What kind of leaders refuse to listen to their own people?

Women called to the priesthood - the official response

Soline Humbert is representative of many women who have been deeply hurt in their Christian self-esteem by the official Church's unwillingness to admit women to the ordained ministries. Many similar stories of women called to the priesthood can be found here. But the refusal to admit women to the priesthood affects all Catholic women, and many are deeply upset about it. Especially so because the official reasons for the exclusion obviously lack validity.

  • Professor Mary McAleese
    They say the debate [on the ordination of women] is closed. I think they had better turn up their hearing aids . . .
    The conduit for communication in the Church that goes up, starts with the bishops, goes up through the cardinals as far as the Pope. The one which comes down comes down from Pope to laity. But that one is mostly one-way traffic apart from the occasional correspondence from the likes of myself. This means that within the power structures of the Church the voice of the laity generally and of women in particular is very rarely heard through any formal in-house conduit, for none of any significance exists.quotes Prof Mary McAleese

    McAleese was President of Ireland 1997-2011
    Read her own words here.

  • Sr Christine Vladimiroff
    After much deliberation and prayer, I concluded that I would decline the request of the Vatican [to prevent Sr Joan Chittister to attend a conference on the ordination of women].
    It is out of the Benedictine , or monastic, tradition of obedience that I formed my decision. There is a fundamental difference in the understanding of obedience in the monastic tradition and that which is being used by the Vatican to exert power and control and prompt a false sense of unity inspired by fear. Benedictine authority and obedience are achieved through dialogue between a community member and her prioress in a spirit of co-responsibility. The role of the prioress in a Benedictine community is to be a guide in the seeking of God. While lived in community, it is the individual member who does the seeking. quotes Sr. Christine Vladimiroff OSB

    Vladimiroff President, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, USA (2004) Read more.

Refusing to listen

1971. During the Bishops’ Synod in Rome, Cardinal Flahiff and the Canadian Bishops Conference ask for a study on women’s ministries.
1973. Paul VI appoints a 'Special Commission on the Function of Women in Society and Church'. Women members reveal their lack of freedom of expression. ‘Our views are being systematically suppressed.’
Read the testimony of Rie Vendrik, one of the participants.
1975. 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. A Working Group on the Ordination of Women set up by ARCIC (the Anglican/Roman Catholic International Consultation) meets in Assisi. The two RC 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.
1976. Paul VI through 'Inter Insigniores' rules out the admission of women to the ministerial priesthood.

Without further consultation the prohibition was repeated in ever stronger terms by Pope John-Paul II in 1994 and 1998.



See Miriam's story here.