Although 59% of Catholics support the ordination of women, the Vatican continues to list the ordination of women as a grave crime in the same category as sexually abusing children. Both are punishable by defrocking or excommunication. More than once the Vatican has made good on that promise.

Read NBC’s account of Bill Brennan, a 92-year-old Jesuit priest who lost his collar for celebrating the mass with an ordained woman in Columbus, Georgia. Brennan is the third priest within the last month dismissed for advocating women’s ordination. The Rev. Helmut Schueller, an Austrian priest, was stripped of his right to use the title “monsignor” for advocating the right of women to be ordained to the priesthood. The Rev. Ray Bourgeois was dismissed last month for the same reason. Bourgeois has written an e-book, available free online, called My Journey from Silence to Solidarity.

Despite the Vatican’s stance against women priests, a handful of Roman Catholic women have been ordained to the priesthood by sympathetic bishops. What does it say that the Vatican not only opposes priests, and not only lumps them together with child molesters, but also attacks any male priest who associates or stands up for women priests?

Discuss in the comments section. To stand up for women in every corner of the body of Christ, sign our petition at Change.org.

 


By Jody Stowell

The Rev. Jody Stowell

Almost a week has passed since I was sitting, nervous, jittery and hopeful on the edge of my seat, in the public gallery in Church House, Westminster.  I was waiting for the voting figures to be called, first the bishops, then the clergy, and finally the laity.

Since that moment it has been all at once interesting – in a way that a disinterested observer might watch a newly discovered tribe order themselves by strange alien customs – and painful, so that the grief cycle of disbelief, anger, sadness is completed a number of times every day.

The most surprising emotion that I experienced this week was the sense of shame that rested upon me on the Wednesday morning.  I felt that I simply did not exist at the same level of priestliness as my male colleagues. I have heard a lot about ‘second-class’ citizens in this debate – whether it is in defence of making sure that women bishops are equally bishops, or, distastefully in my opinion, the cries of ‘second-class’ status that those who are ‘anti’ claim. However, I had not expected to feel like a second-class priest.  After all, isn’t this about bishops?  Not priests.

So, why this is not just about ‘Women Bishops’? Read More…


The Christian Church is in urgent need of reform. At the Threshold, with your help, is demanding that Christian leaders restore dignity to women at all levels of ministry and membership. Join the effort now by signing the online petition at change.org. The full text of the petition is at the bottom of this article. Go to change.org and add your name to the movement. Then spread the word — the petition only grows if you share it. Who will you ask to sign it today?

Women once held a much higher position in the church. The book of Acts and the epistles testify to women serving as missionaries, church leaders, deacons, prophets and apostles. But as the church became a powerful institution rather than a persecuted minority, women’s roles were suppressed. The church has worked shamefully hard to maintain a two-tiered system in which women are second-class Christians. Although women’s status differs in various Christian traditions and denominations, the subjugation of women in the Church is evident in nearly every expression of Christianity. In some congregations, women must cover their heads and remain silent during worship. Even in churches where full leadership participation is open to women, studies show that female clergy are more likely to be assigned to declining churches in rural areas, and more likely to occupy “associate” rather than “senior” positions, resulting in a gender pay gap.

Two egregious offenses have dominated the news this year, highlighting the need for reform: The Church of England recently voted against women bishops, and the Vatican publicly attacked its own nuns. Roman Catholic nuns in the United States have come under fire for supporting issues like women’s ordination that go against the Vatican.

Text of petition below. Please sign this petition at change.org. Read More…


Sally Hitchiner, chaplain of Brunel University, leaves  the Church of England Synod at Church House in London on Nov 20, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Tuesday, Nov. 20, the General Synod of the Church of England voted on a measure to allow women to be consecrated as bishops. The measure required a 2/3 majority in all three houses (bishops, clergy, and laity), and fell short in the house of laity by just a few votes. 132 votes were cast in favor of women bishops, and 74 against. No one abstained. Reuters calls this four votes short. Washington Post says five, but the Church of England counts six.

However one rounds 2/3, a historic shift was missed by a handful of votes. The Church of England must face the fall-out of another missed opportunity to join the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand in consecrating women bishops.

Christina Rees, Synod member and former chairman of an advocacy group called “Women and the Church,” called the vote “an unnecessary and an unholy delay.” She remains convinced that women will become bishops in the Church of England, noting that most bishops and most clergy of both sexes support the measure and “feel hugely sad and worse than sad, embarrassed and angry.” Read More…