Ecclesial Endeavor

— Father Anne looks to change Catholicism for good

Father Anne is hoping for major reform.

By Josh Lee

Father Anne knows quite a bit about being excluded.

Like many others before her, she’s been excommunicated from the Catholic Church, but unlike others, she hasn’t lost faith. Her major infraction, according to the Church, is being a female priest. She is not only barred from taking part in religious ceremonies, but she’s extra cautious to not even step foot on Church property.

Father Anne has made a name for herself by touring, advocating and campaigning for her cause, in the name of women everywhere. Her deeply-held convictions have led her down a difficult path fraught with naysayers and fundamentalists, but she continues to raise her voice in a call for reform.

When someone is excommunicated, they are no longer allowed to work or volunteer with the Church or take Sacrament. They are permanently pushed away from the Church and are no longer welcome.

“Women that get ordained are automatically excommunicated,” she explains. “It’s considered a crime as serious as the sexual abuse of a child by a male priest.”

The only difference is that male priests are rarely excommunicated for that sin. Instead, they are often laicized—meaning they are no longer allowed to be priests, but they are still considered members of the Church.

“[Excommunication is] the harshest punishment that the church can levy against someone who just wants to serve,” says Father Anne. “It’s terrible.”

But Father Anne continues to practice her faith despite her excommunicated status. She says that’s because she has no choice in the matter.

“My vocation is not a choice,” she says. “It comes from God. I was called by God to work for change.”

Father Anne’s journey has been a difficult one. She says she was living a “secular life” until she had a spiritual experience at the age of 29 that changed the trajectory of her existence.

“I began to seek God,” she says. “I checked out different faiths, and I ended up finding my way to the Catholic Church.”

She was living in Portland, Oregon, and managing a band when she started to study Christianity. She lived less than a mile from a Jesuit parish, where she began to learn the practices that would eventually lead her to become a priest.

“I started to learn how to pray,” she recalls. “The Jesuits taught me about spirituality and how to pray. That was when I started to hear the call to priesthood.”

Father Anne says she did all sorts of liturgical volunteer work and even started a young adult ministry. She went on to get her masters degree in divinity—the degree required for every Roman Catholic priest.

“And then I got to a point where I could no longer grow,” she says. “The institutional church that had formed me, that helped me and my relationship with God, that helped me blossom as a Catholic—it became the obstruction to the full expression of my vocation to priesthood.”

She says she was forced onto a parallel track because the institutional church obstructed her ability to live out her vocation. She became ordained through the Roman Catholic Woman Priest movement, which started in 2002, when male priests ordained seven women as priests. The next year, several women were ordained as bishops and given the power to ordain other women priests. There are now about 260 female Roman Catholic priests that have been ordained. Each of them has been excommunicated for breaking what they consider to be an unjust Canon law.

“That law is supported by a fundamentalist interpretation of scripture,” says Father Anne. “It violates the Church’s own teachings against fundamentalism. It’s hypocrisy at its finest.”

She says the law that keeps women out of the priesthood is also based on a false narrative that aims to downplay the role of women in the Church.

“The Church claims that women have never been ordained, and that’s really a misleading statement that obscures the rich history of the participation of women,” she notes.

Father Anne believes the Canon law is steeped in the sexist interpretation that women are inferior by God’s design and are meant to be subjugated by men. “This deeply conflicts with the values of Christianity and the life of Jesus, of course,” she points out.

“Because I can be harshly critical, it can get lost that I actually do this out of a deep love for the institution,” says Father Anne. “I just want to be a parish priest. I want to be part of the institution, accepted as fully human.”

But Father Anne’s drive to reform the Church isn’t solely based in her desire to be welcomed back. She says that convincing the Church to accept female priests could have significant ramifications in all walks of life where women are treated as second-class citizens.

“The thing about the Roman Catholic Church is that it is one of the most powerful institutions in the world,” she notes. “It’s the largest provider of non-governmental healthcare and non-governmental education in the world. It has a seat at the UN. It’s one of the largest landowners in the world. And not one woman has ever had a say at the highest levels.”

By allowing females to serve as priests, Father Anne says, the Church will set a precedent that will affect all women.

“That Roman collar on a man in the institutional Roman Catholic Church symbolizes the oldest lie in all creation: That women are inferior by biological design and deserve to be subjugated—not only in the sanctuary, but everywhere else,” she says.

Father Anne will be celebrating an online Mass on December 17, at 9am on Zoom. The mass is open to anyone who wants to attend, and RSVPs can be made by sending an email to

“Right now is a pivotal time,” says Father Anne, “because the Church is discerning the role of women, and ordination for women is on the table through the Synod on Synodality, which concludes in October 2024. The goal of the #GodSaysNow campaign is to make this issue impossible for bishops to ignore.”

Complete Article HERE!

Pope Francis asks theologians to ‘demasculinize’ the Catholic Church

— ‘Women have a way of reflecting on theology that is different from us men,’ Francis told the International Theological Commission

Pope Francis speaks to nuns during the weekly general audience, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican, on Wednesday.

By Claire Giangrave

Speaking to members of the International Theological Commission at the Vatican on Thursday, Pope Francis asked theologians, in an unscripted remark, to “demasculinize” the church.

“There is something I don’t like about you, if you excuse my honesty,” said Pope Francis, pointing out that only five women were among the more than 30 theologians. “We need to move forward on this. Women have a way of reflecting on theology that is different from us men,” he added.

The International Theological Commission is part of the Roman Curia and advises the Vatican’s doctrinal department on theological issues. The pope appoints its members, and women have been named as members since 2004.

The pope said he studied the Italian theologian Romano Guardini through the work of a woman, Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, who he said influenced his understanding of women in theology. Francis also said that at his next meeting with the Council of Cardinals, a body that advises him on church matters, he and the cardinals would “reflect on the role of women in the church.”

The general secretary of the commission, Monsignor Piero Coda, said Francis’s words were “an additional encouragement for something that is very dear to the pope but is also at the heart of the journey that the church is undergoing though the synodal process.”

Bishops and laypeople, including an unprecedented number of women, took part in October at the Vatican in the Synod on Synodality, which in its final report demanded a theological reflection on the role of women in the church, as well as the possibility of allowing women to become deacons.

Catholic deacons preach at Mass and perform marriages and baptisms but do not celebrate the Eucharist or hear confessions. Those who oppose allowing female deacons claim it would be a first step toward opening the priesthood to women.

The pope’s words on Thursday underlined “the need to increase the space given to women in positions of authority and decision-making in the Christian community, in order to treasure the sensibility and intelligence that is typical of the feminine genius and experience,” Coda told Religion News Service.

Women have always been important in the church, the theologian said, but “it’s time for this to become part of the culture” to address modern challenges and the “male-dominated view that still exists in the church and in society.”

The small number of female theologians in the church is related to the roles women are offered in the church today, Coda said. “It’s true that women and laypeople are still underrepresented in theology, because theology remains too centered on the formation of presbyters,” or priests, he explained.

“The church is woman,” Francis told the theologians, “and if we cannot understand what a woman is, what is the theology of women, we will never understand the church. One of the great sins we have witnessed is ‘masculinizing’ the church.”

The pope charged those present with the task of reflecting on the role of women in the institution. “This is the job I ask of you, please: Demasculinize the church,” he said.

Francis was not able to read his written speech aloud because of an inflammation of the lungs that has hindered his ability to speak and forced him to cancel a papal visit to Dubai for the COP28 environmental summit. After his off-the-cuff remarks, he told those present that he “spoke too much and it hurt me.”

Coda said he was struck by “the spiritual energy and limitless devotion to the church” that the pope showed during the meeting despite his “fragility.”

Francis urged theologians to be proponents of an “evangelizing theology.”

“It’s essential for you theologians to do this in sync with the people of God, from ‘below,’ with a preferential eye toward the poor and the simple, and at the same time ‘on your knees,’ because theology is born kneeling in adoration to God,” Francis said.

Coda said these qualities have always characterized Catholic theological tradition. “The great theologians weren’t people who were locked in ivory towers; they were immersed in the life of the people of God,” he said.

On Nov. 8, Francis issued a decree reforming the Pontifical Academy of Theology, which is charged with forming theologians, asking it to embark on “a paradigm shift, a brave cultural revolution,” to promote synodality in the church. — Religion News Service

Complete Article HERE!

Is door opening for women in the Catholic Church?

— Miami woman leading the call has new hope

Ellie Hidalgo, fourth from right, accompanied young adults from the United States traveling to Rome to participate in the public activities of the first general assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality in October 2023.

By Lauren Costantino

For more than a decade, Ellie Hidalgo has been campaigning to expand the role of women in the Catholic Church.

The Miami woman is co-director of a nonprofit, Discerning Deacons, which invites other Catholics to consider ordaining women as deacons — a clergy role that has already been opened to married men. That would allow women for the first time in centuries to preach the Gospel, preside at baptisms, direct charitable services and perform other duties long confined to males.

From her past work, she knows the value women can add to the church. As a pastoral associate at a Jesuit parish near downtown Los Angeles, she worked with immigrant women from Mexico and Central America. In times of need, Hidalgo, who is trained in pastoral theology and fluent in Spanish, was called on to preach, assisting a priest who had trouble communicating with congregants. She’s also met with Catholic indigenous women in the Amazon region of Brazil who are on the front lines of defending human and land rights.

Hildago, who now attends Our Lady of the Divine Providence in Sweetwater, knows her devout Cuban grandmothers would never question why only men could serve pastoral roles. But that’s definitely not the case in conversations with her own nieces — they want to hear someone with “their own lived experience, from somebody who’s a sister or a daughter or a mother.“

Now, for the first time in years, Hidalgo can envision a day when the church might actually open some leadership doors to women.

Her hope springs from attending the Synod of Bishops, a monthlong assembly of church leaders in Rome that can shape future policy for the Catholic Church. The question of involving women in church leadership was widely discussed during the October gatherings, with a culminating report sending favorable signals for lifting some gender barriers in the future.

Although no concrete decisions were made this year, the tenor of discussions encouraged Hildago and others who share her goal for a more inclusive church. On the issue of ordaining women as deacons, the report called for continued research and discussion to be taken up at next year’s session.

“We were very pleased that that made it in there,” Hidalgo said. “It’s a very big step forward.”

The synod included 480 members appointed by Pope Francis from all continents. They participated in a process the church calls “conversations in the spirit.” It involved listening, praying and drawing up recommendations for the pope.

“What is the Holy Spirit asking of the church in the third millennium? What are the needs?” said Hidalgo. “In these times where we see a lot of profound woundedness in the world, more wars, and famine and drought and tons of migration — these were some of the topics that were being taken up. What is causing all that and how is the church to respond?”

Synod signals a possible shift

A synthesis report released by the pope appears to reflect a significant shift in centuries of resistance to putting women in leadership roles: “It is urgent to ensure that women can participate in decision-making processes and assume roles of responsibility in pastoral care and ministry.”

Along with considering making women deacons, other proposals called for the expansion of theological study and seminary programs to women. The report also said cases of labor injustice within the church need to be addressed, as women “are too often treated as cheap labour.” It also proposes expanding the responsibilities of a lector — someone who reads Scriptures during Mass — “to become a fuller ministry in the Word of God,” which in some contexts could include a woman preaching.

The role of women in the church has long been a divisive issue. But Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski said that on many fronts, voting delegates agreed. Every paragraph included in the report must be approved by at least two-thirds of voting members — meaning the majority felt strongly about expanding women’s roles.

“There were many points of convergence – and so the Synod participants were not as divided as some looking in from the outside imagine,” Wenski wrote in an email to the Herald.

He said that many of the proposals involving women are already implemented in the United States.

“Our seminaries have women teaching on their faculties, some are involved in supervising seminarians in the pastoral assignments,” he said. “And they vote as other faculty members do … Our chanceries and our parishes do have women in roles of great responsibilities.”

The synod report also touched — often cautiously — on other lightning-rod issues, including immigration crises across the globe.

“In the face of increasingly hostile attitudes toward migrants, we are called to practice an open welcome, to accompany them in the construction of a new life and to build a true intercultural communion among peoples,” the report read.

There was a call to “to eradicate the sin of racism,” including within the church, though not much detail was given on how to do it.

And although there were discussions about LGBTQ people — Jesuit priest Father James Martin, for instance, was chosen as a synod delegate because of his commitment ministering LGBTQ Catholics — there were no official recommendations in the report.

Synod firsts for women

Still, the changes in this synod were significant. While past meetings consisted of solely bishops and cardinals, this year’s participants included priests, deacons, religious women and men, laymen and women and three young adults — the youngest was a 19-year-old student from the University of Wyoming. Out of the 363 voting members, 54 were women, a first in synod history.

