"On the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and said no. Pope John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed. –Pope Francis I, July 29, 2013
Boom. This is the same old same old theology—the Virgin Mary is more important than anyone else in the story, but living women cannot make ecclesial decisions, exercise sacramental ministry, or make ethical choices. Apparently, the question of women’s ordination is so yesterday in the Vatican Francis doesn’t think it needs to be revisited. –Mary Hunt, RD."
..."In 2000, I was invited to speak at a large religious conference in Rome about the SOA and U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. Hundreds of priests and nuns attended and were supportive of our efforts to close the SOA. The day before returning to the United States, I was invited by Vatican Radio to do a 15-minute live interview about the SOA and U.S. foreign policy.
With two minutes left and moved by the spirit, I recognized an opportunity to express my solidarity with women in the Church, so I said, “We have been discussing the injustice of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. As a Catholic priest, I want to say that there will never be justice in our Church until women can be ordained.”
I had about another minute remaining and wanted to say a little more about women priests, but the manager of Vatican Radio angrily came in, cut me off the air, and started playing church music. The interview was over—but I slept very well that night knowing I hadn’t let a sacred moment pass by in silence....
In asking these questions I saw clearly that our Church’s teaching that excludes women from ordination is rooted in sexism. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination against others, in the end, it is never the way of our all-loving God who created us all equal.
It was after participating in the ordination of a woman in 2008 that I received a letter from the Vatican stating that I must recant my support for the ordination of women or I would be excommunicated, and that the ordination of women was a “grave scandal” in the Catholic Church. When most Catholics hear the word “scandal,” they think about the thousands of priests who sexually abused children and the many bishops who covered up their horrific crimes—not the ordination of women.
I wrote the Vatican saying that my conscience would not allow me to recant. I stated that our conscience is sacred because it always urges us to do what is right, what is just. In essence, I said, you are telling me to lie and tell you that I do not believe that God created men and women of equal worth and dignity and calls both to be priests. This I cannot do; therefore I will not recant.
I continued to follow my conscience and went about my ministry calling for the closing of the SOA and for the ordination of women. In October of 2011, I joined an international delegation of women’s ordination leaders going to the Vatican. We met with Church leaders, delivering a petition signed by 15,000 supporters of women’s ordination. We showed the documentary film Pink Smoke Over the Vatican at a nearby theater, and we maintained a vigil in St. Peter’s Square, holding banners that said: “ORDAIN CATHOLIC WOMEN” and “GOD IS CALLING WOMEN TO BE PRIESTS.” Three from our delegation were removed from St. Peter’s Square by Rome police; we were detained for three hours and our banners were confiscated. Once again, it was all about solidarity.
It was only when I began expressing my solidarity with women in the Church, that I recognized how deeply sexism and power permeate the priesthood. Somehow we have lost our way, forgotten the teachings of Jesus, and evolved into a very powerful and privileged clerical culture. It saddens me that so many of my fellow priests see women as a threat to their power. As men, we claim that we, and we alone, can interpret the Holy Scriptures and know the will of God. We profess that men and women are created in the image and likeness of God, but as men we have created God in our own image. And this God is very small, very male, and sees women as the lesser of men.
On November 19, 2012, I was notified by Maryknoll that the Vatican had expelled me from my Maryknoll community of 46 years and the priesthood. This is very difficult and painful. I’m aware, however, that the rejection I feel is but a glimpse and a fraction of the rejection women have experienced in the Catholic Church for centuries.
I notified the Vatican and the leaders of Maryknoll that they can dismiss me, but they cannot dismiss the issue of gender equality in the Catholic Church. The demand for gender equality is rooted in God, justice, and dignity, and it will not go away.
As a Catholic priest for 40 years, my only regret is that it took me so long to confront the issue of male power and domination in our Church."