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Responses to womenpriests.org
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Responses to womenpriests.org

I have received literally hundreds of letters. They were sent by men and women of the most diverse backgrounds living in more than 20 countries. I am printing a typical sample selection to make you share in the response.

To preserve the anonymity of the correspondents I have omitted all references to names and places. The ‘icon’ indicates whether the writer is a woman or a man.

Thank you for your feedback!

Sender was a man

I have just barely started reading your web page which I heard about thru the National Catholic Reporter, but I wanted you to know it would be impossible for me to be more in agreement with you concerning women priests. Might I also add that I believe that the Roman Catholic Church could be a lot more whole if it would ordain women some day. I know it will happen too— but in our lifetimes? Now I want to go back to your web page! God bless you.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

It is with a deep sense of gratitude to our Lord that I encountered your web. It pains me that you had to suffer so much, to be able to live with your conscience. Your own sacrifice for the sake of the true mission of the Church, takes you closer to the Crucified One.

May our Lord bless you and our Lady hold you close to her heart.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Though I accept that women have been oppressed in the Church in the past and this is now only being recognised and how deeply this runs in correcting the wrongs of the past, one must not go too far by assuming that everything not open to women is a form of oppression. St Paul uses the anaology of the Church as the body of Christ each part having it own important and unique function. However, the feet cannot one day say that they want to perform the role of the hands - this role is not proper to the feet. Does this mean that the feet are not important or are being oppressed? Of course not. In the same way the Church’s inability to ordain women is not a form of oppression but a recognition of the proper function of each member in the Church.

Also how one understands Scripture is important in this issue though do not assume I am a fundamentalist. Jesus days in the Gospel of John: You did not choose me but I chose you. Though it is true to say that Jesus was human and as such felt the social pressures of his time one must take Scripture seriously. The Gospel of Luke in particular make the point of stating that at every important stage in his ministry Jesus spent the night in prayer.

Also at the footwashing the Gospel of John Jesus says that his actions are done as an example for the future. Now we must take Scripture seriously and see in it that in choosing the Apostles that, apart from its eschatological significance, Jesus was giving an example for minstry in the future.

Even when Mary Magdalene sees Jesus resurrected he does tell her to go out and proclaim but not to the world but instead to go to tell the apostles. Often those for women’s ordination call Mary Magadalene an apostle because of this incident. Yet the Greek text does not call her this at all.

Another significant incident against the ordination of women as priests is the event of the Last Supper. No one was present at this except the apostles. Part of this meal was instructional. Do this in memory of me. Note that there were no women involved. Also none of the other disciples male or female were present. This fact would lend weight to the case why lay believers cannot celebrate the Eucharist. Another point regards the Church’s revelations since the time of Jesus.

I personally I an not a big follower of Marian apparitions. However it is interesting that throughout two thousand years of Marian devotion Mary has never been viewed as a priestess nor in any apparition has declared I am a priest as at Lourdes she declared I am the Immaculate Conception. I would not make a strong case from this point but it is interesting to note this fact. I agree that theologically there are not a great number of reasons for the non-ordination of women. Rather I lik it to the God’s ordaining it through Scripture. Woman and man have each been assigned assigned unique roles by God.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Brilliant bloody website. Thanks for the work you’re doing!

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Just a note to tell you how moved I am sitting here at the computer, by reading your essay on meeting God in everyday life, and also by the text of your press release. I cannot imagine the anguish which resignation must have caused, even knowing you were following your deepest wisdom and guidance.

Perhaps I am projecting my own imagined feelings, but it seems that to have spent one’s entire life in service to the institutional Church and then to find that one must separate at this stage would be to me excruciating. My heart goes out to you in gratitude, respect and support.

I am immensely inspired by your courage, affirmed as a woman and a Catholic by your vision, and strengthened in my arguments by your careful scholarship. Thank you and I wish you joy and peace beyond any you have imagined.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

I congratulate you on you ministry to women. It is really a great apostolate which needs courage and conviction. You have done what the Lord wants today. You may not be appreciated now for what you do but the society will remember you for ever.

It is women who make the Church alive in today’s society. It is only God’s spirit that has led you to this challenging ministry. May God bless you and your efforts. I am a Catholic priest working for the untouchables in India. The untouchables or dalits are exactly neglected like women in the Catholic Church in India. Since you were in India, you knew very well the miserable condition of Dalits both in society and in the Church. May God bless your ministry.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I read about your website in the NCR dated 5/28/99 and jumped up and ran to my computer to log on!

I will read thoroughly all the pages that you have created so far, and offer my thought and comments.

I am a Roman Catholic woman who for many years has discerned a call to the ordained ministry of my Church. I recently graduated with a master of Arts in Theology. I decided to forego the M.Div. for now. And I too have struggles with the question of remaining in the Catholic tradition, or leaving to seek ordination in another denomination. Years of prayer and discernment have led me to remain within my tradition, but continue to voice the authenticity of my vocation whenever I am able.

I will write to you frequently, and pray for your work and for the winds of the Spirit to blow through our beloved Church.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I was wondering what your response is to the recent declaration by Pope John Paul II making the Church’s position excluding women from the priesthood an infallible teaching of the Church which all believers are required to accept?

[Reply: I am dealing with this issue. Visit the section on the magisterium].

This is an issue of grave concern to me and although I am not currently an active Catholic, I’m now giving serious thought to joining the Anglican Church where equality is more reasonably practiced. This is particularly the case if it is true that advocates for female priesthood are being met with “disciplinary action”, being refused communion, etc. as it has been written in some recent new articles.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Hello and thank you from our local Women-Church. Read about your web site in the recent National Catholic Reporter. Your background and insight will be a valuable resource for us!! Although women’s ordination is the current “flashpoint” for the media and we do support it, justice for all women in all ministries and taking responsiblity for our own spirituality is the mission of Women-Church.

Our recent cathedral silent, respectful vigil was successful beyond our dreams, we plan to double the number next year to a minimum of 150 and are thinking of creating a “How to Organise a peaceful vigil at YOUR cathedral” packet and go nationwide.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I read about the website and then I visited it. I have no suggestions now. Maybe I will later. I just want to encourage you. It has hit me that priests are trying so hard to imitate women. They have to offer (serve) the sacraments, they want to nourish their parishioners like many women do (come for dinner on Sunday .. you are obligated) and they wear skirts. Perhaps this is the biggest joke.

I work as a spiritual director but have opened my practice to all. We are an unhealthy Catholic Church. We need to get the whole. There is support. Don’t give up!

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I visited your site. Thanks for all the work you are doing. For being a prophetic voice for us women who feel called to the priesthood. In many ways I view myself and my ministry as priestly. The vatican will get the hint sooner or later, probably later. Peace!

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Just a quick note to thank you for the stand you have taken at great personal loss. I am a member of our local parish team. I am also a woman who feels called to the priesthood. Through the years it has been very painful to identify this call as it lies so close to my heart and yet seems so far away.

I find hope however in the stand that you are taking. Sadly many are afraid to take a stand. We have found that to be very true right here in our own diocese. While there are those who say they believe in what we are standing for, they are not open to taking a public stand because of fear of losing their own position or fear of more backlash by the Vatican in our diocese. Many have said the time is not right. I say if not now then when? It feels as if there is a ground swell right now and this may be the time the Holy Spirit is using to bring about the needed change in the Church. thank you for the part you are doing to take a stand!!

It is to the universality of Catholicism and not necessary to the hierarchy in Rome that we will align ourselves to.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Thanks for the website. I checked it out after reading about it but I haven’t taken the time to read everything thoroughly yet, so you may have addressed my concern somewhere on the site.

Although I am convinced that there is no justifiable reason for women to be excluded from the priesthood, I am as convinced that if we simply ordain women we may very well exacerbate the problem of clericalism. We need to redefine the priesthood, and to seriously question much of the theology which currently surrounds this office. As a parish priest, I have met and worked with too many women who would be only too anxious to be ordained, and who would be as clerically oppressive as any of the men currently in the ministry. I don’t want that to happen. Thanks.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

I have only spent a little time delving into the contents of your website but it is quite impressive at first glance. I wanted to thank you for creating such an incredible resource for this very important topic that needs to be discussed.

I too am a committed Catholic Christian (and a former Jesuit Novice) and believe that important changes can only occur from within the Church. The Church is at a very painful crossroad, but I believe that the ordination of women is only one of the many wonderful changes that will take place in the Church in the next millennium. I just hope we don’t have to see too much of the next millennium before they take place!

Thank you for your courage, faith and commitment. They are an inspiration. I will keep you and this important cause in my prayers.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Read about it in the latest issue of NCR. Beautiful work, the PAGE. Being parents of three daughters and three sons, we find they are EQUAL. (Sorry to cut short, but as a widower, my cooking is boiling over!)

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I read your resignation from the priestly ministry because of conflict of conscience, and I only want to congratulate you for being such honest with your conscience (the treasure of the heart).

Inspite of the fact that I would not presume as a women to become a priest, I support the right to choose this kind of life for other women who desire it. I am a lay theologian, mother of two young children, and I have great hopes to leave my children a better Church. You are an example of struggle, not violent, who cooperates in the building of the kingdom of God. Thank you for your generosity and God bless you.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Congratulations on your attempt at accuracy and fairness. I myself have mixed feelings about women’s ordination - but the real issues are how one envisions the Church, the ministry of service in teaching, the effective and obediential response to tentative teachings (or even so-called definitive/non-infallible declarations).

You must provide a critique of the Vatican “sponsored” books and critiques, especially the ones printed/distributed by Ignatius press and the Vatican Polyglot Press set of studies (even adopted and printed by the US Catholic Conference Printing Office).

[Reply: I will certainly follow your suggestion. It will take some time!]

The other major issues are the inculturation/reception issue: scil. even if Rome accommodated the Western and European countries, a worldwide “policy” would not be feasible because of the African and Asian customs and mentalities; and the ecumenical issue: scil. how would this affect relations with the Orthodox and more traditional leaders in the various Protestant traditions. Anyway -- the best of luck!

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Comments-I just found your website and have not even begun to read through it all but I wanted to comment briefly before time gets the better of me and I forget. I am a woman who has felt a call to be a priest for many years!

And for those 25 years of my 44, I have been trying to discern the form that call would have to take. I have been in a small house church community and have been the principal celebrant at many liturgies. This is not the ideal dream but my way of moving the church into the future. I will read your story with relish and want to say that I am very proud to hear that you resigned out of conscience. It is SO invigorating to hear when men who are the ones in control in a sense, make such a statement. Many blessings, yours in Christ . . .

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Congratulations on this wonderful new website John. It will prove to be very useful for my senior secondary students as they research the issues as well as a source of support for me and my colleagues in our teaching. I shall email further comments as my students begin to access this site and shall ask them to provide feedback to you. They are 17-18 year old Catholic senior secondary students. Best wishes and blessings.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I find this topic very interesting. I honestly don’t know what side I’m on yet. Being a female I like to think that women should be priests but then again maybe God has different plans. I’d like to thank you for a very informative and interesting site and I look forward to seeing more information.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

As the number of youths and men entering the priesthood dwindles it may become necessary to ordain women into the priesthood. At the present time we have women laypeople adminstering Holy Communion. Why not have them saying mass.? As noted above, the shortage of priests at present puts a great strain on priests who are trying to run a parish on their own and others who may have two parishes in outlying districts in all country villages.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

I’ve read through your web pages with great interest. In many ways I find myself much in agreement with you, even though I’ve never taken the step of formally resigning the priesthood. Let’s just say I’ve taken “early retirement” from outside ministry by means of using canon 603 to my advantage (plenty of time to pray and think before I write!)

As the editor of a local diocesan paper, I try to avoid “churchy” interests, but I’m presently trying to work up courage to address the topic of abortion — which will not doubt put me in risk of receiving unwanted attention from the Church authorities, something that so far I’ve attempted to avoid. Any Advice?

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I have sometimes wondered whether it is a logical deduction from a premise such as it is impossible for women to be ordained that this implies ultimately that women cannot receive salvation. I think it would be possible to show that, thus giving the lie to the premise as there are many women saints.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I am thrilled to find a website devoted to the support of women priests. I hope that this resource will be a blessing on the cause of including all people who desire to serve God and the Church as ordained minsters and priests. I pray that the Holy Spirit has found has found a profound way to spread the Word around the globe.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Your web site is simply marvellous! I spent over two hours reading it last Sunday, and still didn’t get to all the links. I hope you will give me permission to link to it from my web site on the “Favourites” link page, where I have a list on OW and other controversial issues in the Church.

I have book marked it, and will be keeping up with your great research. You sure have led an interesting and fruitful life and surely have worked hard to have accomplished so much! Not only that, but you are indeed a “right thinker”! IMHO. And I’m certainly sure your work is extremely God-pleasing.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I’ve just accessed your web page through a post from my mail list. Know that, as a woman religious and as an academic, I struggle with so many of the issues you note. Its a source of strength to read your work, your thoughts.

Thank you for all you continue to do for all of us. God’s blessings on your ministry.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Congratulations on the initiative - and a hearty THANK YOU from a theologian like yourself!

I am sure we will have women priests, but perhaps the way will be opened by a) changes in the theology of “priest” and probably of “sacrament”; b) the acceptance of the exegetical fact that there were no priests in New Testament times and therefore Jesus did not make any choice about men or women, since he did not appoint anyone to be priest in the traditional Catholic sense of the word.

Best wishes for the good work!

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Just read your Tablet 8 May 1999 article and found your website! Thank you for the faith that gives you the strength to speak out on these issues.

The Spirit is with God’s People and as we listen to the Spirit speaking the time will come for the Truth to be recognised.

I can’t help except with my prayer of support. Suspended ‘a divinis’ over the celibacy issue! But there are many ways to fulfil our ministry of the Word.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Thank you for this web-site, which looks really promising. I think we need to do really solid work on the theology and tradition of priesthood if our position is ever to be taken seriously.

I (and I bet I’m not alone) find the sacraments to be symbols of male power to the extent that I could cheerfully do without them - and I often wonder what has happened to me to bring me to such a position.

So thank you for your work on all of this. I shall look at the site regularly!

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

May the blessings of God pour in a never ending stream over you. May justice pour forth like living water from your web site.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Here’s a thought. The pope has declared this a forbidden issue. The argument is stale, and has been proven wrong. The Catholic church doesn’t have the power to ordain women. It cannot change the sacraments established by Christ. You should put your efforts into increasing vocations to the priesthood, not being in serious contradiction (and heresy) with your church. The issue is closed, Peter has spoken infallibly...Women cannot be ordained.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I picked up your web page only this morning after reading your article in the Tablet of 8 May, I found it good reading.

I have always been frustrated by the argument of the priest representing Christ. There seems to me to be no theological way in which anyone, male or female, can adequately represent Christ. So why favour one over the other? There is also the question of the community being represented at the altar - an issue where gender difference has no place, it seems to me.

I enjoyed your Tablet article of 8 May. This is a fairly convincing set of data on the diaconate. We have a married deacon in our parish who tells me that the clergy of the diocese do not understand his position - its history or its role. There is a lot of ground to cover yet. I'm struggling on as head of theology in our university. Best wishes with your own mission.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I just received your URL from a listserve, and though I have not yet looked at all your pages, I’ve seen enough to prompt me to write a few comments, if you don’t mind.

First, your pages are well done. They are informative, attractive, and professional looking. They are also easy to navigate.

The important thing is the content.

I left the Church years ago because of issues revolving around how women are treated. I have felt like an outsider for years, wondering how to make the changes I feel are necessary now that I am no longer a part of the mainstream.

Why did you leave? Do you not feel that you could have done more, accomplished more, by staying and protesting from within?? I am not intending this as a criticism, as I left myself, just wondering about your motivation. Just curious.

[Reply: You can find the anser in my personal FAQ.]

I intend to let people know about your site which is the best I have ever seen on this subject, especially scripturally. Thank you for your hard work.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I made the mistake of looking at your site during my early a.m. e-mail & hit-counter check to our own site. A bad move! Breakfast is now long overdue - and the planned work of the morning sits looking accusingly at me!

I found the reference to this site in the Tablet & having visited Housetop & Spiritual Wholeness - and aware of your reasons for resigning your ordained priesthood - was interested to see what it held. I wasn’t disappointed! Tho’ a woman called to ministry, I do not sense a call to the ordained priesthood - I feel uncomfortable with the current model for a start - and, well, am just not called to it!

Interestingly, I was invited by our Bishop to be part of a group looking at spiritual development of our clergy (recognising that many feel inadequate in the field of spirituality). It was one of several groups set up after a clergy conference last year. I’m not too clear how membership was determined - some by invitation from the chairmen - some self-selected from the “interest groups” at the conference - and some by invitation from the Bishop. However the membership was arrived at, of all the groups, only the one looking at spirituality included more than one woman! I think this is significant - true spirituality cannot help but be inclusive! It is a start - and I think has begun a process of consultation and reflection which will - as was said after Vatican II -open a few windows and let the Spirit in! We could go on!

