Women in the church

Many reformist Catholic organisations, well-known speakers and writers have had the priesthood for women on their wish list for years. They have gathered convincing theological, historical and humanitarian arguments showing that women have the same rights as men and should be able to obtain the same positions in the Church as men.

Meanwhile, some women have received a leadership position in the Vatican.  Pope Francis, however, does not address the cited arguments as far as they relate to the priesthood for women. He only repeatedly says that priesthood for women is unmentionable.

Only slowly does it become clear why he is silent on this issue. His silence has everything to do with what has come to public attention regarding the abuse of children by bishops and priests.  For years, the clergy's behaviour stemmed from the old idea that bishops and priests were supposed to have a connection with God Almighty that enabled them to unfailingly judge the difference between right and wrong. An enviable position. However, the scandals have shown that sooner or later this whole idea has to be abandoned. The clergy's judgment of right and wrong has no special value.

A group of bishops have already openly declared that they do not have the so-called supernatural connection. Then priests too do not have it. It means that women who would be ordained priests discover sooner or later that they have not been given that supposedly enviable position but have been made happy with an empty shell. They have been absorbed into the squeezing discipline of the clergy with a title that is not what they imagined it to be. 

Silently, Pope Francis waits until reformist activists gradually discover for themselves that advocacy for women in the priesthood can be replaced by an advocacy for practical assistance.  Francis himself has already started.  He wants to get his people warm for field hospitals or aid stations for the needy. Aid of all kinds requires pro bono lawyers, other expert volunteers and transparent funds.

In the process, the ills of the clerical system can be avoided and the qualities of women in particular can be fully appreciated.

Ed H. Schreurs LL.M

Vision of faith


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