A Space for Women: There are leadership roles in the church that do not require ordination.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, speaks as Monica Maggioni and Anna Maria Tarantola look on during a press conference at the Vatican Feb. 2.

Catholic women from around the world recently shared their stories of faith and service during an observance of International Women’s Day at the Vatican. The event, called Voices of Faith, took place on March 8, during Women’s History Month, and was notable for its open dialogue about the status of women in the church today. It is also an important and necessary initiative in light of recent statistics from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate that suggest that women, who traditionally have reported being spiritual in higher numbers than men, are increasingly moving away not only from formal association with religion but from spirituality in general.

For some women, a lack of interest in the church results, in part, from the feeling that their voices are not heard or represented within the visible structures of the church. For example, while women serve the church in myriad ways, there remains a lack of leadership roles for women at the Vatican. Women do valuable day-to-day work needed to keep the Vatican running, but few are in positions of power or authority. Only two women serve as under secretaries, the highest ranking position to which women have been appointed in the Curia. In 2014, the total number of women employed by the Vatican was 371, up from 194 a decade earlier, according to Gudrun Sailer, a journalist at Vatican Radio. She is among the 41 percent of women working at the Vatican who have university degrees and work in professional positions like archivists and department heads. This is certainly a welcome trend.

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Catholic women who succeed in other parts of their lives often see no outlet for their leadership skills within church structures. This can result in women choosing to devote their energy elsewhere. When this occurs, the church loses the perspectives and strengths of these women. Yet during the Voices of Faith meeting, Sailer pointed out that greater opportunities for women in the church does not mean simply replicating secular structures. “It’s about recognizing, realizing that excluding women from the church [does] not conform to the Gospel,” she said.

This sentiment was echoed during the Pontifical Council for Culture’s assembly on women, whose working paper urged the engagement of women “in full collaboration and integration with the male component.” This full collaboration is crucial if the church hopes to continue to attract and keep women active in the faith. Pope Francis, consistent with the centuries-long teaching of the church, has stated that “the reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion.” It remains the case, however, that there are many leadership roles in the church that either do not or should not require priestly ordination. Accordingly, our church must create a more inviting, empathetic space that recognizes the contributions that women have made and continue to make to the church and society. Some of those efforts might include:

Attention to language. What we say and how we say it matter. Inclusive language in church documents and in liturgies is a small but welcoming gesture. The church could also choose more readings about women for the Lectionary. In addition, providing greater opportunities for lay people to preach would provide a greater variety of perspectives on the word and a wider look into the ways in which we experience God.

Lift up the work already being done. Pope Francis has voiced support for women in theology. And while the new theology of women encouraged by Francis certainly can be developed further, the church cannot ignore the rich theology that already exists.

Provide guidance and opportunity. We must explicitly tell young women that they matter, that they have a voice and that their voices will be heard. And then we must act. We must help young women to envision how their gifts and talents might be expressed in leadership roles in the church and connect them with mentors who can guide these efforts. More roles for women in Roman and diocesan curias would be a good start.

Think globally. The church must work for the inclusion of women not only within church structures but within our larger society as well. We must also recognize that the challenges facing Catholic women in developed nations can be very different from those in less developed nations. A report produced by No Ceilings, an effort by the Clinton Foundation to advance the status of women around the world, recently highlighted the fact that in many countries women still lack the right to vote and face forced marriages, a lack of education and unsafe conditions for preparing food.

Meet people where they are. The church at every level must be willing to listen to the frustrations of all who feel alienated and be willing to accompany them in their spiritual journey. Open channels of discussion and greater inclusion of all people mean more room for dialogue and for the experience of true encounter that so many people—men and women alike—seek today.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Paul Lakeland
3 years 2 months ago
Your well-intentioned piece only demonstrates the size of the problem and the paucity of solutions. Women can of course hold leadership positions int he church, thought they mostly don't, and the issue is not only at the Vatican level but at the local church level. In one way their problem is the same one that affects lay men. No layperson is allowed any executive role in decision-making in the church, not even at the level of parish pastoral council (at least in theory and according to canon law). But the bigger issue is that of ordination. Aside from the flimsiness of arguments against women's ordination, as long as women are not allowed this kind of pastoral leadership it is simply impossible to persuade them that they have an equal voice in the church. No wonder they are voting with their feet.
Mike Van Vranken
3 years 2 months ago
Paul, you use a descriptive and very important phrase: "Pastoral Leadership." As you say, in today's Catholic Church, women cannot be involved in Pastoral Leadership because they cannot be ordained and become pastors. In my mind, you identified the real problem. Because Pastoral Leadership is not about power. It's about feeding the sheep. And, women are not allowed to feed the sheep as pastors.
Ryan Hoffmann
3 years 2 months ago
Excellent, Paul. Thank you.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
For the sake of discussion let us assume that rather than "flimsy", the arguments against women's ordination were so theologically compelling the Church taught that they never have and never will be ordained, irrevocably and forever. What do you propose then?
Robert O'Connell
3 years 2 months ago
Why aren't women participating in the management of parishes publicized? Why do we not have women actually running dicasteries and institutions of the curia? Why not women deacons? I ask because the Editors have presented good thoughts, yet few specifiic steps. Aren't there a lot of openings women could fill? 20
Luis Gutierrez
3 years 2 months ago
It is hard to face the reality of patriarchal resilience. I wonder how long it took to reach the decision to discontinue male circumcision (Acts 15:28). Hope we shall see the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate before the end of the third millennium. An apparition of the BVM to explain how to untie all the patriarchal knots would be helpful. We also need the collaboration of St. Jude, "patron of impossible causes." :-)
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
The decision to not require circumcision of new converts is generally considered as dealing with the Judaizers who believed Gentiles had to convert to Judaism in order to embrace Jesus, not “patriarchal resilience” ala Gloria Steinem et al. It’s hard to understand what an apparition of the Blessed Virgin would have to do with fulfilling your wishes for changes in doctrine. Private revelation can never overturn the revelation.
Lisa Weber
3 years 2 months ago
The story of Mary of Bethany sitting at the feet of Jesus as a disciple is the story of how leadership for women will develop in the church. Women have to leave the kitchen and the rule of other women in order to learn discipleship from Jesus (or those who represent him). Leadership for women will not be a variation of the mother role. Until women are able to talk about what leadership among adults looks like, and admit that they have to learn leadership from men, women will be stuck in the kitchen complaining that all the business is going on elsewhere. And of course, the men in the church have to make a place for women who want to learn leadership from them, and bother to teach leadership to women. We should pray about this Gospel story.
Tom Fields
3 years 2 months ago
"leave the kitchen"??? sounds like N.O.W.--at its worst. The family is a "Little Church". Mothers, women---lead in their families, in Volunteer organizations and in the Religious and Spiritual Development of their children----and often---of their spouses. Women have leadership in Lay Ministries, in Parish organizations and teaching ministries. There is a lot of noise made by a few who want to be Priests and who want to lead in Vatican positions. Please think about families---the core of the Church---which are under attack from the political Left, the unhappy few and the agitators.
Abigail Woods-Ferreira
3 years 2 months ago
I think the most time I've spent in my kitchen was however long it takes to pop some Eggos in the toaster before heading out to work or uncork some Cabernet afterwards. My husband is big guy and he needs his space when he is cooking! You are right that the family is a "Little Church". I think the "Big Church" could learn a lot from modern, egalitarian young families like ours where husbands and wives joyfully share and divide duties by talents and interests rather than proscribed sex roles.
Sandi Sinor
3 years 2 months ago
Yes - and fortunately, the development of true partnerships of equals in marriage is more and more often seen in today's young families. It is certainly true of my own adult children, their friends, and the adult children of all of my friends and family. Stereotyped gender roles and the harm they do are slowly disappearing. Thanks be to God!
Sandi Sinor
3 years 2 months ago
Many of the major issues in the church, those that have caused a great deal of real harm to innocent people, are rooted in the church's governance and in a number of doctrines, which too often reflect the patriarchal mindset.. The presence of women at all levels of the clergy is desperately needed to provide a bit of "feminine genius" to the reform of structures of governance and to the definition and development of doctrine. To do that they must have equal access to all seven sacraments.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
The so-called "patriarchal mindset" appears to be part of the revelation, starting with God as the Father, and Jesus as his Son. The sexes themselves are iconic of something about the nature of God and the Trinity if the Church is to be believed, and if the Church is to be believed all seven sacraments are not open to each and every person. Of course if the Church is not to be believed, we might want to all head over to the Episcopal Cafe’ for an altogether different sort of conversation.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
Most women left the kitchen some time ago.