I will add your site to the list of links on our web site - and will revisit your site as and when... I’m not sure how much practical help I can offer. If you visit our site, you’ll see that it keeps me busy! I’m also involved in developing our Diocesan site - the links - Spirituality group - and so on .... It’s part of the vision too - getting information out to people - offering them the bigger picture - opening windows - and horizons... and so on... If you think of anything, let me know, in the meantime, keep up the good work.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

I was introduced to your website only a week or so ago and I have already spent many hours with it. As a retired academic (I taught Systematic Theology) may I congratulate you on the high standards you have achieved in both theological content and presentation. Many will be indebted to you, I am sure. I spend some time discussing this issue with several people and I shall certainly point them in your website’s direction. If I have any useful suggestions, I shall be in touch again.

Agape

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Your website will help heal the Mystical Body. Thank you for lifting me up.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Thank for this website. It is very informative and helpful. I am a first year deacon in training. I have chosen as my history paper an exploration of ordination of women to the permanent diaconate programme. You have already provided a wealth of information. Thanks. One question. One of the lines of discussion I intend to take is this: The church argues that it cannot ordain women in part because Jesus Christ did not choose women among his apostles. While this is true, it is also true that no handicapped men were selected, nor were any black men, etc. The church feels permission to go beyond Christ’s original selection criteria in ordination handicapped or Asian men, why can it not therefore ordain women? Does this line of reasoning make sense? Could you point me to more literature on this?

[Reply: It certainly does make sense. As to literature, just now you might want to look at the ‘non-fact’ document. In the autumn I hope to add extensive bibliographies to the site.]

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I am writing to tell you how deeply moved I was to read of you and your work in the recent National Catholic Reporter. I am a member of a religious community, a Ph.D. Candidate in Religion and Society, and a founding member of A Critical Mass: Women Celebrating Eucharist in our own area.

For many years I have felt deeply the profound injustice of the Institutional Church’s exclusion of women from full sacramental participation in its life. I have written, spoken out and acted, all the while wondering where my brothers were in this struggle? Where were the men of conscience, integrity and courage who would see the truth and do the right thing? Then I read about you and knew that finally, here at last is one man who renounced privilege and stood with women for the sake of justice. My heart is full of gratitude. What you have done enlarges the Spirit among us and gives me and all of us courage to continue in the struggle for wholeness. Bless you, my brother.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I am stunned to find this website and so grateful. I would love to be in touch with you about your website..we are also readying ours and perhaps we can do a link. Indeed I, too, feel that this is THE issue for the RCC and one upon which so many other changes transformations will occur. Let us be in touch. And thank you for your extraordinary work on this website. So needed. Blessings.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Just discovered your website by reading the Tablet. Thank you so much. It is very exciting.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I am so impressed by your website. Visually, it is very pleasing, the content is wonderfully laid out, and your mission statement is fantastic!

What a wonderful man you are to take up this cause, and with such intellect, logic and common sense, above all! Thanks.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

A straight word from one priest to another.

How can you prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Church should ordain women? Such a momentous break with tradition would require the Church to be absolutely certain that this was God’s will. When the Church began to admit Gentiles, Peter had the vision described in Acts2 and the baptism of Cornelius and his family followed soon after. If God gave to the pope some special vision or inspiration that women priests was His plan for the Church and an Ecumenical Council on both Catholic and Orthodox Churches concurred then I would have no problem at all with women priests. I would be a bit surprised granted but if it was definitely God’s will no problem. But you just can’t have that degree of certainty.

Do you believe that God does guide the Church through the Pope and Bishops in Council or don’t you? If you do then you have to accept what the Spirit seems to be saying to them and all the talk about Roman repression and persecution is forgive me saying it mind paranoia. God bless.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

I just wanted to let you know how very impressed I am with your womenpriests website! I enjoyed reading through a number of the web pages last night. It’s such a wonderful resource — very comprehensive. Thanks for all your work in putting it together! I hope a lot of people visit it. I’m certainly going to let my friends know about it.

