be ordained is that they are unable to act "in persona Christi" -  they cannot represent Christ because they do not resemble Christ in his maleness."  The official position of the Vatican is "The priest is a sign, there would not be this 'natural resemblance' which must exist between Christ and his minister if the role of Christ were not taken by a man."  The justification for the exclusion of women from the priesthood is that the female body does not resemble the male body of Christ.  It is therefore impossible for a women to perform the sacramental functions of a priest.  "This assertion clearly privileged Christ's sex over his humanity."  So "maleness could not be separated from the work of salvation because the "incarnation of the word took place according to the male sex," a fact that was "in harmony with the entirety of God's plan.""This drew serious criticism because it "ignored the central church teaching that salvation comes not from Jesus' maleness but from his humanness." In addition, "from the point of view of most scholars of ancient languages, persona does not refer to the human body but to the human spirit; therefore, they hold that women are qualified to be ordained."  And Elizabeth A. Johnson writes "The naive physicalism that reduces resembling Christ to being male is so deviant from Scripture and so theologically distorted as to be dangerous to the faith itself."  This document "also stated that any valid appeal to scripture must be understood not only in light of Jesus' actions, but also in light of what Jesus did not do.  The CDF argued that the church could not ordain women because "Jesus Christ did not call any woman to become part of the Twelve."  Further, Paul "ordained" only men, not for cultural reasons but in respect for divine will."  "In reality, at no time in the apostolic era was there "a question of conferring ordination" on anyone, including the Twelve." The Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood acknowledged the church fathers' (Irenaeus, Tertullion, Origen, Epiphanius) undeniable prejudices against women, but it claimed "these prejudices had hardly any influence on their pastoral activities, and still less on their spiritual direction."  "Nevertheless, if (as Rome now claimed) these and other church fathers erred in teaching subordinationism, and if the primacy of male over female was their reason for refusing to ordain women, could it not follow that the ban on women priests was in error?  This question has never been clarified by the Vatican, which in fact continues to cite the very writers whose misogyny it rejects."  The Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood cited three ancient texts condemning women for exercising priestly duties:  The Didascalia Apostolorem (Teaching of the Apostles) was a third-century Syriac document that claimed to be composed by the Twelve but was later shown to be fraudulent.  The fourth-century Synod of Laodicea, Canon 44 declared "Women are not allowed to approach the altar".   The fourth century Constitutiones Apostolicae (Apostolic Constitutions) restated material from Didascalia Apostolorem.  "Far from settling the issue, Inter Insigniores only ignited more heated controversy.  In the wake of the declaration, a 1977 Gallop poll of U.S. Catholics" showed "support for women's ordination enjoyed a 10 percent increase."  Johnson, "On Infallibility and Responsible Dissent", Future Church and Halter, pages 45-57 and Tanenbaum, page 72 and Torjesen, page 223 and Daigler, page ix.
v * 1976 - Wijngaard further argued that "women are already acting in the person of Christ.  It is common sacramental doctrine that the minister of every sacrament acts as a vicar of Christ.  With regard to baptism, it is the explicit teaching of the Church that anyone with the use of reason, having the right intention and employing due matter and form, may be the minister of this sacrament.  The minister, male or female, acts in persona Christi.  'By his power Christ is present in the sacraments, so that when a person baptizes it is really Christ himself who baptizes.'  The ministers of the sacrament of matrimony are the partners themselves.  As Pius XII succinctly expressed it in Mystici Corporis:  'The spouses are ministers of grace to each other.' "  Wijngaards, pages 105-106, Vatican II Sacrosanctum Concilium, §7, and Acta Apostolicae Sedis 35 (1943), page 202.
v * 1976 - "But what makes the priest an image of Christ?  If the natural resemblance between the minister of the Eucharist and Christ formally concerned the maleness of Christ, then strictly speaking everything would have to be done to make the priest today resemble as closely as possible what we gather a Jew of the first century looked like.  This is not being flippant; it is the logical corollary of the Congregation's argument.  If natural resemblance means physical likeness" and " a woman cannot resemble Christ sufficiently  for the faithful to see Christ in her," then what about a very un-Jewish looking "race or nationality [being able to] adequately image Christ?"  "It is crucial to understand the difference between a 'photocopy' and an 'image'.  To be a symbol does not require that the symbolic person or function or object be a literal copy of the person, function or object symbolized."  "A woman may not be a photo likeness of Christ, but she can be, and is, Christ's image."  Wijngaards, pages 104-105.
v "John [John's Gospel] is in substantial agreement, theologically, with the Synoptics in presenting Jesus as relativizing the significance of physical relationship with himself (whether of motherhood, fraternity, or distant kinship) and recognizing discipleship, expressed in hearing the word of God in Jesus and keeping it, as the truly meaningful relationship with him.  If physically based human relationship with Jesus is regarded as salvifically irrelevant, it should be obvious to all that biological similarity to Jesus is even less relevant."  Schneiders, page 98.
v + 1976 - The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states that only a male priest can act "in persona Christi, taking the role of Christ, to the point of being his very image, when he pronounces the words of consecration. . . . The priest takes the part of Christ, lending him his voice and gestures.  But is this really true?  We obtain a different picture from studying the liturgy itself.  Throughout the eucharistic prayer the priest speaks in name of the community:  It is enough to read the words themselves, as we find them, for instance, in the traditional "Roman" eucharistic prayer.  The priest always speaks of 'we', 'us', 'all of us', etc.  I will just indicate here just the beginning of sentences (italics are mine):  We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving through Jesus Christ your Son.  Through him we ask you to accept and bless these gifts we offer you . . . We offer them for your holy catholic Church . . . Remember Lord, those for whom we now pray . . . Remember all of us gathered here before you.  You know how firmly we believe in you and dedicate ourselves to you . . . Father accept this offering from your whole family.  Grant us your peace in this life and save us from final damnation . . . Bless and approve our offering . . .' "  The priest "speaks as a representative of the community.  And the words of consecration fit into the same pattern.  Following Thomas Aquinas and other medieval theologians, Rome gives the impression that the words of consecration stand apart; that while the priest speaks these words, he steps outside his role as leader of the community and suddenly speaks only in the name of Christ. . . . This is not the case."  "The institution narrative, which quotes the verba Christi, is spoken in the third person:  it is a quotation within a narrative recital addressed as part of a prayer to God the Father, and it is encompassed within a prayer spoken in the name of the whole Church.  An examination of all eucharistic prayers shows that even at the moment of consecration the priest does not really step into the character of Christ or play his part, even though he uses certain words and gestures of Christ."  "The well-known liturgist, Ralph A. Keifer, who was general editor for the International Committee for English in the Liturgy (ICEL), comes to this conclusion:  'At no point in the eucharistic prayer does the priest speak directly in the name of Christ.  He continually speaks in the name of the church.  Even the institution narrative, which quotes the verba Christi, is spoken in the third person."  "In reciting the institutional narrative the priest continues to speak on behalf of the praying church.  And since on the level of sign, the representation of Christ is grounded in representation of the Church, it would seem that a woman could perform the priestly role of representing Christ as well as a man."  Wijngaards, pages 107-110.
v + 1976 - William Callahan (Jesuit), Maureen Fiedler (Sister of Mercy later Sister of Loretto), and Dolores Pomerleau (former Sister of St. Joseph) to fulfill the 1975 mandate of the Detroit conference immediately established the Quixote Center (QC) as an organizational hub.  Their very first project was to establish the organization, Priests for Equality (PFE) with a strong charter for gender equality.  Within 11 months over one thousand priests became members and by 1987 the number of members had grown to over 2,500 priests in 35 countries.  Building on this clear success they then were instrumental in the founding of the Women's Ordination Conference (WOC).  WOC was incorporated in 1977 with an office in Washington D.C.  WOC's first project manager was Ruth McDonough Fitzpatrick and the "organization began coordinating orderly, peaceful, and attention-getting protests at cathedrals around the country."   Daigler, pages 84, 110, 188 and Halter, page 31.
v 1976 - William Callahan, a Jesuit priest, had become active and public in his support of the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church.  The Jesuit's New England provincial administrator (Robert E. Manning, SJ) mandated that Callahan dissociate himself from Priests for Equality and Catholics Speak Out, and eventually that he leave the Quixote Center.  Dioceses refused to let him work within their boundaries.  The Jesuits' worldwide father general (Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ) attempted to silence him concerning his work in opposition to "clear decisions of the Holy See."  In his appeal to Kolvenbach, Callahan affirmed:  "I have had great love and joy being a Jesuit for these 40 years.  And I am also committed to the Gospel, to the Church's social teaching, and to the adventurous ideals of the Jesuit order which have shaped my life, stirred my heart, and led me to commit myself to the work of justice . . . .  I cannot abandon my work for gender equality in the church or civil society; sexism is a sin of our church that is eroding the faith of millions . . . . What is needed now is not Jesuit timidity, but a gospel-inspired boldness that refuses to be silent and speaks out in a strong, loving voice to call the church to justice in its own life."  After over a decade of conflict, pain, and confrontation and several months of spiritual search and struggle away from QC, Callahan ultimately decided in 1989 to remain true to his conscience which resulted in his painful and public parting with the Jesuits.  Daigler, pages 114-115.
v 1976 - The Women's Ordination Conference initiated a thrice yearly newsletter, New Women, New Church, replacing The Journey newsletter of the Association of Women Aspiring to Priestly Ministry (AWAPM).  By 2010 this now quarterly newsletter was being received in 5000 homes, offices, and libraries.  Daigler, pages 50, 96.
v 1976 - The US bishops issued to the laity a Call to Action intended to give new life to the church.  This call gave rise to the organization of the same name, Call to Action (CTA) which is committed to church reform including the ordination of women and married men.  Daigler, page 104.
v 1976 - Episcopal Church allows ordination of women.  Sentilles, page 14.
v 1976 - James Callen was appointed priest-administrator of Corpus Christi Church in Rochester, New York.  Under his leadership the parish grew in the number and the diversity of its members and its activity and support of many justice issues.  "As to women's participation in the worship of the church, Callahan welcomed as associate pastor a lay woman, Mary Anne Whitfield Ramerman, to preach and to co-preside at Eucharistic liturgies for some years."  Other examples of the atmosphere of inclusiveness were "the blessing of gay unions, and the offering of communion to those who were not Catholic."  In 1998, Bishop Matthew Clark received word from the Vatican that Callen was to be removed from the parish and some months later Ramerman was dismissed.  Mary Ramerman led Catholic weekly services at a nearby Presbyterian church for a very large group of alienated Corpus Christi parishioners and invited Callen to come and lead a Eucharistic liturgy for her worship community.  He did and was suspended from the Roman Catholic priesthood for doing so.  Over time he and Ramerman and the alienated parishioners from Corpus Christi established their own new church, Spiritus Christi and have now established 5 additional smaller worship communities in western New York state.  "In November 2001, Mary was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Peter Hickman of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC), which is "the nation's largest coalition of liberal, independent Catholic churches" and is of the lineage of the Old Catholic Church."  This international group of independent Catholic faith communities is not under papal jurisdiction and offers the sacraments to all the faithful and facilitates priestly ordination for women and men, married and celibate.  Daigler, pages 115-116 and Halter, page 145.
v 1976 - Quixote Center commissioned a national Gallop Poll to learn Catholics' opinions on women's ordination.  "It indicated, among other things, that there had been a 10% rise in acceptance during the 6 weeks after the Vatican declaration of its impossibility."  Subsequent surveys have shown acceptance of women's ordination has continued to grow, 29% in 1974, 58% in 1985, and 67% in 1992.  Daigler, page 111.
v 1977 - Worldwide objections to Inter Insigniores (Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood) prompted the CDF to issue a commentary to explain it.  "Immediately following publication of this commentary, however, twenty-three theologians at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, one of six pontifical faculties in the United States, penned an open letter to the local apostolic delegate."  ""To say that we have never ordained women in the past and therefore cannot do so now is to ignore the fact that the issue has never arisen in precisely these contemporary terms and within the new realization of women's place in the world," the theologians wrote.  The Vatican's position could not be sustained by "the evidence and the arguments alleged in its support."  Indeed Rome's position threatened a "serious injustice" arising from the exclusion of "an entire class of Catholics" from priesthood "on principle even from the possibility that Christ might call them."  The Jesuit letter was firm, direct, and very public:  "Roman congregations have made serious mistakes in the past whose harm to the church we continue to experience centuries afterwards.  We believe that we may well be on a similar path again.""  Halter, pages 59-62.
v  * 1977 - Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz joined the WOC leadership team and she traveled the country listening, lecturing, assisting, and establishing local WOC groups in Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and seven cities in California.  Many of these groups remain active.  Daigler, page 98.
v 1978 - John Paul II was installed as pope, he was unrelentingly conservative, particularly with regard to women's autonomy.  During his 27 year rule his authoritarian nature and anti-Vatican II stance became increasingly evident.  He refused to accept even the most unimposing inclusive language, replacing the proposed "for us and for our salvation" in the Nicene Creed with "for us men and for our salvation".  Tanenbaum, pages 68-69.
v + 1978 - Second WOC Conference was held in Baltimore, the organizers had "invited 350 US bishops to enter into dialogue with participants.  Only one bishop, Charles Buswell of Colorado, attended."  This conference included a session entitled "More than One Continent?" in which 5 women from Belgium, India, Mexico, Paraguay and Uganda shared their experience on the ordination issue in their country.  "The women described their own experiences of baptizing, marrying, anointing, absolving, and presiding at liturgical rituals of all sorts.  They were, in a sense, living the goal of the ordination movement and did so, presumably, "without benefit of the sacrament."  The ordination of women was not a one country or one continent issue in the universal church.  Whereas, the US ordination movement was trying to change church law, women in other countries around the world were simply functioning as priests.  Daigler, page 91.