Tom Fields
3 years 2 months ago
Are there Church leadership roles for men----that do not require ordination?
Janet Zimmer
3 years 2 months ago
Cardinals can be laymen.
J Glenn Diaz
3 years 2 months ago
It is my understanding that while laymen may be appointed as cardinals, but once appointed they will have to be ordained.
Jack Rakosky
3 years 2 months ago
My understanding is that in the past (like about a century ago) priests, deacons, and laymen could become cardinals, the current canon law says that are to be consecrated bishops but the Pope can dispense from this obligation, e.g. Avery Dulles became a cardinal without becoming a bishop. Also the role of the cardinals seems to be changing into becoming more like a form of a synod of bishops rather than a part of the "executive" branch of the assisting the Pope in the daily government of the church, e.g. the Council of the nine Cardinals, and greater days spent in consistories of all the cardinals advising the Pope together.. In regular synods most of the bishops are elected by the bishops conferences with some appointed by the Pope. Of course all the cardinals are appointed by the Pope. So maybe in the future the cardinals will function more like a Senate and the Synods more like a House of Representatives. Many have desired that there be far fewer cardinals in the Curia (i.e. the executive part of the Papacy) and that lower Curia officials not be made cardinals, or even bishops. So the greater opportunity at this time for women appears to be among lower Curia officials.
Cody Serra
3 years 2 months ago
Interesting article that contributes thinking about the role of women in the church. What really encourages me at this time it is not the actual progress of leadership roles for women, but that "we all are talking about the lack of them". That, in itself, is progress in the Church. Our patriarchal and paternalistic church culture changes at a very frustrating slow pace. Let's continue pushing the issue, reflecting on it, praying for it, and trusting the Holy Spirit.
William Atkinson
3 years 2 months ago
If women want leadership roles in Christianity, they do not have to leave the catholic church, but can enter leadership roles all the way up to and including magisterium by additionally joining those protestant groups that enjoy the equality of women in all shared roles. The day will come when separation by race, creed, sexuality will be gone from catholic, especially Roman Catholic environs. If Jesus was alive today I'm sure He would enjoin modern day thinking as a part of His revolution and rebellion against the many different divisions of the churches of His day, the Herodian's, and The Romans. Like today, many of Jesus's followers of the Galilean area were called to go and be radicals in the Jerusalem Capital, and women in catholic societies of today will have to rise up and be heard, take the ill justices handed out by the male dominant rule of a long standing culture era of two thousand years ago and suffer the consequences of their action (Jesus went to the cross) to alter and change the social ills of a suppressive rule, until that happens women will always be submissive to age old culture and practices.
Paul Ferris
3 years 2 months ago
There are really two classes of women in the church, women religious and lay women. Women religious were recently under scrutiny in the United States by their male masters. Women who are mothers are not even allowed to determine how many children they are required to have in marriage, even when it can be harmful to conceive more. As for single lay women...not much is heard about them. I guess what I am pointing out is that not all women are the same.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
Women religious take a vow of obedience to the Church on reception into a religious order. An individual who sees that Church and its governance as "masters" has gotten into the wrong vocation and should seek other options.
ed gleason
3 years 2 months ago
Martin; your constant invitation for people to leave ithe Church is getting ugly.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
Ed, the phrase "leave the Church" and "seek other options" in the context of vocations are not synonymous. Your odd interpretation says more about you than about me.
ed gleason
3 years 2 months ago
Martin "Of course if the Church is not to be believed, we might want to all head over to the Episcopal Cafe’ for an altogether different sort of conversation Here is one and why flood this site to post your too many other invitations to leave the church
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
Oh, you wish to comment on something said elsewhere out of its context to spin it in the direction you want instead of the direction it was intended. Anyone is able to head over to the Episcopal Cafe’ website, even Catholics. Over there it's acceptable to pooh pooh the teaching authority of the Church, the "Bishop of Rome", and so on. If someone is interested in that sort of conversation, that's the place to have it. You need to get a grip, Ed.