Did you happen to see the excellent article in the January 29, 1999, issue of Commonweal, “Consider Tradition: A Case for Ordaining Women”, by Rose Hoover?

[Reply: Yes, I I know it. I have re-published Hoover’s article on the site.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Although I have recently left the Catholic Church, mainly over this issue and birth control, I applaud your efforts, and hope you make a difference. Blessings, John!

Thank you!

Sender was a man

There is no such thing as a woman priest

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I am interested in learning if there is a group of women presiding at Eucharist in my area. I am willing to do this when and if the need arises more precisely if clerical iron curtains begin to be drawn in the future.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Thank you for launching this website. I fully agree with you that the church is wrong in this area and that we have to fight from the inside.

An article in the NCR brought your Website to my attention, am already in the process of informing my friends here in Canada.

I am not a priest or theologian, just a member of the laity (I hate that word because of its connection to the hierarchy). The church is interfering with the works of the Holy Spirit amongst the people of God because of its narrow view of the role of women. I am just reading a recently published book, “Is the Pope Catholic?”. A Woman confronts her church by the Canadian author Joanna Manning, published by Malcolm Lester Books, Toronto, Ontario.

May the Holy Spirit be with you in making this website a success for the Catholic Church to accept the ordination of women. Shalom.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

I write to encourage you in the work that you are doing. Much changes needs to take place in the leadership of the Catholic community. Bringing women into leadership is one way of bringing about the change that is needed.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Congratulations! It’s a wonderful site and I hope to learn from your courage. I am interested in documents, articles, etc. and I delighted with what you are offering. I am active in A CRITICAL MASS: WOMEN CELEBRATING EUCHARIST, as a means of calling attention to the priesthood of the faithful, who participate by baptism in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. I need to base my participation on solid study and interpretation, I’m reading a lot of Hans Kung right now.

God bless you and your exciting ministry.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Remember, the church is not a democracy. The church is directed by God, and no amount of pushing can change basic doctrine that God has set forth. Remember that the bible is not the work of any saint but the work of God Himself. Therefore, if St.Paul wrote he rejected women priests, God rejected women priests. Also remember the infallibility of the pope. Don’t be a cafeteria Catholic. If you don’t like what the church says, then leave it.

I hope you come to your senses and receive back your faith.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

As a fellow priest (I am from India but I work in the USA) I do appreciate your courage to stand by what you believe. May the Lord be with you loving you dearly. I have not gone through your notes completely. But I will. I have read many of them on the net.

Nothing more to say. May you be close to the heart of Jesus ever in your life. Wishing you all the best in your endeavours, praying for you and loving you in Jesus. Gretings from your brother in Jesus.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

My wife and I are Catholics of 67 years standing. One of the matters that deeply concerns us is that throughout that 67 years and all of the years before our church has been greatly impoverished. This impoverishment has arisen because every facet of the life of the Church has been dictated and viewed by and from the male perspective. The gifts, charisms and insights of 50% of the church, the female 50% have been almost entirely ignored except for a few well known exceptions i.e. Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux. Jesus clearly saw women and men as equal it is only the male priesthood that sees them as inferior. The male priesthood has adopted a dreadful arrogance of righteousness which only serves to cover the impoverishment that they inflict on the whole church by their treatment of women. The irony of this is that if women left the church there would be nothing left they are the ones who keep the whole thing going. How many churches would be virtually empty at mid-week mass if women stopped attending.

As life long Catholics we find it offensive and un-Christian to be told by the Pope that to be Catholic means that we must believe that Jesus does not want women to be ordained. If we take his words seriously we are surely ex-communicated for our deeply held conviction that on this matter he is not speaking for Jesus Christ.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

As an Anglo-Catholic woman priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church I wish to assure you and those who grieve with you over this subject of my continual prayers. I am not a militant. It was costly and painful for me when I finally admitted to myself my own vocation. However, like yourself when sense is lacking and injustice seems rife I feel we must obey Our Lord’s call and not remain silent even if it means leaving ourselves open to misunderstanding and attack. Like you I also believe that women will be ordained in the Roman Catholic church and I look forward to that day with great joy as I pray that it will also mark the beginning of true unity between the churches of this world. Please be assured of my good wishes and prayers. You have a voice that will be heard and give others the confidence they need to share in this task.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

I think you are very courageous

Blessings in your work !