v + 1978 - "Psychologist, Fran Ferder produced her landmark book Called to Break Bread, in which she studied one hundred Roman Catholic women who felt called to ordination to the priesthood."  These women were educationally qualified to become priests and felt the call of God to serve.  After rigorous tests and interviews by trained psychologists and spiritual guides (surpassing even those normally applied to male candidates for the priesthood) the researchers concluded 77% of the women who felt called were spiritually, psychologically and pastorally suitable for the ministry of the priesthood.  Daigler, page 96 and Wijngaards, pages 166-167.
v 1979 - The Catholic Biblical Association reported on the role of women in the ministry of Jesus or the early Church.  The member scholars of the "committee concluded:  there was no evidence that women were excluded from an early ministry; the roles later associated with priesthood "were never limited [and] nowhere in the NT explicitly limited to the Twelve; and the Vatican's claim that Jesus' example and intention provided a "permanent norm excluding women" from priesthood posed a "most serious logical difficulty" because Jesus said nothing about women or a priesthood.  This logical difficulty could be seen clearly in the same scenario from a different perspective - "whether in choosing the Twelve Jesus intended to establish a criteria for office in respect to sex, but not in respect to race, ethnic identity, or social identity."  "All that is known is that there were no women, Gentiles, Samaritans, or, evidently, slaves among the Twelve."  Halter, pages 39-40.
v + 1979 - Pope John Paul II came to the United States and held a prayer service at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.  Five thousand nuns were invited to attend and "Theresa Kane, a Sister of Mercy and president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, was selected to issue a greeting to the pope.  After the requisite niceties about the importance of his work on behalf of the world's poor, Kane went on to discuss the significant but unrecognized contributions made by women in the Catholic Church.  "As I share this privileged moment with you, Your Holiness, I urge you to be mindful of the intense suffering and pain which is part of the life of many women in the United States.  I call upon you to listen with compassion and to hear the call of women who comprise half of humankind.  As women we have heard the powerful messages of our Church addressing the dignity and reverence for all persons.  As women we have pondered upon these words.  Our contemplation [as women] leads us to state that the church, in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons, must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries [including priesthood] of our church.  I urge you, Your Holiness, to be open to and respond to the voices coming from the women of this country who are desirous of serving in and through the Church as fully participating members.""  The nuns responded with enthusiastic applause, the pope did not.  "Never in the modern era had anyone publicly and formally addressed a pope to his face in opposition to his stance on a controversial issue, and John Paul's displeasure was long-lasting." "Kane's direct and very public appeal propelled the issue of women's ordination to a new level of awareness in the minds of American Catholics."  Tanenbaum, pages 70-71 and Daigler, pages 66, 186 and Halter, page 32.
v 1983 - Revised and updated Code of Canon Law (containing 2,414 cannons) published abrogating the 1917 Code of Canon Law.  Contained in this edition is canon 1024 which states "A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly."  It also contained Canon 230:1-3 this canon bans women from the nonordained ministries of lector and altar server, while still providing for the installation of lay men to these ministries, it did allow "lay persons" (women) to "fulfill the function" (but not the formal ministry) of lectors and altar servers "by temporary deputation" according to the "necessity of the Church" and when qualified ministers (males) were "lacking".  Holy See Archive (online).  11/27/83 and Halter, page 65.
v 1983 - The Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER) was founded under the leadership of Mary Hunt and Diann L. Neu.  Daigler, page 103.
v "In 1983 the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference voted unanimously to develop a pastoral letter regarding women's concerns about the church.  A committee of six bishops, together with seven female consultants coordinated discussion with seventy-five thousand Catholic women across the country.  The committee created a document in which it quoted women in their own words expressing their opinions on myriad societal and religious issues, including teachings on sexuality and ordination.  Unacceptable to the Vatican, the document was rewritten and rewritten.  The fourth and final version deleted all of the women's quotations.  The bishops refused to approve the document, and it was not released.  Since that failure, U.S. bishops have not written major pastoral letters for fear of being in conflict with the Vatican.  However, the 10 year project educated a number of the bishops that the role of women in the church is central to the church's future.  The women also pointed out "that pastoral letters are usually written to address a problem, and that women are not a problem, . . . sexism in the Catholic Church is the problem and should be the subject of the hierarchy's attention."  Bishop Raymond A. Lucker commented in 1992 "We have come to recognize that there is sexism within the church, that we have not treated women equally and have not applied our own teaching to the internal life of the church.  The most critical issue then is the participation of women in ministry in the church and especially the discussion on the ordination of women."  Tanenbaum, page 74 and Daigler, pages 124 -125.
v * 1984-1995 - Ruth McDonough Fitzpatrick again took up the leadership of the WOC and during this time she "expanded the membership, deepened and broadened friendships with clergy and bishops, and established relationships with other organizations promoting reform of the Roman Catholic Church."  She also welcomed and stirred controversy and kept the ordination issue in the public eye and in the forefront of the hierarchy's attention.  Daigler, page 85.
v + "In 1984 Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to the archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, in which he stated that the ordination of women in the Anglican churches created an obstacle in friendly relations between the two institutions.  After consulting with Anglican leaders of the autonomous provinces of the Anglican Communion throughout the world (took a full year), Runcie outlined the Anglican position:  there is no basis in Scripture or tradition for objecting to the ordination of women; the exclusion of women from priestly ministry is not rooted in divine law; and the Catholic emphasis on maleness as part of in persona Christi is in fact detrimental because it weakens the priesthood by failing to include all Christians."  In 1992 the church of England followed the American Episcopal Church and approved women's ordination.  Tanenbaum, page 73 and Halter, pages 70-71.
v 1985 - Jewish women were allowed to become rabbis in the Jewish Conservative Movement.  Tanenbaum, page 152.
v 1985 - Cipriano Vagaggini was asked by the Synod on the Laity to discuss the question of women as deacons; so he published an essay in the Italian journal II Regno, in which he forcefully states:  "There have been liturgies -- up until the 14th century actually --that demonstrate that women were ordained in ceremonies the same as men, ordained as deacons.  Secondly, there is plenty of historical evidence about women in the diaconate and that substantiates the fact that they were serving as such.Dr. Phyllis Zagano's presentation, "Women in Ministry" given to Elephants in the Living Room on Jan. 30, 2014.
v 1986 - A group of women initiated a satellite project of WOC, known as Renewed and Priestly People:  Ordination Reconsidered Today (RAPPORT) that is still in operation.  Daigler, page 92.
v Bishop P. Francis Murphy of Baltimore was a valuable resource and worked and dialogued with the women of RAPPORT from the late 1980s to his death in 1999.  He consistently supported their goal of women's ordination to the priesthood and was able to motivate other reform-minded bishops to meet with these women, meetings were strictly confidential with the explicit promise to never reveal identities of those present.  Daigler, pages 126-129.
v In 1988 Pope John Paul II wrote an encyclical, "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women", in which he said that since Jesus chose men as apostles, it follows that women are unsuitable for the priesthood.  However, the term "apostle" is a contested one.  Often it is used to refer to the twelve men selected by Jesus to be special missionaries.  Yet the term was also used for people beyond the original twelve.  Paul described himself as an apostle.  Luke is considered an apostle.  Paul defined an apostle as someone who witnessed Jesus Christ when he was resurrected and was told to proclaim the gospel (1Corinthians 9:1-2).  According to this definition and in all four Gospels women were apostles.  Mary Magdalene is considered an apostle, as is Junia, an early church leader.  Women were Jesus' closest companions, walking with him from Galilee to Jerusalem and witnessing his death as well as his resurrection.  "Thus, all of the Twelve were apostles, but not all apostles belonged to the Twelve."  Halter, page 77 and Tanenbaum, pages 73-74.
v + 1989 -  Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity imposed on parish priests and theologians by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  This loyalty oath replaced a 1967 profession requiring Catholics to believe only those truths that were "divinely revealed".  The 1989 profession greatly expanded the beliefs covered in the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity.  "It outlined three types of church teaching and the response owed to each:  1 everything divinely revealed and infallibly taught required an "assent of faith"; 2 Catholics were to "firmly accept and hold" what was "definitively proposed"; and 3 noninfallible but "authoritative" teachings required "submission of intellect and will."  This expanded oath meant that those who believe that women can be ordained priests either had to take an oath to something they did not really believe or they would "no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church."  Future Church, "Chronology and Description of Vatican Documents on the Non-Ordination of Women" and Halter, page 132.
v + In 1989, when the communist regime in Czechoslovakia fell, it was discovered that there had been an underground Catholic Church.  Catholics in Czechoslovakia, who totaled 66% of the population, had been persecuted for practicing their religion since the 1948 Communist takeover.  To keep the Church alive, Bishop Felix Davidek was consecrated with Vatican approval to secretly ordain priests and to organize an underground seminary.  In carrying out his mission, Bishop Davidek had ordained single and married men as priests and had ordained 5-6 women priests to serve in places that men could not go.  Bishop Davidek stated at a diocesan synod: "Today humankind needs and is literally awaiting the ordination of women.  The Church should not oppose it.  This is the reason why we have gathered here.  This fact leads us to the need for prayer and the need for sacrament.  Nothing else.  Society needs the service of women."  When this information came to light, the Vatican characterized Davidek as mentally unstable and determined that the unmarried priests could continue as priests.  The married priests could no longer serve as priests, but their priestly actions in the underground church were recognized as "valid".  But the priestly actions of the women who had served the church under threat of imprisonment, torture, and death, were declared "invalid" which meant that all the sacraments they had performed would not be recognized by the church hierarchy.  "Javorova sent a letter to John Paul II explaining the extenuating circumstances of her ordination, but he never replied."  In 1996 Ludmilla Javorova, the first of these women priests to have been ordained by Davidek (ordained December 28, 1970)  - was notified by her local bishop that "she was "formally prohibited" from exercising priestly duties and instructed her to keep the details of this prohibition secret."  This woman who had served as vicar general of the underground diocese for twenty years.   This woman who had answered the call of God and given herself in the service of the people of God as priest under the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances.  This woman who had been under constant threat of being discovered.  That is how the Vatican chose to value this woman, her life's work, and her sacrifice.  Halter, pages 10-11 and Tanenbaum, page 71 and Daigler, page 148 and Wijngaards, page 138.
v 1990 - "Maureen Fiedler and Karen Schwartz published their WOC-QC monograph Benevolent Subversives:  A National Study of Roman Catholic Women Called to Priesthood."  Daigler, page 96.
v 1990 - FutureChurch was founded by a parish priest, Louis J. Trivison, and his parishioners.  Their primary concern was the growing likelihood that Catholics would soon not have access to the Eucharist due to the growing shortage of priests.  Their proposed solution was to open ordination to women and married men.  Because of the leadership skills and theological background of the executive director (1990-2013), Christine Schenk, CSJ several Ohio parishes created a network which then spread across the country and has gained global attention.  Daigler, pages 100, 104.
v In 1991 U.S. bishops, in order to replace an outdated translation, overwhelmingly approved use of a revision of the New American Bible that contains some inclusive horizontal language.  Tanenbaum, page 292.
v In 1992 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI) prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), forbade the new translation on the grounds that it would erode doctrinally important language and lend legitimacy to heretical feminists.  So Genesis 1:26 is translated as "Let us make man in our image" instead of the New Revised Standard Version's (NRSV) "Let us make humankind in our image," even though the original Hebrew word "ha'adam" is correctly translated as "the human", NOT "the man."  Likewise 1 Corinthians 1:10 is read as "I appeal to you, brethren" instead of "I appeal to you, brothers and sisters."  The lectionary of the biblical readings used in the Mass also preserves male-centered language.  "Men" may not be replaced with "people", even when the original Hebrew or Greek clearly refers to men and women.  Tanenbaum, pages 292-293.
v * 1992 - Quixote Center staff, Fiedler and Pomerleau, with assistance from Callahan and Georgia Whipple Fuller, announced in a press conference at the University of Notre Dame where the annual meeting of the US bishops was in progress that Roman Catholics continued to support women's ordination in ever increasing numbers.  Surveys showed 29% in 1974, 58% in 1985 and 67% in 1992.  Daigler, page 111.
v 1993 - Francis B. O'Connor authors Like Bread Their Voices Rise documenting her research project in which she initiated discussions and held interviews with many Catholic women in Bangladesh, Brazil, and Uganda.  In the different countries she heard women voice sentiments similar to those of women in developed nations.  At the conclusion of her work she asked "How is it that women in such disparate cultures, races, and language groups, thousands of miles apart, on four different continents could have identical questions about their church, and envision similar solutions?"  Daigler, pages 63, 81.
v 1993 - In Ireland the group BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ) was formed coordinated by Colm Holmes and Soline Vatinel.  It immediately sent to each of Ireland's bishops a petition "for all ministries and offices in the church to be equally open to both men and women, and for all sexist structures and regulations to be abolished."  Twenty-two thousand individuals had signed the petition, obviously women's ordination had widespread support.  BASIC would organize and host the first international conference of WOW in 2001, bringing together 345 delegates from 27 countries.  Daigler, pages 150-151.
v 1994 - "The English edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was delayed for two years over a struggle between Rome and the American bishops whose attempt to infuse the catechism with gender-inclusive language ultimately was quashed."  "The English edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church repeated the 1917 and 1983 canon law codes and further stated that only the Vatican had "the responsibility and right to call someone to receive orders.'  The call itself came from God, but Rome reserved the right to validate that call and determine who would (and would not) be ordained."  Halter, pages 16, 90.