“One of Pope Francis’ strong beliefs, and a belief of the synod process, is that the Holy Spirit can speak through anyone,” Hidalgo said. “We know that when Jesus chose his apostles, he didn’t go to the people you would expect. He went to fisherman.”

To ensure synod members heard each other’s perspectives, delegates were seated at round tables composed of clergy and lay people — a stark difference from the usual theater-style set-up more akin to lectures than discussions.

The changes reflected a papal mission to create a more unified church.

“Why do I insist on this?” Pope Francis said in 2021. “Because sometimes there can be a certain elitism … the priest ultimately becomes more a ‘landlord’ than a pastor of a whole community as it moves forward.”

Leading up to the assembly, millions of Catholics also participated in meetings at local parishes, praying together and discussing issues. It was the first time during a Synod of Bishops that everyone on all levels of the church was asked to participate.

In Miami’s listening sessions, people were concerned about declining membership, young people becoming less engaged in their faith and the lingering fallout of past clergy abuse scandals. Many wanted clearer answers on controversial issues that have divided the church.

There was positive feedback, too: the church providing a sense of belonging, admiration for priests dedicated to their mission and appreciation for the church’s ongoing commitment to charitable causes.

“Our own synodal process here locally has helped us look to the future with great hope,” Archbishop Wenski said. ‘”The Church in Miami is alive – we are concerned about many of the same issues that concerned the Synod members in Rome, but like them we acknowledge that God is in charge and we want to follow the Spirit’s lead.”

‘There is room for everyone’

Although Hidalgo was not a synod delegate, she traveled to Rome for associated public activities, spending a lot of time listening to the group of young adults who traveled with her organization.

“Young people I have listened to worry about their LGBTQ friends and family members, their divorced and remarried parents, the poor, migrants who face a hostile welcome, war-torn places, and our common home, the natural world,” she said. “They also want women to have more of a voice and to be at decision-making tables.”

At the opening Mass of the Synod in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Hidalgo and the group of young adults donned T-shirts that read “En la iglesia hay lugar para todos!” It’s a reference to World Youth Day in Portugal when Pope Francis told the youth in Spanish, “In the Church there is room for everyone. Everyone, everyone, everyone.”

The words resonated with the 20-to 30-year-old Catholics, she said. They understand the struggles of those who feel like they don’t belong. In Rome, they listened to Pope Francis share this same message during his homily, this time in Italian.

“Come, you who are weary and oppressed, come, you who have lost your way or feel far away, come, you who have closed the doors to hope: the Church is here for you! The doors of the Church are open to everyone, everyone, everyone!”

Every Saturday night during the month-long synod, thousands of people gathered for a rosary prayer. The war between Israel and Hamas was top of mind for attendees, and the mood was somber, Hidalgo said. The bombing and mounting human deaths a reminder of the problems plaguing the world around them.

“We realized there’s so much at stake, not just for the church, but for the world. Our ability to figure out how to be peacemakers and how to resolve conflicts, and how to be able to dialogue about very difficult problems. Human lives are at stake.”

Complete Article HERE!

Rome sets red lines for talks with German bishops

— The Vatican has told German bishops that women priests and Church teaching on homosexual acts are not up for discussion in talks scheduled for next year.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

By Luke Coppen

Rome set out its red lines in an Oct. 23 note to Beate Gilles, the general secretary of the German bishops’ conference. A conference spokesman confirmed that the bishops had received the message — reportedly sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin — during a meeting of their permanent council at the start of this week.

The three-page Vatican document, published Nov. 24 by the weekly Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, addressed discussions between German bishops and curial officials that are expected to take place in January, April, and June 2024.

The talks — which will focus on resolutions issued by Germany’s contentious “synodal way” — are due to involve the Vatican’s dicasteries for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Promotion of Christian Unity, Bishops, Divine Worship, and Legislative Texts.

The note’s publication follows the release of a Nov. 10 letter in which Pope Francis said he shared concerns that elements in the German Church are taking steps “to steer it increasingly away from the universal Church’s common path.”

The pope was referring to the decisions of the synodal way, an initiative that brought together the country’s bishops and select lay people at five “synodal assemblies” between 2020 and 2023.

Participants endorsed texts calling for women deacons, a re-examination of priestly celibacy, lay preaching at Masses, same-sex blessings, and a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality.