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Congratulations on the website - it is excellent and very welcome.

Re.Rome’s argument that Christ did not include women among the twelve and thereby set a norm which the church has no power to change; the Gospels tell us that Christ did include at least one married man among the twelve and even made him their leader. The Roman Church apparently had no difficulty in changing that norm! They can’t have it both ways. As someone who, regretfully, was forced to choose between the practise of my ministerial priesthood and marriage (I have never regretted choosing marriage, but bitterly regret the inflexibility that forced me to choose) I think Rome’s arguments, to put it somewhat less than academically, stink!

Keep up your good work. The Holy spirit speaks through you and all like you.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I had read you some years ago and I am very familiar with you. I guess we are more drinking in the enormity of what we have felt and is being confirmed. We, those of us in the catechetical ministry have been warned that we are not to speak of the things that we believe or feel but rather teach what the Church teaches. Such a sad statement! All along I felt that I believed and felt what the Spirit led me to and as such that which the Church should teach. There is a line from the movie, Simon Birch, where Simon speaks to John of the fact of his illegitimacy and his desire to know who fathered him..."Speak as a bastard, surely, but rather now speak as an enlightened bastard". I guess I see but now “see” with an “enlightened” sight or vision.

I am not desolate or inconsolate...just saddened. I was in the religious life for 30 years and had my vows dispensed in 1994. It seemed that God was telling me that to come from beneath the oppressiveness of where the Church had the “people of God” I must assuredly be one of these very life giving “people of God”. You give me so much hope. I have felt that our Church would split in two. I have always known that I will be in the part of the “two” which will not only survive but thrive.

I pray with you and feel so much solidarity with you. Walk in those all loving yet bloody footsteps of the Master. Thanks...mil gracias, mi amigo!

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Today is my birthday. What a lovely birthday present. I have been murmuring quietly in my own small church community for years. We here in our home State were recently distressed when our Cardinal made the horrible decision to prohibit members of WOMEN CHURCH to meet on any church grounds. And here I thought that the church belonged to its people. Christ was crucified because of what he said. Censorship is the most un-Christian of all acts. Do keep talking the talk and God will bless you.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

Thank you for the excellent work you are engaged in. Do you have a course on Biblical Theology? With no reasonable expectation of success or further application, because of my age, I earned a Master in Theological studies 3 years ago. Since then, have attended a synagogue to continue Biblical studies, for two years mainly study of the Torah. Have acquired the book “Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments” and will study it on my own, if nothing is available somewhere else. It would be nice to have a round-table discussion group. I am unable to create such a group in my parish because of my views on several issues.

You see, I am a woman who feels called to be a priest. God bless.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Thank you so much for this site!

It’s about time someone put up a proper/intelligent defence for women in the clergy. I was Roman Catholic, but have since left the church for many reasons - one of them being their stubborn, archaic stand on this issue. I am now Episcopalian. Some of my friends and family however -- like everyone else here in the Philippines -- blindly follow Rome, without thinking things through.

I respect your efforts to reform the church from within!!! May God bless you for your efforts to fight for this truth. Peace.

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Dear Sir,

Do you believe that Pope John Paul II is “the vicar of Christ” ? If you don’t, then I see why you are pursuing the issue of woman priest. If you do, then why not be humble and listen to him concerning this issue? Remember, the first sin of man was “disobedience”.

Thank you!

The writer was a woman

I am new to the computer and a complete novice on the internet. I remember trying to write to you but may have failed in the attempt.

I first of all wish to thank you for your efforts re.establishing this forum for discussion on the ordination of women. It is a highly informative and quite wonderful site! Because of your interests, you may be interested to know about a book just released by Holy Cross Press (Brookline, MA USA, bookstore phone: 617-731-3500, they also have a web page through the Grk. Ortho. Archdiocese). The book, Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church, deals solely with the Ordination of Women to the diaconate. It is the most comprehensive Orthodox study of its kind, utilising historical, liturgical, canonical, hagiographical and theological sources. Some of this information appears here for the first time in English.

The author introduces a rich theology which serves as the context for the ordination of women to this ancient order of ministry, while leaving open the possibilities for future discussion to the other two orders of presbyter and bishop, as well. This Orthodox study may prove to be of some interest to Roman Catholics as well.

[Reply: I am aware of the book. It is excellent. I will have a review of it on the website.]

