Advancing Women in Church Leadership
Our new Advancing Women in Church Leadership packet provides an overview of the many issues facing Catholic women and men who strive for gender balance in Catholic Church leadership, as well as strategies for addressing them. It is a sequel to our original Call for National Dialogue on Women in Church Leadership packet that was developed by FutureChurch and partnered with Call To Action for ten years. FutureChurch is now the sole administrator of this effort.
We believe our new resource will used in a variety of ways including:
* parish education programs about biblical women and Jesus’ and St. Paul’s inclusive practice
* annual Mary of Magdala celebrations where women ministers preside and preach
* creative advocacy for more visibility for lay ecclesial ministers in the church
* formation of small faith communities for inclusive study and worship
Vatican officials persist in placing the male celibate priesthood ahead of the sacramental needs of Catholics. This is both a great difficulty and a hidden blessing. The difficulty is that more and more Catholics have less and less access to the Mass and the sacraments. The blessing is that more lay women and men now minister in our Church as they assume pastoral duties heretofore performed by priests.
FutureChurch believes that we must work with institutional Catholicism where it is, even while we call for change. For us, this means continuing to advocate widespread discussion of opening ordination to all who experience a priestly call, regardless of gender or state in life. It also means calling for expanded leadership roles for women in our Church right now, short of ordination.
This effort is a natural partner to FutureChurch’s Save our Parish Community and Future of Priestly Ministry projects. The former calls for keeping parishes open with the canonically approved use of parish life coordinators rather than closing them because of the priest shortage, and the latter which calls for opening ordination to all the baptized rather than instituting Sunday communion services in priestless parishes.
This comprehensive sequel to our original resource contains many new educational, advocacy, and organizational materials for working to advance women in Catholic Church leadership in your area.
Please pay special attention to the Tips for Advancing Women in Church Leadership and Lydia’s House sections. Both provide valuable ideas about how to begin.
We will be happy to provide consultation and/or regional advice if you need it. Feel free to contact us via email or telephone (listed below).
We pray this project will continue to lead our church to a new moment of listening both to the signs of the time, and to women witnesses whose voices, like Mary Magdalene’s, have too long been silenced.