Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"No Women Priests?" WOW Responds to Pope Francis



'No Women Priests?' WOW Responds to Pope Francis

July 30, 2013


  • Miriam Duignan, WOW Leadership Circle (United Kingdom) t: 011.44.1923.77946; e:
  • Therese Koturbash, WOW Communications Coordinator (Canada)
    t: 001.204.648.5720: e:
  • Alicja Baranowska, WOW Communications Task Force (Belgium + Poland)

No Women Priests? WOW Responds to Pope Francis

On the question of 'women', WOW is alarmed by remarks made by Pope Francis during an interview with international journalists at the end of World Youth Days 2013. While saying that our Church ‘doesn't yet have a truly deep theology of women’, he also said that, on the question of the ordination of women, ‘the church has spoken and said no. John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed.'

The church has spoken? We remind Pope Francis that the church is made up of millions of women and men who have been officially forbidden by the Vatican from even discussing the question of women's ordination. Pope John Paul II may have spoken but he is not the Church. The ban on women priests may have been a definitive expression of prejudice but it was not an infallible ruling and it does not reflect the will or best interests of the people of the Church. Pope Francis recently called for an elimination of all forms of elitism and said that dialogue is the only way for individuals, families and societies to grow. Yet in trying to close down the question of women’s ordination, Vatican leadership demonstrates how it clings to an elitist vision of an elevated and exclusively male priesthood that stifles growth. In the refusal to dialogue, we are also witnessing a leadership fearful of open examination of the exclusion of women due to the shameful fact that it is based on sexism alone.

No truly deep theology of women in the Church? Pope Francis himself has recognised that ‘women have a special mission in the Church as first witnesses of Christ's resurrection’ and there are hundreds of documents and studies available on women’s’ active involvement in the Church since the very beginning. We encourage Pope Francis to open his eyes to the plentiful theology available rather than focusing his energy on trying to limit women to non speaking support roles.

No women priests? Perhaps, Pope Francis, it is time to show some more courage. It is long since past time that the Vatican officially opens wide the doors to genuine dialogue on the question of women's ordination in our Church.


Founded in 1996, Women's Ordination Worldwide(WOW) is an international network of groups whose current mission is to see Catholic women admitted to all ordained ministries in the Church. WOW is founded on the gospel principle of equality and therefore opposes any discrimination. 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no long male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28) WOW currently includes representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany Great Britain, Ireland, Malta, Poland, and the United States.

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