Abigail Woods-Ferreira
3 years 2 months ago
These are all good things, and I especially concur with Gudrun Sailer that it is not merely about replicating secular structures. The problem of women's roles in the Church are as much a problem of an inadequate theology of the Royal Priesthood of Believers (ie. the laity, both male and female) and of what Christian leadership means (it's not like feudal, corporate or secular political leadership), an inadequate human anthropology, and a frequent failure of the Church to be what she is and rather tend to resemble and mimic contemporary dysfunctional secular institutions of every age. Women have the place they currently have in the Church because the Church throughout history has frequently modeled herself more like The World - which is generally patriarchal and values power, even in our supposedly enlightened times - than The Kingdom of God, where in Christ there is no male and female, the last shall be first, and blessed are the meek. A more inclusive role for women, for all of the baptized with our varied charisms, will come from the Church first being faithful to herself and to Jesus.
PHYLLIS ZAGANO
3 years 2 months ago
While the issue is not about power, but about ministry, the editorial looks for ways women can enter into "power." As it happens, most "power" is located in offices that require clerical status. The ordinary means of entering the clerical state is by ordination to the diaconate. That women have so been ordained is an historical fact. That discussants skip that fact and directly close all clerical service by women because women cannot be ordained as priests belies their intent to keep women "in their place."
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
It is not a "historical fact" that women have been ordained as sacerdotal deacons. Along with doorkeepers, bell ringers, and a host of other non-sacerdotal roles they were "instituted" into some service to the Church. Many of those ceremonies were modeled on ordination rites. That did not make doorkeepers recipients of Holy Orders, nor any women sacerdotal deacons.
Sandi Sinor
3 years 2 months ago
Dr. Zagano is a well-known scholar in the field. Since you refute her statements, could you please give us your academic credentials and provide reputable scholarly sources that support your opinion?
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
I am very aware of who Dr. Zagano is. In the Catholic Church, unlike the Protestant churches, the Magisterium is not resident in "academic credentials" and "scholarly sources". Dr. Zagano is a prolific writer with many strong opinions, but her writings are agenda-driven, not unlike your own. The best accessible source is the Church itself, which NEVER counted "deaconesses" among the clergy. The best known specialist on orders and the rites of ordination is probably Paul F. Bradshaw, whose book 1990 book "Ordination Rites of the Ancient Churches of East and West" discusses the issue in a fair manner accessible to a layman. Dr. Bradshaw, by the way, is an Anglican.
Paul Ferris
3 years 2 months ago
"Dr. Zagano is a prolific writer with many strong opinions, but her writings are agenda-driven, not unlike your own." The author above of the sentence above is also a prolific debater on this site with many strong opinions, but his take on all comer writings may also be said to be "agenda-driven." The lesson: everyone has an agenda which doesn't prove anything really. I like the quote from the apostle John slightly modified: "In my Father's house, there are many agendas.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
I point out that the author of the above paragraph advocates letting drug addicts use the exterior of the cathedral in San Francisco to “shoot up” and dispose of their needles, as well as use that same exterior for relieving themselves. I cited the Church's constant treatment and teaching, plus a scholar who is an expert on ancient ordination rites. In response .... a personal opinion.
Paul Ferris
3 years 2 months ago
I do not advocate what you write but if I had to choose between that and dousing them with water every 30 minutes, I would choose the former. What I did like was the idea you brought up. Put portable potties outside. You said the Cathedral was under no Christian obligation to do so. If we only act under obligation then we are not really Christian in my opinion. The Father's creation and love is philanthropia and agape. Father Thomas Keating has written, God loves us not according to our merit but according to our desperate need. Who could be more desperate than those people sleeping on the Cathedral steps ?
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
The words “dousing”, “drenching”, “drowning”, and so on instead of the accurate “sprinkling” were provided by the spinmeisters of Sam Singer’s San Francisco Bay area public relations firm, hired to attack San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.