The note from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State said that not all of the issues raised by the German initiative could “be placed on the same level.”

“Some of them have aspects that cannot be put up for discussion, but also aspects that can be subjected to joint in-depth discussion,” it explained, according to an English translation published by the website Rorate Caeli.

The note said that two topics where “there is no possibility of arriving at a different assessment” were the teachings that priestly ordination is reserved to men and the Church’s negative judgment on homosexual acts.

The document provided an extensive explanation of the Church’s teaching on priestly ordination, beginning with Pope John Paul II’s 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, which declared that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

The note also cited statements by Pope Francis reiterating the teaching and 2021 norms on delicts reserved to the Vatican’s doctrine office, which set out punishments for “attempts to confer sacred ordination on a woman.”

The document said that “although today this issue must be considered closed throughout the Church,” Pope Francis had encouraged Church leaders “to find other ways to favor greater participation of women” in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium.

In September 2022, synodal way participants — including bishops — passed a resolution that said: “The doctrine of Ordinatio sacerdotalis is not accepted and understood by the people of God in large parts. Therefore, the question must be addressed to the highest authority in the Church (Pope and Council) whether the teaching of Ordinatio sacerdotalis should be reviewed.”

The Vatican note described homosexual acts as “another issue on which a local Church has no possibility of taking a different view.”

“For even if one recognizes that from a subjective point of view there may be various factors that call us not to judge people, this in no way changes the evaluation of the objective morality of these acts,” the note said.

It cited a 2001 notification by the Vatican doctrine office, which said that in Catholic doctrine, “there is a precise and well-founded evaluation of the objective morality of sexual relations between persons of the same sex” and “the degree of subjective moral culpability in individual cases is not the issue here.”

Synodal way participants endorsed a resolution in September 2022 calling on the pope to engage in “a re-evaluation of homosexuality in the Magisterium.” It said that sexual acts between people of the same sex should not be considered “a sin that separates a person from God” or “be judged as bad in itself.”

The resolution also called for the revision of passages in the Catechism of the Catholic Church addressing homosexuality, including paragraph 2357, which says that “under no circumstances” can homosexual acts be approved.

This is not the first time that the Vatican has stressed the Church’s teaching on women priests in its interactions with the German bishops.

The topic was raised at a Nov. 18, 2022, meeting between the bishops and three senior Vatican cardinals during the bishops’ ad limina visit to Rome.

Quoting from Ordinatio sacerdotalis, the Vatican’s then doctrinal prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria said: “The decisive point in this regard is not that women in the Catholic Church cannot access priestly ordination; the point is that one must accept the truth that ‘the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.’”

The call for a re-evaluation of Church teaching on homosexuality was also mentioned at the meeting, by the then bishops’ dicastery prefect Cardinal Marc Ouellet. He included it in a list of items that he described as “the agenda of a limited group of theologians from a few decades ago” that had “suddenly became the majority proposal of the German episcopate.”

During the ad limina visit, Vatican officials and German bishops agreed to continue their dialogue over the synodal way’s resolutions.

In January this year, Ladaria, Ouellet, and Parolin informed the German bishops that they had no authority to enact a resolution calling for a permanent “synodal council” of lay people and bishops with governing powers over the Church in Germany.

Representatives of the German bishops met with the heads of Vatican dicasteries in July, shortly after the synodal way formally ended.

In October, German delegates at the synod on synodality met with curial officials, along with bishops’ conference general secretary Beate Gilles.

A committee of lay people and bishops designed to implement the synodal way’s decisions held its inaugural meeting Nov. 10-11. The “synodal committee” will pave the way for the creation of the synodal council in 2026, despite the Vatican’s veto.

Archbishop Nikola Eterović, the apostolic nuncio to Germany, had a private audience Pope Francis Nov. 13. It is not known what they discussed.

Thomas Söding, the vice-president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), which co-sponsored the synodal way with Germany’s bishops, questioned the designation of issues as non-negotiable.

“It’s not about negotiating. It’s about the question of whether you face up to the problems that exist in the Catholic Church,” he said Nov. 24.

He suggested that women priests should be discussed, “and we will then see the result.”

