YES to Ordaining Women in the Catholic Church!

Should women be ordained in the Catholic Church?

This was the topic of a very interesting interview I heard on CBC yesterday. A Catholic female lawyer from Manitoba named Therese Koturbash is fighting for women to be ordained in the Catholic Church because she believes it’s time for change, time for the “old men’s club” in the Vatican to make room for women who, historically, may have been marginalized, but are now considered the intellectual equals of men. Arguing against her was another female Catholic from the U.K., who wants to maintain the status quo in the belief that priests represent Christ in all forms, particularly that of being an unmarried male.

I found this conversation to be absolutely fascinating, as the Vatican’s refusal to give women positions of power is a huge point of contention for me. I am not Catholic, which puts me in the awkward position of feeling I can’t justify launching full-out protests, but it doesn’t prevent me from believing wholeheartedly that the Vatican is dead wrong in failing to modernize their policies. Not only that, but their decision shows terrible lack of forethought. How does the Church expect to continue attracting younger generations of Christians if it remains stuck in that archaic mentality of “men can do the job better than women?” For that reason, I am overjoyed to hear that someone like Therese Koturbash is making this her mission.

Oh, Vatican, you may be beautiful, but seriously, get with the times…

I find it infuriating that a debate like this even has to take place in 2012. I feel like we’ve regressed in time and are arguing over women getting the vote and black emancipation. These are historic debates that seem ridiculously backward in retrospect, yet here we are, once again, discussing whether or not women can be priests. Sure, Christ was male and he appointed twelve male apostles before his Resurrection, but, as Koturbash points out, he immediately appointed Mary Magdalene following his Resurrection. Priests are meant to emulate the Virgin Mary; why can’t a woman do what another woman is worshiped for? Biblical details aside, I just feel that we’re living in a totally different society than the patriarchal one in which Christ lived. Women were not recognized then as the equals they are today, so his decision to create male apostles may have been more related to the societal times than an actual belief that Church leaders had to be men.

My Catholic-born husband hears my tirade against the Vatican’s treatment of women on a regular basis and agrees totally with its absurdity. It’s why we’ve agreed not to baptize our children in the Catholic Church (see related post here), because what kind of hypocritical message would that send to the kids? “Sons, come and associate yourselves with an organization that makes men all-powerful and doesn’t allow women equal opportunity!” “Daughters, welcome to a place where you have no hope of being viewed as equals, of ever holding a position of power, and can only be a nun or deacon if you wish to serve the Church!” No thanks. It’s also why we refuse to send them to the Catholic elementary school across the street. Until the Vatican allows women to be ordained, we’ll be keeping my kids as far away as possible because we both believe in a different kind of world — one that preaches and lives gender equality.

My issue is with the Vatican and its doctrines, not the Catholic community which is comprised of many wonderful, godly, compassionate people. As I mentioned, my husband and his lovely family are all Catholic. I have lived in Catholic countries and probably have more Catholic friends than Protestant ones, yet  I see the same disconnect everywhere: a sense of disillusionment with the Vatican and its seeming inability to grasp that times have changed, that women deserve better treatment, that something has to give…

So here’s to Therese Koturbash and her thrilling, difficult quest to ordain women in the Catholic Church! You go, girl!!

What do you readers think of this debate? Are you for or against the ordination of women? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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8 thoughts on “YES to Ordaining Women in the Catholic Church!