Elisabeth Tetlow
3 years 2 months ago
America did well in focusing on the Voices of Faith gathering at the Vatican on International Women's Day. On that Sunday, a woman, Kerry Robinson, was invited by the Archbishop of New Delhi to preach at the liturgy in a small parish inside the Vatican. Probably a first, at least in this millennium. Your proposals are helpful. However, on the first, attention to language, things have been moving backwards in recent years. After enabling inclusive language in the liturgy for more than three decades, the new Roman Missal took it away and substituted impossibly sexist language. Liturgy is of prime importance because most Catholics hear the language of liturgy every Sunday and it becomes formative of far broader attitudes. If they consistently hear at church that only the existence and discipleship of men is of significance, it will affect how they see themselves and persons of the opposite gender. Furthermore, it is also important in journalism. America was exemplary for decades in using only inclusive language, but recently has become rather negligent in adhering to it. One of the greatest reasons why women leave the Church over the issue of inequality, is because of the hypocrisy involved. Scripture scholars and church historians are well aware that women served as deacons and presided at eucharist in the early church. Putting the issue on the shelf and saying it cannot be discussed does not change these facts. In addition, the lectionary omits texts on the roles of women in the first century church, which is extremely offensive since we come to church to hear God's word, but hear only parts of it. Maybe we should all be quiet for awhile and listen to what God may be calling us to be and to do.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
There is really no credible evidence that women served as sacerdotal deacons and presided at eucharist in the early church. There were roles using the term "deaconess", but they were never counted as part of the clergy. In fact every sect which "ordained" women was, on reception into the Catholic Church, compelled to shed them on union with the See of Rome.
Christine T.C.
3 years 2 months ago
Abigail, that is a brilliant comment. Spot on!
Mother Nancy Stroud
3 years 2 months ago
I agree that the church should meet people where they are. Here is the thing: I am a priest. I was called to be a priest as a child, and I knew it quite clearly. I was an Episcopalian, in a church that did not (at the time) ordain women. When they did, I still dithered--for two decades, because I was a good, rule-following disciple of our Lord. Guess what? I am a priest. Thanks be to God, I am daily affirmed in my call. My dear brothers and sisters, you have women who were born into your church and baptized into the Life of our risen Lord who are called to be priests. You know it. So do it.
Janet Vincent
3 years 2 months ago
All ministry is rooted in Baptism. The decision to baptize women was also the opening of ordination of women who respond to the same call as baptized men.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
In the Catholic Church we don't just "do it". Unlike the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States (PECUSA) the Catholic Church purports to teach with authority. As a result the "every woman and man for himself" approach you're familiar with is frowned upon, as the separation of your mother church from our own well illustrates.
Jack Rakosky
3 years 2 months ago
Come on, editors, you can do better than this to open the discussion of the future of women in the church. I suggest four topics: !. Women Deacons. Francis has shown himself open to reforms that would bring us closer to the Orthodox on three issues: synods, remarriage, and married priests. Women deacons could be a fourth. Francis however is skeptical about our present use of deacons, and has asked whether ordaining good lay leaders as deacons is healthy for lay leadership. With many deacons (all men) and many lay ecclesial ministers (mostly women) it is time to talk about the future of the deaconate, ecclesial ministers, and women in the American church. 2. Ministry and the Sacrament of Ordination. John O’Malley has argued that each new form of religious life (e.g. Benedictine, Franciscan, Jesuit) brought with it new forms of ministry and that ordained religious today function quite differently than the vision of the diocesan priesthood. Since St. Ignatius and St. Francis developed their charisms before ordination, there seems to be a powerful historical argument for grounding ministry in baptism rather than in ordination. In this year of consecrated life we should explore the role of baptism in the development of ministry in the church by means of religious life. 3. An apology by the bishops for their history of mistreatment of women religious. Cardinal Sean had the courage to say the recent investigation of women religious was a “disaster”. But the history of women religious in the USA and Europe is filled with similar mistreatment, c.f. Kenneth Briggs book Double-Crossed. This issue should be faced in these pages in this year of consecrated life. It would be great if a bishop would have the boldness to issue such a call in these pages. 4. Lay preaching by both men and women. In the past three decades I have participated with at least fifty people in small faith sharing groups. Almost everyone has a story to tell or an insight that is much better than the average weekend homily. Francis has sparked great interest with his daily homilies, and set a high standard. We have enough lay talent that we could have high quality preaching in our parishes. We have to face the issue of poor homilies.
Abigail Woods-Ferreira
3 years 2 months ago
To #1, I would add that Francis's emphasis on "mercy" and a healing, medicinal conception of grace, rather than the juridical model which historically dominated (and rent apart) Western Christianity, has also brought us closer to the Eastern Churches. And to women deacons I would add the primacy of the unitive end of marriage as a fifth area where we could learn from the Orthodox and uplift the voice and status of women in the Church.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
The "primacy of the unitive end of marriage" appears to be a fully discussed and closed topic.