v 1994 - The US National Conference of Catholic Bishops was notified by the CDF that they "had withdrawn approval of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible."  "In addition, the Vatican revoked its 1992 confirmation of the American bishops' approval of the New American Bible (NAB)."  "The reason given for Rome's delayed disapproval of the NRSV and BAB was the moderate use of gender-inclusive language."  Halter, page 91.
v 1994 - Pope John Paul II "on March 15, 1994, not only changed church discipline to allow females to serve mass but also as lectors, eucharistic ministers, and religious educators."  Halter, page 96.
v In 1994 on May 30th Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic Letter on women's ordination, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis ("On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone") reemphasizing that women cannot be priests.  An "act of authority born of irritation," the letter's message was "clear, peremptory, brutal and decisive."  Although it "offered no new teaching, it introduced a significant switch in strategy for the pope, who now argued much less from Christ's example and much more from papal authority."  The apostolic letter states "The Church holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons.  These reasons include the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God's plan for his Church.  The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles attest that this calling (of men only) was made in accordance with God's eternal plan."  Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. no2.  "The teaching authorities in Rome therefore declare that the omission of women from the apostolic team was a deliberate act on the part of Jesus, something he had decided upon in prayer after consulting the Father in the Holy Spirit.  By not choosing women, he had, in fact, laid down a permanent norm, a rule the Church would never be able to change. . . . In other words, the Church could not by itself leave women out.  It must have been done on Jesus' explicit command!  But . . . there was no explicit command."  "What can we prove from the non-fact of Jesus not choosing women among the twelve apostles?  The answer is nothing.  There are so many significant elements in our Catholic faith and practice that Jesus did not decide, but which were later decided upon by the Church."  "Jesus Christ formed various groups of disciples, such as the 12 apostles, the 72 disciples, and the band of women disciples.  It was left to the Church gradually to give a more concrete expression to the sacrament of ordination."  "Jesus did not specify anything regarding the sacraments of marriage, confirmation and anointing of the sick."  "For Jesus, the inspired word lay in the Hebrew scriptures.  He never left instructions about the writing of the four Gospels, or about the Letters which his apostles would write later."  "Jesus Christ did not found religious orders and congregations.  He did not establish the present structures in the Church - the Roman curia, ecumenical councils, bishops' conferences and so on. . . . Does his silence on these matters mean disapproval?  Jesus Christ did not establish Church law, or define its provisions.  He did not envision the beatification and canonization of saints, the consecration of churches and cathedrals, . . . Can his silence on all these topics be construed as his having laid down a perpetual norm against them?  It is utterly ridiculous to read into a thing Jesus did not do, his laying down a permanent norm that would need to be followed for all time by the future Church."  John Paul II's rationale of choice "was that the church could not confer ordination on women without renouncing its mission of imitating Christ."  He declared "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women," a judgment "to be definitively held by all the church's faithful."  - meaning that no future pope or ecumenical council would be allowed to reverse the judgment, there was to be no further discussion of the subject.  [Until this encyclical, popes not formally speaking ex cathedra (from the chair of Peter) were said to speak "authoritatively" but "non-definitively" meaning the case was not closed.]  In response the Belgian bishops' Commission on Woman and the Church released a document that said that Jesus' maleness was being "exaggerated beyond reason."  The American "bishops responded to the papal demand for silence by issuing multiple calls for dialogue."  "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis failed to convince Catholics that ordaining women was impossible."  And the Vatican's attempt to silence all debate over women's ordination only angered more women.  "The reality was that the pope had defined something to which bishops and faithful did not agree, and that the pope had not consulted the bishops (much less the faithful) before making a doctrinal decision."   Wijngaards, pages 91-96, and Tanenbaum, pages 74-75 and Halter, pages 94-99, 103-105, 108, 119.
v "Since men and women are one in Christ and share the same life of the Spirit, how may we declare God's call in women invalid?  Is the Spirit not free to call whom she wishes?  Does authentication by the Church imply the right to ignore true vocations?  Moreover, if the hierarchy is the sole authenticator of vocations, why does the Church 'not have the power to ordain women', as Pope John Paul II and [Pope Benedict XVI] have stated a number of times?  If it is the hierarchy, and not specifically God, who is the sole arbiter of whose 'calling' is authentic and whose is not, how can the hierarchy maintain that it does not have the authority to ordain women to the priesthood?"  Wijngaards, page 168.
v * 1995 - WOC officially broadened its scope and now assumed this position:  "The 'renewed priestly ministry' that we envision and speak of would concentrate more on serving people than administering a bureaucratic organization.  It would call for the end of a hierarchical structure with its attendant evils of racism, classism, sexism, and elitism.  Instead, there would be more sharing, more cooperation, among priests and laity, and more integration of both male and female characteristics in priestly service."  Halter, page 34.
v + In 1995 the pope continued his emphasis on women's special roles as virgin or mother in his "Letter to Women" on the occasion of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.  He wrote "that women had a "special genius" (an essential nature) rooted in their biology that men did not have.   This "special genius" precluded them from the priesthood."  "In the past women were kept out of the priestly ministry on the pretext of their "inferior status"; now a "state of eminence" is ascribed to them with non-ordination as the same result."  "Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff to write that the church possibly had been complicit in the oppression of women, and if blame for this "belonged to not just a few members of the Church," he was "truly sorry.""  However the pope's apology rang hollow and many women asked "Does not the repentance of sin require a firm purpose of amendment?" Tanenbaum, page 75 and Wijngaards, page 159 and Halter, pages 112-115.
v 1995 - The Society of Jesus publicized "Jesuits and the Situation of Women in the Church and Civil Society" This document from their worldwide 34th General Congregation expressed strong support for women's equality inside the church.  "We (Jesuits) have been part of a civil and ecclesial tradition that has offended against women . . . . We have often contributed to a form of clericalism which has reinforced male domination with an ostensibly divine sanction . . . . We wish to react personally and collectively, and do what we can to change this regrettable situation."  "(Scriptural) sources call us to change our attitudes and work for a change of structures . . . There is an urgency in the challenge to translate theory into practice not only outside, but also within, the Church itself."  Daigler, page 109 and Halter, page 115.
v 1995 - "The Canon Law Society of America concluded its examination of the church's body of canon law and issued a statement (1995) that echoed the earlier Pontifical Biblical Commission's decision concerning its examination of the Scriptures:  The current code of canon law neither mandates nor forbids the ordination of women to the diaconate."  The statement went on to say that ordination "would open the way for women to exercise diaconal service in the teaching, sanctifying and governing functions of the church, and would make them capable of holding ecclesiastical office now open to deacons but closed to lay persons."  Daigler, page 175 and Zagano, Phyllis, "Catholic Women Deacons", America Magazine, February 17, 2003.
v "In late 1995, CDF prefect, Cardinal Ratzinger, published Responsum ad Dubium Regarding Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in which he claimed that the Vatican's prohibition of women from the priesthood was "infallible" -- free from error and irreversible.  Only 150 words long, the responsum declares that this prohibition is founded on the word of God and that the subject is no longer open for discussion.  Women's ordination may not be discussed in public.  Those who defy this ban may be excommunicated.  "This remarkable claim of infallibility had appeared nowhere in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, opening up a new debate about the boundaries of infallibility itself:  could an administrative curial congregation (the CDF) declare a teaching "infallible" when the pope had not!"  "Reaction against the Responsum was immediate and widespread.  The lesson learned, said one newspaper editorial, was that "people cannot be ordered to stop asking questions about belief.  What Rome has failed to comprehend at great loss to the entire church is that believers deepen their faith by questioning.""  Tanenbaum, page 75 and Halter, pages 120-121.
v + 1996 - The European Women's Ecumenical Synod met in Gmunden, Austria.  The meeting was a first of its kind and attracted 1,074 participants including observers from "Australia, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, the Philippines, the Republic of South Africa, South Korea, Surinam, Taiwan, Uganda, and the United States." There were 4 themes, political life, economics, spirituality, and personal development, each resulting in resolutions for action.   The resolution calling for the Roman Catholic Church to allow women's ordination won consensus and revealed the widespread feeling of insult and injustice of non-Catholic women as well as Catholic women on this issue.  When Andrea Johnson, then executive director of WOC, proposed a global umbrella organization to the leaders of the ordination movement around the world, there was immediate consensus and WOW  the Women's Ordination Worldwide:  International Federation of Catholic Women's Ordination Organizations was founded and chose a purple scarf or stole "as the international symbol of support for women's ordination, the symbolic penitential color calling for the hierarchy's repentance over its discrimination against women."  Daigler, pages 97, 150-151, 188.
v 1997 - Pope John Paul II chose eleven men to revise the American lectionary.  Only one of the members held a graduate degree in scripture studies.  "In 1990, the NCCB [National Conference of Catholic Bishops] had approved guidelines for an inclusive-language lectionary, but in the mid-1990s the CDF secretly issued norms for the translation of American liturgical documents."  So the American bishops were presented with their new lectionary, which retained "many of the most controversial uses of masculine vocabulary."  Halter, page 91.
v 1997 - The International Theological Commission met for five years, from 1992 to 1997; and they took up the diaconate.  "Now there were interesting people on the committee: Taize Father Max Thurian was the chairman; Austrian Bishop, Christoph Schӧnborn, was on it, some very, very fine intellectuals; and also a former graduate student of Joseph Ratzinger, Father Henrique de Noronha Galvao.  By 1997, a subcommittee finished a document - it was 17 or 18 pages long - and it was passed by the entire International Theological Commission. It basically says, “No big deal! You can ordain women as deacons.”  However, it was not signed by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, and, therefore, not published."  Dr. Phyllis Zagano's presentation, "Women in Ministry" given to Elephants in the Living Room on Jan. 30, 2014.
v 1997 - "The Catholic Theological Association of America appointed a task force to study the question [the exclusion of women from ordination is taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium].  On 6 June 1997, the general assembly received the report and endorsed its rejection of Rome's claims:  'There are serious doubts regarding the nature of the authority of the teaching that the Church's lack of authority to ordain women to the priesthood is a truth that has been infallibly taught and requires the definitive assent of the faithful, and its grounds in tradition.  There is serious, widespread disagreement on this question, not only among theologians, but also within the larger community of the Church. . . . It seems clear that further study, discussion and prayer regarding this question by all the members of the Church in accord with their particular gifts and vocations are necessary if the Church is to be guided by the Spirit in remaining faithful to the authentic tradition.'  The resolution was adopted in a secret ballot, with 216 theologians voting 'yes', 22 'no' and 10 abstaining."  Wijngaards, pages 179-180.
v 1997 - WOC and QC and Catholics Speak Out "collaborated in planning, funding, and hosting the stirring visit  of Ludmila Javorova who had been ordained (priest) in the Czech Republic during the years of the underground church."  Dolly Pomerleau of the Quixote Center convinced her to write her autobiography and in 2001 Out of the Depths appeared in the US and garnered the Catholic Press Association's top honor in the 2002 category "Popular Presentation of the Catholic Faith".   Daigler, pages 113, 149.
v 1998 - The Catholics Speak Out project of the Quixote Center published Maureen Fiedler and Linda Rabben's book Rome Has Spoken, a "study of documents that had at one time been declared infallible, official church teaching and were then later abandoned.  They illustrated, of course, that if the infallibility of earlier church teachings was mutable, then one day in the future the teaching against women's ordination could be, too."  Daigler, page 113.
v 1998 - "Ad Tuendam Fidem ("To Defend the Faith") was an apostolic letter issued motu proprio (on the pope's own initiative) "to protect the Catholic faith against errors", especially from theologians and bishops in the United States and other Western countries who questioned papal teaching."  "John Paul II strongly warned the world's Catholic bishops that it was their duty to enforce the teaching, and this time he provided for punishment of Catholics who failed to give full assent to "definitively proposed" teachings."  This meant priests who supported the ordination of women would certainly never become bishops and there was the possibility of laicization and excommunication, theologians would lose positions in any Catholic institution, bishops were to withdraw all support for individuals or groups who promote the ordination of women.  Mercy Sister Carmel McEnroy, a professor of systematic theology at St. Meinrad School of Theology, was terminated because she had signed a statement supporting women's ordination.  Sister Lavinia Byrne, a member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) learned that 1300 copies of her 1994 book, Women at the Altar:  The Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church, had been burned by the Liturgical Press.  The pope was going to "stop at nothing, if necessary, to dispel confusion and correct errors".  Halter, pages 106, 131, 136, 139.
v 1998 - Father Bernard Haring, a Redemptorist priest, has been called "the greatest moral theologian of the twentieth century."  He authored 80 books and more than one thousand scholarly articles in his effort to move Catholic moral teachings "from rigid legalism toward groundedness in compassion and love."  In July 1998, just 6 weeks before he died, "he demonstrated "pride and joy" at having been among the very first to sign the German Kirchenvolksbegehren, a document calling for democracy in the church and women's ordination."  Fox, pages 33-34.