Thank you!

Sender was a man

Last week I ordered the book “Lost Soul” by O’Leary from the Read Ireland Book Shop at www.readirland.ie and for email info@readireland.ie

You might be interested that Lost Soul quotes you on pages 22 and 23 in a most favourable way.(((The “Lost Soul” apparently is the Church itself.)))

I am now old and describe myself as a “retired Orthodox priest”. In the middle of a college teaching career, an Orthodox bishop friend ordained me to the diaconate and the priesthood when I was in my forties. I accepted this ordination because I believed that the “schism” of 1054 had ended in 1965, that the two sister churches had made their peace at the highest levels, and that an orthodox bishop could ordain a “Latin” and vice versa as was common before 1054. Later I was a pastor for more than five years, until my legs wore out and I could no longer stand two hours to conduct the Sunday Liturgy. Amazingly, my bishop allows me to work with the “Latins” in their South American missionary efforts. So I still feel useful. I openly predict that we will have ordained Catholic married men within ten years and also serious discussions about the possibility of the ordination of women, initially to the diaconate.

For about 40 or 50 years I was totally ignorant and insensitive about the idea of women priests. About twenty years ago I met a wonderful woman Anglican priest. She was more a priest than I’ll ever be. About ten years ago, my wife (I’ve been married for 35 years) mentioned the great hurt she felt when her brother served Mass and she couldn’t. I had always wondered why this wonderful daughter of daily communicants did not encourage my desire to serve the Church. From that moment forward I realised the deep hurt felt by my wife and other marginalized women.

One day an Orthodox friend said to me: Father, can you even IMAGINE a menstruating woman on the altar as a priest? (I replied: Joe, you don’t care if your lady doctor or nurse is menstruating, do you?)

One of my boyhood friends is a Latin-rite monsignor. About twenty years ago, one of his several sisters completed a four year Theology programme at a Catholic seminary. After graduation she was totally marginalised to the point that she sought and received Anglican ordination. Her brother never mentions her. My personal view is that thousands of mothers every year discourage their sons who express a desire to be a priest. With the scandals, they have plenty of ammunition. Bless your efforts!

Thank you!

Sender was a man

I am extremely disgusted at you and your so-called Catholic congregation.

You automatically think just because TIMES have changed God’s law changed? Your first mistake was in your scripture where you state that women were not one of the twelve because Christ lived during the social predominance of men. Well, do you think just because we are now in 1990’s God’s law has changed?

People like you are the poison which is trying to taint our beautiful faith. What you don’t know is that you are heavily outnumbered and we couldn't care less about your “revolution”. Your movement is so small that it will have only a minor effect on our true faith. In other words you are stupid (along with your little movement). You probably like faggots, and support the modern liberal views. In addition, you probably do not care about our Catholic faith but want to overthrow it.

I fear you not, and you will see in the end where you will end up... And trust me, I will not be there in hell with you and your pals... You break God’s law and you pay... end of story... You may not care right now cause you think you’re all that. But wait...We don’t stop and think and ask God if what we are doing is right..That’s the problem these days. I am a sinner and will pay for my sins, but what you do is going to cost you dearly...

Thank you!

Sender was a man

I started looking around the site today and am intrigued. I’ll be back. It looks as if you have been methodical in pulling together information from multiple sources and allowing them to speak for themselves. It’s early in my own looking at what you’ve assembled, but I wonder if at some point it would be beneficial to the discussion to be as methodical in pulling together the pieces that represent the other side of the issue— again letting time speak for themselves.

The obvious next step after that would be to find some workable format to compare and contrast the elements of the issue. If the case can be made clearly enough that the Church is not speaking with sustainable logic, then perhaps the Church will come around a bit sooner to a different position. One has to be hopeful.

A layman’s logic would get to the heart of the matter too quickly:

  1. How can the Church support gender equity everywhere except in the Church?
  2. How can the Church baptise women into the priesthood of the faithful and then exclude them from the priesthood?
  3. How can the Church offer one less sacrament to half of humankind?
  4. How can the Church argue that the Magnificat cannot be uttered in Church by one of the same sex as Mary?
  5. When the Church changes its position on this issue, after having been so testily adamant, what will that change do to Church credibility on first principles?

Thank you for working on this. Maybe the Church will thank you, too, someday.


Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

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