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1950 - 2000 AD

from a perspective of women in the Church


 

Timeline

before Christ
0-100 AD
100-200
200-300
300-400
400-500
500-600
600-700
700-800
800-900
900-1000
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1100-1200
1200-1300
1300-1400
1400-1500
1500-1600
1600-1700
1700-1800
1800-1900
1900-1950
1950-2000
2000-2050

The second half of the twentieth century brought a break-through for the ordination of women.

This mainly happened in the Anglican Union. It affected the UK, the USA, Australia and Canada but also many countries in Africa and Asia. For a survey see here.

A new dawn seemed to light up the Roman Catholic Church too when 3000 bishops travelled to Rome to attend the Second Vatican Council. A new vision was outlined in groundbreaking documents dealing with:

* church organization
* the church's place in the modern world
* the interpretation of sacred scripture
* ecumenism
* individual freedom of conscience

Unfortunately, reactionary forces, initiated from within the Vatican itself, soon began to stifle attempts at real reform. In the 1970's this revealed itself in a series of disciplinary measures that sought to stamp out any movement towards the ordination of women.

The resulting situation is a blatant abuse of authority in the highest ranks of the Roman Catholic Church.


Rev. Joanna Hollis of St James Anglican Church in Sandys.

Read the story of Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin

The decade of post-war recovery

Social Emancipation of women 1950 to 1959

Women banned from reading BBC news January - 1951
"Average UK housewife works 15 hour day" July - 1951
Education pioneer Maria Montessori dies May - 1952
Commons votes for women's equal pay May - 1952
Eva Peron dies, Argentina's heroine July - 1952
First publicised sex change : Christine December - 1952
First woman to win Welsh Bardic Crown August - 1953
First woman as Tory minister, Horsbrugh September - 1953
Equal pay for women civil servants January - 1955
Burnham committee - equal teachers' pay March - 1955
UK Lords reforms : life peers and women October - 1957
Bishop: working mothers "enemy of the family" March - 1958
Christabel Pankhurst, suffragist, dies March - 1958
14 women life peers July - 1958
Warnings on overuse of sedatives for women November - 1958
Women lead Cato Manor unrest, South Africa June - 1959
New MPs Margaret Thatcher, Judith Hart October - 1959

 

The decade that held hope & promise . . .

Women's Ordination
Documentation 1960 - 1969 . . .

 

CHURCH

 
THEOLOGIANS
1962
Pope John XXIII
Opening of the Second Vatican Council to reform the Catholic Church
 
1964
Gertrude Heinzelman (RC)
1964
Episcopal Church in USA
General Convention changes deaconess canon to read "ordered" rather than "appointed"
1965
Pope Paul VI
Close of the Second Vatican Council
 
1965
Episcopal Church in USA
Deaconess Phyllis Edwards recognized as deacon by Bishop James Pike, San Francisco
 
1966
Episcopal Church in USA
 
1966
Church of England
 
1966
Episcopal Church
 
1967
Sister Vincent Hannon
1968
Church of England
Working Party, Women in Ministry: a Study
1968
Anglican Church
 
1969
Episcopal Church in USA
This timeline could not include the important research papers & journalistic articles written during this period

Social Emancipation 1960 to 1969

1960 Mrs Bandaranaike, first woman premier
1960 Suffragist Estelle Sylvia Pankurst dies
1961 Contraceptive pill goes on sale in UK
1961 First Mothercare shop opens, UK
1961 Birth control pill available on NHS, UK
1962 First woman judge in High Court, UK
1963 Tereshkova (USSR) first woman in space
1963 Woman broadcaster reads TV news in Wales
1964 Woman completes solo round-world flight
1964 Death of Nancy Astor, first UK woman MP
1965 First woman High Court judge, UK
1966 First woman to train racehorses, UK
1966 Twiggy is rising fashion star
1967 The Abortion Bill becomes law, UK
1968 Ford machinists strike for equal pay for women, UK
1968 Epidural promises painless childbirth
1968 Pregnancy Advisory Service launched, UK
1968 First abortion clinic opens in London
1969 Women workers at Ford (UK) win equal pay
1969 Lloyd's of London to admit women

 

The decade when sparks began to fly . . .

Women's Ordination
Documentation and Events 1970 - 1979 . . .

date

CHURCH

 
THEOLOGIANS
1970
World Council of Churches
What is ordination coming to? Report of a Consultation on the Ordination of Women
 
1970
American Lutheran Church
 
1970
Lutheran Church in America
 
1970
Episcopal Church in USA
Report of the Joint Commission on Ordained and Licensed Ministries, n.b. Report rejected by narrow margin in the clergy order in the House of Deputies
 
1970
Episcopal Church in USA
 
1971
Anglican Church
 
1971
Pope Paul VI
During the Bishops’ Synod in Rome, Cardinal Flahiff and the Canadian Bishops Conference ask for a study on women’s ministries
 
1971
Anglican Church
 
1971
Episcopal Church in USA
House of Bishops refers women's ordination for further study.
Episcopal women begin to be ordained deacon alongside men
 
1972  
M. Bruce & G. E. Duffield
1972  
E. L. Mascall
1972  
Arlene Swidler (RC)
1972  
National Assembly of Women Religious
1973
Episcopal Church in USA
General Convention rejects ordination of women to priesthood.
Women deacons presented alongside men for ordination to priesthood in New York, but bishop refuses
 
1973
American Lutheran Church
 
1973  
Joan Morris (RC)
1973  
Haye van der Meer (RC)
1973  
George Tavard (RC)
1973
Pope Paul VI
The Pope appoints a Special Commission on the Function of Women in Society and in the Church (FWSC). During meetings of the FWSC a group of women members protests about lack of freedom of expression. ‘Our views are being systematically suppressed.’
Read the story of Rie Vendrik, one of the participants.
 