v 1998 - John Wijngaards, a well known and prolific theologian having published numerous articles and over twenty books on Scripture, ministry, and women's ordination resigns from the priesthood.  He stated "I saw colleagues being forced to swear oath to things they don't believe in and I decided enough is enough.  I couldn't represent an institution that was telling people they couldn't be part of the church if they believed in ordaining women."  Then in 1999 he moved his in person teaching career to the internet, announcing "I aim at making this the fairest, most complete, most detailed, academically tested and interactive site on the ordination of women."  In ten years he has done just that, the website (www.womenpriests.org) has over 4,000 relevant documents in 16 languages, it is visited over 500,000 times annually and millions of pages are downloaded.  Daigler, page 145.
v In 1999 the Australian bishops published "Towards Understanding:  A study of the factors specific to the Catholic Church which might lead to sexual abuse by priests and religious - this was the result of 3 years of work by a commission to study factors inside the church that might produce abusive clergy.  It found that clerical sexual abuse was a "direct consequence" of the failure of the Catholic church to treat men and women equally.  "As long as the culture of the Church does not put men and women on a basis of true equality then women and children will remain vulnerable to abuse." National Catholic Reporter, December 7-20, 2012, page 7.
v 1999 - surveys were done in various parts of the world asking Catholics if they believe priestly ordination should be open to women.  The results are:  in the United States 63% would accept women who are ordained priests if they remained celibate, 54% would accept married women priests; in Australia 62% of Catholic college students believe priestly ordination should be open to women; in Spain 74%; in Portugal 71%; in Italy 58%; in Germany 71%; in Poland 24%; in Ireland 67%; in Canada 66% favour women priests and 73% favour women deacons.  What Catholics are saying is "excluding women from priestly ordination is a mistake.  It does not come from Jesus."  Wijngaards, pages 46-47, 189.
v  "In 2001, with the approval of Pope John Paul II, Ratzinger, as head of the CDF, published a comprehensive prohibition of modern translation of the Hebrew and Greek Bibles.  The document was titled "Liturgiam Authenticam" ("The Authentic Liturgy") issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  The CDF claimed that the most authoritative version of both the Hebrew and Greek Bibles, the one from which all translations must spring, is the 1979 edition of the Latin translation made by Saint Jerome in the early fifth century, known as the Vulgate.  "This document [Liturgiam Authenticam] called for the literal translation of ancient Latin words without regard for context or comprehensibility."  Yet biblical scholars say that the new version of the translation, known as the Neo-Vulgate, should absolutely not be the norm, because it is not the original Hebrew and Greek biblical text and contains many errors.  According to "Liturgiam Authenticam" a faithful translation of a Latin word in the Vulgate that includes both genders must be masculine only.  For example, the Latin word "homo" is widely understood to mean "human being" but must be translated as "man."  The most accurate, faithful translation of "homo" is thus forbidden.  . . . The Vatican's edict is that even when inaccurate, male-exclusive language in translation is necessary.  This rejection of inclusive language amounts to a rejection of the legacy of the Second Vatican Council, with its call for spiritual and liturgical renewal.  Vatican II had called on the Catholic Church to engage in the modern world, to open itself up to greater involvement of laypeople and to use vernacular language instead of Latin in the Mass."  Tanenbaum, pages 293-294 and Halter, page 91.
v 2001 - Letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship stating that each bishop had the authority to allow girls and women to be altar servers.  "Chronology and Description of Vatican Documents on the Non-Ordination of Women", Future Church.
v Sister Joan Chittister is a Erie Benedictine nun and is a theologian, bestselling author and globe-trotting public speaker on Catholic reform.  She knowledgeably challenges the church to embrace gender-neutral language and the ordination of women.  In 2001 the Vatican instructed U.S. dioceses to boycott the 2001 National Catholic Education Association conference in Milwaukee because Chittister was the keynote speaker.  As a result, many Catholic teachers were not given funds to attend.  Chittister, surrounded by bodyguards, delivered her address before a packed audience that gave her a standing ovation before she had even ascended the podium.  Tanenbaum, pages 69-70.
v + 2001 - Sister Chittister "was invited to speak a few months later at the first conference of a new organization, Women's Ordination Worldwide, in Dublin.  The Vatican found out and told her she was forbidden to attend, saying that if she did, there would be "grave penalties."  The prioress of the Erie Benedictines, Sister Christine Vladimiroff, was warned that if she did not officially forbid Chittister from going to Dublin, she faced the risk of excommunication or even the disbanding of the order.  Chittister begged Vladimiroff to forbid her so that she alone would incur the church's wrath, but Vladimiroff with the support of 127 out of 128 active sisters, told the Vatican that she would not stop Chittister" and issued a statement in which she said that faithful Catholics are "scandalized when honest attempts to discuss questions of import to the church are forbidden."  Chittister did go to Dublin and addressed an audience of thirteen hundred supporters from around the world, her topic, Discipleship for a Priestly People in a Priestless Period.  She said "I did not do this in defiance of the church. I did this because . . . to suppress discussion is a sin against the Holy Spirit."  Tanenbaum, page 70 and Daigler, page 69 and Halter, page 142.
v * 2001 - Notre Dame de Namur Sister Myra Poole of London, a nun for 42 year and a major organizer for the Women's Ordination Worldwide conference, also received a Vatican order, through her religious superior, to absent herself from the conference under threat of dismissal from her religious order.  At first, she withdrew in obedience, but her conscience won out and she attended.  This international conference adopted eleven resolutions including calls for:  "1 the pope to revoke the ban on debate; 2 the restoration of the diaconate to women, according to the practice in the early church; 3 ministers to adapt liturgical language and images to reflect the equal dignity of women and men; and 4 member groups to create avenues of financial support for persons losing employment in the church because of their support for the ordination of women."  Halter, pages 142-143.
v 2001 - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued norms for lay preaching which is allowed by Canon 766 "Lay persons can be permitted to preach in a church or oratory."  "The conference named three "illustrative" cases:  the absence or shortage of clergy, particular language requirements, or the demonstrated expertise or experience of the lay faithful concerned."  They went on to stipulate "Preaching by the lay faithful may not take place within the Celebration of the Eucharist at the moment reserved for the homily."  Canon 767 states the preaching of a homily as part of the liturgy is reserved exclusively to priests and deacons.  NCR, 9/26-10/9/2014.
v 2001, 2002, 2003 - Women advocating for women's ordination reached a new level of frustration and some decided to act, to not obey an unjust law.  In the space of 3 years 10 women were illegally and very publically ordained, Mary Ramerman in 2001, seven in 2002, and 2 in 2003.  Halter, page 144.
v + On June 29, 2002 seven women from Germany (4), Austria (2) and the United States (1), the Danube Seven, Iris Muller, Ida Raming, Gisela Forster, Pia Brunner, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Sister Adeline Theresia Roitinger and Angela White (pseudonym for Dagmar Braun Celeste of Cleveland, an Austrian by birth and former first lady of Ohio - Halter, page 147), were ordained on a boat on the Danube by a Roman Catholic Bishop named Romulo Antonio Braschi, whose orders are recognized as "valid but illicit" by the Vatican.  The Roman Catholic Church subscribes to the doctrine of apostolic succession, that is, it is believed that a line can be traced from every bishop and priest now ordained back to St. Peter.  The Roman Catholic Church also teaches the sacrament of ordination changes the ordained person's being, his (and now her) ontology.  It cannot be undone.  While apostolic succession and ontological change are key arguments used to oppose women's ordination, once women were ordained by Roman Catholic bishops, these same arguments worked to the women's advantage.  The Danube Seven had been ontologically changed.  It could not be undone.  But they could be excommunicated.  And they were, immediately.  Following the Danube's Seven's excommunication, several bishops came forward and said they would be willing to ordain any or all of them as bishops.  This would grant the women the power to ordain other women into the priesthood.  The bishops in good standing with the Vatican, asked that they remain anonymous.  Two of the Danube Seven stepped forward to be ordained bishops, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Gisela Forster.  They were ordained bishops in a secret celebration in an unnamed church in Austria by three valid male bishops, the ordinations were duly notarized, and promises were made not to reveal the identity of the three male bishops who had performed the ordinations.  Womenbishops ordained in full Apostolic Succession continue to carry out the work or ordaining women in the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholic Womenpriests website  www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org and Sentilles, pages 261-262 and Halter, pages 146-147.
v  + Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement was organized in Germany/Austria by Christine Mayr Lumetzberger and Gisela Forster, founded in 2002, this is an international organization focused on preparing, ordaining, and supporting women and men to minister in the Roman Catholic Church and is committed to an inclusive model of church.  The priesthood within Roman Catholic Womenpriests is characterized by the model of worker-priests and servant-leadership, it is a "discipleship of equals" with everyone included in decision-making.  Ordination gives one a different function but not more power and the ordained use no titles (Father or Reverend).  There is no obligatory celibacy, in fact, married or single women and men, heterosexual or homosexual are all welcome.  Newly ordained priests to not promise obedience to the bishop. Roman Catholic Womenpriests website www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org and Daigler, page 188 and McGrath, Meehan, Raming, pages 31-32.
v 2002 - The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a "Warning Regarding the Attempted Priestly Ordination of Some Catholic Women" stating that the simulation of the sacrament would be invalid and women who attempt to receive ordination would be excommunicated.  Future Church, "Chronology and Description of Vatican Documents on the Non-Ordination of Women" and Halter, page 148.
v 2002 - Secret examination of new Bishops, questions were submitted to candidates for Episcopal office, including questions on the candidates' position on the ordination of women to the priesthood and/or diaconate.  Future Church, "Chronology and Description of Vatican Documents on the Non-Ordination of Women".
v 2003 - California Bishop Peter Hickman ordained Denise Donato on February 22, 2003, a long time family minister and colleague of Mary Ramerman (ordained by Bishop Hickman on November 17, 2001), also from Corpus Christi parish.  Donato was one of six staff members fired by Bishop Clark eleven days before Christmas in 1998 with no severance pay or benefits, later known as the "Monday Massacre".  Halter, page 145.
v 2003 -  In August 2003 Patricia Fresen was ordained (Deacon 8/5 & Priest 8/7) during the Second European Women's Synod in Barcelona Spain by Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Bishop Gisela Forster.  Patricia was a Dominican nun for 44 years and a theologian with academic credentials from the Pontifical Institute in Rome and a Doctorate of Theology degree in May 1996 from the University of South Africa.  She was a professor at St. John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria for seven years, teaching the art of preaching and homiletics, as well as theology and spirituality.  She then accepted a post as lecturer in the newly-opened Catholic University of St. Augustine in Johannesburg.  When she was ordained she lost this position, was forced to leave the Dominican Order, and with no means of support had to leave South Africa.  Patricia relocated to Germany and was asked by the fledgling Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement to direct the training and formation of women for the diaconate and priesthood, particularly English speakers, since there were a number of candidates in the United States and Canada.  She took on this challenge and continues in this work.  Halter, page 145, & Minney, pages 83-86, & McGrath, Meehan, Raming, pages 28-35, and Dr. Patricia Fresen's presentation, Called to Follow Jesus . . . In Taking a Stand for Justice, 5/2/14 for the Michigan Chapter of Call To Action.
v + October 8, 2004 - The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Churches decided to restore the female diaconate.  Since the Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church have mutual recognition of each other's "apostolic succession" and validity of ordination, the decision by these 2 churches to ordain women to the diaconate have inescapable implications for the Roman Catholic Church.  If the Vatican says the women in the Orthodox churches are not really ordained, then you have a problem with your ecumenical relations.  If the Vatican says the women of the Orthodox churches are really ordained, then you have a problem with a whole bunch of Roman Catholic women; because if the Orthodox women are sacramentally ordained, why can't we?   Macy, page 17 and Daigler, page 156.
v 2004 - "The ambiguity of recent vintage regarding women's capacity to be images of Christ is truly unfortunate, for it has no basis in doctrine and in fact contradicts the central teaching of the Church.  Created women, baptized women, martyred women, sinful and redeemed women, holy women of all varieties:  all are genuinely imago Dei, imago Christi.  Anything less distorts God's good creation and shortchanges the theological truth of women's identity in Christ."  Johnson, page 57. 
v + 2005 - Dr. Patricia Fresen was ordained a bishop on January 2nd, secretly, by a male bishop in good standing with the Vatican.  The unnamed bishop urged Patricia to consider being ordained a bishop because 1) she has a Doctorate in Theology, 2) she speaks English and he felt that the majority of women candidates would come from North America, 3) due to her age she needed to become a bishop as soon as possible so she would have time to ordain others, and 4) that the ordination to bishop was not for her but for the women she would be able to help fulfill their call from God to the ordained ministry.  Dr. Patricia Fresen's presentation, Called to Follow Jesus . . . In Taking a Stand for Justice, 5/2/14 for the Michigan Chapter of Call To Action.
v * 2005 - During his papacy (1978-2005 - 27 years, 3rd longest papacy in Church history, Peter 35 years, Pius IX 32 years and was pope for Vatican I) Pope John Paul II insisted that Mary "was the sole model for a woman's biological vocation as virgin, wife, mother.  When he spoke of Mary's fiat (her reception of God's seed in her virgin womb) as a model for women's vocation, missing was the very element that made her fiat so sacred:  she freely chose her vocation because God offered it to her.  But the church teaches that God does not offer priesthood to women.  The irony of this teaching is that God chose a woman to physically give birth to Jesus, but not to spiritually represent him."  Halter, page 161.
v 2005 - April 19, Cardinal Ratzinger becomes Pope Benedict XVI.  Catholic Encyclopedia
v 2005 - July 22-24, Second Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) met in Ottawa, Canada.  400 women from 25 countries participated in the theme "Breaking Silence, Breaking Bread Christ Calls Women to Lead". Three strategies that can go forward concurrently emerged from the conference.  The first is women working inside church structures to overturn Cannon 1022 which limits ordination to baptized males. The second is women stepping forth in prophetic disobedience to be ordained like the nine women who were ordained deacon or priest on the St. Lawrence River following the conference.  The third are women moving beyond ordination and working for a discipleship of equals where clericalism and the divide between clerical hierarchy and the laity is no more.  Women's Ordination.org (website).
v 2005 - An Associated Press poll conducted in April 2005 found that 64% of U.S. Catholics support women's ordination.  Tanenbaum, page 56.
