Ordain Women in the Roman Catholic Church ? Yes!

This article is from the Kansas City Star and Associated Press writer David Gibson Religious News Service. While I applaud Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher for his strong positive statements on behalf of women, it is necessary to think through whether opening one door to women would fix them at a permanently “lesser” state or open the door later to the priesthood? By lesser I do not mean that the tasks of the Deacon are less important than the tasks of priests at all for service to people according to Pope Francis, and my own spirituality, is exactly the job description of the priest as well as the Deacon. To “get the smell of the sheep” on one’s hands is to serve them. However, within the church as it is now, Deacons can baptize,  officiate at weddings , perform funerals and preach. Priests also do all of this. But only priests can celebrate Mass, consecrating the elements at the Eucharist, hear confessions and anoint the sick. Certainly the latter three are service to God’s people as well and all of the above are holy and sacramental. How can it be that one sacrament is more holy than another? And, indeed it is the people of God that are needed for a Mass to take place and for consecration. The people are sacrament, the church, the Body of Christ, is sacrament. But the line is drawn making the diaconate and priesthood a two class clerical system. To assign women to rise only so high in this hierarchy,simply based on gender, not on call or spiritual gifts or intellect or knowledge, education and preparation is to say that both women and deacons are not only different from priests but inferior to them.

As readers of this blog know: Roman Catholic women priests are already here. Starting in 2002 on the Danube in Germany prepared women were ordained validly to the priesthood and women bishops were validly ordained as of 2003 who have ordained many other prepared and called women. There are over 150 validly ordained women priests world wide and also many in the transitional diaconate and more in candidacy, totaling well over 200 ordained members of Roman Catholic Women Priests worldwide. As one of those priests, ordained in 2008, I have served God’s people sacramentally and with all my heart and soul. Our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic ministry, as readers know, where I serve with Co-Pastor Judy Beaumont ordained in 2012, serves the homeless and the poorest and a range of Catholics who also want to serve with the outcast and marginalized. The priesthood and the diaconate is a literally awesome responsibility and grace. It is only by grace that service to all of God’s people is accomplished. And grace is free for all, men and women alike.  God can and does bestow grace on women and men to provide service to God’s people, sacramentally and in all ways. Preparing meals for the hungry and homeless is work for priests as well as deacons as well as so-called laypeople. We are all called to feed the hungry. And we are all called to feed the hungry sacramentally as well. I hope that our brother Archbishop Durocher, who is the bravest priest I know of in the church today(others have been dismissed from Orders for such radical ideas and we pray this does not happen to him) will continue to stand for women. I also pray that he will broaden his argument-but then there would be no doubt, he would have to join us as excommunicated,a penalty we reject. But, like Fr. Roy Bourgeois, he would continue his cause as conscience trumps unjust rules every time. Here is the article.

Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP-USA-East-Co-Pastor The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Fl

AP Article in Kansas City Star, 10/9/15 by David Gibson, Religious News Service

Ordain women? Vatican synod gets an unexpected proposal

Canadian archbishop suggests women could be deacons

In theory, female deacons could preach, baptize, officiate at weddings and perform funerals

A woman named Phoebe was called a deacon in Romans

The most controversial proposal floated so far at the high-level, high-stakes Vatican summit on church teachings on the family has nothing to do with gays or divorce. Instead, it’s about ordaining women — not as priests, but as deacons.

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