Q10. What are the prospects of women’s ordination in the future Catholic Church?

In spite of their teaching authority and the charism of infallibility in extraordinary circumstances, Popes too are human and make mistakes. It is worth looking at the erroneous beliefs which Pope Pius IX (1848 - 1878 AD) tried to impose on the Church not so long ago:

  1. No Freedom of Conscience
  2. No Salvation outside the Church
  3. No Rights for Non-Christian Religions
  4. No Respect for Other Christian Churches
  5. No Democracy, No Socialism
  6. Slavery is allowed by God

All these doctrines have now been amended by the Church. The same will happen to the ordination of women.

Factors for change

How does the official Church come to change of perception? Historical studies would seem to indicate three crucial factors.

  1. Renewed critical awareness in the Church.
    Reform is not possible unless a large number of people in the Church becomes aware of the fact that ‘something is wrong’, that there is an anomaly between our deep-felt Christian convictions and what the Church proposes. This must become a critical awareness in the sense of people (a) grasping the reasons why the Church’s traditional arguments are wrong; and (b) understanding that a change of position by the Church does not imply a real change of doctrine.
  2. Prophetic speech and action that ‘disrupts the system’.
    Repressive systems thrive on the complicity of silence by those who are repressed. Prophetic individuals need to speak out and engage in protest. Read ‘Womenpriests: Keeping Mum or Speaking Out?’ by René van Eyden, and ‘The Place of Silencing in the Teaching of the Church’, by Sr. Jeannine Gramick.
  3. The initiative and humility of individual Church leaders.
    Eventually those in authority need to take appropriate action to redress mistakes of the past.

Because of the increased speed and efficiency of communication within society and within the Church, factors 1 & 2 work much faster today than in previous centuries.

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