Roman Catholic Women Priests Chart New Path in Response to Sexual Abuse Crisis and Ordination
Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP
Martha Sherman RCWP-USA
Pope Francis has scheduled a meeting to address the worldwide horrific sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on Feb. 21-24. (See Link to RCWP/ARCWP Letter to Commission).
In addition, Pope Francis is considering reinstating women deacons, but not women priests.
While women deacons could be a possible first step to women priests, both are needed in a renewed priestly ministry. In an open letter published on Feb. 3rd, nine Prominent German priests and theologians call for the ordination of women priests
History and tradition support women in ordained ministries. Roman Catholic theologians like Dorothy Irvin affirm that women priests and bishops served in the early Church. In 820 A.D., there was a Bishop Theodora whose icon with her title can still be seen in the Church of St. Praxedis in Rome.
The abuse of minors, nuns, and women and the failure to include women in all the church’s ministries is an example of an abuse of patriarchal power. It is a justice and human rights violation. Let’s be clear, business as usual in covering-up of clerical and sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic clergy will no longer be tolerated by anyone.
The Church cannot move forward without the leadership of women. Women deacons, priests and bishops are ministering to survivors of clergy abuse now. While the Vatican has yet to open a dialogue with us, justice like a river is flowing in inclusive Catholic communities in 35 states. Since 2002, our international RCWP movement has grown from the Danube 7 to approximately 265.
In summary, women priests in a renewed priestly ministry are a solution in plain sight which many Catholics already support.