Martin Eble
3 years 2 months ago
These “topics” have been discussed and are discussed at length in fora better suited to that purpose, where the participants generally reject the teaching authority of the Church. Women deacons - there is one sacrament, Holy Orders, in three degrees. The notion of sacerdotal women deacons is inseparably entwined with the issue of ordination. Ordination - the Church appears to have responded negatively in an authoritative manner, if four documents and an Apostolic Letter are to be believed. If they are not to be believed, well that raises additional questions. The recent look at American women religious was only a “disaster” because the usual suspects decided a priori that they were above the Church, began a fight before the Holy See was even able to outline an approach, and then got quietly sullen when the final report was nothing particularly condemnatory and provided reasonable constructive suggestions. Preaching involves a charism of Holy Orders and is, and has always been, restricted to deacons, priests, and bishops. The sharing of stories and insights is not preaching, but it is available in a variety of lay settings, including AA. Join the Knights of Columbus or some other lay apostolate and let that talent show forth!
Ryan Hoffmann
3 years 2 months ago
I applaud so many of the comments here which take to ask the editorial for missing crucial elements regarding women in the Church (e.g., women's equality). I understand America is not able to fully engage these for fear of retribution, but the Church will be unable to move past this until we are bold and brave enough to delve into the heart of the problem. The fact that so many here named this gives me hope real transformation can take place (for the sake of women - and the future, if we are to have one, of our Church).
Julie Paavola
3 years 2 months ago
I enjoyed the comments far more than the article, which was... what was that old Catholic response to liberal ideas? Oh yeah, wishy-washy. The tragedy of excluding women from collaborative pastoral work in the Church is NOT that the Church loses them. The tragedy is that such exclusion leaves many faithful women brokenhearted and even suffering mental health problems. The systematic message: We don't want you, can only be endured for so long without causing serious conflict within the soul. Those who perpetrate such unjust denial of the Lord's beloved will have to answer to the Lord for it.
Jack Rakosky
3 years 2 months ago
In all fairness to the editors, I suspect the tone of this editorial had less to do with fear of retribution or being wishy-washy liberals, but had a lot to do with a desire to stay close and not get ahead of a Jesuit Pope who is rightly seen as going forward. However, Francis is very much for a culture of encounter. We should face our differences with each inside the church with respect, and move beyond ideologies to face the realities both in the church and in the world. Francis has also said that we must move forward both globally and locally, looking at the broader movements in the church and world while keeping our feet firmly on the ground in the problems of the local church and our national community. He has laid the groundwork for a complex process of being Church rather than simple answers or programs designed in Rome. At first glance having a Jesuit pope might seem to make matters easier for the editors, but in fact what he wants is very challenging! If all we do is wait for the latest breaking news about Francis we will actually fail him, the Church and the world.
John Campbell
3 years 2 months ago
Opening more institutional decision-making roles to women will not magically solve all problems, but it will be a step forward and lead to more in the future as the theology improves. Meanwhile, removing the requirement that specific roles can be filled only by an ordained person will accelerate progress. This could include "cardinal" and "elector", which I understand were not historically reserved for the ordained.
Stacy Hennessy
3 years 2 months ago
Having worked for the Catholic Church in a number of capacities for over thirty years, and trained at Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, MA, I respectfully disagree with the editor on the role of women in the Church. Christ calls all of us to himself, offering different gifts, and to some - women, I mean - clearly the gift of ordination. This sacred and sacramental ministry is their unique calling. This does not make one better than, it simply authenticates the fullness of their True Self. It is not enough to "consult" women. It is not enough to allow them to sit at the table. And it is ludicrous to believe that men can speak for women. Wy is it that the Bible lends itself to multiple interpretations, but not here. It is an impossibly for Catholics to know what lies hidden inside the mystery of the women's call to ordination. And it is impossible to claim to embrace the fullness of human spirituality without having her experience of God authenticated. The Church leaves God no choice but to call forth prophets in a dry dessert. Women will stand up and cry out in voices much louder than the ones we have heard to date. And they will again proclaim, "Here I am, Lord. It is I, Lord." For God sees neither Greek nor Jew, male nor female. God sees Her worthy servants. We should see them too. It is time.

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