1974  
Robert Heyer (ed. RC)
1974
Episcopal Church in USA
 
1975
Pope Paul VI
The Pontifical Biblical Commission reports that there are no scriptural objections to ordaining women to the priesthood. The Vatican suppresses the report, but its contents are leaked and become known.
 
1975
United States Anglican-Roman Catholic consultation, Cinncinnati June 1975
 
1975  
John Wijngaards
1975  
Harold Wilson (ed.)
1975  
Robert E. Terwilliger and Urban T. Holmes (eds.)
1975  
Paul Lakeland (RC)
1975  
Michael P.Hamilton and Nancy S.Montgomery (eds)
1975
Church of England
 
1975
Pope Paul VI
10-14 November 1975
A Working Group on the Ordination of Women set up by ARCIC (the Anglican/Roman Catholic International Consultation) meets in Assisi.
The two Roman Catholic theologians appointed by the Vatican, Frs. Hervé Legrand and Eric Doyle, both express support for the ordination of women.
The report is suppressed by the Vatican, but published by ARCIC. Read the paper Eric Doyle submitted at the meeting: ‘The Ordination of Women. The State of the Question in the Roman Catholic Church’.
 
1975
Pope Paul VI

30 November 1975
Letter of Pope Paul VI to Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury, asserting the Catholic stance against the ordination of women

 
1976  
Marianne H. Micks & Charles R. Price (eds.)
1976  
E. C. Hewitt & S.R.Hiatt
1976  
C. Heyward
1976
Church of England
 
1976
Pope Paul VI
 
1976
Pope Paul VI
 
1977
Pope Paul VI
 
1977
Anglican Church of Canada
Begins ordaining women
 
1977
Episcopal Church in USA
Women ordained in Philadelphia and Washington begin to be "regularized" and regular ordinations of women to the priesthood begin with 100 ordained by year's end
 
1977
Anglican Church in New Zealand
Begins ordaining women to priesthood
 
1977
John Wijngaards (RC)
1977  
Leonard Swidler & Arlene Swidler (eds. RC)
1977  
John H.Otwell
1977  
James Coriden (ed. RC)
1978  
Hugh Montefiori (ed.)
1978  
Carroll Stuhlmueller (ed. RC)
1978  
Peter Moore (ed.)
1978  
Proceedings of the Second Conference
on the Ordination of Roman Catholic Women
1979
Louis Bouyer (RC)
This timeline could not include the important research papers & journalistic articles written during this period

 

The decade of consolidating positions . . .

Women's Ordination
Documentation and Events 1980 - 1989 . . .

 

CHURCH

 
THEOLOGIANS
1980  
Elisabeth M. Tetlow
1980  
C. F. Parvey (ed. RC)
1981  
Ida Raming (RC)
1981
Church of England
Women accepted as deacons
 
1982  
E. Margaret Howe
1982  
Jean LaPorte (RC)
1983
Pope John Paul II
Code of Church Law, The exclusion of women from ordination again entered into law.
 
1984
Pope John Paul II
 
1985
Church of England
Church of England in the UK decides to ordain women as deacons
 
1985  
Letty Russell (RC)
1985  
Elizabeth Storkey
1985  
Elspeth and Gordon Strachan
1985
Church of England
 
1985
Church of England
 
1986
Pope John Paul II
 
1987  
Ladislas Örsy
1987
Church of England
UK synod votes in favour of women's ordination
 
1988
Church of England
The final plan for women's ordination was submitted in June. It passed the Synod in July and the House of Bishops in August
 
1988
Pope John Paul II
 
1988
Episcopal Church of the USA
First woman bishop elected
 
1988
Pope John Paul II
 
This timeline could not include the important research papers & journalistic articles written during this period

The decade of confrontation . . .

Church documents on women 1990 - 1999
& theological discussion

 

CHURCH

 
THEOLOGIANS
1990
Janet Martin Soskice
1991
Marie-Eloise Rosenblatt (ed.)
1992
Anne Jensen (RC)
1993
Anne Jensen (RC)
1994
Pope John Paul II
 
1994
Pope John Paul II
 
1995
Pope John Paul II
Letter to Women, papal letter to women issued in preparation for the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing
 
1995
Pope John Paul II
 
1995
Pope John Paul II
 
1996  
Mavis Rose
1997  
Papal Power
on the abuse of papal authority
Paul Collins (RC)
1998
Pope John Paul II
 
1998
Pope John Paul II
Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem. Contains the judgment that those who hold women can be ordained priests, are ‘no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church’
 
1998
RC Belgian Bishops' Conference
Who May Dwell Within your Tent?,
commission on “Woman and the Church”
 
1998
John Wijngaards
1999
Patricia Marlette Black
1999

John Wijngaards

This timeline could not include the important research papers & journalistic articles written during this period