(Reuters) – The Church of England published a plan on Friday to approve the ordination of women bishops by 2015, a widely supported reform it just missed passing last November after two decades of divisive debate.

It said the new plan, outlined in a document signed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, would be presented to the General Synod, the Church legislature, in July to begin the approval process.

The proposal would make allowances for traditionalists who oppose women clergy, a minority that blocked the reform at the last Synod meeting, but each diocese will have to have a bishop willing to ordain women to the priesthood, it said.

See the full story at Huffington Post.


By Steve McSwain, Huffington Post

I was reading recently of the bravery of the Irish Catholic priest, Fr. Tony Flannery, who, at 66, is being threatened by the Vatican.

No! I thought. The Vatican never threatens anyone!

LOL!

The history of Christianity, and not just in Catholicism but in all Christian denominations, is similar. The Church has found that it thrives best not in a world it sacrifices itself to redeem — not in a world it lays down its life in order to give life to others — but, instead, it survives best by demanding coercion, by making itself into a “god” and insisting this God can only be known “our” way; by making its beliefs into an idol that the faithful must bow the knee. The church has found that, by drawing lines in theological and doctrinal sands, battle lines between “us,” the theologically “correct” and “them,” the doctrinally “wrong,” that, by doing so, the church wins.

But does it really?

Of course, it does not, as history has repeatedly demonstrated. Unfortunately, however, history, at least as far as the church is concerned, has never been a very good teacher for church leaders.

For all the good the church has done, and it has done much good, the history of Christianity is in large measure the history of madness. This morning’s story is simply another case-in-point.

Last year, for example, the Vatican suspended Flannery’s ministry. And, today, Flannery is being threatened with charges of “heresy” and possible “excommunication” from the church.

Why?

Read the full article at Huffington Post.


By Phyllis Zagano at the National Catholic Register

zaganoPlease answer in 750 words or fewer: What is the deal with men’s violence against women?

I do not get it. Do you? It seems there is an epidemic of horrendous acts against women around the world.

This past fall in Pakistan, a man shot 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head. She had blogged for the BBC about life under the Taliban. The world’s media eye monitored her medical treatment in England. She’s won awards. They’re naming a girls’ school after her. She is still recovering.

That was bad. This is worse. In India in mid-December, six men raped and sodomized a 23-year-old female physiotherapy student. On a bus. With a metal rod.

They flew her to Singapore and kept her alive for two weeks until she died.

In Pakistan and elsewhere, the cry is “we are all Malala,” and most of India seems to be protesting the student’s death. There is little evidence the protests will change anything at all. Can they?

The New York Times reports a third of New Delhi’s female population was sexually harassed in the year prior to a recent survey. One percent complained to the police. Why? Ask any woman. There is danger in reporting trouble. Just last week, two men raped an 18-year-old woman in India’s Punjab State. She complained. Then policemen humiliated her, making her describe the attack over and over and over again. She committed suicide.

We can blame violent video games and movies. We can blame poverty and boredom. In some countries, the problem seems to be too many men and not enough women. In India, where girls are often aborted (or, some say, killed at birth), there are 15 million unattached males between the ages of 15 and 35. That number may double by 2020. What will the future bring?

Read the rest of Zagano’s piece at the National Catholic Register, where she ponders how Christianity might be the antidote to violence against women — but the voice of Christianity is blocked because “more than half the world’s Christians are in a church that does not appear to treat women as equals.”