Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Choreographing the Dance of Dissent: Roman Catholic Womenpriests’ Claims to Authority by Christina Gringeri 1,* and Alexandra Himonas 2

Ordination Colombia June, 2018
College of Social Work, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. 
Academic Editor: Klaus Baumann
Religions 202213(4), 351;
Received: 29 January 2022 / Revised: 8 April 2022 /Accepted: 8 April 2022 / Published: 12 April 2022


In June 2002, seven Roman Catholic women were ordained to the priesthood by two bishops on a boat floating on the Danube River in the presence of hundreds of spectators. Their ordinations broke with two millennia of Catholic tradition prohibiting women priests and started a global movement. Post-ordination, the women priests were excommunicated by the Vatican, yet they still identify as Catholic priests. We explored the central tension of being insiders/outsiders by examining womenpriests’ claims to authority. The thematic analysis of interviews with over one hundred womenpriests and bishops led us to note an emerging theme in their language regarding claims to authority. In this analysis, we asked: how do womenpriests claim authority in ways that differentiate them from Roman Catholic Church authority as well as in ways that clearly position them within the tradition? We found four main strategies by which they make these claims: reclaiming the history and tradition of the early church; claiming the role of the magisterium; embodying authority; and community-based sources of power and authority. We concluded that the womenpriests are engaged in a delicate choreography of the dance of dissent, positioning themselves as the change some people may want to see in Catholicism while remaining true to Catholic roots and rituals.

No comments: