Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Women in the Church

I recently volunteered to be a minister of the Word in my parish. This evening we had a meeting of ministers of the Word and the Eucharist. Present were; the priest, the deacon, me, one other fellow...and sixteen women.

I guess this just reflects what a misogynistic boy's club the Catholic Church really is. That's why the women stay away in droves.

Ultimately, we don't know why the priesthood and dioconate are restricted to men, any more than we know why Christ only called men as his apostles.

But one theory on the question of female ordination that I found very interesting and original was that of David R. Carlin Jr., a sociologist who makes this point:

If women were to be ordained, they would soon — within 50 years, I’d guess — become overwhelmingly predominant in the priesthood. Female priests would outnumber male priests by ten or 20 to one, if not more. Catholicism would be perceived, and correctly so, not just as a “feminine” religion but as a female religion. Males would pretty much abandon it.

Read the whole article (from Crisis magazine) here.

Catholicism has tended, historically, to be seen as rather a feminine religion. Often it has been decried as such. (I can't help thinking that the hostility some Protestants have harboured towards the way Catholics honour the Virgin Mary has something to do with this. Their hostility to the emphasis Catholics put upon ritual, vestments, incense and so forth might also be a kind of rejection of the feminine.)

Sometimes defending the male priesthood is a bit embarrassing for a man. It seems like you're just defending a privilege, even though it's a privilege that will never apply to me personally. It doesn't make me any less convinced of the rights and wrongs of the thing, though.


  1. The above reminded me that you just got engaged fairly recently. Congratulations!

  2. How old were the women?

  3. They were all in their fifties to seventies, I would say, apart from two or three ladies who might have been in their twenties or thirties.