Contacts regarding the ordination of women:

PHOEBE. PHOEBE was launched in March 2000 in Tokyo, responding to the invitation of WOW in year 1998 when the first steering goup met in London in preparation for the First Conference in Dublin. Though our climate here is not so encouraging to the cause, and we are only a handful of members, inspired and encouraged by worldwide movements, we like to be a part of WOW dreaming of our future Church. A long way yet, but we like to take this as a part of our undertaking of the structural reform of the Church where the ministerial responsibility should be shared and the church should be enriched for the service of our peoples.

We (PHOEBE) are about a dozen women: lay and religious with diversity in age, nationality and profession: a feminist theologian, teachers, social scientist, justice and peace activist, jounalist, church workers, etc. We meet regularly and our objectives are as follows:

  • To observe and analize the situations of the women in RC
  • To conscientize the women about the reality of our Church
  • To raise our voices when necessary in direct or indirect way in writing to the authority as well as to the mass media
  • To study the history of sexism and the arguments on ordination of women
  • To interact with other ecuminical groups by inviting to our group as well as participating and collaborating with such groups
  • To use every possible means and opportunity to invite our sisters (and brothers as well) to share our concern and objectives.

Write to Sr. Naoko Iyori


Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Gossmann. German, born in 1928, has been living in Japan for decades.

  • Studied Theology and Philosophy at University of Munster and Munich.
  • Belonged to the first group of lay Theologians since 1947.
  • One of the first two women to received the doctor degree in Catholic Theology in 1954. Presented the thesis for ‘habilitation’ to qualify for a professioship in Theological faculty, but German Bishops’ Conference stopped the process with the reason of my being lay. After writing another thesis, received ‘habitation’ in the Philosophical faculty of University of Munich.
  • Published on: Medieval Franciscan Theology, Historical Studies on Medieval Women Writers of Mystical Theology (Hildegard of Bingen and others), Feminist Theology (which existed before the term was formed), Japanese Religions as well as the history ofChristianity in Japan
  • Contacts: February to April, September to November in Tokyo: Tel. 813-3334-4624 Fax. 813-370-1753; May to August, November to the end of February in Germany: Tel. 49-89-791-3879.
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Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

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