v 2005 - Gallup Survey shows that Catholic parishioners want the priesthood opened up - 81% support the return of priests who have married, 75% are in favor or ordaining married men, 61% thought it would be good to ordain celibate women, and 54% approved the ordaining of married women.  Future Church @www.futurechurch.org
v 2006 - A National Catholic Reporter survey of U.S. Catholics found that 62% of respondents support ordaining women as priests and 81% support ordaining women as deacons.  Tanenbaum, page 56.
v 2006 - Sister Elizabeth Julian, a Sister of Mercy, in addressing Catholic leaders in New Zealand gave many reasons for being deeply scandalized by the discriminatory and sinful practices of the Church in its treatment of women, they include:
o   "While the Church is called to preach a gospel of divinely-willed equality, liberation, and justice in society, it maintains structures that guarantee women's inequality."
o   "While the Church is unable to find any mandate in Scripture for its claim that God willed that women be denied full access to the sacraments, it claims it has not yet received from God any power to change this man-made teaching!"
o   "While the Church can be loud in its call to other institutions to treat women as full human beings, it refuses to do this internally."
o   "While the Church teaches authoritatively that baptism is more fundamental than holy orders, and that the mission of the Church belongs to all of us, years of clericalism marginalize and exclude women."
o   "While God is neither male nor female, we are forced to pray in public to a God imaged overwhelmingly and almost idolatrously as male."
o   "While the Eucharist is the sacrament of unity, many women experience it as sacramental exclusion."
o   "While Mary is the only human being who could really say of Jesus, "This is my body, this is my blood." the Church decrees that only males can do this."
o   "While women and men can equally image Christ through martyrdom, and women and men can re-present Christ's own love in Christian marriage, half of humanity is deemed incapable of imaging Christ in the Eucharist."
"While the Church can affirm that a humble piece of bread represents Christ and actually becomes the Body of Christ, it cannot imagine how a woman priest could be a valid re-presentation of Christ.  The Church continues to be fixated on sexual similarity to the human male Jesus when it comes to imaging Christ as presider at Eucharist."  Elizabeth Julian, RSM, "Creating a Song and Dance - Kiwimaging:  The Prophetic Role of Women Religious in the Church in Aotearoa New Zealand Today", Address to the Catholic Bishops and Congregational Leaders of Aotearoa, New Zealand, Waikanae, Kapiti Coast, March 6, 2006.
v * "Women are able to make decisions at the highest level in all places except the Catholic Church.  Why?  In a nutshell, because decision making in the Church is linked to ordination, and, at this point in our history, the institutional imagination is unable to conceive of women as images of Christ when it comes to presiding at Eucharist."  Julian, Elizabeth, "Creating a Song and Dance - Kiwimagining:  The Prophetic Role of Women Religious in the Church in Aotearoa New Zealand Today", The Mast Journal, pages 11-21.
v * 2007 - Leonard Swidler suggests that "two of the canonical gospels, namely Luke's and the Fourth Gospel, were written by women."  His book suggests that the major source for Luke's Gospel was Mary, Jesus' mother and the probable source proto-gospel for John's Gospel was Mary Magdalene.  Therefore, he proposes "the time has come for us to recognize publically that . . . the Fourth Gospel was written by. . . Mary Magdalene."  Swidler, A Conclusion Sneak Peek.
v + May 29, 2008- The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith stated that the "women priests and the bishops who ordain them would be excommunicated latae senentiae."  This means that women being ordained and the bishop ordaining any woman/women would be immediately and automatically excommunicated (self-excommunication).  In addition, the all male Vatican hierarchy said that anyone who attends the ordination of women to the Roman Catholic priesthood would be excommunicated.  And finally anyone who spoke publically in favor of the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church could be excommunicated.  These extreme forms of punishment contradict the very nature of religious liberty and freedom of conscience. The Vatican has been unable to convince millions of Catholics (the second largest religious community in the United States is non-practicing Catholics - 20 million) that the priesthood is for celibate men only, so since they can't make the argument they resort to an old tradition, "Rome has spoken, the case is closed."  Tanenbaum, page 75, and Roman Catholic Womenpriests website www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org and Halter, pages 162, 169.
v 2008 - Dana Reynolds of California became the first American Roman Catholic Womanbishop.  Roman Catholic Womenpriests website www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org
v In the Roman Catholic Church the communion "ritual is believed to transform bread and wine into the literal blood and body of Christ.  The ritual's ability to effect this change depends on the priest's resemblance to Jesus, specifically the priest's biological resemblance.  In other words, for the bread and wine to be turned into the body and blood of Christ, the priest must look like Christ, and to look like Christ, the priest must be a biological male:  Jesus was male, so the priest must be male.  . . .   There is no reason however - as Mark Chavez points out in Ordaining Women and as many Catholic theologians have argued - that this "resemblance" has to rest on biological sex.  Jesus was not just male.  Jesus was Jewish.  He probably had a beard and dark skin."  Chavez writes, "Insisting that gender is the primary dimension of literal resemblance between the priest and Christ seems an arbitrary addition to the requirements of the sacrament rather than a straightforward outcome of them."  Sentilles, pages 251-252.
v "Attending church listening to exclusively male language for God and for human beings, hearing no women's voices from the pulpit, and seeing no women representing Christ at the altar have real effects.  "Every single Sunday women are being subtly told that they cannot be near the divine, that they cannot speak for the divine, that the divine does not speak through them, and I think the psychological effects of that on women the world over are devastating,"" Nicole Sotelo said.  Sentilles, page 257.
v 2008 - WOW created and presented to the Vatican, during the synod of bishops, a petition "requesting restoration of the female diaconate" supported by 26 international organizations and signed by 1,700 individuals.  Daigler, page 175.
v 2008 - Father Roy Bourgeois, MM, a Maryknoll priest, is invited to participate in the ordination ceremony of Janice Sevre-Duszynska, one of the many women who had supported his work in trying to close the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.  He accepted and was officially reprimanded by the Vatican's Office for the Doctrine of the Faith.  He was informed that he would be excommunicated unless he recanted his position on the ordination of women.  In his response to the Vatican he stated "There will never be justice in the Catholic Church until women can be ordained. . . . . Let us speak clearly and boldly and walk in solidarity as Jesus would, with the women in our Church who are being called to the priesthood."  Daigler, pages 116-117.
v 2009 - Roy Bourgeois participated in a lecture tour called "Shattering the Stained Glass Ceiling" speaking throughout the United States on behalf of women's ordination.  Daigler, page 117.
v * 2009 - National Federation of Priest's Councils' study found for every 100 US priests who retire - 30 are available to replace them.  Future Church www.futurechurch.org
v 2009 - "Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement "clarifying Canon Law on the distinction between the diaconate and the priesthood."  Observers felt this might be a possible opening to women being admitted to the permanent diaconate.  Daigler, page 175.
v In July of 2010 the Vatican released its long-awaited revisions on internal laws about sexual abuse.  The Vatican listed in the category of "delicta graviora" or the most grievous crimes in church law as heresy, apostasy, schism, pedophilia within the priesthood, and female ordination.  Vatican Information Service http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/2010/07/publication-of-cdf-norms-on-most.html   [Interpretation - The Vatican compared a male priest forcing a sexual act on a child and a woman answering the call of her God to serve His people in an ordained ministry as equally grievous sins!]
v In March of 2011 the Vatican through the Superior General of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers issued an ultimatum to Father Roy Bourgeois, either recant his belief and public statements that support the ordination of women or be dismissed from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.  Father Roy Bourgeois has been a Maryknoll priest for 44 years.  In his reply letter to this threat Father Bourgeois wrote "After much reflection and many conversations with fellow priests and women, I believe sexism is at the root of excluding women from the priesthood.  Sexism, like racism, is a sin.  And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination against women, in the end it is not the way of God.  Sexism is about power.  In the culture of clericalism many Catholic priests see the ordination of women as a threat to their power.  Our Church is in a crisis today because of the sexual abuse scandal and the closing of hundreds of churches because of a shortage of priests. When I entered Maryknoll we had over 300 seminarians.  Today we have ten.  For years we have been praying for more vocations to the priesthood.  Our prayers have been answered.  God is sending us women priests.  Half the population are women.  If we are to have a vibrant and healthy Church, we need the wisdom, experience, and voices of women in the priesthood.  . . .  Like the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement and the right of women to vote, the ordination of women is inevitable because it is rooted in justice.  Whenever there is an injustice, silence is the voice of consent.  I respectfully ask that my fellow priests, bishops, Church leaders in the Vatican and Catholics in the pews speak out and affirm God's call of women to the priesthood."  April 8, 2011 Letter to Rev. Edward Dougherty, M.M., Superior General, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers from Father Roy Bourgeois, M.M. National Catholic Reporter Online.
v 2012 - On November 19, 2012, the Maryknoll Society refused to stand by its son Father Roy Bourgeois.  Instead, it issued an official statement saying the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had ruled on October 4, 2012 that Bourgeois had been canonically dismissed both from Maryknoll and the Roman Catholic priesthood, thereby "reducing him to the lay state."  That punishment of excommunicating Father Bourgeois and expelling him from Maryknoll for his stand on the ordination of women is obviously disproportionate, when we consider that priests and bishops who have sexually abused children are not excommunicated.  Clearly the unforgiveable sin in the eyes of the current institutional Roman Catholic Church is advocating for the equality of women within the  Church, including the ordination of women called by God to serve Her church as deacons, priests, and bishops.  Father Roy Bourgeois' stated response was "The Vatican and Maryknoll can dismiss me, but they cannot dismiss the issue of gender equality in the Catholic Church.  The demand for gender equality is rooted in justice and dignity and will not go away."  New Women New Church [Newsletter], Fall 2012, pages 2-3.
v * 2012 - There are approximately 38,000 parish lay ministers, the majority of them are women.  The 2012 study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reported that their median ministerial salary is $31,000 per year.  For lay workers who hold a doctorate, the median salary rises to only $40,000 and fewer than 4 out of 10 parish lay workers receive health insurance.  According to the National Federation of Priests' Councils, the median base salary for priests in the U.S. Catholic church is $23,000-$26,000 per year.  However, when you add in the additional privileges of priesthood, although they differ among dioceses, like full health insurance, free housing, food allowances, car allowances, annual retreat grants of ~ $750.00, Mass stipends, contributions to their retirement fund, free internet service, basic cable TV, free housekeeping, snow removal, landscaping, and particularly free education, (most priests receive full tuition and free room and board during their studies and so have no academic debt, unlike lay ministers and further study as priests is also paid for) the priests remuneration can easily be 150% of what lay ministers are paid and often they are trying to support a family.  Actually a lay pastoral minister's salary is below the poverty line for a family of four (US Census Bureau, 2012).  "Catholic social teaching declares "The worker must be paid a wage sufficient to support him and his family" (Quadragesimo Anno, 71).  It is clear that we preach better than we pay."  National Catholic Reporter, June 6-19, 2014, The church's wage gap by Nicole Sotelo, pages 1 and 24.
v * 2012 - Now in the US there are more than 200 Roman Catholic women priests and deacons and bishops.  Roman Catholic Womenpriests website www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org  
v The last 30 years of American scholarship have produced an amazing range of evidence for women's roles as deacons, priests, presbyters, and even bishops in
Christian churches from the first through the thirteenth century."Torjesen, page 2.
v 2013 - March 13th, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church and took the name, Pope Francis.  Vatican News Release
v 2013 - The Pew Research Center surveyed Catholics and in their article, "U. S. Catholics Happy with Selection of Pope Francis" published March 18, 2013 showed that 61% of Catholic men and 58% of Catholic women support women's ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.  www.pew.org
v 2013 - A New York Times / CBS Poll of US Catholics reported 69% support the ordination of women to the priesthood and 69% support priests being able to marry.  Newsmax.com
v 2013 - On July 28th flying back to Rome from World Youth Day in Brazil Pope Francis held an impromptu meeting with journalists.  On the subject of women priests he said, "With regards to the ordination of women, the church has spoken and said no.  John Paul II said so with a formula that was definitive.  That door is closed."  www.womensordination.org
v 2013 - Fr. Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia became the first person to be excommunicated under the papacy of Pope Francis.  Fr. Reynolds in September 2010 devoted his homily in three parishes to proclaiming it was God's will to include women in the priesthood and said denying women ordination was "obstructing the work of the Holy Spirit."  Archbishop Hart in writing to his priests, stated "The decision by Pope Francis to dismiss Fr. Reynolds from the clerical state and to declare his automatic excommunication has been made because of his public teaching on the ordination of women contrary to the teaching of the Church and his public celebration of the Eucharist when he did not hold faculties to act publicly as a priest."  Fr. Reynolds also supports the gay community and has advocated same-sex marriage.  Fr. Reynolds has founded Inclusive Catholics to serve those Catholics who share his beliefs on women's ordination and homosexuality, have been victims of clergy abuse, and others disenfranchised with the formal Catholic church.  NCR 9/24/2013.
v 2013 - Pope Francis sent Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga SDP, his principal advisor and coordinator of his "Gang of Eight" to the U.S. to lay out his program for the stateside church.  Excerpts from his address include the following.  "The Church is not the hierarchy, but the people of God."  "The hierarchy has no purpose in itself and for itself, but only in reference and subordination to the community."  "Within the people, there is not a dual classification of Christians - laity and clergy, essentially different."  "There is, therefore, in Christ and in the Church no inequality."  The People of God is one, sharing a common dignity  . . . having the same filial grace and the same vocation to perfection; possessing in common one salvation, one hope, and one undivided charity."  Jesus, "despite being a layman", lived a "priestly life, in the sense that He became a man, was poor, fought for justice, criticized the vices of power, identified Himself with the most oppressed and defended them, treated women without discrimination, clashed with the ones who had a different image of God and of religion and was forced by His own faithfulness to be prosecuted and to die crucified outside the city."  "There is a diversity of functions within the Church, but none of them translates into rank, superiority or domination.  All are brothers and sisters, and, as a consequence, equal."  Cardinal Maradiaga's presentation "The Importance of the New Evangelization", University of Dallas Ministry Conference, 10/25/13.