  1. Fascinating discussion Katherine, and one that is at the heart of many people’s religious beliefs. Obvoiusly some faiths are “coming around” to allowing women to lead, preach, minister, etc., and even embrace same-sex marriage and make other concessions to become relevant in the 21st century…yet the Vatican and Catholicism remains antiquated in its rich traditions, and probably will continue to do so–fighting tooth and nail along the way. One glimmer of hope, perhaps, is that the Vatican has made some concessions recently in various ways to becomes more relevant to the new generation of youth, as well as trying to bring some old tenets up to date. In meeting with our priest yesterday, Kristin and I were discussing procedures walking around the altar (tetrapod) or whatever, and found out in the Ukrainian Catholic church, the priest is NOT a representative of the Christ, but a representative of the Apostles; and often times during the liturgy/marriage/baptism etc will turn toward the altar and with his back to the people lead them as a seeming ‘equal’ into the kingdom of God–not as Jesus’ representative and seemingly above the laity. They are also able to marry (which is how I exist!) Wow, I’m way off track haha, but something to consider, even though one religion is very similar and only one or two schisms can bring major concession and changes, hopefully the Vatican will wake up and stop just worshipping Mary, but let her holler at the people!!

    1. What an awesome reply! Thanks, Chris, for sharing your thoughts on this. I think that’s a huge and very important difference between the Roman and Ukrainian Catholic churches, that priests can marry. It makes for a much healthier, more normal priesthood, in my opinion (and probably one with significantly lower rates of sexual abuse, if I dare make such a guess). Good for the Ukrainian church!! Looking forward to your wedding in a few short weeks….

    2. Dear Chris, I much prefer the idea that the priest represents the apostles disciples to whom Chrsit gave the great commission. I htink tha tif you had told Peter he was representing Christ, he would have been quite shocked. Yours Maggie

  2. I read a fascinating book a couple years ago called, “When Women Were Priests” by Karen Torjesen. I would highly recommend it. It talks about women in the early church, how they were priests, bishops, and prophets, and then how views changed over time and why.

    Personally I come from a Quaker background. I never even heard the idea that women couldn’t be in leadership till I went to college. While that may mean I had a sheltered or naive upbringing I prefer to call it blessed and empowering. 🙂 That’s probably why I liked the aforementioned book so much. You should definitely check it out if you get the chance.

    1. That sounds very interesting. Thanks for the recommendation and I will look it up at the library for sure.
      Being raised never doubting that women and men possess equal opportunity for leadership is definitely a blessing. It was the same way for me and I’m coming to realize how unusual that kind of upbringing actually is.
      Your blog looks fantastic, by the way. I look forward to reading your posts.

  3. Although I do think that the idea that women cannot be priests is not really in line with the idea of self preservation and frankly quite silly, I dont exactly share your view.

    I think that ultimately a group can create its own rules, so long as it does not break any laws, and that time and social pressure will weed out those groups that don’t have a strategy to keep themselves relevant to their following. I have no problem with women only or male groups being created and I do think that it is ultimately a choice to be a member of the catholic faith. If I were catholic I would either try to change the instituion I was in, or create or join my own following but people can choose to follow their own traditions for their own reasons.

    I remember meeting a Muslim woman who defended her belief that women should not be an Imam, and her reasons were based more in her own beliefs about gender (or so she said) and less in tradition.

    It irks me like it irks you, but people have a right to choose their own values, and hopefully the ability to be a part of any religion they aree with.

  4. Reblogged this on CATHOLIC, Non-Roman Western Style and commented:
    IN HOPE THAT SOME CATHOLIC HIERARCH IS READING, I quote the author of this article “why we’ve agreed not to baptize our children in the Catholic Church (see related post here), because what kind of hypocritical message would that send to the kids? “Sons, come and associate yourselves with an organization that makes men all-powerful and doesn’t allow women equal opportunity!” “Daughters, welcome to a place where you have no hope of being viewed as equals, of ever holding a position of power, and can only be a nun or deacon if you wish to serve the Church!” No thanks. It’s also why we refuse to send them to the Catholic elementary school across the street. Until the Vatican allows women to be ordained, we’ll be keeping my kids as far away as possible because we both believe in a different kind of world — one that preaches and lives gender equality.”

    Personally, I believe we need some new Catholic Rites alongside the ROMAN Rite of the Catholic Church. It’s a part of Catholic History. Diversity and syncretism with other cultures have long been part of Catholic Tradition.

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