Italian synod observer Federica Ancona is pictured with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, at the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 19. CNS photo/Vatican Media

Editorial: A chance to change

By 
  • October 24, 2018

From the Pope on down, sentiment is growing to more fully integrate women into the everyday life of the male-dominated Church. So far, though, it’s been a lot of talk and too little action. Events at this month’s Synod of Bishops on youth illustrate that point.

Speaking at the synod, Cardinal Marc Ouellet called for the Church to recognize and embrace “the creativity of the female genius.” The Canadian cardinal has made this case before, but his words to the synod members had a particular resonance in an atmosphere darkened by the shadow of the sex-abuse crisis. 

He called it “possible and necessary” for the Church to develop greater respect for women and their abilities in order to overcome a history of male chauvinism and a culture of clericalism that has contributed to so much harm. And he urged “equal integration” of women into the life and society of the Church.

There are many ways to elevate and weave women into the fabric of the Church without calling them to the priesthood. Unfortunately, when they gathered in Rome, synod fathers fumbled a chance to adopt one of them. 

In addition to more than 260 bishops, delegates include two religious brothers and seven sisters. The brothers, both superior generals of congregations, are full voting synod members. One of the sisters is a superior general and no different in stature from the two brothers. Yet, although welcomed as a full participant in discussions, she was denied voting privileges. 

As she put it, if the brothers have a vote, a sister in an equal position should too. Makes sense.

In his address, Ouellet echoed a theme introduced five years ago by Pope Francis. Although female ordination was not possible, he proposed development of a “deep theology” of womanhood that can explain, just as Mary was more important than the Apostles, why women today are “more important than bishops and priests.”

The Pope and the cardinal are correct, of course. For centuries the Church has undervalued and patronized women, and changing that culture is long overdue. So this topic definitely belonged on the agenda of a meeting about the future, a synod on young people, faith and vocations. 

Youth need to know their Church is just and fair. And they want assurance that a male-dominated institution, one that was deliberately deaf, dumb and blind as thousands of young people were abused, will now embrace inclusion and diversity and identify capable women to help create safe, faithful environments. 

Ouellet reminded the synod about a recent consensus of Latin America Church leaders that called for “a cultural conversion” to recognize and promote women in the Church. “It’s urgent,” he said, “and fundamental to meet the concerns of young people.”

He is absolutely right. This conversion is necessary and long overdue.

Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

The author(s) of this editorial state:
“There are many ways to elevate and weave women into the fabric of the Church without calling them to the priesthood.”
They then go onto name precisely one: religious sisters at a Synod of Bishops should get...

The author(s) of this editorial state:
“There are many ways to elevate and weave women into the fabric of the Church without calling them to the priesthood.”
They then go onto name precisely one: religious sisters at a Synod of Bishops should get a vote if religious brothers having the same status get a vote. Well that should affect about 0.0000000001% of the women in the Church. Why is it that people who call for more involvement by women in the Church rarely, if ever, give us specific ways in which they think that that should be achieved? Is it that they can’t think of any? Is it that they want to hide what they are thinking?
In my parish it is women, and only women, who decide what hymns we sing at Mass. It is women, and only women, who lead the Rosary we say before Mass. The sacristy is run by women. The choir is almost entirely female. More of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are women than men. Far more of the Readers are women than men. All of the cantors, except one, are women. So just what, exactly, is it that women are supposed to be demanding? It would be nice to know. Then the debate can move onto something more substantial than the vague, undefined stuff we get such as this article.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

"Youth need to know their Church is just and fair. And they want assurance that a male-dominated institution, one that was deliberately deaf, dumb and blind as thousands of young people were abused, will now embrace inclusion and diversity and...

"Youth need to know their Church is just and fair. And they want assurance that a male-dominated institution, one that was deliberately deaf, dumb and blind as thousands of young people were abused, will now embrace inclusion and diversity and identify capable women to help create safe, faithful environments. "


If we simply want more 'capable women' included to help create, safe and faithful environments, we must all look to what and how our Church teaches the faith. Firstly, those priests that abused and those that did not report them, obviously became blind to what the faith was asking of them. The dark seed of Satan planted deep within.

Remember that truly 'holy' priests would not have gotten us into this situation. So how does one promote holiness. Keeping to the teachings of Jesus. The word of Jesus is the Truth, passed on by the 'male dominated' apostleship. This can never change and to water down any teachings will do a disservice to our young people.

Where is the guarantee that any women appointed to any position in the Church cannot succumb to the same temptations that the males of the Church are going through or be politically motivated to achieve a cultures desired agenda going against the Church? So on this point, where would women be placed? What positions? Would they work side by side with priests?

Priests need holiness first, then we can consider what role women, or even the young play. The Church cannot role over and grant the requests of women or the young and still have a clergy of which some are 'unholy', on the assumption that the women will keep the priests in check and the young are not the Truth. We are trying to tack to many dynamics at once. First tackle the priesthood problem.

Read More
There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location