Regarding homosexuality, he noted that the synthesis report endorsed by the synod on synodality’s delegates in October said that sometimes the “anthropological categories” developed within the Church “are not able to grasp the complexity of the elements emerging from experience or knowledge in the sciences and require greater precision and further study.”

The Vatican’s note also referred to the synod on synodality, which will continue in Rome in October 2024.

“In view of the course of the German synodal journey so far, it must first be borne in mind that a universal synodal journey is currently taking place, convened by the Holy Father,” it said.

“It is therefore necessary to respect this path of the universal Church and to avoid the impression that parallel initiatives are underway that are indifferent to the endeavor to ‘journey together.’”

Complete Article HERE!

‘Excuse me, Your Eminence, she has not finished speaking’

— Francis’ opening to women in church management is promising. Getting women into the sacristy is trickier.

Participants of the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops attend a daily session with Pope Francis, not shown, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Oct. 16, 2023.


Without doubt, the best line to emanate from the Synod on Synoldality is “Excuse me, Your Eminence, she has not finished speaking.”

That sums up the synod and the state of the Catholic Church’s attitude toward change.

In October, hundreds of bishops, joined by lay men and women, priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers met for nearly a month in Rome for the Synod on Synodality. At its end, the synod released a synthesis report brimming with the hope and the promise that the church would be a more listening church.

Some 54 women voted at the synod. Back home, women are still ignored.


It is not because women quote the Second Vatican Council at parish council meetings. It is because too many bishops and pastors ignore parish councils.

It is not because women of the world do not write to their pastors and bishops. It is because without large checks, their letters are ignored.

The Synod on Synodality was groundbreaking in part because it was more about learning to listen. It was more about the process than about results. Its aim was to get the whole church on board with a new way of relating, of having “conversations in the Spirit,” where listening and prayer feed discernment and decision-making.

Even now, the project faces roadblocks. At their November meeting this week in Baltimore, U.S. bishops heard presentations by Brownsville, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores, who has led the two-year national synod process so far. His brother bishops did not look interested.

To be fair, some bishops in some dioceses, in the U.S. and other parts of the world, are on board with Pope Francis’ attempt to encourage the church to accept the reforms of Vatican II, to listen to the people of God.

But too many bishops are having none of it.

An individual takes a photo of the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
An individual takes a photo of the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Oct. 9, 2023.

The synod recognized the church’s global infection with narcissistic clericalism. It said fine things about women in leadership and the care of other marginalized people. Yet the synod remains a secret in many places. Its good words don’t reach the people in the pews.

Ask about synodality in any parish, and you might hear “Oh, we don’t do that here.” You are equally likely to hear “When I” sermons (“When I was in seminary,” “When I was in another parish”), and not about the Gospel.

Folks who were excited by Francis’ openness and pastoral message just shake their heads.

The women who want to contribute, who want to belong, are more than dispirited. They have had it. And they are no longer walking toward the door — they are running, bringing their husbands, children and checkbooks with them.

In the Diocese of Brooklyn, it was recently discovered that Mass attendance had dropped 40% since 2017. It is the same in too many places. The reason the church is wobbling is not a lack of piety. It is because women are ignored. Their complaints only reach as far as the storied circular file.

What do women complain about? Bad sermons, as discussed. Autocratic pastors. And the big one: pederasty. If truth be told, women do not trust unmarried men with their children. Worldwide, in diocese after diocese, new revelations continue. Still.

Many bishops and pastors understand this. Francis certainly does, but he is constrained by clerics who dig their heels into a past many of them never knew. More and more young (and older) priests pine for the 1950s, when priests wore lace and women knew their place. That imagining does not include synodality.

Will the synod effort work? Francis’ opening to women in church management is promising. Where women are in the chancery, there is more opportunity for women’s voices to be heard. No doubt, a few more women there could help.

Getting women into the sacristy is trickier.

While it seems most synod members agreed about restoring women to the ordained diaconate as a recognition of the baptismal equality of all, some stalwarts argued it was against Tradition. Still others saw the specter of a “Western gender ideology” seeking to confuse the roles of men and women.

So, they asked for a review of the research. Again.

Women know the obvious: Women were ordained as deacons. There will never be complete agreement on the facts of history, anthropology and theology. Women have said this over and over.

If there is absolute evidence that women cannot be restored to the ordained diaconate, it should be presented, and a decision made.

The women have finished speaking about it.

Complete Article HERE!