It is a joy to discover the enthusiastic endorsement of women priests by Melinda Gates in her new book, The Power of Lift! Empowering women not only changes the world but is also changing the Roman Catholic Church. Our movement is one example of the power of lift by the Holy Spirit that is propelling the Church to new places of love and inclusion.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests ordains women for public ministry to promote equality and to challenge discrimination against women as a man-made rule which negatively impacts women's lives in every area. One example is the Vatican ban on artificial contraception that keeps millions of women and their dependent children in poverty. Women priests are sharing their interpretation of the Gospel and its impact on women's empowerment and social justice issues today. We invite all to the Banquet Table to celebrate sacraments- not just those who keep the rules. There are women priests in 13 countries, (Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Scotland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Philippines, South Africa, Colombia, Venezuela, Canada and the United States and in 34 States in the United States. I close my eyes and dream of what we could do to spread our movement with the help of philanthropists like Melinda Gates! New movie about our women priests movement https://youtu.be/9716xzTs_DE
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP https://arcwp.org
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests:We believe we can do it, and we did it!
(We have the spiritual authority to ordain women priests as leaders in a new model of inclusive, egalitarian ministry in Catholic communities.)
“I believe without question that the disrespect for women embodied in male-dominant religion is a factor in laws and customs that keep women down. This should not be surprising, because bias against women is perhaps humanity’s oldest prejudice, and not only are religions our oldest institutions, but they change more slowly and grudgingly than all the others—which means they hold on to their biases and blind spots longer.
My own church’s ban on modern contraceptives is just a small effect of a larger issue: its ban on women priests. There is no chance that a church that included women priests—and bishops and cardinals and popes—would ever issue the current rule banning contraceptives. Empathy would forbid it. An all-male, unmarried clergy cannot be expected to have the empathy for women and families that they would have if they were married, or if they were women, or if they were raising children. The result is that men make rules that hurt women. It is always a temptation when you’re making rules to put the burden on “the other,” which is why a society is more likely to support equality when “the other” is not just sitting next to you at the table as you write the rules, but actually writing them with you.
The Catholic Church tries to shut down the discussion of women priests by saying that Jesus chose men as his apostles at the Last Supper, and therefore only men are allowed to be priests. But we could as easily say that the Risen Christ appeared first to a woman and told her to go tell the men, and therefore only women are allowed to bring the Good News to the men.
There are many possible interpretations, but the Church has said that the ban on women priests has been “set forth infallibly.” Putting aside the irony of leaving women out of the leadership of an organization whose supreme mission is love, it’s demoralizing that men who make rules that keep men in power would be so unsuspicious of their own motives. Their claims might have been more convincing in past centuries, but male dominance has lost its disguises. We see what’s happening. Some parts of the Church come from God, and some parts come from man—and the part of the Church that excludes women comes from man.
One of the weightiest moral questions facing male-dominated religions today is how long they will keep clinging to male dominance and claiming it’s the will of God.
Encouraging the voices of women of faith is not an explicit part of my philanthropic work. But the voice of male-dominant religion is such a cause of harm—and the voice of progressive religious leaders is such a force for good—that I have to honor the women who are challenging the male monopoly and are amplifying female voices to help shape the faith.
But women can’t do it alone. Every successful effort to bring in outsiders has always had help from insider activists who do the work of reform from within. Women need male allies. They know this, and so in every religion where men have unequal influence, women are raising questions that make men uneasy. Who are the men who will stand with the women? And who are the men who will keep quiet out of obedience to rules they know are wrong?
The number of Catholic priests I’ve talked to who support ordaining women, combined with the institutional Church’s absolute opposition to women priests, convinces me that morally, in some cases, institutions are less than the sum of their parts.
It may strike you as a little odd that a chapter that opens with gender in farming would close with a discussion of religion, but we have a duty to trace women’s disempowerment up the stream to its source. Women around the world who are trying to reshape their faith, who are wresting the interpretation of scripture from the grip of a male monopoly, are doing some of the most heroic work for social justice and economic opportunity in the world today. They’re on the edge of a new frontier. reform inside ancient institutions, deserve our gratitude and our respect. These women and their male allies, especially the men working for reform inside ancient institutions, deserve our gratitude and our respect.”