|Fr. Sean Fagan, Irish theologian and beloved priest who died in 2016.|
"His transgression? In a letter to the editor of this paper, he tangentially touched upon the matter of women’s ordination as one of several solutions to the shortage of priests....It speaks to the greater issue of systemic institutional abuse. In the necessary focus on clerical sexual abuse of children and minors, the broader issue of how the church has enfolded abusive attitudes and behaviour into its whole being and modus operandi is ignored."
This excellent article by Angela Hanley names the rot at the heart of a patriarchal system of abuse that has gone on for centuries.
The excommunication of women priests is an example of the harsh punishment meant to intimidate women priests and our inclusive faith communities. The Vatican, under Popes John Paul and Benedict, did everything possible to punish our supporters. It did not work. We continue to flourish.
Pope Francis, who advocates human rights around the world, should support human rights and the primacy of conscience in the Church. He could lift all excommunications against women priests. Likewise, he should rescind all penalties incurred by theologians and priests who have dissented on this man-made law that discriminates against women.
As equals in the community of the baptized, we are called to live Jesus' mandate of love and mutual respect. Catholics have a right to dissent from official Church teaching when it violates their consciences. We need more theologians like Fr. Sean Fagan, not only to teach primacy of conscience, but also to live it -no matter what the cost. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, https://arcwp.org