This is very disturbing: Most (almost 3 out of 4) Catholic women in Ireland do not feel that their church “regards women with a lot of respect,” but most Protestant Irish women by far, almost all in fact, feel that their church does.
But this sounds a bit more hopeful: 73 per cent of Catholic women say the “Catholic clergy are now more understanding of what women need from their church.” They don’t say what “now” means or which needs are in view – and compared to what or when? But at least it’s better than something or the other.
No, this isn’t a post agitating for the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. It’s not gonna happen in my lifetime, I predict. (I’m not extending any predictions beyond my death, at which point I hope to acquire new insights on all sorts of issues.)
This is a post, however, calling attention to a problem. If most of the women of a given church don’t feel respected by their church, then that church – whether it ordains women or not – has a huge pastoral problem on its hands. The kind of problem that takes root and lasts for generations to come. The kind of problem it’s very hard to turn around.
Folks, please let’s not debate women’s ordination, OK? Unless, I suppose, if the Holy Spirit has revealed to you something reallyreallyreally new that we haven’t heard before. We’ve all heard already, for example, that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.
But here’s something worth discussing: why do so many Catholic women (at least in Ireland) feel their Church does not respect them? Is it the same anywhere else? Presupposing that the teaching on women’s ordination won’t change (at least not anytime soon, some of you will want to qualify), what ten constructive things could happen in the Catholic Church to address the problem? Is mandatory celibacy – the kind of people it attracts to ordained ministry, or the kind of culture that develops around it – an aspect of the problem? If so, how can clerical culture be changed for the better? What would it look like for Catholic women to feel that their Church respects them?
Source: Irish Times