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FutureChurch Renews the Call for Dialogue and for a Long Overdue Round of Listening to Women in the Church
Release date: 
Friday, November 4, 2016

For Immediate Release                                                          November 4, 2016

Contact(s): 
Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director, 216.228.0869 x 4, 513.673.1401 (c), debrose@futurechurch.org
Mary Louise Hartman, FutureChurch Vice-Chair of Trustees
609-915-2258, mlhmls@gmail.com

FutureChurch Renews the Call for Dialogue and for a Long Overdue Round of Listening to Women in the Church

In response to Pope Francis’ recent remarks on women’s ordination to the priesthood, FutureChurch renews our appeal for widespread dialogue on this challenging issue and for respectful listening to Catholic women in dioceses, parishes and communities.

Just one year ago, Pope Francis told an Italian church gathering that when delving into the problems facing the church, “Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives -- but is alive, knows being unsettled, enlivened.”*  He encouraged Catholics saying, “Dream of this church, believe in it, innovate it with freedom.”

“Catholics worldwide have been encouraged by Pope Francis’ call for open questioning and for fearless dialogue,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch.  “One reason this particular dialogue concerning women’s ordination continues to be important is that, under the current structure, ordination is central to decision making and governance.”

“We need to enter into deep and respectful dialogue.” said Russ Petrus, FutureChurch Program Director.  “We need to ask important questions about Pope Francis’ identification of a Petrine dimension where bishops decide and a Marian dimension for ‘the feminine dimension of the church’ because it reinforces complementarity -- a patriarchal framework that perpetuates the assignment of roles based on gender impeding the Church’s desire to create ‘a more incisive presence’ for women.”

“There is no one solution for creating greater gender balance in our Church, yet it is clear that new doors need to be opened if we are to seriously engage Catholic women at the heart of our tradition and employ their wisdom, witness and faith in the ongoing development of that tradition,” said Mary Louise Hartman, FutureChurch Trustee. “To ignore this task is to put our future at risk, something we know that is already occurring with the unprecedented loss of younger Catholic women and millennial Catholics, in general.”

Pope Francis has engendered a new era of dialogue, listening and trust in the Holy Spirit that compels us to engage in the challenging conversations of our times bearing in mind the assurance he articulated last November when he said, “May it be a free church and open to the challenges of the present, never in defense for fear of losing something."

*ncronline.org/news/vatican/catholicism-can-and-must-change-francis-forcefully-tells-italian-church-gathering 

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About FutureChurch Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, FutureChurch seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition of parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.