Letter to the Editor

Women and the Catholic Church

To the editor: This letter comes from a “Cradle Catholic,” a woman who was 14 at the closing of Vatican II and who has been actively involved in church ministry for 52 years. I have been following the Synod meetings in Rome concerning the Amazon region in Brazil.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in No. 369 that men and women were created in “perfect equality as human persons” and are “both with one and the same dignity in the image of God.” So why are women not part of the decision-making body of the church? No vote at the Synod when they are allowing a brother to have a vote? Why are they denied any form of sacred ordination at this time in our church? It seems to me that our church leaders are not following their own teachings in the catechism.

The church is a family, and it needs the combined decision-making of both men and women to make good decisions for the community of believers.

We can begin at least by letting female leaders of religious communities have a voice and a vote at all important meetings in the church.

Secondly, we can restore women to the Permanent Diaconate as was in practice until the 12th century. There are liturgies for the ordination of women deacons that are 400 years older than the oldest liturgies for marriage. The Deaconess Phoebe from Paul’s letter to the Romans was one of the first.

Even Jesus commissioned a woman to go tell the brothers that he had risen from the dead. This is the central and most important doctrine of the Catholic faith. Is there an example set here perhaps?

Women were present when the Holy Spirit came down in tongues of fire at Pentecost upon each of the disciples gathered in that upper room.

Perhaps Catechism No. 369 should be the rallying cry of Catholic women around the world.

Thank you for giving me a place to share my voice.

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