v 2014 - February 19, Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada received a letter from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, removing him from public ministry ( he is forbidden to present himself in public as a priest or celebrate the sacraments publicly), and imposing a life of prayer and penance to be lived within the Queen of Peace Friary in Burlington Wisconsin.  This severe disciplinary action was taken because Fr. Zawada had stated "I do feel strongly in support of women priests and married priests in the Catholic church."  He also concelebrated a Mass with a Roman Catholic Woman Priest, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, during the SOA Watch vigil, the annual protest against the U.S. Army School of the Americas.  NCR, 4/11-24/2014, page 7.
v 2014 - Augustinian Fr. John Shea sent a letter to 180 U.S. bishops at the beginning of Lent.  He wrote "This teaching that women are not fully in the likeness of Jesus' - qualifying, as it does, as a theological explanation - is utterly and demonstrably heretical."  "This teaching says that women are not fully redeemed by Jesus.  This teaching says that women are not made whole by the saving favor of our God.  This teaching says that the 'catholic' church is only truly 'catholic' for males."  Shea told NCR, "I'm challenging the theological explanation of the teaching" (that women cannot be ordained).  "He called women's ordination 'the most foundational issue in the church.'"  Fr. Shea has received 2 canonical warnings for his stance on women's ordination:  the first after he wrote his provincial in 2011 that he would not perform priestly ministries until ordination was open to women.  NCR 4/11-24/2014, page 7.
v 2014 - President Carter's new book, A Call to Action:  Women, Religion, Violence, and Power states "The most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge is the deprivation and abuse of women and girls."  And he reasons that false interpretation of religious texts have contributed to the false assertion that men are superior to women even before God.  Mara Hvistendahl in her carefully researched 2012 book, Unnatural Selection:  Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, "estimates that there are now at least 160 million missing females.  This is the equivalent to an entire generation of girls being wiped from the face of the earth."  "It appears that more than twice as many girls have been killed by their parents during my (Jimmy Carter) lifetime (1924-2014) as the total number of combatants and civilians lost in World War II."  Interfaith Voices Interview with Jimmy Carter and Carter, page 116.
v 2014 - Pope Francis in a presentation to a group of women in Italy in April said "women's ordination is out of the question."  Dr. Patricia Fresen's presentation, Called to Follow Jesus . . . In Taking a Stand for Justice, 5/2/14 for the Michigan Chapter of Call To Action.
v 2014 - May 22, On the 20th anniversary of the 'papal no', the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II's attempt to categorically exclude women from the priesthood and ban discussion of women's ordination, hundreds of letters were delivered to Pope Francis encouraging him to "stop making Jesus the Vatican's partner in gender discrimination" and "to open the doors of dialogue to talk with us about women's ordination."  The letters were delivered by Erin Saiz Hanna, Executive  Director of the U.S. Women's Ordination Conference, Kate Conmy of the U.S. Women's Ordination Conference, Miriam Duignan, Communications Director of St. Joan's International Alliance, and Poland's Alicja Baranowska. The women were received by a top Vatican official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who accepted the 700+ letters and said: "This is amazing."  Press Conference by WOW, Women's Ordination Worldwide, May 22, 2014 in Rome.
v 2014 - June, "I'm sure Pope Francis did not mean to insult half the human race in late June.  In his first-ever interview with a woman journalist, he "joked" that women are taken from Adam's rib and that women have power [in the church] as rectory housekeepers."  Really not funny, a remark that "must come from someplace deep within the clerical society to which he belongs" but is nevertheless insulting to women and "thereby half the body of Christ.  That, after all, is the bottom line.  The men who think like this just don't get it.  Will they ever?  How can the church move forward when the "we" is all male, all the time, and women are the "they" to be both ridiculed and theologized about?"  NCR, 7/18-31/2014, Clerical mindset underlies papal 'ribbing' by Phyllis Zagano, page 22.
v 2014 - June 22, Nancy Louise Meyer was ordained a Roman Catholic Womenpriests Bishop in a ceremony with seven female bishops presiding, including Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger (one of the original Danube 7).  Meyer became the first Roman Catholic Womenpriests Bishop from Indiana.  She will serve as bishop of the Roman Catholic Womenpriest's Midwest Region.  She is succeeding Bishop Regina Nicolosi who is retiring.  NCR, 7/4-17/2014, Womenpriests movement ordains new bishop for Midwest by Dawn Cherie Araujo, page 13.
v * 2014 - July, In Indianapolis, two women were ordained, one as a priest and the other as a deacon.  Both women have years of ministry experience, Mary as a social worker and chaplain and Annie as a teacher and pastoral care minister.  Just Church Updates by Ellen Euclide.
v + 2014 - July 14, The Church of England's highest governing body, the General Synod, voted (required a 2/3rd's majority) to allow women to be bishops.  This comes 20 years after they approved the ordination of women priests in 1994.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said "Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today's result."  The US branch of the Episcopal Church already allows the ordination of female bishops.  USA Today, July 14, 2014 Issue.
v 2014 - October/November, Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery made an 18 city speaking tour of the United States to share his views on the equality of women within the church and the need to ordain women to the priesthood and his personal experience of Vatican suppression.  Future Church Focus, Fall-Winter 2014.
v 2014-2015 - Pope Francis called a Synod on the Family and who will be attending, speaking, and deciding family issues?  279 priests, bishops, and cardinals, all celibate men, who last experienced family life half a century ago or longer, as children.  There were NO women among the voting delegates and only 30 of the auditors were women.  The Synod will be "contemplating teachings that deeply affect women (marriage, family, contraception, domestic violence)."  And the church thinks it is appropriate to have ALL the decision makers be celibate men with no adult experience of a nuclear family.  The fact that the Vatican felt it did not need the input from mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and daughters signifies a powerful conviction that in the Roman Catholic Church men make the decisions always and involving women in decision making is completely unnecessary.  Canadian Archbishop Paul Andre' Durocher brought up the subject of the ordination of women to the diaconate during his 3 minute address to the Synod.  Wikipedia & NCR, 11/21-12/5/2014 & 1/29-2/11/2016.
v 2014 - December 5, At the International Theological Commission, "Pope Francis praised the role of women in theology, saying that by their feminine genius, women can detect unexplored aspects of the unfathomable mystery of Christ."  Five of the commission's 30 theologians are women, the most women the commission has ever had.  NCR, 12/19/2014-1/1/2015.
v 2015 - February, The Vatican held a four day conference entitled Women's Cultures: Equality and Difference.  The participants were all men!  Some women were asked to submit a one minute video stating what it is like to be a woman but there were no women participants.  The Vatican and Pope Francis fail to see how ludicrous this is or how demeaning to women.  Call To Action News and Notes, Summer 2015.
v 2015 - March 7, Jesuit Fr. William Brennan's video recording, documenting his conviction that women are called to the priesthood and pleading for a change in the Catholic church's position denying women ordination to the priesthood, was made from his hospital bed, shortly before his death, and was released to the public on this date, approximately 6 months after his death.  Fr. Brennan, a Jesuit for 75 years and a priest for 63 years, spent the last 2 years of his life under restricted ministry (priestly faculties were suspended, he was prohibited from appearing as a Jesuit in public, was ordered not to contact the media and was prohibited from leaving Milwaukee without the permission of his Jesuit superiors) because of his support of women's ordination and having concelebrated a liturgy with a Roman Catholic Woman Priest.  He felt that he had not stood up when it counted on the recognition of women's roles in the church including ordination to the priesthood.  He said "I think this is a call of the Spirit."  NCR, 9/12-25/2014 and 3/27-4/9/2015.
v 2015 - March 8, At a Vatican event held to mark International Women's Day, women gathered to discuss the "need for the church to practice what it preaches about full equality between men and women, to include women in every level of decision making, and to use inclusive language in its worship."  "I dream of a church where it won't matter whether you're a man or a woman, and you just respond to God's call of service." said Astrid Gajiwala.  "It's about recognizing, realizing that excluding women from the church [does] not conform to the Gospel." said Sailer (who has worked at Vatican Radio).  The only male speaker at the event was Jesuit Fr. Orobator who said "Any society that relegates women to a secondary status and allots them menial tasks, creates propitious conditions for gender-based violence and morally depraved ideologies to emerge and thrive."  Was anyone in the Vatican listening?  NCR, 3/27- 4/9/2015.
v 2015 - April 13-17, The second international meeting of priest associations and lay reform groups was held in Limerick, Ireland.  The two main issues to be discussed by delegates was the role and full equality of women in the church and the governance of the church.  NCR, 4/28/2015.
v 2015 - In El Salvador women are being imprisoned for homicide following a miscarriage or still birth.  Poor women going to the hospital because of bleeding are accused of abortion, wake up handcuffed to the bed, and end up with 30 year prison sentences.  NCR, 5/22 - 6/4/2015.
v 2015 - An increasing number of parishes are led by lay ministers and the majority of these lay ministers are women with families.  In the U.S. "there are more than 39,600 lay ministers - more than 31,700 of whom are women."  Catholic social teaching supports fair labor practices and Pope Francis stated in April "Why is it expected that women must earn less than men?  No!  They have the same rights.  The disparity is a pure scandal."  However this seems to be a "do as I say, not as I do" issue, because the church pays lay ministers an average of $32,547 annually and pays priests an average of $42,896.  In addition priests get a number of perks including free seminary tuition, an annual retreat stipend, health insurance, retirement funding, and some priests are able to take a paid sabbatical of 3-6 months.  Lay parish leaders usually have paid for their own education and only a few receive some/all of the perks priests receive.  Pope Francis is right it is a "pure scandal" and the church should rectify the disparity in compensation fueled by both gender inequality and the clerical - lay divide.  NCR, 8/28-9/10/2015 and 5/20-6/2/2016.
v 2015 - September 18-20, The Third Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) Conference met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Gender, Gospel and Global Justice was the conference theme in an effort to raise up women's voices and to draw attention to the ways that the Catholic Church under Pope Francis is still lagging in gender equality.  Future Church Focus, Winter 2016.
v 2016  - October, The documentary film, Radical Grace began its national social impact campaign.  This film followed 3 nuns for four years as they worked to reform both our society and the Church despite actions from the Vatican that threatened to silence them and suppress their missions, especially on the equality of women in the church.  Future Church Focus, Winter 2016
v 2015 - November 1, "Anger at the "systemic oppression of women within the Catholic church" spurred a group of 12 Irish priests [including Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery] to issue a statement of protest calling for the a free and open discussion of the exclusion of women from decision-making and the priesthood in the church.  In a statement issued November 1, 2015 the 12 priests warned that the current "strict prohibition" on discussing the question of women's ordination has failed to silence the majority of the Catholic faithful."  "The group 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."  NCR, 11/20-12/3/2015.
v 2015 - November, The first three of what will be a 58 volume series of feminist biblical interpretation entitled the "Wisdom Commentary" was published by the Liturgical Press.  This effort is being led by Dominican Sr. Barbara Reid with contributions from several feminist biblical scholars having a wide diversity of religious, racial, and cultural backgrounds.  NCR, 2/12-25/2016.
v 2016 - Women Deacons?: Essays with Answers edited by Phyllis Zagano was published by the Liturgical Press.  This book of 12 essays, written between 1969 and 2011, was "published just 2 weeks before the female leaders of the International Union of Superiors General requested the commission [on the female diaconate] and Pope Francis agreed to establish it."  NCR, 10/7-20/2016.
v 2016 - May 12, Pope Francis announced the creation of a commission to study the history of the female diaconate in the Catholic Church.  This commission will clarify if women serving as deacons in the early centuries of the church were ordained or not and will consider the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the current church.  [This the third commission initiated by a pope on this topic.  In the 1970's Pope Paul VI established the International Theological Commission to study women deacons and the Pontifical Biblical Commission to settle in a clear way the "problem" of ordaining women.  See earlier entries] NCR, 6/3-16/2016.
v 2016 - June 1-3, Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) sponsored this conference entitled "Open the Door to Dialogue" in Rome to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding or their organization that promotes the ordination of women to the priesthood and diaconate in the Catholic church.  Although the WOW organizers had a permit to demonstrate outside St. Peter's Basilica, "the women priests with us had their stoles and signs taken away, as well as our leaflets and pins."  NCR, 6/17-30/2016.
v 2016 - June 10, Pope Francis raised the July 22 memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to a feast on the church's liturgical calendar.  "While most liturgical celebrations of individual saints during the year are known formally as memorials, those classified as feasts are reserved for important events in Christian history and for saints of particular significant, such as the Twelve Apostles."  This change recognizes "St. Mary Magdalene's role as the first to witness Christ's resurrection and as a "true and authentic evangelizer"."  NCR, 7/1-14/2016.
v 2016 - August 2, The names of the 12 appointees to Pope Francis' commission to study the female diaconate, formally known as the "Study Commission on the Women's Diaconate" were announced.  There are 6 male and 6 female scholars, including both lay and religious leaders from various parts of the world under the leadership of Archbishop Luis Fransico Ladaria, a Jesuit who serves as the second-in-command of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation.  Phyllis Zagano of Hofstra University, who has championed women being ordained to the diaconate  for years and has written extensively on the subject is one of appointees. She is the only woman from the Western Hemisphere.  NCR, 8/12-25/2016 and 8/26-9/8/2016.
v 2016 - November 1, Pope Francis, during a press conference on the papal flight from Sweden to Rome, said in answer to a question "On the ordination of women in the Catholic church, the last word is clear.  It was given by St. John Paul II and this remains."  When the journalist pressed "But really forever?" "Never?" The Pope replied "If we read carefully the declaration made by St. John Paul II, it goes in that direction."  NCR, 11/18-12/1/2016.

Authors'  Conclusions

v “Cogent and convincing, Torjesen asserts that the sexism and misogyny that remain in the church today do not derive from Jesus and his first followers –  who radically challenged conventions about gender and status – but from the social context in which Christianity flowered.  Thus, those who deny women full participation in the leadership of the modern church based on the teaching and practice of Jesus and the early church, are quite simply, dead wrong.”  Torjesen Book Jacket
v There are a number of arguments from Scripture and Tradition that have been used to exclude women from ordination.  When you research Scripture and historical church documents - not one argument can stand up to scrutiny.  "In all cases it was cultural discrimination, not scriptural inspiration, that shored up the so-called tradition of not ordaining women. . . . Cultural prejudice rather than God's will was responsible for relegating women to a purely passive role in the Church.  Through this theological error, enormous damage has been inflicted on the faithful in previous centuries and the harm is still being done today.  Cultural bigotry had invaded Christian beliefs and had succeeded in enthroning a pagan prejudice as if it were a genuine Christian practice. . . . It is not God who decreed the exclusion of women, but pagan sexist bigotry which squashed the true Christian tradition of women's call to ministry."  Wijngaards, pages 4-6.
v Matthew Fox sums up the problem well, he writes "How can any tradition call itself "catholic"--that is, universal--if it excludes half of the human race from its leadership?  There will be no healthy Christian experience that does not acknowledge women and their roles as issues of justice and equality and common sense--just as it was in the early and radical days of the first Christian communities."  Fox, page 222.
v "The ban against women priests inflicts serious damage on the Catholic community.  It wounds all women in their dignity as daughters of God and members of Christ.  It spurns God's call in women who have a vocation to the priestly ministry and deprives the Church of their valuable gifts.  By devaluing one half of God's people . . . it destroys the credibility of the Catholic community and its leaders."  Wijngaards, page 182.
v "It is presumptuous to try to limit the spirit of God to a single sex."  "As Lord and head of the church, Christ (God) bestows his manifold gifts and powers for the upbuilding of his body in an absolute freedom beyond the calculation of human beings; he whose spirit apportions to each one individually as he will (1 Cor. 12:11) is free and powerful to give to women as well as to men the special charisma for the ministry, along with other charisma.  Respect for this sovereign freedom and dominion of Christ (or God) demands that in the official church care will be taken, in obedience to its head and Lord, to provide for the full unfolding of the various charisma given by God for the upbuilding of the church."  When "Catholic women speak out for equal positions with men, this is not in the last analysis a struggle for rights for right's sake - . . . - but rather a "testimony to the claim of God," and his rights, on human beings.  Before anything else, equal rights present the presupposition that women can freely answer the claim of God and his call to them in its humanly unpredictable form and variety."  Raming, pages 223-224, 228.
v The Catholic "Church has been greatly impoverished.  This impoverishment has arisen because every facet of the life of the Church has been dictated and viewed by and from the male perspective.  The gifts, charisms and insights of 50% of the church, the female 50%, have been almost entirely ignored."  "The priesthood is chosen from only one sex, only one approach to life, spirituality, belief in Christ and the attaining of salvation is ever preached."  "The male priesthood has adopted a dreadful arrogance of righteousness which only serves to cover the impoverishment that they inflict on the whole church by their treatment of women."  Further "the church is interfering with the work of the Holy Spirit amongst the people of God because of its narrow view of the role of women."  "In every facet of the Church's mission the male voice leads and directs."  "Without women as priests, we are only half a church.  Such a Church is not the Church Jesus left with Peter.  The Church we have now is a Vatican imitation of a truly Christian Church."  Wijngaards, pages 45-46.
v Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan sums up the struggle for women's ordination this way:  "I believe that Christ is calling us to step out of the boat and walk on water.  Acting contra legem is the only way forward.  We must break the law in order to change the law.  An unjust law as St. Augustine said, is no law at all.  We have an obligation to disobey an unjust law.  We are practicing "holy disobedience" to a law that discriminates against women in the Church, a law that contradicts our equality as baptized members of the Church. . . . As Cardinal Walter Kasper, who heads the Vatican Pontifical Commission for Christian Unity, said, "Some situations oblige us to obey God and one's own conscience, rather than the leaders of the Church.  Indeed, one may even be obliged to accept excommunication, rather than act against one's conscience." . . . The call for the full equality of women in the Church is the voice of God in our time."  McGrath, Meehan, Raming, pages 93-94.
v The one aspect of women's ordination in the Catholic Church that both sides agree on is that no baptized Christian has a "right" to the call to priesthood.   God is completely free to call whomever He wants to serve his people in the ordained ministry of priest.  So although Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have declared that the question of women's ordination has been decided and the subject is closed to further discussion - the Church cannot limit God's choice to men only, for the call to serve Jesus Christ and his people can never be silenced (even by popes) whether the call is to women or men.  Halter, page 26.

v Catholic women called by God to the ordained ministry have had to make a choice:  Daigler, pages 173-174.
o   Many qualified Roman Catholic women have accepted ordination in the Old Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, and other churches, in order to answer God's call.  Their new spiritual homes have welcomed them into Christian ministry and confirmed their call from God to serve.
o   Some have become so disillusioned by the church's deliberate discrimination against women, they have given up and left the church and their ministries.
o   Some have prepared for the priesthood as required of male seminarians and been ordained in the same ordination ritual by Roman Catholic Womenpriest Bishops.
o   Some have decided to push for women's licit and valid Roman Catholic ordination to the permanent diaconate by theological argument, publishing articles on Deaconesses in the early church, and direct appeal to bishops and to the Vatican.
o   A less familiar choice of some women is to accept the spiritual and ritual leadership role for a Catholic community where the priest has retired or died and has not been replaced, and the community has called them forth.  This is called "election by acclamation" and it was common in the house-churches of the very early and persecuted Christian communities.  "Men and women can be chosen to preside at the Eucharist by the church community; that is, 'from below' . . . In fact Dominican theologian, Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx in his book, Ministry:  Leadership in the Community of Jesus Christ, pointed out 'that the Council of Chalcedon, in the fifth century, had declared any ordination of a priest or deacon illegal, as well as null and void, unless the person being ordained had been chosen by a particular community to be its leader.'"  McGrath, Meehan, Raming, page 46.
o   Some women who feel the call of God to the priesthood will only be satisfied when a Roman Catholic bishop in good standing steps forward to ordain them sacramentally, either in public or secretly.  So they try to get to know bishops who may be sympathetic to their calling and motivate them to act in prophetic disobedience to the Vatican.  "Many believe (based on rumor, not on documented proof) that this type of ordination has already occurred in several countries around the world, dictated by acute pastoral need."
v The Gospel urges us to be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient, to convince, reprimand, and encourage, so faith filled women called forth by the Spirit are just going to keep coming and coming and coming and coming until, just like the widow in the gospel, we get justice.



© 2013, 2014, 2016  Peggy Clough


My  Own  Conclusions:  peggyc@umich.edu
The church's current belief in a gender specific priesthood is similar to the church's past beliefs about slavery.  Blacks were believed to be human, well almost, not really fully, certainly not like whites, sort of - but to a lesser degree, like second class humans.  That was and is racism and the church now recognizes that and condemns racism and slavery (despite Paul's acceptance of it by references in his letters and by his letter to Philemon).   The hierarchy of the Catholic Church holds that women are made in the image of God, well almost, not really fully, certainly not like men, sort of - but to a lesser degree, like second class believers and so not worthy to be ordained or hold leadership roles in the Catholic Church.  That was and is discrimination against women, it is sexual bigotry, it is sinful, and Jesus would want no part in it. 
When the Catholic Church discriminates against women, it tells society throughout the world that it is morally acceptable to discriminate against women.  "The Church's discrimination is part of the systemic discrimination that results in the physical violence, rape, mutilation, bondage, harassment, poverty and abandonment of women."  Joan Clark Houk in Tanenbaum, page 63.  The statistics on the global discrimination against women are grim.  "In NCR's Global Sisters Report, St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson explained:  Women, who form half of the world's population, work three-fourths of the world's working hours; receive one-tenth of the world's salary; own 1 percent of the world's land; form two-thirds of illiterate adults; and together with their dependent children form three-fourths of the world's starving people.  To make a bleak picture worse, women are subject to domestic violence at home and are raped, prostituted, trafficked into sexual slavery and murdered."  She concluded "In no country on earth are women and men yet treated in an equal manner befitting their human dignity."  National Catholic Reporter, July 4-17, 2014, At its heart, it's about lifting up women globally as truly equal to men by Jamie Manson, page 2a.  "In the US, a woman is assaulted by her husband or male partner every 9 seconds."  Of the one to three million women battered each year in our country, "each day four women die because of abuse."  National Catholic Reporter, August 29-September 11, 2014, Book Review of Letting Go Into Perfect Love:  Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse by Gwendolyn Plano, review by Diane Scharper, page 18.

It is a sin for the church to discriminate against women.  And this sexism is made even worse because the Church claims that this is the will of God.  The Church is using God to support its sexual bigotry. 

I am called to witness that God does not do this,
discrimination against women is NOT THE WILL OF GOD.
Banning over half the members of the church from ordination / leadership roles weakens the church, the Body of Christ.  As long as the deception that women were never ordained and did not hold leadership roles in the Catholic Church is perpetuated, the contemporary church leadership will believe it has permission and legitimacy to subordinate women.

What  Can  We  Do?
I urge those who believe women are created in the image of God, who want the use of inclusive language in the liturgy, who want to hear female imagery used in describing God, and are committed to the ordination of women as deacons and priests to consider either or both of two actions. 
First, become more knowledgeable on these topics.  Read any of the over one hundred books that have been published documenting the true roles women took on in the early church, share your questions and concerns with other Catholics and discuss these topics.  Feel free to pass this information along to others interested or questioning how the church hierarchy treats women.
Second, consider how much you want to support (or not support) a hierarchical Church that holds these sexist positions.  We are called to be charitable but instead of donating to the hierarchical male dominated Catholic Church, you might want to support specific Catholic programs or endeavors run by religious sisters.  Or you might want to support non-profit organizations that do charitable work completely outside the sphere of the church (check out secular charities on www.charitynavigator.org).  Or you might want to support organizations that  are working to change how women are treated and valued in the organizational hierarchical Roman Catholic Church, organizations like Call to Action, Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Campaign for the Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), Women's Ordination Conference, Future Church, and Corpus.  These organizations may not be familiar to you so I have listed their websites.



© 2013, 2014, 2016  Peggy Clough


Websites  of  Organizations  Committed  to  Equality  &  Inclusiveness
in  the  Roman  Catholic  Church


Campaign for the Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church is the website initiated by John Wijngaards, a theologian, priest, and prolific author and is the largest and most comprehensive international website on women and sacred ministry @ www.womenpriests.org

St. Joan's International Alliance @ www.womenpriests.org
Call To Action (CTA) @ www.cta-usa.org
Call To Action of Michigan @www.cta-mi.org
Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. (RCWP) @ www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) @ www. arcwp.org
Quixote Center (QC) @ www.quixote.org
Women's Ordination Conference (WOC) @ www.womensordination.org
Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) @ www.womensordinationworldwide.org
God Talk @ www.godtalktv.org (DVDs/TV Programs on Roman Catholic Women's Ordination)
Southeastern Pennsylvania Women's Ordination Conference (SEPAWOC) @ www.sepawoc.org
Ordination of Catholic Women (OCW) @www.ocw.webcentral.com.au/  (Australians in support of women's ordination)
Women and the Australian Church (WATAC) @ www.watac.net
Future Church @ www.futurechurch.org
Corpus USA @ www.corpus.org
Corpus Canada @www.corpuscanada.org
Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) @ www.hers.com/water
Women-Church Convergence @ www.women-churchconvergence.org
Catholic Network for Women's Equality (CNWE) @ www.cnwe.org
God's Word to Women, Inc @ www.godswordtowomen.org
Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) International @ www.cbeinternational.org
Fortunate Families @ www.fortunatefamilies.org
New Ways Ministry @ www.newwaysministry.org
Equally Blessed @ www.equally-blessed.org
Dignity USA @ www.dignityusa.org


These websites really not so much, but may have useful Catholic information.
New Advent (Catholic Encyclopedia & Documents) @ www.newadvent.org
Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) @ www.clsa.org
The Holy See @ www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) @ www.usccb.org




Source  Materials  and  Authors

Chaves, Mark, Ordaining Women: Culture and Conflict in Religious Organizations, 1977, Harvard University Press.
Dr. Chaves earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.  He is currently a Professor of Sociology, Religion and Divinity at Duke University.  He has authored 4 books and numerous articles and book chapters and has been an invited speaker to many organizations.  He is also the Director of the National Congregations Study (NCS).

Daigler, Mary Jeremy, Incompatible with God's Design:  A History of the Women's Ordination Movement in the United States Roman Catholic Church, 2012, Scarecrow Press Inc.
Sister Mary Jeremy Daigler earned a Doctor of Ministry degree and is a Visiting Scholar at Mount Saint Agnes Theological Center for Women.  She has been active in the Women's Ordination Movement through her participation in the Women’s Ordination Conference, a group she has helped to shape and lead since its inception about twenty-five years ago. In 1996, Mary Jeremy attended the European Women’s Synod  in Europe and reported on it for Mount Saint Agnes.  Mary Jeremy has previously served at Loyola College of Maryland, St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, Marywood College in Scranton and College of Notre Dame of Maryland. In 2000, she published a book on Mercy Higher Education, Through the Windows: A History of the Work of Higher Education Among the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas (The University of Scranton Press).

Eisen, Ute E., Women Officeholders in Early Christianity:  Epigraphical and Literary Studies, 2000, Liturgical Press.
Dr. Ute Eisen earned her PhD. in the New Testament from the University of Hamburg, Germany.  In 2001 she won the Catholic Press Award in the category of Gender Issues for her book, Women Officeholders in Early Christianity:  Epigraphical and Literary Studies.  She is presently President of the European Society of Women in Theological Research.

Ellsberg, Robert, Blessed Among All Women, 2005, Crossword Publishing Company.
Robert Ellsberg graduated from Harvard College with a degree in religion and literature and later studied theology at Harvard Divinity School.  He has served as managing editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper, editor-in-chief of Orbis Books, and publisher of Orbis Books.  He has written or edited several books including working with Penny Lernoux and Athrur Jones on Hearts on Fire:  The Story of the Maryknoll Sisters.

Fox, Matthew, The Pope's War - Why Ratzinger's Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, 2011, Sterling Ethos Publishing, 2011.
Matthew Fox was ordained a Dominican priest in 1967.  He earned master's degrees in both theology and philosophy from Aquinas Institute of Theology.  He earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in Spirituality from the Institut Catholique in Paris.  He combined scripture, tradition, mystics, and prophets in his personal vision called Creation Spirituality, which is also a "green" theology committed to protecting nature.  In 1993 he was expelled from the Dominican order and priesthood by Cardinal Ratzinger of the CDF for calling God "Mother", his understanding of original blessing instead of original sin and other teachings not in accord with the Vatican.  He became a priest in the Episcopal Church.  He has written over 30 books.  In 1996 He founded the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland.  In 2005 he founded an educational organization called Youth and Elder Learning Laboratory for Ancestral Wisdom Education (YELLAWE).  This program is based on a holistic approach to education and creativity.

Gryson, Roger, The Ministry of Women in the Early Church, 1976, Liturgical Press.
Monsignor Professor Gryson is Professor Emeritus of Patristics at Catholic University, de Louvain, Belgium.  Vetus Latina "the collective name for the large and diverse group of Latin biblical texts" is newly collected and edited by Archabbey Beuron led by Roger Gryson.  www.vetus-latina.de

Halter, Deborah, The Papal "NO" : A Comprehensive Guide to the Vatican's Rejection of Women's Ordination, 2004, The Crossroads Publishing Co.
Ms. Halter is currently a Lecturer in Catholicism and World Religions at Loyola University in New Orleans.  She is the former chair of the Women's Ordination Conference.  She has been a speaker at Call To Action and is a frequent contributor to the National Catholic Reporter.

Johnson, Elizabeth, The Church Women Want, 2002, Crossroads Publishing Co. and "On Infallibility and Responsible Dissent" (1996), Future Church.
Dr. Johnson earned her Ph.D. in Theology from Catholic University in 1981.  She has taught theology at St. Joseph's College and Catholic University and currently is a Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University in New York City.  She has served as head of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the American Theological Society.  She has authored 9 books and numerous articles and won the Gender Award from the Catholic Press Association for The Church Women Want.  Dr. Johnson has been awarded 13 Honorary Doctoral degrees.  She is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood.

Macy, Gary, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination  Female Clergy in the Medieval West, 2008, Oxford University Press, Inc.
Dr. Macy earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in theology from Marquette University and his doctoral degree in historical theology from Cambridge University.  He is the author of several books and articles on the theology and history of the Eucharist and on women's ordination.  He currently serves as the John Nobili, S.J. Professor of Theology and Department Chair at Santa Clara University 9/07-present.

Madigan, Kevin and Osiek, Carolyn, Ordained Women in the Early Church:  A Documentary History, 2005, The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Dr. Madigan earned his MA and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.  He is a historian of medieval Christian religious practice and thought and is currently the Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at Harvard Divinity School.  He has authored 4 books and numerous articles.
Dr. Osiek / Sister Carolyn Osiek, rscj, earned her Ph.D. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Harvard University.  She has been a Professor at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago for 26 years.  She is currently a Professor of New Testament at the Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas.  Dr. Johnson is also the current Vice-President/President Elect of the Society of Biblical Literature, the fourth woman and eighth Catholic to be elected to that office in the 123 year history of the organization.  In 1995 she served as President of the Catholic Biblical Association, only the second woman to do so.  Dr. Johnson is the author of numerous books including Beyond Anger: On Being a Feminist in the Church (1986) and was the editor of the 15 volume Message of Biblical Spirituality series.  She authored "The Women in Paul's Ministry" for Future Church.  Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is denoted by rscj.

McGrath, Elsie Hainz and Meehan, Bridget Mary and Raming, Ida, Women Find A Way, 2008, Virtualbookworm.com Publishing Inc.
Elsie Hainz McGrath has theology degrees from St. Louis University and the Aquinas Institute of Graduate Theology as well as over 30 years of ministerial experience.  She is a certified minister with the Federation of Christian Ministries and the International Association of Women Ministers.  She was ordained a Roman Catholic Womanpriest in 2007 in St. Louis and is co-pastor of the Therese of Divine Peace Inclusive Community, celebrating the Catholic sacraments in a Unitarian chapel.  She is also a widow, with 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Dr. Meehan holds a Doctorate of Ministry from Virginia Theological Seminary and is Dean of the Doctorate of Ministry Program at Global Ministries University.  She has authored 18 books including The Healing Power of Prayer (published in 7 languages), Praying with Women of the Bible, Praying with a Passionate Heart, and Affirmations from the Heart of God.  She was ordained a Roman Catholic Womanpriest in 2006 in Pittsburgh and ordained a Roman Catholic Bishop in 2009.  She ministers to the Mary, Mother of God communities in northern Virginia and in Florida.  She serves as a member of the North American Leadership Circle of Roman Catholic Womenpriests and is the media contact for RCWP in the United States.
Dr. Raming - please see biographic information below.

Minney, Gretchen Kloten, Called - Women Hear the Voice of the Divine, 2010, Wonder Why Publications
Ms. Minney has a 35 year career in academic bookselling in the university environment and has served on the Board of Directors of the American Booksellers Association.  She has an unshakable respect for the power of the written word and considers telling the stories of specific women in the forefront of the struggle for women's ordination her calling.

Raming, Ida, A History of Women and Ordination  Volume 2  The Priestly Office of Women:  God's Gift to a Renewed Church, Second Edition, 2004, The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
Dr. Ida Raming is a pioneer of the women's ordination movement.  Together with Dr. Iris Mueller she drew up a published submission to the Second Vatican Council in 1963, challenging the exclusion of women from the priesthood.  She received her doctorate in theology from the University of Munster in 1970, her thesis was published in Germany in 1973.  Dr. Raming's thesis was translated into English and published in 1976 under the title The Exclusion of Women From the Priesthood:  Divine Law or Sex Discrimination?  Dr. Raming has held an academic post in theology at the University of Munster, has held several lectureships and has published numerous books and articles in the area of the history and theology of women, especially on the role and value of women in the Roman Catholic Church.  She was one of seven women ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood on June 29, 2002.

Schenk, Christine, "Women Leaders in Early Christianity" (2009), "Jesus and Women", "Women Officeholders in the Early Church" (2005), "Mary of Magdala" (1998), Future Church.
Christine Schenk is a Sister of St. Joseph.  She earned a Master of Science degree from Boston College and worked as a nurse midwife in Cleveland for 20 year.  She also earned a Master's Degree in Theology "with distinction" from St. Mary's Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Cleveland, Ohio.  Sr. Schenk worked to transform a diocesan network of 28 parish councils and 100 parish leaders into a national organization reflecting the values of Vatican II - Future Church came into being in 1990 and Sr. Schenk was the founding Executive Director and provided leadership from its inception until September, 2013.  She has give hundreds of presentations and media interviews about women in scripture and the church.  She has been interviewed by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Vatican Radio, and Fox cable channels and quoted in major feature stories in Time and Newsweek. 

Schneiders, Sandra M., Written That You May Believe, 1999, Crossroad Publishing
Dr. Schneiders is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan (I.H.M.).  She earned a M.A. at University of Detroit, S.T.L. at Institut Catholique de Paris,  and S.T.D. at Pontifical Gregorian University.  She is professor emerita of New Testament and Spirituality in the Jesuit School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.  She is the author of numerous books and articles on spirituality, feminism, and theology, including The Revelatory Text:  Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scriptures.  In 2006 she won the John Courtney Murray Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Catholic Theological Society of America.

Schussler Fiorenza, Elisabeth, In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins, 1983, Crossroads Publishing Co.
Dr. Fiorenza earned her Theologicum (M Div) from the University of Wurzburg and her Theol. D. from the University of Munster in Germany.  She is currently the Krister Stendahl Professor of Divinity at Harvard University.  Dr. Fiorenza sets a high standard for historical rigor in feminist theology.  She has authored 12 books and numerous articles.  She was the founder and editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and was the first woman to be elected President of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Sentilles, Sarah, A Church of Her Own  What Happens When a Woman Takes the Pulpit, 2009, Mariner Books.
Dr. Sentilles earned her master of divinity degree and her doctorate in theology from Harvard Divinity School.  She is a scholar of religion, an award winning speaker, and author of 3 books.  She was managing editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and founded a WomenChurch community.

Swidler, Leonard, Jesus Was a Feminist. What the Gospels Reveal about His Revolutionary Perspective,  2007, Sheed and Ward, A wholly owned subsidiary of The Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. " God's Word to Women" published in Catholic World in January 1971.
Dr. Swidler studied theology at St. Norbert Seminary and St. Paul Seminary. He earned a Master of Arts Degree in History from Marquette University and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the University of Tubingen (Germany).  He earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin.  He is Professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue at Temple University, Philadelphia.  He is co-founder with his wife, Arlene Swidler, in 1964, of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, a quarterly that he serves as editor.  He is also the founder/president of the Dialogue Institute - Interreligious, Intercultural, International (founded in 1978), and the founder/president of the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church in 1980. He has published over 80 books and 200 articles.  He has been a visiting professor at 13 Universities all over the world including China, Malaysia, Japan, Germany, and Austria.

Tanenbaum, Leora, Taking Back God  American Women Rising Up for Religious Equality, 2007, Counterpoint Press. 
Ms. Tanenbaum is the author of 4 books, is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Feminist Press, has been an invited speaker at Stanford University, Columbia University, Duke University, Spellman College, and the University of Michigan.  She appears regularly on a variety of national television programs, is a frequent guest on NPR, and is a blogger for the Huffington Post.

Torjesen, Karen Jo, When Women Were Priests:  Women's Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of Their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity, 1st Edition, 1993, HarperCollins Publisher.
Dr. Torjesen earned her Ph.D. in religion from Claremont Graduate School in January, 1982.  She is the author of many articles and papers and currently serves as the Dean, School of Religion, Claremont Graduate University 2000-present and is the Margo L. Goldsmith Professor of Women's Studies in Religion, Claremont Graduate University 1996-present.

Wijngaards, John, The Ordination of Women in the Catholic Church -- Unmasking a Cuckoo's Egg Tradition, 2001, Continuum International Publishing Group Inc.
Dr. Wijngaards has a licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute and a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome.  He was a missionary in India for 13 years and then was vicar general of the Mill Hill Missionaries for 6 years.  He is the author of numerous books on theology and spirituality.  He has long been a supporter of women's ordination and in 1998 he resigned from the priesthood to devote himself full time to the campaign for women's ordination.  He initiated the most comprehensive international website on women and sacred ministry @ www.womenpriests.org entitled the Campaign for the Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church.   


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